Jonathan wants AU to set standards for appointing election umpires

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday urged African Union to set minimum acceptable standards for appointing the leadership of electoral commissions in member-nations.

This, he said, would go a long way in building citizens’ confidence in the electoral process and ensure credibility of the elections.

According to a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, the former President spoke at the International Leadership Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he emerged as the chairperson of the newly-inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace, a body made up of mainly African former Presidents and ex-Heads of State.

In his keynote address titled “The need for good governance and peaceful electioneering process in Africa,” Jonathan expressed doubt if electoral commissions on the continent are truly independent as their names connote.

He noted that many African countries face election-related crises in cases where the citizens have no confidence in the electoral process.

The doubts, he argued, are created when citizens suspect that the election umpires are doing the bidding of the appointing authorities.

He urged the AU to establish minimum standards and benchmarks for constituting electoral management bodies and encourage member-nations to ratify such declaration.

He said, “The AU should, through its Political Affairs Department, set up a team of electoral experts to study different models and recommend the system they consider best for the continent.”