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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid