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AU and ECOWAS envoys meet with African Ambassadors over Senegal’s election

AU and ECOWAS envoys meet with African Ambassadors over Senegal’s election

African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Special Envoys to observe, monitor and interact with actors, stakeholders and other related institutions for Senegal’s February 26th2012 Presidential election, had met with African Group of Ambassadors to Senegal. (Photo: The AU and ECOWAS Special Envoy GEN Obansanjo with some African Ambassadors)

The group of four was led by the former President of Nigeria Gen Olunsenju Obansanjo and included Edem Kodjo, Kofi Sama and Mdm. Mary Chiney Hesse.

Updating the African Group of Ambassadors, including Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Senegal Mdm. Khadijatu Bassir at the Radisson Hotel in Dakar on election’s day, the Head of The Delegation GEN Obansanjo informed that they were sent on a joint mission with two branches by the AU and ECOWAS.

  “First it’s a mission of peace, for us to use our good office to take pro -active  measures to save Senegal from conflict before, during and after the  Presidential election and secondly,  to observe the election” he said.

According to the Head of the delegation, upon their arrival in Senegal they found out that tension was politically high, as a result they decided to meet with all stakeholders, including President Wade and government, political parties, youths, women ‘s groups, Christians and Muslim groups, candidates and other Institutions connected with the elections. “Discussion with them” he said “centered on saving the country from falling apart, as there were no communication bridge and that both government and opposition terms were very rigid”

GEN Obansanjo said it was impressed on all especially the government and political parties to make sacrifices across the board. He added that it was further agreed that President Wade should be a candidate in the election and that if he wins he should only stay in office for three years out of the five years term of office.

 However said Gen Obansanjo the opposition suggested that President Wade be given another one year in office without election and make an exit at the end but this was rejected by the government. He said, it was also recommended that the opposition during the election period handles the ministry of Interior but that it was also rejected. “However” GEN Obansanjo observed “our intervention was timely and had impacted greatly on the political tension in Senegal. All we look forward to is a peaceful and orderly election that will truly reflect the will of the people”

The African Group of Ambassadors, expressed their appreciation to AU and ECOWAS but raised few concerns, as to what will happen, in the event that President Wade did not win and if there is to be a second round (March 18th 2012) whether they as AU and ECOWAS Envoy would extend their up to March 3rd 2012 staying mandate.

Replying, Gen Obansanjo said as Peace Makers they expect to get some bruises to save Senegal from any further conflict. He said if President Wade did not win one aspect of the problem is solved with regards his two years agreed period to spend in office but however noted that the problem of peace will still be there to address.

With regards the extension of their stay in the event of a Run-off, he said that is left to AU and ECOWAS to decide.

According to the AU and ECOWAS Mission as far as what they observed in the visiting pooling stations the election went on peacefully and orderly. “However” GEN Obansanjo noted “we must watch the declaration of the result.”

BY: Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr, Information Attaché, Embassy of The Republic of Sierra Leone, in Senegal and The Gambia

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