EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the EAC in 2010 to implement programme work in support of our vision. By supporting the EAC, EISA seeks to contribute to improving its election observation in an effort to promote credible democratic elections in the region, as mandated by EAC Principles for Election Observation and Evaluation, as well as other relevant international and regional election benchmarks for the conduct and monitoring of elections.
EISA's support to EOMs cut across the planning phase to the completion of the EOM reports. Since signing a MoU EISA has trained and briefed election observation missions (EOMs) to EAC countries ahead of the elections. Training is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of both long term (LTOs) and short term (STOs). Facilitating training for election observers includes capacity development for the effective management and co-ordination of EOMs.
6-13 Jun 2021
EISA provided technical assistance to the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC). The objective of the mission was to assess the level of implementation of the recommendations made by the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission during the Legislative and Presidential elections that were held in October 2017 and to assess the needs of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and other key electoral stakeholders in the run-up to the 2023 General elections in Liberia. The mission met with various stakeholders including the NEC, political parties and civil society organizations.
Issues discussed included the adoption of Biometric Voter Registration system (BVR) to replace the current Optical Mark Recognition system (OMR); enacting constitutional reforms with a view to preventing electoral disputes; taking steps towards more includive elections notably affirmative measures such as quotas for disavantaged groups; capacity reinforcements for the NEC staff; early release of funds by Government; continuous civic and voter education; recruitment and training of polling staff and party representatives, and enhancing relationships with elelctoral stakeholders such as media, political parties and CSOs.
The EPP has initiated a concept note for the development and implementation of online electoral integrity tools with the view to supporting the electoral processes. The main objective of the implementation of the project is to promote free, fair, credible and transparent elections. Electoral integrity is important because it:
More generally, electoral integrity remains a fundamental aspect in the overall success of the entire process. To this end, a workshop was held on 30 and 31 March 2021 at Protea Hotel Balalaika in Johannesburg, South Africa in order to assess the feasibility of the project. The next step is for the tool to be refined whereas EISA intends to pilot it during 2021 through EISA deployed IEOMs.
23-26 Mar 2021
The EPP department also conducted an election follow-up mission to Mozambique from 23-26 March 2021. The team of four met the Electoral Commission (CNE), the governing Frelimo party, two opposition parties namely RENAMO and MDM, and the Constitutional Council. The meeting with CSOs was held virtually and face to face in a round table discussion that included members of civil society organisations including CDD, CESC, Socientade Aberta and SOLDMOZ. With the exception of the Swedish Embassy where a face-to-face meeting was held, meetings with the other embassies, specifically the NMFA/Embassy of Norway in Mozambique and the Canadian Embassy were held online due to restrictions on physical meetings by the respective embassies. All discussions with stakeholders intimated that there needs to be a harmonisation of electoral laws as too many conflicting laws make the interpretation of such laws challenging, especially when a dispute arises. EISA will continue to engage the aforementioned partners and donors for possible future collaboration in with regards to the issue of harmonisation.
In support of the upcoming elections, EISA prepared the election assessment checklists and trained EAC observers during their briefing session for the Ugandan presidential and legislative elections of 14 January 2021. The team was also involved in writing both the preliminary statement and the final report.
EPP supported ECONEC to a peer learning mission to the Republic of Niger during the 27 December elections. This mission provided chairpersons of ECONEC member Commissions an opportunity to (i) witness and assess the conduct of elections by their peers (ii) learn and draw lessons from elections managed by their peers (iii) advise, assist and support their peers conducting elections (iv) identify best practices (v) learn from each other and share experiences and (vi) make recommendations for the improvement of election management and legal framework for elections in ECOWAS member States. EISA facilitated the setting up of meetings with stakeholders and the writing of a final report for the mission.
EPP conducted an Election Follow-up Mission (EFuM) to Tunisia that began on 14 December and ended 20 December 2020. While the mission was scheduled for April 2020, restrictions imposed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by various countries, including Tunisia, prevented EISA from doing so. EISA deployed a team of four members who held meetings with key stakeholders including the ISIE, two Civil Society Organizations (Mourakiboun and Jeunesse Sans Frontière, JSF), the Division of International Cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tunisia, and two political parties, namely Qalb Tounes and Ennahda. The objective of the EFuM was to present EISA's final IEOM report and to follow up on recommendations made by its IEOM to promote the translation of proposed recommendations into proposals for legal reforms and to improve the conduct of the next electoral cycle.
EPP prepared the election assessment check lists and trained the EAC observers during their briefing session for the Republic of Tanzania presidential and parliamentary elections on 28 October 2020.
The EPP department supported the EAC during the May 2020 Burundi election by preparing the checklists using EISA's Popola system. However, the EAC at the last minute abandoned the deployment of observers due to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period imposed by the government of Burundi a few days before the election.
EISA's profile as a leading institution and technical partner of the EAC was further strengthened by the EAC's requested for support technical support to the EAC conference secretariat during the 6th conference on good governance that was held in Arusha from 10-11 October 2017.
Through support to EAC EOMs deployed in Kenya and Rwanda, EISA contributed to credible and professional assessment of these elections. Teams comprised of two EISA experts were deployed to the EAC missions in Kenya and Rwanda. The teams facilitated observer trainings and drafting of the missions' assessment. Additionally, the EAC successfully exported the Popola system to its server and deployed the system during these elections with the support of the EISA teams.
EISA supported the EAC EOMs in Burundi and Tanzania. Under tense political circumstances the institute participated in high-level meetings and in the mediation process between the government of Burundi and opposition political parties. EISA provided technical assistance to the EAC EOM deployed in Tanzania for the 2015 general election. The mission presented its preliminary findings, conclusions and recommendations at a press conference in Dar es Salaam on 27 October 2015.
To encourage and foster peer-learning initiatives, EISA hosted a delegation from the EAC Secretariat and the EAC Electoral Commissions Forum as part of the EISA EOM deployed to the October 2014 elections in Mozambique. This collaboration was geared towards promoting experience sharing and lesson learning for election practitioners outside of the East African sub-region.
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 subsequently supported the EAC's initiative of conducting a post-election observation review workshop held in June 2013 in Moshi, Tanzania by developing a guiding framework for lesson-learning.
The East African Community (EAC) and EISA renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 10 December 2013 in Nairobi. This MoU which lasts for another three years is premised on the recognition of the valuable cooperation that the two institutions have had in previous years, particularly in the area of election observation and support to the EAC Electoral Commissions Forum. The MoU seeks to solidify gains made thus far and broaden to other areas where the EAC can be instrumental in entrenching democratic governance in the EAC member states. This includes promoting the ratification and domestication of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, electoral conflict management and electoral research, among others.
To encourage and foster peer-learning initiatives, EISA hosted a delegation from the EAC Secretariat and the EAC Electoral Commissions Forum as part of the EISA EOM deployed to the 2011 Lesotho elections. This collaboration was geared towards promoting experience sharing and lesson learning for election practitioners outside of the East African sub-region.
A workshop for the EAC Electoral Commissions' Forum was facilitated by EISA from 11 to 12 June 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. The aim of the workshop was to promote peer-learning among the East African Election Management Bodies and explore mechanisms for strengthening the collaborative initiatives of the Election Management Bodies' forum. It was attended by approximately 35 participants composed of senior election officials drawn from the five EAC member states.
The workshop provided a platform for the Election Management Bodies in the region to share election management experiences and harness best practices while seeking to strengthen their relations. Participants benefitted from EISA's expertise in elections on the continent of Africa, and from sister organisations like the SADC Electoral Commission's Forum.
In November 2012, EISA participated in the East African elections expert meeting convened by the EAC in collaboration with the UNDP in Nairobi. The objective of the meeting was to appraise and adopt the EAC Principles for Election Observation and Evaluation. This instrument for election observation was the first of its kind in the sub-region. EISA provided expert input into the draft document that contributed to its refinement and adoption by the expert group meeting. It was subsequently adopted by the Ministerial Council of the EAC and was used for the first time by the EAC Observation Mission to the 4 March 2013 elections in Kenya.
Support to the EAC Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the EAC and EISA in 2010, and within the purview of the latter's engagement with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in order to strengthen their capacities to contribute to democratic elections and governance in Africa, EISA provided technical assistance to the joint EOM of EAC with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) 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.
EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the EAC in September to provide support for election observation. As a result, EISA provided technical assistance to the EAC election observation mission to the 2010 General Elections in Tanzania held on 31 October 2010. More specifically, EISA conducted training in election observation and briefings for EAC observers, while assisting the co-ordination team of the EAC mission in Tanzania.