The African Union Organises the 6th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies

Nairobi, 28 November 2019. As part of its mandate to advance democratic and participatory governance in Africa, the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with the Association of African Electoral Authorities (AAEA), has organised the 6th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) on 28-29 November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya on the theme: “Enhancing Participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees in Elections: Towards More Inclusive Electoral Processes in Africa.” The theme of the Forum resonates with the AU 2019 theme – “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally IDPs and Refugees: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa” declared at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in February 2019.

The EMBs Forum was preceded by a General Assembly of the AAEA on 27 November 2019. Together with the General Assembly of the AAEA, the EMBs Forum aims at exploring trends, policy directives and practical measures for promoting meaningful participation of IDPs and refugees in electoral processes. This marks the first time on the continent that senior electoral officials are collectively engaging with the policy issue of internal displacement, refugees and elections in Africa. The Forum brings together Chairpersons of Election Management Bodies across the continent, electoral stakeholders and partner organisation.

During the Opening Ceremony, on 28 November 2019, Her Excellency Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, remarked that “strengthening the participation of IDPs and refugees in elections is relevant and urgent.” She further recognised that, as key actors in the consolidation of democracy on our continent, the EMBs contribute directly to the realization of the 2063 Agenda of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a force dynamic on the international scene.” Against this backdrop, she implored on the EMB leaders to seize the occasion to collectively reflect “on the relationship between democratic governance and the problem of internally displaced persons and refugees in Africa in order to develop sustainable solutions to the problem of the marginalization of displaced persons and refugees in electoral processes.”

In the same vein, Mr. Wafula Chebukati, Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Kenya, and host Commission of this year’s EMB Forum, reiterated that “the issue of participation of Refugees and IDPs in the electoral process is a conversation we must have in order to avert the disenfranchisement of this section of humanity.”

Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Regional Director for Africa and West Asia, International IDEA, delivered a comprehensive keynote address, emphasizing the inextricable nexus between governance and displacement, the acute research and policy gaps on the subject, and concrete areas of EMB intervention which could help assuage the problems that drive displacement on the continent.

The EMBs Forum was officially opened by Justice (Rtd) Paul Kihara Kariuki, Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya on behalf of His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. Speaking on behalf of the President of the Republic of Kenya, the Attorney General noted that: “The participation of IDPs and Refugees in Elections is an area that must be approached with boldness, sensitivity, pragmatism and focus on the constant need to continually improve the socio-political climate in our Nations. This endeavour is by no means an easy one; with numerous political, social, financial, technical and logistical hurdles standing in its way. If improperly crafted and executed, the participation of IDPs and Refugees in Elections has the potential to exacerbate the tensions that have historically been prevalent during the election periods in most African Nations.”
During the 6th EMBs Forum, a Policy Brief of the 5th Continental EMBs Forum held in 2018 on the theme “Towards Corruption-Free Electoral Processes: Strengthening Electoral Integrity in Africa” was officially launched which offers policy trajectories for EMBs and other electoral stakeholders on fostering electoral integrity on the continent
For more information contact:

Mr. Guy Cyrille Tapoko, Head of Democracy and Electoral Assistance,

Mr. Robert Gerenge, Principal Advisor to EMBs,

Department of Political Affairs
African Union Commission


  1. I wish this continental body that was founded in 1963 (56 years ago) with the name OAU (Organization of African Unity) with its most important objective and role of dealing with the challenges of decolonization , how to make the newly independent countries viable and progressively effective, and how to make the mission complete by providing collective support to those people who remained under colonial rule as well as those who were languishing under a very inhuman political systems such as apartheid or the brutal rule of white supremacy . It is quite true that the Organization has played a very remarkable role in this aspect of the political history of the continent . It was in 2002 (17 years ago) that the name OAU was changed to AU (African Union) and the difference was/is said to be a transformation from the Union of leaders to the Union of the people . Although it is not as significant as it should be in practical terms, it has its own recognizable presence in international and inter-continental relations. I said not practically significant because :
    a) The very perception or assumption of making the Union the Union of the people is totally bogus and an insult to the innocent people of Africa as the very reality on the ground clearly shows that the Union has continued to be a very CONVIENIENT CLUB of the leaders (rulers) of each country though it is true that very, very and very few are relatively better than the very majority of them.
    b) As the very majority of the leaders (rulers) are not statesmen . The are not skilled, experienced, respected and willing to lead by example that goes beyond a generation. They have never been independent of those former colonial rulers and other powerful actors of the world politics. They rather keep playing a very cynical relationship with those powers in order not only get their voracious self -interests satisfied but also to get them fatter and over delightful at the very expense of the people who continued to be hit hard by all aspects of the horrifying situations .
    c)They are highly if not incredibly corrupt to the extent of exchanging the very interests of their own people (national interests) for their own wildly unlimited self- interests and the interests of those around their palace politics . That is why although they claim themselves as a true representatives of their countries and the people of the continent in general in international forums such as UN and its organs as well as programs , they have never been effective as they claim to be because they always watch not how to fight for their own people to the end, but how to win the support and favor of the former colonel powers and other so-called developed world of the western hemisphere .
    Not only this but they also try hard to maintain their tyrannical political power and by doing so to keep their monstrous self-interests satisfied by playing unwritten cold war style policy . They do dance between the China and Russia on the one hand, and the wester powers on the other hand. It is in this very ugly political and socio-economic situation that the very interests of the people of the continent in general and the people each country are totally lost . Look at the PHOTO UP very carefully and the untold sufferings of the people that is self-evidently clear on the ground . This is how they play their brutally disingenuous if not tragic political game . Do not get me that what I am saying is nothing positive happened . What I am saying is that compared with where the people of Africa are now in every aspect of their lives , it is not far from the truth that the very idea of transforming this continental body from OAU to AU in order to make it the Union of the people was/is totally absurd if not hypocritical . As matter of fact, it has continued to the very CLUB of the very disingenuous and disgraceful ruling elites and circles. throughout .


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