Participants at the first Conference of Political Parties in Sub Saharan Africa have deplored the abuse of incumbency and misuse of state security apparatus in electoral systems across the continent.
A communiqué issued by the participants called for improvement of elections administration, the establishment of efficient and truly independent election management institutions that are insulated from any partisan or external influence.
The conference was attended by Mr Joachim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission, former and serving ministers of states, members of parliament (MPs), researchers, the academia and the leadership of political parties from across the continent.
55 political parties from 15 African countries attended the forum organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Multi-party Democracy (NIMD). It was on the theme: "50 years of Sub-Saharan African Independence and the Role of Political Parties: Promise, Decline and Resurgence."
The participants also condemned the attitude of losing political parties that refused to accept results of elections acknowledged by electoral administrators and observers as being credible, free and fair and challenged politicians and governments to work towards eradicating these negative practices.
They noted that the conduct of free, fair and credible elections should not only be regarded as a means to legitimizing the leadership of a country, but should also be considered as a tool for promoting peace and security.
The participants condemned incidence of post-election conflicts and unconstitutional changes of government and urged governments and political parties to provide an environment that would deny coup d'etat.
On the issues of public financing of political parties, the Conference emphasize the urgent need to build the capacity of all political parties so as to create a level playing field for effective participation in the governance process of a country.
The Conference also urged political parties to provide a platform for women and the youth to participate in the building and sustenance of peace and democracy, eliminate gender and generational imbalance that had blighted the growth of multiparty democracy on the continent.
Participating countries included: Benin; Cote d'Ivoire; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Nigeria; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Tanzania; Togo; Zambia and Zimbabwe.