News / Africa

African Union Election Observers Begin Work in Mali

Presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse waves to his supporters at a campaign rally in Bamako, Mali, July 20, 2013.
Presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse waves to his supporters at a campaign rally in Bamako, Mali, July 20, 2013.
Peter Clottey
The deputy chairman of the African Union (AU) says the group’s election observer mission has arrived in Mali for the West African nation’s presidential vote on Sunday.

Erastus Mwencha also says the AU has partnered with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help Mali’s interim government and support the country’s efforts to return to constitutional rule.

Some Malians, including the chairman of the electoral commission, expressed concern about Sunday’s vote because of rising tension despite a recent peace agreement signed by the government and the rebels.

“ECOWAS with the African Union and a number of other stakeholders and international partners have come to the conclusion that let’s move ahead with the elections,” said Mwencha. “Because you have a situation that you want to have a legitimate partner that would be able to get Mali back to normalcy.”

Backed by the United Nations and ECOWAS, Burundi’s former president, Pierre Buyoya, was appointed to be the AU High Representative for Mali and Head of the African‐led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA). Mwencha says Mr. Buyoya has been coordinating efforts with various groups in Mali in the run-up to the vote.
 
“We are on the ground, we have given the necessary support that we could and so we hope that as we are now in the final stages of the election, it would be conducted in an atmosphere that allows the people of Mali to express themselves,” said Mwencha.

Last week, gunmen released election workers who were distributing voter identification materials in preparation for the vote. Their capture and subsequent release sparked worry that a peaceful election cannot be guaranteed. Mwencha said AFISMA is working with Mali’s security agencies as well as the candidates to ensure peaceful balloting.

“Our team on the ground has had to make sure that they interact with the various politicians to ensure that they give their commitment that they conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, and campaign on issues,” said Mwencha.

He expressed hope that the candidates will accept the election results.

“The confidence that we have word that the various candidates have pledged themselves, [and] what we hope for is, of course, that the election body would be able to organize the elections in such a manner that all candidates would be satisfied,” said Mwencha.  “All the political parties are being held accountable by the people to commit themselves to accept the election results.”

Mwencha says the election provides good prospects that the people of Mali can live in peace following the overthrow of the former government and the subsequent takeover by Islamic militants in parts of the country’s north.

“We see it as an opportunity that you now have partners that would be able to move the peace and the political process forward.” Mwencha said. “And that is why it is extremely important that at the end of the day the parties should accept whoever is chosen because that would be the first step in uniting the country.”
Clottey interview with Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy chairman
Clottey interview with Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy chairmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid