President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) governing board and Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu at the weekend held a crucial meeting with officials of Mali’s Independent electoral commission (CENI) ahead of Mali’s Sunday presidential election.
Yakubu also held separate meetings Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Mali, Amb. Kadre Desire Ouadraogo. Mr Ouadraogo is a former Burkina Faso Prime Minister and also former President of the ECOWAS Commission
Prof Yakubu’s delegation, which includes some senior INEC officials, was received by CENI President Amadou Ba and Barr. Moctar Mariko President of Mali Human Rights Association.
Both sides discussed preparations for Sunday’s poll and the strengthening of cooperation between ECONEC and CENI in line with the Network’s mandate on assistance, information and experience sharing, peer review and advocacy for support of election management bodies, to deepen electoral integrity and consolidation of democratic governance in the region.
President Ba thanked the ECONEC chief for the solidarity visit.
During a separate meeting at the ECOWAS Situation Room, Prof Yakubu and Amb Ouedraogo underscored the need for synergy and collaboration among international observation missions and development partners to accompany Malians on the path to stability, democracy and good governance.
The 171-member ECOWAS observation mission to Mali led by Amb. Ouedraogo includes ECONEC Secretariat Staff, with the ECONEC Permanent Secretary, Mr. Francis Oke, Head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, also serving as member of the ECOWAS Technical Team, supporting the Mission, whose members are deployed in parts of Mali’s eight administrative regions.
Some 8 million registered voters among Mali’s estimated 18 million national population, go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president in a field of 24 candidates, including sitting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, seeking a second five-year mandate, and with only one female contestant.