The Commonwealth of Nations has organised a 5-day workshop for election professionals and some selected representatives from election management bodies across the Commonwealth countries in Africa.
This year’s workshop which is the Commonwealth’s third Africa regional training event for Commonwealth Election Professionals (CEP) was tagged: “Delivering Credible and Inclusive Elections in the Era of COVID-19: Building public trust and confidence throughout the electoral cycle.”
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While speaking on the choice of this year’s theme, the Political Officer at the Commonwealth, Lindiwe Maleleka noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had not presented multifaced challenges but has also posed a erious risk to democratic culture.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has multiple facets and presents unprecedented challenges, affecting every aspect of our lives: it is, of course, not only a public health emergency but also an economic, social and environmental crisis. It poses a serious risk to our democratic culture, practices and processes, as countries across and beyond the Commonwealth grapple with the need to safeguard the democratic rights and freedoms of citizens without endangering their health and safety.
“This training event will serve as a valuable forum for the exchange of experience in delivering electoral processes in these exceptionally challenging times, and – crucially – the sharing of emerging good practice. Seven of the Election Management Bodies represented here in Accra have held local and/or national level elections since the outbreak of the global pandemic in 2020. A further six EMBs are due to deliver elections either later this year or in 2022. I commend to you this opportunity to listen and learn from each other.” she explained.
The 5-day workshop which started on 15th of November will come to a close on 19th of November 2021.
While giving her view about the workshop, the INEC’s representative at the workshop, Yadoma Mandara expressed delight about the knowledge gained.
“My experience so far is good and I have really learnt a lot which I also hope to share when I get back to Nigeria. There are things some countries have been doing to improve their electoral processes which we have not been doing and there are also things we have been doing that they have not been doing so the exchange of ideas amongst participants have been impactful, I must commend the Commonwealth for this initiative.
“It is also good that I am being given the opportunity to also present a paper on “Public Information and Communications as essential ingredients for credible elections.” she submitted.