The importance of electoral integrity

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It has been over a year since IEC commissioners were identified, but their assumption of office was put on hold by a lawsuit challenging the regularity of their appointment. So we attempt to delve into the critical issue of electoral integrity, as sentiment begin to emerge that the delay could jeopardise the 2022 elections.

Credible elections are characterized by inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and competitiveness.

Inclusive elections provide equal opportunities for all eligible citizens to participate as voters in selecting their representatives and as candidates for election to government. This right to participate is a broad concept and can only be subject to reasonable restrictions that are provided by law.

Elections are transparent when each step is open to scrutiny, and stakeholders can independently verify whether the process is conducted honestly and accurately. The principle of transparency is linked to the fundamental right of citizens to seek, receive and impart information (which are elements of the freedom of expression), as well as the right to take part in government and public affairs.

Accountability in elections refers to the rights of citizens with respect to the conduct of other electoral stakeholders, including the government, election management bodies, political parties, candidates and security forces.

Elections are competitive when citizens have reasonable and equitable opportunities to compete to be elected to governmental offices.

As former Un Secretary General Koffi Anan said, “Elections are at the heart of democracy. When conducted with integrity, they allow citizens to have a voice in how and by whom they are governed.”

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