Abuja — This Mission which is composed of 300 observers is aimed at ensuring the smooth running of the electoral process leading to a free, transparent and credible election. The mission is led by Mr Babacar Ndiaye, former President of the African Development Bank (ADB) and supported by a technical team from the ECOWAS Commission.
The ECOWAS Observation Mission is divided into two groups: a civilian group and a security group. The security group has 146 high-ranking officers drawn from thirteen (13) ECOWAS Member States, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. It coordinator is Colonel Siaka Sangare, General Delegate in Mali elections. The Chief of Staff for this group is Colonel Lougue Kodjo, Chief of Army Staff of Burkina Faso.
The security group is rooted in the application of the Global Political Agreement resulting from the Inter-Togolese Dialogue signed in Lomé on 20 August 2006. It was aimed at monitoring all security aspects of the electoral process in view of ensuring a trouble and violence free elections.
For this purpose, the major objective of this group is to monitor the security situation in Togo during the election with a view to creating an enabling political environment for the organisation of a free, transparent and democratic presidential election on 4 March 2010.
The civilian group of the ECOWAS Observation Mission, is composed of 150 observers drawn from all ECOWAS Member States, excluding Togo. Members of this group are mainly parliamentarians, members of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, lawyers, electoral experts from the civil society, members of National Electoral Commissions of the region and Ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States accredited to Nigeria.
"These are experienced men and women who have come to contribute to the strengthening and consolidation of democracy in Togo"; Mr Babacar Ndiaye emphasised. The major role of these observers is to observe and monitor all pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral process of the 4 March 2010 Presidential Election and give a report on its organisation.
Addressing all the election observers before their deployment on the ground, the Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission appealed to them to display a sense of responsibility in accomplishing the task assigned them. «Your presence on the ground is an indication of the importance ECOWAS accords this electoral process aimed at strengthening and consolidating democracy in Togo. You are therefore expected to ensure that this election is held in a free and transparent manner in view of serving as the reference point or standard for other ECOWAS countries», said Mr Babacar Ndiaye.
The 2010 Togo Presidential Election will be held on Thursday 4 March 2010, however on Monday 1st March the military and defence force will vote in advance. Seven (7) candidates are contesting in this single round of voting. They are: Mrs Brigitte Adjamagbo Johnson, Agbéyomé Kodjo, Me Yaovi Agboyibo, Jean-Pierre Fabre, Kagbara Bassabi, Nicolas Lawson and Faure Gnassingé, the outgoing President and candidate in his own succession process.