As EISA expands its programme work into various regions of the African continent, it has signed Memorandums of Understanding with some of the regional bodies in order to implement programme work in support of our vision.
EISA's technical assistance has also included supporting the inauguration and induction of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council. EISA has trained and briefed SADC observers ahead of elections for half a decade and this work continues in 2013.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and EISA was signed at a ceremony on 31st July at the Head office of the ICGLR in Bujumbura, Burundi. ICGLR was represented by its Deputy Executive Secretary, Ambassador Vincente Muanda, and EISA by its Executive Director, Denis Kadima. The aim of the MOU is to establish a partnership with the aims of strengthening their institutional relations in their efforts to promote democracy and good governance through credible elections.
EISA held two consultative meetings with the Electoral Assistance Division of ECOWAS on 26 April and 20 May 2016. These meetings accorded EISA an opportunity to have a formal discussion with ECOWAS about priority areas of support required and the challenges encountered by the Division in its work. EISA's support is mainly required in the area of long term observation and capacity building for Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in the region. Prior to the meetings, EISA submitted a draft MoU at the request of the Division which it sent on to and has been approved by its legal department and is awaiting the Chairperson's signature. The MoU is an important milestone in EISA's future interventions in the West African region.
The SADC Secretariat Handbook on the Coordination and Management of SADC Election Observation Missions (SEOMs) was finalised in 2016 and presented to the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC). Publishing of the book will subsequently be done by SADC. Additionally, EISA was contracted to develop an observer reference manual for SADC election observation missions (SEOMs). The first draft of the manual was presented at a review workshop held from 16 to 17 June in Gaborone. Following the feedback received during the workshop, a second draft has been submitted to the SADC secretariat and is awaiting final approval.
EISA deployed an electoral expert to be embedded at the ECCAS secretariat in January 2015, establishing a ECCAS Laiason Office, as part of the terms of the MoU signed between the organisations in 2010.
EISA's support to SADC in the area of election observation during the period under review included the training and briefing of SADC Election Observation Missions (SEOMs) deployed in Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique. EISA provided relevant information and materials in the three official SADC languages - English, French and Portuguese - to support observers during their deployment. Through these trainings, EISA contributed to the improvement of SADC's election observation methodology and its assessment of elections in the region. The presence of SEOMs in these three countries contributed to the integrity of the elections assessed.
EISA also continued to provide technical support to the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) through the review of its observation methodology and EOM management. Specifically, EISA was contracted to revise the SADC staff handbook on EOMs. This handbook on deployment methodology continues to be discussed, pending finalisation of the review of the SADC Guidelines and Principles. Specifically, EISA in March 2014 co-facilitated a SEAC workshop which focussed on the ongoing review of the SADC Guidelines and Principles.
The second phase of the MoU between EISA and the EAC is premised on the recognition of the valuable cooperation between the two institutions in previous years, particularly in the area of election observation and support to the EAC Electoral Commissions Forum. EISA was invited to attend the 5th EAC Annual Good Governance Conference held on 14-15 November 2014 in Bujumbura, Burundi, under the theme 'Delivering Peaceful and Credible Elections for Sustainable Regional Integration - the Role of Key Stakeholders'. The annual conference convenes high-level decision-makers from both government and civil society from the EAC member states to discuss key governance issues and recommend appropriate policy responses. Representatives from both institutions made presentations on experiences in effective management of elections in Africa, and preventive diplomacy and the role played by the high-level panels from the AU and RECs in managing electoral-related conflicts in Africa.
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. This lesson-learning initiative was the second of its kind; members of the EAC Electoral Commissions Forum were also hosted in 2012 during the EISA EOM deployed to Lesotho.
In line with the MoU between EISA and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (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.
ECCAS Secretariat in early 2015, EISA and ECCAS jointly facilitated a capacity building workshop in São Tomé and Príncipe from 22-26 September 2014. Participants at the workshop were drawn from the National Electoral Commission (CNE), the judiciary, security forces, the media and civil society. The objective of the workshop was to prepare them for their roles in the 14 October 2014 parliamentary, regional and local elections. EISA also provided support to the ECCAS mission deployed to the 14 October 2014 elections in São Tomé and Príncipe by deploying a technical expert to the mission. The expert contributed to the technical aspects of the EOM through advisory support and contributing to its assessment of the elections.
Support to the East African Community (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 EACCOMESA-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's long-standing relationship with SADC was reflected in its continued support to SADC observer missions. EISA was contracted to train and facilitate the briefing sessions for SADC observers during the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles and Zambia. EISA was also contracted to train approximately 50 staff of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on SADC election observation in March 2011. These trainees will be added to the pool of SADC observers to be deployed over the next year.
EISA continues to play a key role in supporting and strengthening SADC's role in election observation within the sub-region. In April 2011, the SADC Election Advisory Council (SEAC) was inaugurated and the SADC Election Support Unit (SECU) was established. EISA was contracted to facilitate the induction training of the Council during its inaugural meeting where SEAC members were given orientation on the genesis, rationale and mandate of the Council. Furthermore, EISA also contributed to the development of the Council's rules and guidelines. EISA was again contracted to facilitate the SEAC strategic planning meeting that was held in November 2011 in Kinshasa, DRC. The purpose of the strategic planning was to establish the framework for the development of the 5-year strategic plan for SEAC.
In June 2010, EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Community in September to provide support for election observation. As a result, EISA provided technical assistance to the EA C 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 EA C observers, while assisting the co-ordination team of the EA C mission in Tanzania.
EISA has been strengthening SADC's role in election observation since 2009. The initial agreement was extended to include training for SADC observers deployed to countries of the sub-region organising elections in 2010. The programme was aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the SA DC election observer missions and included capacity development for the SA DC secretariat in the area of management and co-ordination of election observation missions. Three workshops were held during the period under review:
Besides training workshops for SA DC observers, EISA also contributed to the improvement, at the technical level, of the capacity of the SA DC Secretariat in developing a handbook on election observer missions' management for SA DC staff members.
This activity fits in EISA's programme of providing a training service for SADC election observers and personnel of the Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. The programme is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the SADC election observer missions by way of staff development for the SADC secretariat in the area of management and coordination of election observation missions as well as training of SADC observers. During the period under review, one observer training workshop was held in May 2009 in Gaborone, Botswana, for 40 participants. This workshop has contributed to improvements at the technical level of election observation by SADC. In August 2009, the department also facilitated the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) Task Force meeting, the aim of which was to assist the Task Force in the development of the SEAC structures, rules and procedures. The report of this workshop was tabled and approved by the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in September 2009.
Over the reporting period EPP, continued to provide training to SADC observers through the SADC Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. Training is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the SADC election observer missions and includes facilitating training for election observers and capacity development for the SADC Secretariat for the effective management and co-ordination of election observer missions. During the period under review, two observer training workshops were held. The first was in February 2008 in Gaborone, Botswana, and the second was in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July 2008. These workshops have contributed to improvements at the technical level of election observation by SADC.
Over the reporting period EPP, with the assistance of the Germany Development Agency (GTZ), instituted a training programme for SADC observers through the SADC Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. The programme is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the SADC election observer missions and includes facilitating training for election observers and capacity development for the SADC secretariat in the area of management and coordination of effective election observation missions. During the period under review, the first workshop was held in November 2007 in Midrand, South Africa, to begin to prepare SADC to observe elections in 2008 in Zimbabwe, Angola and Swaziland. This workshop has contributed to improvements at the technical level of election observation.
Political considerations remain a challenge, as they continue to hamper the ability of these regional and continental bodies to effectively confront the ills of electoral processes. Support for non-partisan domestic observation EISA believes that electoral processes on the continent stand a better chance of credibility and improvement if they are closely monitored by the people of the countries in which they take place. To achieve this, EISA has placed its emphasis on supporting civil society organisations in their efforts to conduct domestic election observation.
Over the period under review, EPP held two regional training workshops in election monitoring and observation, as a result of which domestic observers in Lesotho and Madagascar were recognised as important stakeholders in the process. 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.
Elections and political processes
Chronological overview of work
Addressing electoral integrity in Africa
Election observation missions
Support to the African Union
Regional economic communities
Electoral management bodies
Parties and civil society
ACE Knowledge Network
Balloting & electoral services
Election observation documents
International election benchmarks