With the announcement of the Ethiopian elections for Saturday 5 June 2021, EISA's previously delayed support to political parties in the country can proceed. The training manual for poll-watchers and political party legal officers was finalised and translated into Amharic. Supplementary training videos were prepared, to be rolled out ahead of the election. Workshops in Addis Ababa are planned for April 2021.
EISA is a partner in the Consortium for Elections & Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) project, providing support to political party poll-watchers in Ethiopia being led by the GIPPS department. While the Ethiopian elections scheduled for 29 August 2019 were postponed, Justin Doua, the EPP Programme Manager was tasked with developing a training curriculum and manual for Ethiopian political party poll-watchers. The first draft was finalised and shared with other colleagues for input.
13-17 Jan 2020
EISA's Governance Institutions and Processes (GIPPS) team undertook a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia in order to better understand the political environment ahead of the elections and to introduce EISA as the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) partner to political parties. The team met with NDI to discuss the political party landscape, the new legal framework and its implications for the project and the methodology for the participation of political parties in poll watching and legal officer training.
The GIPPS team was pleased that three (ECIMA, OLF and All Oromia People's Democratic Congress) of the six major political parties that it met with expressed interest and believe that both the poll watcher and legal officer training would improve their capacity to monitor elections. Two political parties met with raised challenges with regards to the complexity of the National Election Board of Ethiopia's (NEBE) process of registering political parties, especially the smaller parties and coalitions, Many parties felt they would not be ready to contest the elections in May 2020.
These sentiments were further exacerbated by change of the legal framework in October 2019 which led to NEBE calling for political parties to re-register for the 2020 elections in November (parties had first registered in May 2019 under the old law).
Due to the postponement of the general elections to August, and consequent changes to the electoral calendar, the timeline, budget and political party dynamics for rolling out the poll watcher and legal officer trainings required review.