Foreign Minister chairs Joint preventive diplomacy mission ahead Guinea, Ivory Coast election

Minister for foreign Affairs and Regional International Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey on 30th September led a joint ECOWAS, AU and United Nations High Level Solidarity Mission in republic of Guinea ahead the country’s election.

The Preventive diplomacy mission consultative meeting was undertaken in Guinea from September 30 – October 4, 2020 aiming at ensuring credible, transparent and peaceful election on 18 October 2020.

As part of their mission to deepening engagements with various political actors and stakeholders in the election process,
the joint Mission delegation included the following:
E. Shirley Ayorkor BOTCHWEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers;
E. Alpha BARRY, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Burkina Faso;
E. Jean-Claude KASSI BROU, President of the ECOWAS Commission;
E. Mohamed Ibn CHAMBAS, Special Representative of the United
Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS);

E. Minata Samate CESSOUMA, Commissioner, Political Affairs, African Union Commission
General Francis A. BEHANZIN, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.

The following dignitaries also were part of delegation from Ghana during such a crucial engagement,
Jane Gasu Aheto
Ghana’s Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea, Mr Michael Ofori- Atta
Director of Regional Integration, Presidency.

The rest are Mr Philbert Johnson
Director- Africa Bureau
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Mrs Carolyn Oppong- Ntiri
Director, Office of the Hon. Foreign Minister.

The joint Mission held consultations with several political actors and stakeholders in Guinea, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection, the Group of African Ambassadors accredited to Guinea, members of the Group of 5 (G5), the political party members of the ruling coalition, the republican opposition, coalition of opposition candidates, civil society organizations under the umbrella of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), religious leaders, women and youth associations.

Also the Mission held consultations with the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the High Authority for Communication (HAC) and the Constitutional Court on the state of preparations for the presidential election of 18th October 2020.

The Mission welcomed the commitment of the authorities to promote a credible and peaceful election. It also welcomed the progress made in the preparations for the various technical aspects of the election. It welcomed the audit of the register, which should enable the holding of credible elections.
The joint Mission expressed deep concern about the prevailing mistrust among the stakeholders.

The preventive mission strongly condemned the violence and hate speech with a particular ethnic undertone, which could encourage violence and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims of this violence. It called on the authorities to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of these acts.

The joint Mission also urges the authorities to secure the electoral process as well as the preservation of the physical safety of the candidates and their supporters before, during and after the election, and more broadly, the respect of human rights.

Among others the Mission reiterated the need for dialogue among the candidates and political actors as well as the urgent signing of the code of good conduct before the election and urges the candidates to refrain from announcing the results before the organs legally mandated to do so.

They called on the Defence and Security Forces to act professionally in securing the election and to avoid excessive use of force.

The joint Mission also asked the candidates and all political actors, including INEC, to strictly comply with the health protocols related to the Covid-19 throughout the electoral process.

It encouraged the CENI to continue discussions with the various candidates with a view to finding solutions to the outstanding issues, particularly the need to display the voters list and to ensure that result sheets are made available to party agents.
The Joint Mission announced the deployment of ECOWAS and African Union observers in the coming days in Guinea to contribute to a credible and transparent election.

Meanwhile similar engagement was replicated in Abidjan on Sunday 4th – Wednesday 7th ahead of the Ivory Coast presidential election.

The delegation from Ghana to Cote D’ivoire were ; Hon Foreign Minister as head of delegation and Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, H.E Frederick Daniel Laryea
Ghana’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ivory Coast and Mr Michael Ofori- Atta
Director of Regional Integration, Presidency.

The rest were Mr Philbert Johnson
Director- Africa Bureau
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Mrs Carolyn Oppong- Ntiri
Director, Office of the Hon. Foreign Minister.