EPP: Citizen observation in Swaziland

2008 Workshop on communication systems and regional standards

Jul & Nov 2008

EISA believes that electoral processes on the continent stand a better chance of credibility and improvement if they are closely observed by the people of the countries in which they take place. To achieve this, EISA has placed emphasis on supporting civil society organisations in their efforts to conduct domestic election observation.

EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for political party poll watching and to civil society electoral initiatives, held a workshop focused on the improvement of communication systems and regional standards for elections and was held in Lilongwe, Malawi in November 2008, and was attended by representatives from SADC, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. As a result of this workshop, domestic observers in Swaziland were recognised as important stakeholders in the process and accredited to observe the 2008 elections. It is encouraging to note that domestic election observation in the SADC region has moved from simply being part of the lexicon to making a real impact.

2005 Election observation by CSOs in the SADC

EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for political party poll watching and to civil society electoral initiatives, has contributed to enhancing the capacity of civil society organisations in the region to plan and conduct election observation mission. Each of the networks that EPP has worked with was able to develop good quality training manuals for the training of election observers. They were also able to plan, assemble and deploy professionally sound citizen election observation missions.

These organisations have become bolder in their approach to election observation and their increasingly effective participation in election reform debates.

All the civil society organisations which directly benefited from the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO) training have used it in designing their election observation checklists as well as training their observers. This has led to a great deal of incorporation of PEMMO principles into the actual work of domestic observer groups. Indeed, the signs are that most of the election stakeholders in the region are aware of the principles and some have started to incorporate it into manuals, training materials and assessment tools. A wave of electoral reforms will hopefully close the circle by ensuring that the benchmarks set in PEMMO influence new laws positively.