Top Election NGO Africa Director to Testify before Congress on Democracy Trends in Africa

Publication Date: 
13 Dec 2009

News Type:

Almami Cyllah to speak at House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa and Global Health Subcommittee

WASHINGTON—Almami Cyllah, regional director for Africa at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa and Global Health Subcommittee on December 17, 2009. He will speak about the recent trends and the role of the international community in elections in Africa.

“Recent headline-grabbing electoral failures do not justify abandoning efforts at developing electoral democracy in Africa. No country should be allowed a free ticket to forgo democracy first because the very purpose of elections is to achieve governance without violence, and second because electoral democracy is not only a fundamental human right and a desirable end of itself, but also tends to develop in conjunction with other human rights,” says Mr. Cyllah, a native of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Cyllah will be addressing elections in various countries, how elections promote democratic processes and human rights, the role of election management bodies, and most importantly, the fact that elections are a long-term process, not an event.

Mr. Cyllah has almost 30 years experience in elections, democracy development, conflict resolution, political affairs, and human rights advocacy. He has worked at IFES for the past nine years as Regional Director for Africa, and Country Director in both Haiti and Liberia. He spent 12 years at Amnesty International where he was in charge of African Affairs. He also served as Election Commissioner in Sierra Leone’s Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 1994 to 1996, leading into the general and presidential elections of 1996.

This hearing, “Elections in Africa: Progress Made, Challenges Remaining,” will be held at 10:00 a.m. (EST) in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The first scheduled panelist is Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Mr. Cyllah will be part of the second panel. This event is open to the public. If you are unable to attend, you can watch the webcast at: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/schedule.asp.

IFES is an independent NGO providing professional support to electoral democracy. Through field work, applied research and advocacy, IFES strives to promote citizen participation, transparency, and accountability in political life and civil society. Since its founding in 1987, IFES has worked in over 100 countries.

For general inquiries, please contact: John Lawrence, IFES congressional affairs manager, 202.350.6885

For media inquiries, please contact: Laura Osio, IFES press officer, losio@ifes.org, 202.550.9634

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