The United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the most senior American official on African matters, has called on Africans to vote out corrupt governments across the continent to send a strong message to politicians that corruption will not be tolerated.
At an online press conference on Wednesday, Thomas-Greenfield described corruption as a cancer all over Africa that has prevented the continent from moving ahead from education to development.
“It is important that when people go to the polls to vote, they have to vote against corruption,” she said from Washington.
She, however, disagreed that corruption is leading young African to take to crime but said it is leading them to “take a stand and show leadership”.
Thomas-Greenfield also disclosed that the Nigerian government and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, have assured the United States administration that the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on 28 March.
There have been renewed fears in Nigeria in recent time that the rescheduled elections may be postponed one more time because of insecurity in the North where Boko Haram terrorists killed over 27 people in two attacks on Tuesday.
She said Nigeria is a strategic partner of the United States and assurances have been made by the government and the electoral body.
“We have been assured by the government and Jega that elections will take place on March 28,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield said Nigerian neighbouring countries, the continent of Africa and the world are all watching “very closely” and hoping that the Nigerian elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful.
She will personally travel to Nigeria a day to the elections on 27 March to monitor them, she said.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield answered questions on various issues, from corruption to extremism on the continent.
On terrorism, she said the United States Government is partnering with African government from Somalia to Nigeria and South Sudan to defeat extremism.
The Assistant Secretary on Public Affairs, Doug Frantz, who addressed journalists at a separate online press conference, called on African journalists to be objective, balanced and independent in their reporting of elections.
One of the most important things to do during an election, Frantz said, is to separate facts from fictions for the electorate to find the truth.
He called on African journalists to be honest with their readers and stand up for one another when the need arises, including foreign journalists who find it hard to get access into the country.