Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 1132nd meeting held on 20 January 2023, on Consideration of the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Elections conducted in Africa, from July to December 2022 and an outlook for 2023.    

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, Article 3 (f) of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and all previous decisions of Council on elections in Africa, particularly, Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1096 (2022)] adopted at its 1096th meeting held on 2 August 2022;

Acknowledging the critical importance of inclusive, peaceful, democratic, transparent and credible elections, as well as peaceful transfer of power as key factors for deepening democracy, peace, security, stability and sustainable development in Member States, towards the realization of the AU noble goal of Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030, the AU Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, as well as the United Nations Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development;

Taking note of the opening statement of the Stand-In PSC Chairperson, H.E. Ambassador Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the AU, and the presentation of the Report of the Chairperson by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; as well as the various statements from the AU Member States that held elections during the period under consideration and those planning to organize elections in the first half of 2023; and the statements by the representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs);

Re-affirming the AU zero tolerance for Unconstitutional Changes of Government, in all its form, in keeping with the 2000 Lomé Declaration, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and the Accra Declaration of May 2022 and Malabo Declaration adopted by the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo Equatorial Guinea, and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Adopts the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Elections in Africa for the Period of July - December 2022 and the outlook for 2023 and its recommendations;

2. Congratulates all Member States that successfully organized elections during the last half of 2022, in a peaceful and transparent manner, namely, the Republics of Congo, Senegal, Kenya, Angola, Sao Tome e Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia and the Kingdom of Lesotho;

3. In particular, congratulates the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho and Kenya, especially the political actors, for the peaceful transfer of power in Kenya, that witnessed the election of H.E Dr. William Samoei Ruto, as the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Sam Matekane as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, respectively, in furtherance of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

4. Commends the deployment of the joint AU-Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Election Observation Mission to the 9 August 2022 Kenyan elections as a model for strategic collaboration between the Commission and the RECs/RMs to be emulated in promoting effective democratic governance and peace dividends on the Continent;

5. Also commends the Commission for continuing to accompany election processes in Member States, including through provision of technical assistance to national election management bodies, deployment of Election Observation Missions; and the newly introduced integrative approach utilizing preventive diplomacy/mediation missions through the Panel of the Wise, to ensure democratic, transparent and credible elections, as well as peaceful political transitions;

6. Welcomes the growing and encouraging trend of peaceful electoral processes in Member States, gradual measures to promote increased participation of women and youth, continuous improvements in election management practices and the recourse to legal means for addressing election related disputes;

7. Expresses deep concern and strongly condemns the attempted coup d’états in São Tome e Principe and in The Gambia and requests the Commission to expedite the operationalization of the PSC Sub-Committee on Sanctions pursuant to the Declaration adopted by the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo Equatorial Guinea;

8. Welcomes the relentless efforts being deployed by Member States scheduled to organize elections during the first half of 2023, namely: Republic of Benin, Republic of Djibouti, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Republic of Guinea Bissau and Republic of Sierra Leone; and encourages them to sustain their effort in order to ensure that their elections are peaceful, inclusive, transparent, democratic and credible; in this context, requests the Commission adequately support these democratic processes, including through the deployment of AU Election Observer Missions within allocated budgetary resources;

9. Encourages all Member States to continue to redouble their efforts in mobilizing domestic financial resources for their election processes with a view to insulating the elections from unintended consequences of depending on external sources of election financing;

10. Strongly urges all Member States, that have not yet done so, to consider signing, ratifying and domesticating the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and accede to the African Peer Review Mechanism, without further delays;

11. Appeals to Member States to continue to further strengthen the institutional capacity of their judicial systems for effectively addressing all electoral disputes; and promote platforms for dialogue, consensus-building and amicable settlement of election-related disputes among political parties, as well as to timeously implement the recommendations of AU Election Observer Missions;

12. Calls upon Member States to create conducive conditions for promoting and encouraging more meaningful participation of women and youth in electoral processes, both, as voters and as candidates, including through affirmative legislation on aspects such as reasonable candidacy fees and quota systems;

13. Underscores the important role of the media and civil society organizations and requests them to continue to conduct themselves more responsibly and to play a more positive role during election processes, as well as to refrain from inciting violence;

14. Requests the Commission to expedite the finalisation of the Draft Standards for Effective AU Election-Related Support to Member States, in particular, the Documentary Film on Election Observation in Africa; and the “Elections in Africa Report - Democracy at Work” knowledge generation initiative;

15. Directs the Commission to urgently submit to Council a Progress Report on the attainment of the governance and peace aspects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063 (2013-2023) to inform the exploration of possible options for a more accelerated approach for the Second Ten-Year Implementation Plan; and to assess the interlocking effects of socio-economic crisis on the conduct of inclusive, democratic and credible elections;

16. Commends the Kingdom of Morocco and the Commission for successfully co-organizing the 1st Specialized Training Workshop for AU Short-Term Election Observers, from 13 to 17 June 2022, in Rabat, the Kingdom of Morocco, and the mutual readiness to maintain the series of training sessions to enhance the professional conduct of the AU election observation missions, in accordance with Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1096 (2022)]; and to this effect, encourages all Member States to scale up collaboration with the Commission in enhancing the capacity of African Election Observers;

17. Appeals to the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) to address the perennial challenges of adequate funding for the AU Election Observation Missions and to enable the Commission to more effectively execute its mandate relating to supporting electoral processes in Member States;

18. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by PSC Secretariat

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