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EU slammed for not putting pressure on African states to conduct credible polls

EU slammed for not putting pressure on African states to conduct credible polls

Electoral fraud

Thirteen civil society organisations together with several African and French political parties have accused the Brussels-based European Union (EU) of seeming not to be interested in the quality of democracy of some African States.

The thirteen organisations under the banner of Collective for Solidarity with Social and Political Struggle in Africa wrote an open letter on Tuesday to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to get her attention.

The signatories of the letter said they are surprised that the European Union continues to provide aid to certain African countries whose leaders have lack of respect for certain democratic electoral processes.

I think the EU is free not to send observers. But this decision will prohibit them from judging the process when it comes to an end (and) whoever does not observe cannot judge

The organisations focused their attention on three countries- the Republic of Congo, Chad and Djibouti.

The EU has already decided not to send observers to the Republic of Congo to monitor the presidential election set for March 20. The EU’s decision came as it dismissed recent electoral reforms in the country, including the introduction of an independent electoral commission, as insufficient to guarantee a transparent vote.

The Congolese government however hit back at the decision.

“I think the EU is free not to send observers. But this decision will prohibit them from judging the process when it comes to an end,” said Congo’s Information Minister Thierry Moungalla who added that, “whoever does not observe cannot judge.”

The organisations also criticized relations between Brussels and Chad. Although progress has been made through European cooperation, particularly with regard to the introduction of biometric elections, the collective said they regret other challenges that marred credible poll, but which seem not to be getting required attention.

Opposition parties, the groups argued, could not hold rallies in the country due to repression. The Independent National Electoral Commission, according to the organisations is also dominated by the incumbent. After 25 years in power, Idriss Déby will still be vying for the top job after making changes to the constitution.

The collective in their letter, finally accused the EU of not putting enough pressure on authorities to implement agreements that were signed in December 2014 in Djibouti.

The group urged the Peace and Security Council to “get involved and take responsibility for stopping violence and repression, and demanded a resumption of the electoral process in accordance with the Framework Agreement of 30 December 2014”.