Ghana holds maiden Maendeleo Policy Forum on African elections

Aug 18, 2016

L-R: A panel comprising Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Ozonnia Ojielo, Mr. Tegegnework Gettu, Ms. Brigalia Bam and Mr. denis Kadima. Photo credit: Matilda Quaicoe, UNDP)

Ghana has held her maiden Maendeleo Policy Forum in Accra, bringing into sharp focus election experiences in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim was to examine the challenges faced by various countries in organizing democratic and peaceful elections, and at the same time, identify opportunities for a brighter future for Africa.

“While elections may have become a common feature in the majority of African countries today, it is important to recognize that these elections have impressively contrasted in their quality and impact on democratic governance and political stability on the continent”, said Mr. Tegegnework Gettu, UNDP Associate Administrator in his opening remarks.  

The forum was organized by the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa, with a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo. The panel comprised three of Africa’s finest practitioners in the area of election administration and electoral assistance including Dr. Brigalia Bam, a member of the AU Panel of the Wise and Former Chair of South African Independent Electoral Commission; Mr. Denis Kadima, Executive Director of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa; and Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

The panelists shared insights on key elections challenges including political intolerance, restrictions of the political space, violation of fundamental human rights, inadequacies of electoral management bodies, tailor-made legal framework and inopportune constitutional modification, as well as election-related violence.

Some of the more than 150 participants of the forum including development partners, political party representatives, civil society, UN agencies, the media as well as research and academia, also shared perspectives on overcoming elections challenges in Africa.

The Maendeleo Policy Forum was first launched by UNDP in 2015 to provide space for leaders, international mediators and negotiators, researchers, policy makers, development practitioners, activists and writers on African issues, to debate on critical issues of development in Africa. It has previously been held at the UNDP Regional Service Centre in Addis Ababa until today first held outside the region.

“It is our anticipation that bringing this forum to Accra will assist Ghana, which is undoubtedly one of Africa’s success stories, to further benefit from the various experiences across Africa, as the country prepares for its December polls”, said Mr. Tegegnework Gettu.