2023:Biden Task Buhari, Others to Hold Fair Poll

US President Joe Biden has called on African leaders who will be holding elections next year to ensure a free and fair poll.

He made the call during the US-Africa summit. The summit which brought most African leaders to Washington was used by Biden and his top aides to meet separately with a group of six leaders as part of his democracy push.

The group according to Channels TV included Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is ineligible to seek a third term in February to lead Africa’s most populous country, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo who took office in 2019 in the vast country’s first peaceful transfer of power.

According to the White House, the presidents of Liberia, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone as well as Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba, who took over for his father’s prolonged rule in 2009, also took part.

Before the meeting, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, indicated that the president would demand free elections across the continent.

He said the participation of the leaders did not necessarily indicate the United States had concerns with each country.

“We would like to do everything we can to support those elections being free, fair and credible,” Sullivan, who took part in the meeting, told reporters on Monday.

“And that goes for every election taking place in 2023, not picking and choosing certain ones and setting other ones aside.”

Tshisekedi has received praise from the US for agreeing to hold the polls as planned in DR Congo, where previous elections have been disrupted by unrest.

The United States increased its financing for election observers from both domestic and foreign sources by $13 million in September.

The US-Africa summit, which started in 2014, is the largest international event to take place in Washington since the COVID-19 pandemic and is the US administration’s most significant effort to increase its influence in Africa in a decade.

The summit, according to the US government, “will demonstrate the US enduring commitment to Africa and will underscore the importance of US-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared priorities.”

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