Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, the AU’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, told a media briefing that Africa’s conduct of elections has “immensely” improved.
“Africa used to be known for coups and wars but that has changed. There are more elections being successfully done in Africa,” Abdullahi said, adding “the culture of bullets has been replaced by the culture of ballots.”
The official said that out of a total of 15 elections planned in 2015 on the continent, the eight that have been held so far were all successful.
“We have revolutionized the election monitoring system by sending our pre-election assessment teams well before elections to compile a report that informs our deployment of observers,” Abdullahi said.
The AU is also assisting its member states to establish “stronger and more efficient” election monitoring bodies, she said.
However, she admitted that there are still countries with challenges in holding peaceful elections, adding “the level of apathy in some parts of Africa was also a worrying factor.”
As for the pre-election violence in Burundi, she revealed that the AU has been negotiating with the Burundian government to ensure that the polls can be organized in a transparent manner.
“We are particularly concerned about the upcoming elections in Burundi and Central African Republic. We are currently preparing for the general elections in Burundi, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina Faso,” she said.
The AU disagrees African leaders’ bid for a third term in office because that has been the source of conflicts in some countries, she added.
African countries that have already conducted elections this year include Lesotho, Nigeria, Namibia and Mozambique, etc. Others like Ghana, Djibouti and Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to hold elections later this year.