EISA Central African Republic: Deployment of citizen Short Term Observers

EISA received additional funding from the French Embassy, above that from the European Union, which allowed an increase in the number of Short-Term Observers (STOs) from 1000 to 1500, to be trained from 15 December 2020. French Embassy support also provided for additional laptops needed to set up an efficient election situation room and to conduct a Parallel Vote count (PVT) on election day.

First Round

The first round presidential and legislative elections on December 27, 2020 could not be held throughout the country because of the armed attacks perpetrated by the armed groups opposed to the holding of the vote.

The rapid deterioration in security across the country made much of the observation activities planned impossible. EISA and its CSO partners selected and trained 499 Short Term Observers (STOs) of which 42.26% were women, in 4 workshops held concurrently on December 26, 2020 in Bangui.

However, no PVT could be conducted since a nation-wide representative sample of election results on election day could not be obtained. Nevertheless, a situation room was set up to collate data and undertaking statistical analysis. A political unit, based at the Galaxy Complex in Bangui from 26-28 December 2020, monitored the environment and the development of events and issued statements. A Preliminary statement was issued on 30 December 2020.

The briefing of short-term observers on 21 May 2021, prior to a press conference was held at which RAC released its pre-election statement.
Second Round

On March 14, 2021, a second round of legislative elections was conducted simultaneous with the first round of elections for constituencies where the vote had not taken place in December. These elections were held under more favourable security conditions in 118 constituencies.

One thousand four hundred STOs, of whom 39% were women, were trained. For this purpose, 12 workshops were held from 11 to 13 March 2021 in Bangui and some provinces (Sibut, Boali, Bossembele, Bambari, Berberrati, Bouar, MBaiki, Boda, Dekoa, Damara). These 499 STOs were deployed (42.3% women) in Bangui and its periphery (Bimbo and Bégoua).

The improved security situation meant that STOs could be deployed in Bangui and 6 prefectures out of Bangui. An Election Situation Room was again established, which collated, collected and analysed data in real time sent by the observers in the field and produced informative press releases on the voting process. A second Preliminary statement was issued on 17 March 2021.

Supplementary elections

The two regular rounds were able to elect 90 of the 140 representatives of the National Assembly (64% of the seats). Security operations by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and their allies made it possible to restore a climate conducive to the organisation of legislative elections in the areas where they could not take place previously, scattered pockets of insecurity notwithstanding.

Preliminary statement for the second round of partial legislative elections coupled with the first round of the supplementary legislative elections of May 23, 2021 being read out.

A First Round of the supplementary elections were scheduled in some fifty electoral constituencies for 23 May 2021. For the 23 May election RAC deployed 500 short-term election observers (OCT) in Bangui, Bambari, Boda, Bossembélé, Bouar, Dékoa and Sibut. As in the previous elections, a situation room was set up from Saturday May 22, 2021 at the Ledger Hotel in Bangui to collect and analyze the data collected by the STOs in the field.

At the briefing of these observers, on 21 May 2021, a press conference was held at which RAC released its pre-election statement: The statement highlighted the political and security context and the preparedness of the National Election Authority regarding the impending 23 May National Assembly elections.

Statements issued

The CSO partners, supported by EISA, produced and released the three preliminary statements refered to above, covering the first two rounds, with a third, covering the first round of the supplementary elections, being released on 26 May 2021. The first was released following the 1st round of the elections on December 30, 2020 and the second on the 2nd round elections on March 17, 2021 and the third, second round of partial legislative elections coupled with the first round of the supplementary legislative elections of May 23, 2021 being released on May 26 2021. These statements gave an overview of the assessment made by the partners during the vote and during the pre and post-election phases.

The issued statements received wide coverage in the national and foreign press as the RAC network was the only citizen observer mission on the ground. EISA and its CSO partners were congratulated by the EU and the French Embassy for the quality of the statements produced and the facts and analysis they contained.

See Citizen EOM reports and statements for all the statements issued by RAC.