Ahead of the presidential election in The Gambia sheduled for the 4th of December, 2021, the ECOWAS Commission, will hold consultative engagements and training of the country's political stakeholders on the need to prevent and mitigate electoral disputes through dialogue and mediation.
The consultative engagements and training slated for Senegambia, Base and Banjul between the 6th and 16th of September, 2021 is being facilitated by the Directorate of Political Affairs, Peace and Security with the support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through its African Peace Programme.
The timely political engagements, which builds on previous efforts by ECOWAS in support of peaceful 2021 election, are meant to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders in preventing and mitigating potential pre- and post-election-related disputes, while ensuring peaceful electoral outcomes.
The Gambian Mission creates an opportunity for participants to take cognizance of, and appreciate ECOWAS' constitutional convergence principles, normative and legal frameworks for transparent and peaceful elections. They are to also acquire practical techniques and skills for dialogue and mediation as important tools for the management of electoral conflicts through the guidance provided in the ECOWAS Dialogue and Mediation Guidelines.
Expected to develop strategic and operational conflict prevention and mitigation frameworks, participants will also be sensitised on ECOWAS preventive diplomacy and mediation instruments, including the critical role which the recently reconstituted Council of the Wise (CoW) plays in the process.
The participants are drawn from the ranks of Inter-Party Committee (IPC), traditional and faith-based leaders, relevant civil society organizations, the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG), TANGO, National Council for Civic Education (NNCE), West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), National Youth Council (NYC), Local Authorities and Community leaders. Also on board are representatives of governmental platforms involved in dialogue and mediation and of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), including the Media, and Women and Youth representatives.
In recognition of the conflict-generation potential of elections in Member States, the ECOWAS Commission's Directorate of Political Affairs, has in recent past, organized similar training programmes in support of the electoral cycles of some member states, such as Liberia (2017), Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria (2018) and Togo (2019).