A time when the armed forces in Africa were infamous for their penchant to interfere in politics, Malu distinguished himself as a professional icon. He led the 10-nation-strong force that liberated Liberia from the throes of a bloody civil war.
The historic ruling raises a number of fundamental questions on the capacity of electoral management bodies in Africa to conduct free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections; the deployment of new technology in the electoral process; functions of poll observers, and the role of the judiciary in the continents’s democratic consolidation.
The Gambia seems to be on the path to recovery following the departure of long-time despot Yahya Jammeh. But beyond international goodwill, Gambians must now play their part by taking their destiny into their own hands, through continued demonstration of true patriotism and political maturity. The need for inclusivity in governance to facilitate national healing cannot be overemphasised.
As the head of Nigeria’s elections body, Prof Attahihu Jega is widely acknowledged to have delivered a credible election, with abiding lessons for Africa. For him, a credible election requires planning, effective organisation, focus, resilience, relative autonomy of the electoral body, as well as its impartiality and integrity.
The political crisis in The Gambia remains unresolved as January 19, the date for President Yahya Jammeh to leave office, nears. Jammeh must be told in unequivocal terms that he has to respect the will of Gambians who voted him out of power. But he should also be provided with a “safe-landing” to avoid possible bloodshed.
As an example of leadership for Africa, the AU is seriously wanting. Yet this is not just an intergovernmental organization. It is a rallying point for the actualization of the African people’s deepest aspirations for freedom, dignity, unity and shared prosperity. In a hegemonic globalizing world, the AU needs a revolutionary leader with global stature to uphold and protect the principles and vision of the Constitutive Act.
Any initiatives that seek to rekindle the dreams of Africa’s founding fathers and mothers must be welcomed by all. But it is a strong indictment on the continent’s post-independent leadership that almost 60 years after many of the countries gained political freedom, Africans are more divided than ever.