EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in 2014 to implement programme work in support of our vision. By supporting COMESA, EISA, through its Elections and Political Processes (EPP) department, seeks to contribute to improving its election observation in an effort to promote credible democratic elections in the region, as mandated by international and regional election benchmarks for the conduct and monitoring of elections. In many cases EISA produced Pre-election Assessment Mission reports (PAMs) have informed the deployment of EOMs.
EPP's Programme Manager, Cecile Bassomo, collaborated with the EISA Central African regional office to support the joint ECCAS-COMESA PAM in the DRC. This was the first time that EISA provided support to the ECCAS-COMESA in tandem in a pre-election engagement. The joint PAM accorded ECCAS and COMESA an opportunity to formally discuss their prospective election engagements in the DRC and explore possibilities of deploying a joint ECCAS-COMESA EOM ahead of tripartite elections in the DRC.
EISA technical teams provided advisory services to COMESA EOM co-ordination teams and the mission leadership. The teams also facilitated the briefing and orientation of observers and supported the drafting of key EOM statements and reports during COMESA EOMs to Zambia and Egypt.
6 Mar 214
In line with the MoU between EISA and COMESA, a joint planning meeting was held on 6 March 2014. The outcome of the meeting was a framework for action to guide the operationalisation of the EISA-COMESA MoU.
An EISA staff was attached to the joint EAC-COMESA-IGAD observer mission deployed to the 4 March 2013 general elections in Kenya and provided technical assistance to the joint mission that was comprised of 78 members. The Kenyan mission was the third in which EISA supported the EAC under the framework of the MoU between the two organisations and the second under the consortium of RECs.
Prior to the Kenyan joint EOM, EISA's technical assistance was also solicited during the EAC pre-election assessment mission in November 2012 and the Planning Meeting for the three RECs in February. Overall, EISA's support contributed to improved professional conduct of the joint EOM. EISA was able to assist the Mission in appropriating lessons-learnt from the first joint EOM conducted in Uganda in 2011. Even so, there were still new challenges that emerged during the mission, mostly germane to the nature of the mission itself.
EISA also provided technical assistance to COMESA Election Observation Mission to the 30 July 2013 Harmonised Elections in Zimbabwe. Besides training of observers, EISA provided assistance in the coordination of the 27-strong COMESA mission, including drafting of the preliminary statement and final report.
EISA provided technical assistance to COMESA Technical Assessment Missions to the 16-18 September 2013 Parliamentary elections in Rwanda; 20 September 2013 Parliamentary elections in Swaziland; and 25 October Presidential Elections in Madagascar.
In November 2013, COMESA signed a three-year MoU with EISA to formalise its partnership in democratic governance.
EISA provided technical assistance to the joint EOM of COMESA with the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) EOM to the 18 February 2011 general elections in Uganda.
The assistance entailed training seventy election observers and providing advisory services to the joint mission secretariat. Through EISA's assistance, the joint observer mission was exposed to international best practices in election observation and the deployment of EOMs. This was exemplified by the high quality of the statements and reports produced by the joint observer mission.
The joint observer mission was regarded as successful and similar initiatives were encouraged in the future, given that it was the first kind of engagement for the three organisations. It was also the first time that EISA supported a consortium of inter-governmental bodies in election observation.