Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has suggested that non-African election observer missions should be banned from monitoring polls in the continent.
Obasanjo, who made the assertion while giving a keynote address at the 7th annual symposium of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) on Wednesday in Johannesburg, said Western observers were sometimes biased and that their position sometimes seemed to undermine the sovereignty of African countries.
“We must reflect on the role of non-African observation mission or the so called international observers. It is an appellation that continues to trouble me.
“How much more international can an election observers mission to Ghana be, when you have a mission made up of nationals from ten African countries”, Obasanjo asked.
He said at the onset of election observation in Africa, non-African missions were critical of the idea.
“These missions provided a platform for sharing internationally accepted electoral best practices. However, the roles of these non-African missions have not been without controversy especially in polarised elections.
“There have been times when they have been accused of taking sides or deploying missions only in countries in which they have a stake,’’ Obasanjo said.