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COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
4 6 8 10 18 20 20 22 24 25 25 29 30 34 34 35 37 38 41 41 43 43 45 47
Acronyms / Disclaimer Acknowledgements / Foreword Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Explaining the Different Standards in Africas Sub-regions 2.1. The African Unions Treaty Standards for Democratic Elections 2.1.1 The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981) 2.1.2. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2012) 2.2 AU Non-Treaty Standards for Democratic Elections 2.3 Regional Frameworks 2.3.1 The Economic Community of West African States 2.3.2. The Southern African Development Community 2.3.3. The East African Community

3. Comparative Assessment of the Different Frameworks for Democratic Elections : the cases of SADC, EAC and ECOWAS 3.1. Election Management Bodies 3.2. Political Parties 3.3. Independence of the Media 3.4. Civil Society 4. Election Observation : A Mechanism for Strengthening Democratization Processes in Africa 4.1. Election Observation : Strengths and Weaknesses in the Implementation of Standards Governing Democratic Elections 5. The Implementation of Electoral Standards in SADC, the EAC and ECOWAS : Success Stories 5.1 The Legal Framework 5.1.1 Organising the Electoral Process - Independence of the Election Management Bodies 5.1.2. Efficiency and Professionalism of the EMB : Impact on the Integrity of Electoral Preparations

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
51 51 52 52 52 53 54 57 57 57 58 59 60 60 62 62 64 66 67 69 70 71 72
5.2. Examples of Good Practice : Positive African Experiences 5.2.1. Mozambiques Success Story : General Elections of 2009 5.2.2. Ghanas Electoral Experience : Responsible and Volunteer Actors for Democratic Electoral Processes 5.2.2.1. The Political Parties Code of Conduct 5.2.2.2. The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) 5.2.2.3. The National Peace Council

6. The Experiences of Training Centres in Promoting Good Electoral Practice in Africa 7. Recommendations 7.1. Legal Frameworks 7.2. Civil Society 7.3. Election Management Bodies 7.4. The Electoral Process 7.5. Development Partners 7.6. GIZ

8. GIZ Contribution To Democratic Electoral Processes in Africa 8.1 African Union 8.2 East African Community 8.3 Economic Community of West African States 8.4 Southern African Development Community 9. Conclusion Bibliography Current Members of Elections Working Group Brief - Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Acronyms

Acronyms
ACDEG : African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance ACHPR : African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights AGA : African Governance Architecture AU : African Union BRIDGE : Building Resources In Democracy, Elections and Assistance CARLE : Commission Administrative de Rvision des Listes Electorales CENI : Independent National Electoral Commission (Republic of Guinea) CMESA : Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa CNCA : National Council of Audiovisual Communication (Cte dIvoire) CODEO : Coalition of Domestic Election Observers CSO : Civil Society Organization DP : Democratic Party (Kenya) EAC : East African Community EC : Electoral Commission ECF : SADC Electoral Commissions Forum ECONEC : ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions ECOWAS : Economic Community of West African States EISA : Electoral Institute for Southern Africa EMB : Election Management Body EOM : Election Observation Mission ESN : SADC Electoral Support Network FPI : Ivorian Popular Front (Political Party Founded by Former President Laurent Gbagbo) GIZ : Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) ICCPR : International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights IDEA : International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance IFES : International Foundation for Electoral Systems IGAD : Inter-Governmental Authority on Development IPAC : Inter-Party Advisory Committee (Ghana) KAIPTC : Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center MATAP : Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration and Political Affairs (Republic of Guinea)

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Acronyms / Disclaimer

Acronyms
MOU : Memorandum of Understanding NEC : National Electoral Commission NEW : National Election Watch PDCI : Democratic Party of Cote dIvoire PDS : Senegalese Democratic Party PEMMO : Principles of Election Management, Monitoring and Observation. PUP : Party for Unity and Progress RDR : Rally of the Republicans (Cote dIvoire) REC : Regional Economic Communities RESOCIT : Rseau des Observateurs Citoyens - Civil Society Election Observation Mission (Senegal) RTI : Ivorian State Television SADC : Southern African Development Community SADCPF : SADC Parliamentary Forum SADC-ESN : Civil Society Electoral Supervision Network SEOM : SADC Election Observation Mission UN : United Nations UNDP : United Nations Development Programme ZIF : Zentrum fr Internationale Friedenseinstze

Disclaimer
The authors opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

e are most grateful to Mr. Ibrahima Amadou Niang of International IDEA for conducting the study and producing the report. We are also thankful to Mr. Obi Iheme who edited the first version of the document and Mr. Oumar Diaby who designed the final document. Of special mention is the huge contribution of Mr. Brice Blehiri, an intern at the GIZ Support Project to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), who gave the document a final brush and coordinated the design process. The invaluable moral and technical support of the present and past team leaders (Nana Odoi and David Nii Addy) of the GIZ Support Project to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) cannot go unmentioned Members of the Election Working Group who committed some effort to the study also deserve a pat on back. Last but not least, we are grateful to the leadership of the Regional Integration Cluster and indeed the entire SNGGA for their useful contributions and guidance in finalising the work.

Kenneth Abotsi
Chairperson, Election Working Group Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Foreword

Foreword
he reintroduction of multiparty democracy in Africa in the early 1990s, has brought in its wake a worrying trend of election-related violent conflict that threatens democracy, peace, stability and sustainable human development. The factors that propel such violence are multifaceted, ranging from flawed elections to structural issues such as poor governance and exclusionary political practices, to name but a few. While the African Union has committed member states to democracy, rule of law and constitutional government through the passage of various instruments at the continental level, its regional groupings like ECOWAS, SADC and EAC have also established frameworks and guidelines to promote democratic elections and punish Member States that contravene them. Despite these measures, however, recent election-related disturbances on the continent have raised questions about weaknesses inherent in their implementation. The Election Working Group of the Regional Integration Cluster of the GIZ Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa, commissioned this study to assess the linkages between the continental and regional normative frameworks for the conduct of democratic elections in Africa. This study has clearly established that Africa does not lack the legal instruments to carry out successive elections. Rather, it lacks the adequate institutional arrangements and leadership for effective implementation. It is my hope that the outcomes of the study will not only strengthen the work of the African Union and its regional groupings but also enhance advisory services of GIZ to the various institutions it supports. I also anticipate that the recommendations of the study will enhance synergies between the approaches adopted by the African Union and its regional blocs in the promotion of credible electoral processes in Africa.
Philip Kusch
Chairperson, Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa June 2013

COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Executive Summary

Executive Summary
his research paper focuses on the level of implementation of the accepted standards for democratic elections in Africa and provides an overview of the difficulties that have hindered different stakeholders from fully playing their roles in implementing existing regulations to consolidate democratic processes. It also depicts the main challenges that electoral processes face in Africa and provides recommendations on the way stakeholders, states and organizations (regional and continental) should cooperate for better results. Recent cases of illegal accessions to power such as in Mali and Guinea-Bissau in 2012, and the numerous elections-related disputes and violence have led to questions about the level of implementation and the effectiveness of standards for democratic elections in Africa. After signing international instruments under the banner of the United Nations to guarantee human and political rights protection, African countries have adopted a set of legal frameworks aimed at promoting democratic processes within African Union (AU) Member States. From the standpoint of creating an environment which allows free and fair elections to happen, in 2007 AU Member States have signed the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG). One of the Charter's objectives is to lay out the conditions and standards for democratic elections, and to provide concrete sanction mechanisms to reprimand violations by Member States. Although, the required number of ratifications for the application of the ACDEG (15) has been reached, a lot more needs to be attained in terms of implementation. Regional blocs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have led the way in designing frameworks for the conduct of democratic elections. Subsequently, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) have also adopted legal frameworks to address challenges specific to their countries. In addition, a great deal of investment has been made in the area of electoral assistance, especially in capacity-building for stakeholders and creating or promoting alternative conflict resolution mechanisms. For example, the EAC has come up with a Forum of Electoral Commissions which brings together members of the electoral commissions of the member states to share experiences, best practices and challenges.
COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORKS AND STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN AFRICA

Executive Summary

To address the deeply rooted political causes of conflicts and insecurity in West Africa, ECOWAS Member States signed in 2001 the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, an instrument that is legally binding as it produces treaty standards. ECOWAS also plays an important role in electoral assistance as the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance specifies the conditions under which a Member State can request assistance from ECOWAS. In the same vein, SADC countries, through the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa (EISA) and the SADC Electoral Commissions Forum (SADC-ECF), are promoting the Principles of Election Management, Monitoring and Observation (PEMMO) (2003) and the Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2004). However, despite the existence of these frameworks that promote the respect of the accepted standards for democratic elections, maintaining democratic processes remains a significant challenge in Africa. Consequently, implementing standards for democratic elections implies the need for a wide sharing of the expertise in the field of elections throughout the whole continent. Such an objective is being progressively reached by regional organizations with the help of development partners, through capacity-building programmes and experience sharing. The Forum of ECOWAS National Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), SADC-ECF and the EAC Forum of National Electoral Commissions have played an important role in informing election management bodies (EMBs) on their missions and responsibilities as well as in sharing best and worst electoral experiences. Development Partners like GIZ have also made significant contributions to enhancing electoral processes in Africa by supporting stakeholders and facilitating processes, both at the continental and regional levels. Moreover, training centres like the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), have contributed to building the capacity of election observers capacity by equipping them with the tools to effectively carry out their mandate. At the end the author recommends ways in which GIZ can work with the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC and the EAC to help strengthening electoral processes in Africa.

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Introduction

1. Introduction
rom 1960 to 1990, African countries had traditionally used one-party systems in which power was centralised through the administrative instruments of the state like the police, army, schools, hospitals, as well as governments' absolute control over citizens fundamental human rights. These single-party states had the strong backing of the military and financial support of their former colonial powers, especially in the former French colonies. However, although since 1990 almost all African countries adopted multi-party systems, experience has shown that the reality of politics differs from the desired democratic state. In Cte dIvoire, the introduction of the concept of Ivoirit or Ivorian-ness hindered the participation of Alassane Ouattara in the 1995 elections.1 Similarly, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo tried hard to amend the Nigerian Constitution to allow him to serve a third term although the constitution restricted presidential tenure to two terms. Modifying the law in this way in order to further personal interests over the public's, and other illegal ways of obtaining or maintaining power, have raised the question of how practical and effective the frameworks and standards of democratic elections in Africa are? Indeed, all African countries have united under the banner of the African Union to promote democracy, governance and public participation in accordance with the United Nations principles. The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981), inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), advocates for periodic and genuine elections2. Consequently, countries that have ratified it have agreed on the standards relating to democratic elections and have committed themselves to nationally promoting periodic elections, genuine elections, universal suffrage and secrecy of the vote. Furthermore, to consolidate democratic electoral processes worldwide, the UN initiated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), which promotes the right of all citizens to participate in public affairs. In other words, it allows citizens to choose their representatives or to be chosen as representatives through democratic elections.

1 2

The concept refers to the state of being a true Ivorian. This xenophobic term manifested itself at many levels during the Ivorian crisis and was seen by many observers as the root cause of the countrys political crises. United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 21.

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Introduction

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To facilitate the implementation of a tradition of democratic changes of governments in Africa, African Union Member States adopted the Declaration of Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG 2007), which more explicitly outline the conditions and standards for democratic elections in Africa. Article 3 of the ACDEG sets the conditions for democratic elections as follows :

A representative government A clear separation of powers Gender Equality Periodic elections Pluralism Fairness in management of public affairs Article 17 gives clear information on the standards to follow for free and fair elections. It is necessary to understand that in the perspective of enhancing democratic practice, good governance and public participation, the AU has adopted several treaties or conventions that promote democratic elections in Africa. The ACDEG emanates from the long-standing concern of AU Member States about unconstitutional changes of government which lead to political instability, violence and insecurity in Africa. The Charters legitimacy derives from the AU Constitutive Act-also called the Lom Declaration-that was signed in 2000, committing Member States to participatory democracy, constitutionalism, and rule of law.3 Directly addressing the issue of democratic elections, the ACDEG depicts the various threats to democracy and constitutional order and provides potential solutions to deter or reverse such actions. In the same vein, ECOWAS Member States and other regional groups have developed frameworks to promote the respect of the standards for democratic elections at the regional level, taking into consideration their specific electoral experiences. Hence, to tackle the deeply rooted political causes of conflicts and insecurity in West Africa, in 2001 ECOWAS Member States signed a Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance which created binding sub-regional standards for conducting

AU Constitutive Act (2000), Articles 3 and 4.

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Introduction

democratic elections. An interesting feature of the Protocol lays in the fact that it promotes constitutional convergence principles. These include : Obtaining power through free, fair and transparent elections. Zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means. Popular participation in decision-making4. Moreover, Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance states that no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws in the last six (6) months before the elections, except with the consent of the political actors. This provision goes further than article 23 of the ACDEG and has a more operational and practical impact. In the case of the Senegalese presidential elections of February 26th 2010, the Senegalese opposition invoked Article 2 of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance to contest President Wades desire to postpone the elections. Similar to the arrangement that brought West African states through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 1978, Southern African countries also signed the Treaty establishing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1992. More specifically, on the subject of elections, the pre-eminent instrument is the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2004). Article 6 of the Treaty establishing the East African Community refers to the AU principles on good governance in general. Through Article 6, EAC Member States confirmed their adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the promotion of human and peoples rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.5 It is important to know that the legal frameworks that protect electoral standards are not enough to consolidate democratic processes in Africa. Indeed, experience has shown that they have to be accompanied by instruments, mechanisms and guidelines that show what measures ought to be taken for elections to be conducted freely and fairly.

4 5

Protocol on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance (2001) , Article 1 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (1999), Article 6

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Introduction

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A person with disability casting his ballot in Burkina Faso / Kenneth Abotsi
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Introduction

The Republic of BENIN BURKINA FASO The Republic of CABO VERDE The Republic of COTE DIVOIRE

The Republic of GAMBIA The Republic of GHANA The Republic of GUNINEE The Republic of GUINEE BISSAU

The Republic of LIBERIA The Republic of MALI The Republic of NIGER The Federal Republic of NIGERIA

The Republic of SENEGAL The Republic of SIERRA LEONE The Republic of TOGO

The figure above shows the current member states of the ECOWAS

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Introduction

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A female voter casting her ballot in Burkina Faso / Kenneth Abotsi


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Introduction

The Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Evaluation (PEMMO), adopted by the SADC Member States, is a very good example that clearly outlines the responsibilities and the features of all stakeholders for elections to be free and fair. These guidelines have a specific focus on the roles expected of the EMBs, political parties, civil society organizations and the media. In addition to the different frameworks and guidelines that are meant to support democratic process in Africa, election observation missions are considerably relied upon to appraise the quality of elections on the basis of the international, continental and regional standards for democratic elections. The importance of election observation missions does not only lie in the way they assess electoral processes, but also in their contribution to proposing recommendations on the way electoral processes should be improved, based on facts that were collected and on the experiences of other countries. Unfortunately, reported cases of recent political violence and unconstitutional changes in governments like Zimbabwe, Cte dIvoire, Mali, and Guinea Bissau have revealed a limited implementation of the standards for democratic elections in Africa, though international and regional frameworks highly protect them. It is therefore necessary to seek the factors that limit the effective implementation of the standards for democratic elections in the organization and the conduct of elections at national levels. The presence of an effective and well-drafted legal framework, the independence and the professionalism of the EMB, the quality of the civic education programmes, the will of the incumbent government to uphold rule of law and the role of international actors whose interests may over-ride national interests. Equally important, is the commitment of political parties to a peaceful electoral process are very important parameters that ought to be looked at to find practical solutions to the challenges that elections face in Africa. Fortunately, the success of Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal and Kenya in organizing democratic elections has provided good examples of effective strategies and tools to prevent potential conflicts and settle electoral disputes. The core of this study will present the standards and frameworks on democratic election in Africa, their strengths and weaknesses when put in practice followed by concrete examples of cases where elections in Africa have been successful to support our recommendations for qualitative electoral processes in Africa.

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Introduction

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Voters checking their names at a Polling Centre in Togo / Kenneth Abotsi


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Explaining the Different Standards in Africas Sub-regions

2. Explaining the Different Standards in Africas Sub-regions

t is necessary to understand the level at which standards for democratic elections have been adopted as well as the type of instruments that guarantee their respect. Indeed, the various levels of standards derive from universal, continental and regional instruments. Universal instruments are those that have been adopted within the United Nations where almost all states are represented. Consequently, from these instruments derive a variety of standards that have a large support at the universal level. However, continental and regional instruments are legal instruments that have been proposed, compiled and adopted within continental (AU, European Council) or regional organizations (ECOWAS, EAC, SADC). Continental and regional instruments all abide by the universal instruments and are a means to enforcing and implementing the universal standards in specific geographical contexts. Due to their geographical proximity, some countries in sub-regional Africa have created development communities in which they share means and tools to corroborate the continental effort for the consolidation of the rule of law, democratic elections and participatory decision-making processes. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Eastern African Community (EAC) have all developed frameworks that aim to foster the respect for the universal and regional standards for democratic elections. Nonetheless, a challenge that ought to be acknowledged - although better illustrated in the recommendation section of this report - is that these organisations are not adequately integrated. In short, a healthier cooperation between regional organisations is needed for the interest of adequate democratic elections. Another important distinction concerns the different types of standards. Indeed, both at the international and regional level, standards for democratic elections derive from two types that respectively have their specificities: the treaty standards and the non-treaty standards. Treaty standards are standards that are contained in a treaty. A treaty is an international agreement between states at an international or regional level, in a written form, and governed by international law. According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), when a state has signed a treaty, it has voluntarily expressed its will to be bound by that treaty and must therefore, respect its provisions.
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Once a state has ratified a treaty, it is obliged to respect all the standards that derive from it. However, ratification of a given treaty is not compulsory, but is dependent upon national laws and guidelines for ratification. Non-treaty standards are sometimes called soft law instruments. The main factor distinguishing nontreaty standards from treaty standards is that the first type is legally binding as opposed to the latter.

AU member states South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Cte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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Explaining the Different Standards in Africas Sub-regions

2.1. The African Unions Treaty Standards for Democratic Elections

he African Union was established on July 9th 2002 to replace the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Almost 10 years later, since the 16th Ordinary Assembly of the AU on African Shared Values the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) is given the mandate to develop a Pan-African Governance Architecture (AGA) to provide the process and mechanism of enhancing policy dialogue, convergence, coherence and harmonization amongst AU Organs on African Shared Values. The rationale for AGA is not to create a new institution, rather strengthening and coordinating the existing norms and institutions with a formal mandate on governance and human rights through a platform and secretariat.

As such the AGA is the overall political and institutional framework for the promotion of democracy, governance and human rights in Africa. Thus, AGA encompasses all policy pronouncements and treaties adopted by the AU in regard to upholding democratic practice, good governance and public participation. With reference to elections these are the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance and the OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.

2.1.1. The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981)


dopted in 1981 and ratified by all 53 member states, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) sets the standards governing democratic elections. Article 13(1) of the Charter states that every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the laws provisions. Article 13(2) also asserts every citizen shall have the right of equal access to the public service of his country. This fundamental article is similar to article 21 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) and article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), which affirm the same rights. The relevance of Article 13 of the African Charter is in the way it presents the
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general conditions for conducting a democratic election. It is worth noting that the major focus of Article 13 of the African Charter is the principle of participation. Indeed, it grants every citizen the right to participate freely in the decision-making processes of their country according to the provisions of the national law. The right to participation, defined as the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, choose or be chosen as a representative6, is highly protected by the African Charter. Although the AU promotes participation through this Charter, the pursuit of this in practice is entirely dependent on national laws7. This means that the level of protection of the right to participation is not harmonized in the African community. The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights does not address the matter of elections in depth, as this was not its sole purpose. It is a regional instrument that evokes the rights protected by the international instruments of the UN. However, in order to specify the content of what a democratic election should look like and harmonize the standards used to assess the quality of elections, in 2007 the African Union adopted the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

2.1.2. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2012)

he African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) recalls the compulsory nature of a treaty, which, by essence, becomes binding when signed and ratified by a country. The Charter came into force on 15 February 2012 with the ratification by the requisite number of member states (15). As at date, 17 countries have ratified the Charter (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Lesotho, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia)8 All 17 ratifications have been deposited and 41 signatories have been obtained. The ACDEG emanates from the long-standing apprehension of AU Member States about unconstitutional changes of government, leading to political instability, violence and insecurity in Africa. The Charter's legitimacy comes from the AU Constitutive Act, also called the Lom Declaration, which was signed in 2000 and commits Member States to participatory democracy, constitutionalism, and the rule of law9.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), Article 25 European Commission Compendium of Election Standards, 2nd edition , Page 19 8 Election related disputes and political violence, strengthening the rule of the African Union in Preventing and Resolving Conflict. Report of the Panel of the Wise, International Peace Institute, July 2010, Page 34 9 AU Constitutive Act (2000), Articles 3 and 4
6 7

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Explaining the Different Standards in Africa's Sub-regions

The objective of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance is to promote adherence by each Member State to the universal values and principles of democracy. The ACDEG urges Member States to take a wide range of measures to promote democracy within the African Union. Directly addressing the issue of democratic elections, the ACDEG outlines the various threats to democracy and constitutional order and provides potential solutions to deter or reverse such actions. Article 3 presents several preconditions for fostering democratic elections. Indeed, modern democracies are characterized by representative governments due to political pluralism, which leads different citizens into competing during periodic elections. In order to protect the political rights of the citizens, states must ensure that there is an effective separation of powers and create an environment in which there is a transparent management of public affairs. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance does not only give an overview of the conditions for democratic election, it also defines democratic elections and specifies the standards that are used to judge the quality of an election. To be democratic, elections must be regular, free, fair and transparent. These standards are further specified in the Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic elections (see the AUs non-treaty standards, the Declaration of Principles Governing Democratic Elections 2002). Indeed, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance goes beyond the political commitment that led to the adoption of the Declaration of Principles Governing Democratic Elections (2002). It is a binding and operational tool stipulating the conditions that will allow the fostering of universal and regional standards for democratic elections. To this end, countries have committed themselves to adopting :

Legislation that allows quick and thorough settlement of electoral disputes. Equitable and free access to media. A code of conduct governing the activity of political parties prior, during and after the election to ensure that they all respect legal provisions governing the process (see the Declaration of Ouagadougou in Guinea's 2010 presidential election). This code must be, at all times, legally binding.

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Explaining the Different Standards in Africa's Sub-regions

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To enforce and promote the effectiveness of the principles for democratic elections, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), has made provisions for cases where a state would violate the Charter. Internally, states must put in place legal provisions that deal with those who illegally remove legitimate and legally established governments10. Continentally, states must cooperate in cases of unconstitutional changes of government, in accordance with the law11. Article 23 is critical as it specifies illegal means of accessing or maintaining power constitute an unconstitutional change of government and defines what is meant by illegal means.12 The ACDEG takes into account the Africa's particularities and Article 23 includes military coups, defined as :

Intervention by mercenaries to remove democratically-elected governments The replacement of democratically-elected governments by armed rebels and dissidents The refusal of an incumbent to surrender power after a free, fair and regular election.

Article 23 also includes an additional definition of unconstitutional changes of government such as any amendment or revision of the Constitution or legal instruments. Such a provision has inspired the adoption of frameworks that can adequately promote regular, free and fair elections. However, the ACDEG lacks clarity on some major points such as the sanctions on the perpetrators of illegal changes of government. According to the Charter, when the AU Peace and Security Council has established that there has been an unconstitutional change of government, the offending government will be suspended as an AU member. There is then the possibility of the AU to impose sanctions on that government and the Member States that supports it. However, the types of sanctions are not specified. The Member States will decide on how to face challenges to democratic governance according to their political interests.

African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), Article 14 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), Article 14 12 Edward, R. McMahon, The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance :A Positive Step On A Long Path, Open Society Institute, May 2007
10 11

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Explaining the Different Standards in Africa's Sub-regions

2.2. AU Non-Treaty Standards for Democratic Elections


he Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa was adopted in 2002 by the African Union, to address specifically the rights and obligations of stakeholders, and addresses the conditions and standards for conducting democratic elections, as opposed to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981), which protects human rights in general. Moreover, it draws the attention of AU Member States to the fact that democratic elections are an important part of conflict prevention, management and resolution. The Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections has been very important and led to the adoption of the ACDEG, which attempts to consolidate efforts to promote harmonized standards for democratic elections in Africa. According to this Declaration, elections must be conducted freely and fairly. But what do free and fair elections imply? To be democratic, elections have to be conducted under democratic constitutions and comply with supportive legal instruments. This can only be guaranteed by a clear and effective separation of powers that ensures the judiciary's independence, which will play its role throughout the process, from voter registration to publishing the final results of the election. Moreover, some elections such as the Republic of Guineas 2010 presidential election, have shown that the quality of electoral institutions greatly affects the credibility of the process. The European Unions (EU) Observation Mission recommended that EMB members and other actors must be trained in order to fully play their role in legitimising the election. The Declaration foresaw the need to build stakeholder capacity, specifically under the section Principles of Democratic Elections, where it is stipulated that the elections should be conducted by impartial, all-inclusive competent accountable electoral institutions staffed by well-trained personnel and equipped with adequate logistics. Such an effort shall be supported by the Secretariat (what Secretariat?) through a Democratic and Electoral Assistance Unit. Nevertheless, though the Declaration exhaustively addresses the principles and standards for democratic elections, it was a declaration of principle, - a type of soft law instrument - principles on which the Member States agree and promote together in the community. However, unlike a treaty, which is governed by international law, this Declaration is not compulsory. Yet it played a very important role in promoting democratic elections in Africa. It revealed the development of new ways of enforcing and assessing the nature of elections and inspired the ACDEG.
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2.3. Regional Frameworks


2.3.1. The Economic Community of West African States
he Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established in May 1975 to promote trade, self-reliance and to promote political cooperation. A revised Treaty signed in 1993 strengthens the will of the Member States to cooperate in the political sphere. Regarding democratic elections, the fundamental instrument is the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (2001) and Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. In addition, in 2008, the Member States adopted the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention FrameworkMember State. Its purpose is to achieve the objectives of Democracy and Political Governance and to create benchmarks to assess progress in their promotion. To address the deeply-rooted political causes of conflict and insecurity in West Africa, in 2001 the ECOWAS Member States signed a Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, an instrument with elements of treaty standards, as it is binding. Article 1 contains a list of principles that are declared constitutional and are shared by all Member States.13 This article is very important, as it clearly shows that the intention of the Member States is to produce respected practices of democracy in the region. States tend to invoke the pre-eminence of their national law when they do not want to abide by a provision contained in a treaty. Consequently, a state can rely on its constitution to adopt a position that is not allowed by an ECOWAS treaty. Thus, declaring that some principles are constitutional and shared by all Member States means that on the one hand, all Member States will include them in their constitution and on the other hand, the principles will be harmonized, operational and implemented in all Member States. This leads to having a consolidated and common framework protecting shared standards in a community that aims to reach constitutional convergence. Some principles referred to in Article 1 are : The access to power through free, fair and transparent elections Zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means Popular participation in decision-making

13

Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (2001), Article 1

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To prevent the military from interfering in politics, the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance included the necessity for the armed forces to be apolitical and to be under the command of a legally constituted political authority.14 No serving member of the armed forces may seek to run for elective political positions. Such a provision is of a capital interest and should inspire the AU and its member states so that it will be a harmonized constitutional principle. As a tool promoting the clear separation between the civil and the military and preventing military coups, it should be readapted at the AU level and in the legislation of the different regional organisations. Another innovation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance is the level of protection assured to opposition parties. Indeed, Article 1 stipulates that the freedom of the opposition shall be guaranteed. Declaring this principle constitutional implies that all Member States must respect it and such a provision, when linked to the West African context, is an important step in fostering political pluralism and fighting the oppression of the opposition. Furthermore, the ECOWAS framework gives impetus to the African Unions effort in preventing and deterring amendments of the electoral law within a set time elections. Article 2 of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) states, no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws in the last six (6) months before the elections, except with the consent of a majority of political actors.15 It is a very positive step in implementing and enforcing the international and regional instruments that were all signed by ECOWAS states, guaranteeing the effectiveness of the principles and standards governing democratic elections. ECOWAS has gone further than the AU, as the latter does not state a specific time frame during which no change to the electoral law can be made. It is a practical example of regional implementation of principles that are generally agreed on continentally and internationally. The Senegalese opposition parties quoted these principles during the 2012 pre-election period, when the ruling party at the time, the Parti Dmocratique Sngalais (PDS) attempted to postpone the presidential elections without the consent of political actors.

14

15

Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (2001), Article 1 Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (2001), Article 2

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Ecowas protocol on democracy and good governance provides clear election guidelines

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Explaining the Different Standards in Africa's Sub-regions

However, in specific cases political circumstances make changes to the electoral laws necessary with the consent of a majority of political actors.16 Once again, in Senegal, the opposition and the ruling party agreed to change the day of the parliamentary election which was supposed to take place in mid-June, given that the political calendar would not give them enough time to prepare. Political dialogue is also given eminence in the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which has been very productive in Ghana in (2000, 2004, and 200, in Senegal in 2012 and in the Republic of Guinea in 2010. Article 3 is a clear illustration of ECOWAS will to use political dialogue to reinforce the confidence of all the stakeholders in the electoral process. It states, the bodies responsible for organizing the elections shall be independent or neutral and shall have the confidence of all the political actors. When necessary, appropriate national consultations shall be organized to determine the nature and structure of the bodies. The electoral process stalled in the Republic of Guinea mainly because the opposition contested the composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). ECOWAS plays a decisive role in electoral assistance in West Africa. Its mandate in that sphere is clearly organized by the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. Articles 12 to 18 explain the conditions under which electoral assistance shall be provided by ECOWAS to a Member State. At the request of any Member State, ECOWAS may provide assistance in the conduct of any election. The decision is taken by the Executive Secretary. As elections in a Member State approach, the Executive Secretary may dispatch a fact-finding mission which can be followed by an exploratory mission. The exploratory mission aims at : Collecting all texts governing the elections concerned; Gathering all information on the conditions under which the elections shall be conducted; Collecting all pertinent information relating to the contesting candidates or political parties; Meeting all candidates, political party leaders, government authorities and other competent bodies.

The information collected by the fact-finding mission and the fieldwork accomplished by any exploratory mission will facilitate the preparation of the Election Observation Mission (EOM).
16

ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, Article 2

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The Election Observation Mission shall arrive in the Member State concerned at least forty-eight hours before the elections and shall remain in the country during the elections. The Mission shall remain in the country throughout the election period and until the election results are announced. The Mission shall also submit a report to the Executive Secretary who will forward it, together with his own observations, if necessary, to the Mediation and Security Council. The latter makes recommendations to the country concerned and/or to all Member States, and takes measures where necessary, as stated in article 18 of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

2.3.2. The Southern African Development Community

he Southern African Development Community (SADC) also aims to promote and consolidate sub-regional development and democracy. It works together with key comprises of key institutions such as the SADC Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF), the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), the SADC Electoral Support Network (ESN) and the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF). Together, these institutions are committed to support the growth and deepening of democracy in the sub-region. Among other activities, election observers are sent to monitor and observe elections in the region and training is provided for election personnel.

However, despite the numerous frameworks protecting the standards for democratic elections in the SADC region, the integrity of the electoral processes in the region remains a major issue. The SADC Treaty of 1992 enumerates general principles about democracy and the protection of human rights. Countries have engaged to promote the principles of democracy, rule of law and to foster the consolidation of democratic, effective and legitimate institutions.17 However, experience in the region and beyond has shown that deepening democracy entails more than holding periodic elections and creating institutions in charge of organising and controlling them. It also involves developing a generally accepted set of values that ensures fair electoral practices predicated on representation, accountability, inclusiveness, transparency, gender equality, tolerance and respect for diversity, which SADC countries have agreed on.18 Moreover, guarantees for peaceful and secure electoral processes in the region have to be developed to prevent all forms of threats that could undermine the integrity of the process.
17 18

SADC Treaty (1992), Articles 3 and 4. Page 3, EISA, Elections in the SADC Region , EISA, South Africa, 2006, page 3

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In that perspective, the SADC countries signed the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in 2001. One of the Protocols objectives was to encourage the development of democratic institutions and practices within the territories of Member States and stimulate the observance of universal human rights as provided for in the UN, AU and other SADC instruments. Regarding elections, the pre-eminent instrument is the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2004).

2.3.3. The East African Community


Like ECOWAS and SADC, countries in East Africa sharing common values and customs created the East African Community (EAC) in 1999. With a long- term goal of creating an East African Federation, EAC Member States cooperate to form strong political links. The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community was signed in 1999 and entered into force in July 2000, following its ratification, and was inaugurated in January 2001.
SADC South Africa Mozambique Malawi Mauritius Tanzania Zambia Year April 22, 2009 October 28, 2009 May 19, 2009 September 19, 2008 October 31, 2010 September 20, 2011 The figure above illustrates assumed free and fair elections that have taken place in the two African regions. ECOWAS Senegal Ghana Sierra Leone Niger Guinea Year March 25, 2012 December 10, 2012 November 17, 2012 March 12, 2011 June 27, 2010

EAC Partner States have committed itself to the promotion of democratic elections by adopting a comprehensive Protocol on Good Governance.19 While Article 2 (a) states the promotion and adherence to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights as one of its core objectives, Article 4 (1) specifically mentions the holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections as its foremost principle guiding the application and implementation of the Protocol.

19

Draft of EAC principles for election observation, monitoring and evaluation

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Article 7 of the same Protocol which is devoted to Democracy and Democratization Processes enjoins Partner States to commit themselves to the principle that the exercise of public authority emanates from the will of the people through regular, transparent, free and fair elections. It also calls on Partner States to undertake to cooperate in promoting democracy, its processes and inculcate the culture of democracy and good governance across all sectors of society. More importantly, Article 7(3) mentions that the promotion and institutionalization of democracy, democratization processes and good governance shall be by : a) Establishing Independent Electoral Management Bodies that are adequately funded from the Consolidated Fund; b) Developing a transparent mechanism for the appointment of members of the Electoral Management Bodies based on merit, gender equity and professionalism; c) Developing policies and mechanisms for harmonized regional benchmarks for conducting regular, transparent, free, fair and credible elections in line with internationally accepted standards; d) Developing mechanisms to facilitate democratic elections, political transitions and peaceful transfer of power within a specified timeframe between conclusion of elections and assumption of office; e) Establishing a regional mechanism for election observation and evaluation ; f) Ensuring that election petitions are disposed of within eighteen months, during which period the courts of law shall be facilitated to handle the petitions ; g) Enacting laws that regulate the establishment of political parties that are national in character, internally democratic, with clear ideologies, visions and missions, devoid of all forms of discrimination; h) Developing policies and laws that regulate funding of political parties; i) Ensuring that Candidates for elective posts are democratically elected through regular, transparent, free and fair elections, and are accountable to the people; j) Instituting mechanisms for ensuring parliamentary accountability and transparency k) Establishing measures to ensure political parties are accountable through leadership codes, at all levels of governance; l) Enacting or reviewing laws and policies that facilitate representation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and other special interest groups to contest electoral and political leadership positions; m) Adhering to the principle of decentralization and devolution of power at all levels in the governance systems; n) Establishing and strengthening local committees of good governance ; o) Creating an enabling environment for the exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly, a free and independent media, robust civil society and a strong private sector;
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p) q) r)

Strengthening the East African Community Forum of Electoral Commissions to exchange expertise and share electoral best practices; Promoting civic education for the population to enhance democratic practices and processes; and Enacting electoral laws that allow citizens including those living abroad to participate in electoral processes.

East African States are also committed to promoting democratic elections through Article 6 of the Treaty establishing the East African Community. This Article refers to the AU Principles on Good Governance in general and commits EAC Member States to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the promotion of human and peoples rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.20 Subsequent to these commitments, the EAC has deployed election observation missions either independently or jointly with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with the long term objective of strengthening electoral and democratic processes in the region. Reports of EO missions are considered by the Council and follow-ups are made to member states conducting elections to implement the recommendations. The EAC Council has also established the EAC Forum of National Electoral Commissions with the main objective of enhancing harmonization of democratization processes and share perspectives, challenges and best practices in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the EAC region. It also has the aim of facilitating peer learning and information exchange while entrenching the culture of democracy in the region. A policy framework detailing the mandate, scope and role of EAC Electoral Commissions Forum, its institutional framework and structure and the trite relationship between the Forum, the EAC and the National Electoral Commissions has also been put in place. The EAC has also adopted its Principles for Election Observation, Monitoring and Evaluation.21 The principles give clear guidelines on the structure, methodology, timeframes and reporting back by the EAC Election Observer Missions. They also provide guidelines for election observation and the code of conduct for election observers and provide a provide a systematized framework for organizing and deploying different forms of observer missions and outlines the principles, scope and methodology for the EAC Election Observer Missions.

20 21

Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (1999), Article 6 Principles for Election Observation, Monitoring and Evaluation

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Polling officials sealing aballot box at a polling station in Cape Verde / Kenneth Abotsi

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Comparative Assessment of the Different Frameworks for Democratic Elections : the cases of SADC, EAC and ECOWAS

3. Comparative Assessment of the Different Frameworks for Democratic Elections : the cases of SADC, EAC and ECOWAS
frican countries have agreed on and committed to promoting, through legal frameworks, standards for democratic elections as generally accepted principles of political governance. Such efforts have been reiterated in Africas different development communities such as the ECOWAS, SADC or EAC, which have adopted several treaty or nontreaty instruments. However, experience has shown that electoral standards have to be accompanied by instruments, mechanisms and guidelines that aim at showing what measures ought to be taken for elections to be free and fair. The Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Evaluation (PEMMO), adopted by SADC Member States, is a very good example showing the responsibilities of all stakeholders for elections to be free and fair.

3.1. Election Management Bodies


he recent cases of Cte dIvoire and the Republic of Guinea have revealed the limited independence of Election Management Bodies in Africa. Indeed, unclear mandates and inadequate resources are a common feature of the EMBs throughout the whole African continent. Moreover, the non-transparent manner in which EMB members are recruited has a very bad impact on the legitimacy of the electoral process. Consequently, ECOWAS Member States, through the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, promotes the neutrality and the independence of the EMB, which needs the confidence of political actors.22 Unlike the ECOWAS framework, which only generally states the features of an independent EMB, SADC and the EAC go farther, giving practical guidelines to foster the emergence and the consolidation of independent EMBs in their political regions.

22

ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, Article 4

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Indeed, the PEMMO, adopted in 2003, addresses the questions of the EMB structure and recruitment of its members. It was adopted with the collaboration of more than one hundred electoral stakeholders from SADC. These participants came from all fourteen SADC countries and represented EMBs and leading civil society organizations (CSOs) for whom election observation is a core activity.23 This participatory document provides guidelines to promote the independence of electoral commissions. These guidelines are : Appointing independent people known within the society for their integrity EMBs must be permanent organs with permanent members to ensure the independence and the continuity of the EMB The budget has to be decided in the National Assembly or Parliament rather than in a ministry EMBs must be accountable to the National Assembly The EAC Member States, by working on a Draft on EAC Principles for Election Observation, Monitoring and Evaluation, are following the path of SADC, which adopted the PEMMO. The draft on the Principles for Election Observation, Monitoring and Evaluation is similar to the PEMMO insofar as they share the same provisions on the questions of the EMBs structure and recruitment of its members. Article 123 of the EAC document even goes further, stipulating that the recruitment of the EMB members must be done on a gender sensitive basis.

3.2. Political Parties

T
23

he concept of democracy is tightly linked to the periodicity of the elections and the citizens right to participate, in other words, to vote or to be voted for. In modern democracies, especially in the West, participation of political parties has been seen as a way to promote the participation of citizens in the political life by periodically delegating, their sovereignty to the political parties who compete for it. Unfortunately, multi-party democracies are still lacking in some parts of the continent whereas in other parts, though it has formally been adopted, the hegemony of the ruling party undermines the legitimacy of political competition. In the SADC region, despite the efforts that have been made to promote democratic electoral processes, some countries like Angola or Swaziland have still not experienced multi-party democracy.

http://www.eisa.org.za/EISA/publications/pemmo.htm

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Comparative Assessment of the Different Frameworks for Democratic Elections : the cases of SADC, EAC and ECOWAS

In Zimbabwe, although progress was made in the 1980s, the country regressed in the 1990s, and became a de facto one-party system. Another challenge to multiparty democracy in Africa is the emergence of the dominant party syndrome which entrenches the hegemony of the ruling party, as in South Africa Namibia, and other countries.24 Consequently, to open up political competition in the SADC region, the PEMMO urges Member States to adopt frameworks that guarantee the right of political parties to register for elections. In that regard, the countries must create conditions where : Parties have a specific time to register The qualifications and disqualifications for registration are clearly spelled out Criteria for registration are unambiguous and include appeal mechanisms Political parties are required to sign an electoral code of conduct upon registration These provisions of the PEMMO can be found in the EAC Draft on the Principles for Election Observation, Monitoring and Evaluation. The provisions on the registration of political parties are similar for EAC and SADC. To promote the participation of women, SADCs provisions are more developed as they provide that before contesting an election, political parties are required to ensure equal gender representation and at least 30% of candidates are women, in line with the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development. Consequently, states are bound to respect gender balance in elections, which is an unconditional criterion for free elections. However, the EAC Member States have been innovative in addressing the issue of marginalized groups. It is a very important step in promoting democratic processes, as elections must be inclusive of all citizens. The Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance adopted by ECOWAS Member States, does not expressly deal with the question of political party registration. However, it contains general provisions on the rights of the political parties and their freedom to carry out their activities freely. One important provision of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance is that it guarantees the freedom of the opposition. Such a provision ought to be entrenched in the whole African Community and made a constitutional principle that is highly protected at the national level. Unfortunately, beyond the tools that are adopted to protect and promote the freedom of the political parties, lies the question of a states will to abide by them. The pre-electoral period in Senegal was very tense as during the campaign, the ruling party used the police forces to intimidate and reprimand the opposition and its leaders. Thanks to the efforts of civil society in preventing electoral violence, along with the mediation of ECOWAS and the African Union, Senegal was able to conduct an election that was, according to all the EOMs, free, fair and transparent.
24

Political parties in Africa, Challenges for Sustained multi-party Democracy, Stockholm, International IDEA, 2007, Page 72 to 76

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3.3. Independence of the Media


The independence of the media is a considerable challenge when it comes to electoral processes, given the unequal treatment of candidates and political parties. In Cte dIvoire, the question of the media's partisanship was raised during the 2010 presidential election. The opposition deplored the active support that the Ivorian State Television (RTI) was giving to the ruling party by broadcasting programmes in favor of President Gbagbo, and the RTI's partisanship had been raised long before then. Indeed, the Linas Marcoussis Agreement signed in January 2003 urged the government in charge of national reconciliation to ensure the neutrality and the impartiality of the public service.25 The question of the impartiality of the media is deeper as the press faces physical intimidation,26 despite the existence of regulatory bodies for the media. Article 1 of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance states that the freedom of the press shall be guaranteed for all ECOWAS Member States. Indeed, being aware of the crucial role expected of an independent press in the conduct of free and fair elections, Member States have agreed on the obligation to guarantee this freedom. The latter shall be made a constitutional principle in all the ECOWAS countries, giving it value and preventing the probability of a state invoking a national law to violate the ECOWAS provision. However, EAC and SADC guidelines give more indications on the way states should contribute to respecting the freedom of the press. The Principles on Election Monitoring, Management and Observation (PEMMO) provides that Constitutions shall guarantee the freedom of the press. Such a provision is similar to Article 1 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, as they both advocate for the inclusion of that guarantee in national constitutions. Such efforts are meant to tackle the issue of the monopoly of the public or state media by the ruling party as well as the fact that the state media is rarely accountable to the public. Consequently, the PEMMO, as well as EACs Draft Principles for Election Observation, advocate in favour of : An independent media commission Subjecting the medias coverage of elections to a code of conduct, designed to promote fair reporting.

25 26

International Crisis Group, Cote divoire : Scuriser le processus lectoral, Rapport n158, 5 Mai 2010 In Senegal, during the 2012 Presidential Election, several journalists have been victims of physical intimidations and attacks from the police forces while they were reporting.

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Comparative Assessment of the Different Frameworks for Democratic Elections : the cases of SADC, EAC and ECOWAS

In addition, to emphasize the independence of the media, the African Union ought to promote the adoption of legislation strictly forbidding, in general and in the specific context of elections : Political polarization of the media. Media promotion of ethnicity and power. Government or political parties over using the laws forbidding sectarianism, sedition, defamation. The prevention of civil society from participate in media monitoring as in Uganda in 2006, Nigeria in 2007 and Senegal 201,2 where civil society groups focused on the monitoring of the work of the media.

3.4. Civil Society


ften pictured as the core supporters of civic education, civil society groups have over the past years, taken up more central roles in electoral processes by organizing EOMs and by designing programmemes that are meant to prevent and manage electoral violence. In the SADC region, the PEMMO, which is a fundamental instrument for ensuring free and fair elections, was adopted with the contribution of civil society organizations. In the ECOWAS region, civil society is also playing a very critical role in fostering democratic elections. The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in Ghana, National Election Watch (NEW) in Sierra Leone and the Rseau des Observateurs Citoyens (RESOCIT) in Senegal, in addition to the work of civil society groups in the Republic of Guinea, are examples of successful initiatives of the civil society in promoting free and fair elections. Unfortunately, there are several challenges undermining the action of civil society organizations. These include : Inadequate civic and voter education programmes, both in terms of frequency and content Over-reliance of civil society activities on donor funding Limited access of rural voters to civic and voter education programmes. A fundamental difference between the ECOWAS provisions (Article 8 of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance) and the PEMMO is that the latter advocates for EMBs to have voters education programmes while ECOWAS relies on civil society to promote civic education.
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The PEMMO and the EAC Draft Principles provide that : EMBs should have budgets to implement consistent and qualitative civic and voters education programmes The states should, in their budget, provide a budget for civic education programmemes Regional funding should be planned and awarded to civil society organizations to promote civic and voter education, especially for women and people living in rural areas. An innovation of the East African Community lies in the importance it gives to the education of people living with disabilities. The EACs framework for elections draws special attention to the problems faced by people living with disabilities.

A key civil society in the ECOWAS region The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) remains an active civil institution that promotes the capacities of civil society groups in the ECOWAS region. WACSI was created by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in 2005.
The West Africa Civil Society Institute

Strengthen capacities of civil society groups in Southern Africa Established in 2005, The Southern Africa Trust (SAT) provides support to various civil society organisations in the southern region of Africa. It also plays an important role in fostering democratic principles in the region through institutional capacity building.
The figure above illustrates examples of key regional civil society groups
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Election Observation : A Mechanism for Strengthening Democratization Processes in Africa

Voters checking their names at a Polling Centre in Togo / Kenneth Abotsi


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4. Election Observation : A Mechanism for Strengthening Democratization Processes in Africa

lection observation consists of gathering information on the organization and the conduct of an election and assessing the quality of the election based on the information collected.

With the numerous cases in which elections have led to political disputes or violence, the African Union, through its Electoral Assistance Unit, endeavours to promote the respect of the standards for democratic elections in Africa. In line with this, regional organizations such as ECOWAS, SADC and EAC, have continuously deployed election observation missions that evaluate the extent to which electoral standards, guaranteed within AUs general framework, are respected during elections in their Member States. Fortunately, the different EOMs deployed by regional organizations all refer to the AUs framework when it comes to the standards used to assess the quality of an election. Though election observation missions use the same standards, they have critical differences in the way they are structured and have a positive impact on the effectiveness of elections. Not only do election observation missions assess the legitimacy of an election, they also act as deterrent to electoral fraud and rigging. Despite the existence of standards on democratic elections, the way they are respected or implemented can differ from a country to another.

4.1. Election Observation : Strengths and Weaknesses in the Implementation of Standards Governing Democratic Elections

he role of election observation does not only lay in reporting the irregularities of an electoral process. Election observation is a way to depict the best and the worst electoral practices and hence proposes recommendations to improve electoral processes, based on collected facts and other countries experiences. Case studies capturing experiences from SADC, EAC and ECOWAS will be cited to elaborate.
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The Implementation of Electoral Standards in SADC, the EAC and ECOWAS : Success Stories

A polling station in Sierra Leone / Kenneth Abotsi


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5. The Implementation of Electoral Standards in SADC, the EAC and ECOWAS : Success Stories

below.

D I

espite the challenges African countries face with holding regular, free and fair democratic elections, the regional organizations SADC, the EAC and ECOWAS have all had successes, the elements of which are outlined

5.1. The Legal Framework


t is not enough for nations to adopt international instruments promoting the respect of the standards on democratic elections. They must show commitment to these principles by capturing and customising the principles espoused in these international instruments through elaborate national electoral laws as well as putting in place credible and responsible electoral administrations, trusted, and respected and accompanied by all stakeholders. Within ECOWAS, experience has shown that the ambiguity of the legal framework has, unfortunately, intensified electoral disputes, which happened during the Republic of Guineas 2010 presidential election. Indeed, three versions of the electoral code were promulgated in the interval of four months. This ambiguity of the electoral law generated pre-electoral disputes between the different parties, as they did not agree on the version of the code that was applicable. During the first round of the election, the final version of the electoral code had not yet been promulgated. Consequently, a first round of elections took place without a consensual, guiding and binding electoral code. The final version of the electoral code was promulgated between the announcement and publication of the first round of results and the start of the second round. This provided a new challenge for a weak electoral administration. Some provisions of the electoral code had a limit in practice though they respected the standards on democratic elections as they were contrary to some of the decisions that were taken by the electoral administration and that already organized the electoral process. In SADC, standards for democratic elections still need to be enforced, as some important components of a democratic process such as the independence of EMBs and media impartiality need to be improved.
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The Implementation of Electoral Standards in SADC, the EAC and ECOWAS : Success Stories

Ambiguity of electoral laws and processes must be reduced while media independence must be ensured.

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5.1.1. Organising the Electoral Process Independence of the Election Management Bodies
pre-eminent feature of a countrys electoral administration is the EMB. The EMB organizes, conducts and supervises the electoral process from the pre-election period to the post-election phase. From registering voters or political parties, the counting or the publishing results, the EMB is present at all stages of the electoral process. In some countries, the EMB is said to be autonomous, such as in Senegal and in others, it is said to be independent, as in Ghana and the Republic of Guinea. Consequently, a well-organized and coordinated election depends on the quality of the EMB. Some of the features fundamental for the EMB to have the trust of the various stakeholders involved in the electoral process are that the EMB and key election officials must be free from government control and that the process must be conducted independently, impartially and transparently by the EMB. Although African countries have signed the ACDEG and other regional instruments, elections in the sub-regions have shown limited implementation and respect of the standards for democratic elections. In the SADC region, the Tanzanian General Elections of 2010 have unveiled the practical limits of the standards related to the independence of the EMB27. Indeed, the National Election Commission was perceived as biased in favour of the ruling party. The source of such a controversy was in Tanzanias constitution itself. According to the Constitution, the President has the right to appoint government officials. Consequently, the interpretation that was given by the opposition to this provision is that the members of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) are accountable to the President, even though they have security of tenure. This does not respect the guidelines contained in the PEMMO document which advises that the members of the EMB be chosen from amongst independent personalities whose impartiality is known in the country. Moreover, the EMB members ought to be, according to the PEMMO, accountable to the National Assembly and not to the President, as the political parties contesting for the Tanzanian 2010 general election alleged. It must be noted that this challenge is not limited to SADC alone. ECOWAS states are also facing the question of the EMBs independence.
27

SADC Election Observation Mission to Tanzania, General elections (2010), Preliminary Report.

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al n torssio c Ele mi m Co

Electoral Commission ought to exercise its full independence

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In the Republic of Guineas last presidential election in 2010, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was vehemently criticized for not acting independently and transparently. Although the law granted both financial and administrative independence of the EMB, in practice they were accused of taking directives from the ruling junta. This engendered mistrust and marred the electoral process. Indeed, the major issue was not the structure of the EMB but the recruitment of its members. Over the twenty five members of the CENI, political parties appointed twenty. Along with the question of the polarization of the EMB, another problem was the fact that twenty of the EMB members had been appointed before the political transition, when Lansana Cont was president. The political parties considered that the members of Conts party, the Party for Unity and Progress (PUP), were over-represented in the EMB. The perception of EMBs partisanship was even more pronounced and criticized when members of the PUP joined Cellou Dalein Diallo, the candidate defeated by the president, Alpha Cond, in the second round of elections.

5.1.2. Efficiency and Professionalism of the EMB : Impact on the Integrity of Electoral Preparations
he The independence of the EMB has an impact on the credibility of the whole electoral process, as was illustrated by the case of the Republic of Guinea. Additionally, the level of professionalism and the efficiency of the process will play an important role in the organization of elections that respect the standards on democratic elections. The SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) to Tanzania during the 2010 general elections noted that the individuals in charge of conducting and supervising the electoral process were not adequately trained. Their lack of professionalism and inadequate training jeopardized the process, especially in the distribution of electoral materials. The preliminary report of the SEOM deplored the insufficient distribution of ballot papers and the distribution of inaccurate ballot papers in some constituencies. This compromised the implementation of the right to participation guaranteed by the African Union through the ACHPR and the ACDEG and jeopardized the regularity of the electoral process. In the ECOWAS sub-region, the recent Presidential Election in the Republic of Guinea is a significant example of the consequences of an EMB that lacks credibility. In its report on the 2010 presidential election, the Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration

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and Political Affairs (MATAP) noted that in some constituencies, the voters list was different from the voters register. This affected the integrity of the electoral preparations, which is a critical transparency criterion for observers.28 The lack of professionalism and the numerous irregularities that were noticed in the organization of the polls by the CENI led the Supreme Court to cancel 900,000 votes during the first round of the election.29 The challenge of administering and professionally conducting an efficient process could be looked at from a broader perspective. Major challenges of the presidential election in the Republic of Guinea in addition to the deficiency of the EMB were : A lack of rigour and seriousness in the selection of the members of the commission in charge of the registrations and the updates on the voters lists, the Commission Administrative de Rvision des Liste Electorales (CARLE)30 . Ineffective and deficient capacity of the electoral administrators, who could not effectively conduct the process. A lack of skilled, well-trained resource persons who were aware of the process in the remote areas. Inadequate and weak training of the polling station officers. Inadequate and bad choices in the recruitment of the trainers.

The African Union recently organized a Building Resources In Democracy, Elections and Assistance (BRIDGE) programmeme for the heads of electoral commissions in Africa to build their election management capacity. The goal of the BRIDGE programme is to promote and support democracy and good governance through multi-stakeholder learning, dialogue and networking.31 Such training should be promoted by the African Union and regional groups to continentally develop competitive, aware and well-prepared electoral administrations that will enforce the standards of democratic elections. Bad electoral administration leads inevitably to a bad electoral process. The standards for democratic elections are agreed upon both at the international level through the UN and regionally through the AU and sub-regional organizations. The principles and guidelines for free and fair elections have been developed within the whole African community through treaties or non-treaty instruments such as
ECOWAS Handbook on Election Observation. For more information on this election, report to EUs EOM report (Guinea 2010) The CARLE (Commission Administrative de Rvision des ListeElectorales) was in charge of the registrations and the updates on the voters lists. 31 www.idea.int/elections/bridge_course.cfm
28 29 30

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the ACDEG, ACHPR, the PEMMO, the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and so on. However, the main issue that African societies are facing is the effective implementation of the standards on democratic elections at the national level. The nature and the relationships between the various stakeholders will have an influential impact on the quality of the electoral process. Political parties and civil society have an indubitable role to play in the success of the overall process. In Tanzania's 2010 general elections, political parties asked the National Electoral Commission to finance the deployment of their agents in the polling stations so they could effectively represent their parties. The National Electoral Commission answered that in 1995, during the first multi-party general election, the government availed funding to parties, which used them for other purposes. Accordingly, the capacities of the political parties should be reinforced, especially in informing them on the need to behave responsibly. Furthermore, the SEOM to Tanzania deplored the use of hate speech during the campaign by political parties while encouraging them to work with civil society and the EMBs on voter education. The adherence to a legally binding code of conduct for political parties has had positive impacts on electoral processes in Africa, for example in Ghana, and has informed and educated political parties on their obligation to behave responsibly. However, a dynamic of individual actions in favour of democratic elections will not solve the issues challenging the conduct of elections in African countries. Political parties should be helped in their mission of participating in elections and promoting political participation by the EMBs and civil society. The national electoral commissions should undertake wide and qualitative voter education and train the members of the electoral staff. The EMBs have a very important role to play in informing citizens and all the other stakeholders of their political rights, especially those contained in the electoral law. Indeed, the experience from Mozambiques 2009 presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections revealed that the National Electoral Commission did not carry out training programmes on the electoral law in a timely manner. Consequently, political parties were not informed on the processes and requirements for nominating candidates. The direct consequence of such an irregularity was the high incidence of cases of political parties being excluded from contesting the election. This constituted an infringement of the right to participation guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights. Furthermore, the success of the elections in Mozambique was jeopardized by the fact that polling stations were not marked and identified in advance of the election. This limited access of voters and party representatives to polling stations32.
32

SADC Parliamentary Election Observation Mission to Mozambique: Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial elections, October 2009

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Along with organizing, conducting and supervising the electoral process, the EMB also has an important role to play in educating voters. Inadequate voter education has been raised by election observation missions throughout Africa during many of the continent's most recent elections. In Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and elsewhere, EOMs have across the board made similar recommendations for full voter participation in the electoral process : The active participation of the EMB in voter education. The conception of qualitative, comprehensive and well spread civic and electoral education programmemes. Voter education programmemes for women, people living with handicaps and ethnic minorities Voter education programmemes for people living in remote areas A permanent voter education programmemes which is regularly updated. A civic education organ responsible for preventing civil disobedience, electoral violence and carrying out a thoroughly thought-out civic education programmeme. Comprehensive and quality civic education programmemes should be spread through public means such as the media, banners and posters Civil society, political parties and the EMBs should engage in civic education. Furthermore, in addition to successes within Member States initiated at regional levels, it is important to emphasize initiatives fostered by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) themselves. ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) is a network that gathers presidents and vice-presidents of the Member States electoral commissions and promotes the organization of free, fair and transparent elections in the ECOWAS region, by agreeing on effective practices. Moreover, it is a platform for experience sharing, which contributes to thinking and spreading the best electoral practices throughout the region. Before the 2010 presidential election in Cte dIvoire, the heads of National Electoral Commissions of ECOWAS Member States met in Abidjan in 2008 where they adopted an action plan to tackle five major challenges. One of the objectives was to promote the adoption by all Members States of independent electoral commissions that are entirely independent from the ruling administration. In addition to thinking about ways to better electoral processes and sharing best electoral practices, ECONEC also works on clarifying the role and the mission of an electoral commission. Its role is also to remind electoral commissions that their mission goes beyond organizing and supervising elections, extends to playing a part in ensuring in a country's political stability and the legitimacy its elected representatives. Since its creation, the network has actively participated in promoting free, fair and transparent elections by organizing election observation missions and seminars on electoral practices.
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5.2. Examples of Good Practice : Positive African Experiences


ountries, with the help of international donors, have put in place several alternative mechanisms to prevent and manage electoral disputes which are, in the majority of the African countries - Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Cte dIvoire for instance- the source of violent civil conflicts. Indeed, the low level of trust in the judicial institutions has necessitated finding alternative methods of settling electoral disputes rather than using judicial mechanisms that are generally ignored by contesting candidates. Moreover, the absence of political dialogue and its corresponding violence in numerous countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal has prompted countries to develop strategies and mechanisms that are adapted to their social and political context to prevent and settle disputes that could negatively affect the electoral process.

5.2.1. Mozambiques Success Story : General Elections of 2009

ozambique's presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections in 2009 succeeded largely due to the independence and impartiality of the public media. Parties were able to freely campaign without the interference of the security forces because the law that guaranteed this was largely respected. Additionally, the media laws that provided that contesting parties had to be given equal time on the public media was adhered to.

Another important factor was that women were predominant as voters and electoral officers. According to the SADC Parliamentary Forums report, Mozambique has one of the highest percentages of women in decisionmaking positions in parliament within SADC. The EMB officials were free from government control and generally capable of acting independently from political authorities, enabling them to freely recruit its members. In the CENI, eight of the members were nominated from civil society, five from political parties and two ex-officio members. Lastly, the right to political participation was universally guaranteed - indeed, the Mozambican Diaspora was granted the right to vote and to be represented in the Assembly.33
33

SADC Parliamentary Forum EOM, Preliminary statement, Mozambique Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial elections, October 2009

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5.2.2. Ghanas Electoral Experience : Responsible and Volunteer Actors for Democratic Electoral Processes
hana conducted five peaceful general elections in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.34 Among the tools that contributed to the democratization of the electoral processes in Ghana, three key strategic frameworks could be cited. The main lesson from Ghana for other African countries is that successful electoral processes require a high sense of responsibility from the stakeholders, especially the contesting candidates.

5.2.2.1. The Political Parties Code of Conduct


t is a self-regulatory and voluntary code of conduct put in place by political parties themselves after extensive consultations. This Code of Conduct covers the whole process from the pre-election phase to the post-election phase. It is a participatory tool that inculcates into political parties the need for tolerance of divergent views, the rule of law and all the matters concerning elections. The way it was enforced was also very participatory (how was it enforced?) as it involved political parties, the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education and the Civil Society.

5.2.2.2. The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC)


he IPAC was established by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). It remains a platform of discussion and dialogue that brings parties together, for discussions and exchange on issues related to the electoral process. It is a platform for the ventilation of differences and the resolution of same. This committee has helped to deepen trust and confidence between political parties. The IPAC has also been used as a central platform to prevent and settle disputes between political parties through mediation. It is an innovative tool to avoid the tensions of a court trial.
SADC Parliamentary Forum EOM, Preliminary statement, Mozambique Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial elections, October 2009 34 SOWATEY Emmanuel Addo, Ghanas Electoral Experience: Strategies and mechanisms for Trust and Confidence Building.
33

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5.2.2.3. The National Peace Council

t is an autonomous state institution made of traditional and religious leaders, business executives and experts from academia. Its function is to prevent and settle conflicts. It played a major role in Ghanas last general election. It was the nub between key actors. It reduced misunderstandings and fostered constructive dialogue with leaders. 35

35

SOWATEY, Emmanuel Addo, Ghanas Electoral Experience : Strategies and mechanisms for Trust and Confidence Building

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The Experiences of Training Centres in Promoting Good Electoral Practice in Africa

6. The Experiences of Training Centres in Promoting Good Electoral Practice in Africa


raining centers, cooperating with continental or regional organizations, contribute to developing qualitative human resources by giving election officers and observers, the tools and knowledge they need to participate effectively in electoral assistance and election observation missions. In 2004, the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center (KAIPTC), in collaboration with the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF, Germany), and the ECOWAS Commission launched an Election Observation Course for participants from ECOWAS countries. This course has contributed to equipping participants with the requisite professional skills in election observation. As election observation is critical to consolidating democratic electoral processes, it is important to professionalize the process and instil in observers the required skills required for ensuring that national electoral processes are conducted according to standards for democratic elections. Such training also allows observers to have direct contact with the officials of national electoral commissions and ECOWAS. To date, KAIPTC has trained 224 observers. ECOWAS has deployed a majority of them and thus enhanced the quality of its election observation missions. Such an effort has also been made by the Carter Centre through its collaboration with the African Union. The Carter Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on July 29, 2008 with the African Union to collaborate in strengthening elections observers capacities. This is an opportunity for the center to work closely with AU which is the widest-reaching political organization in Africa.

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The AU's Electoral Assistance Unit initiated a democracy programme to improve AU's observation missions' institutional capacity. With the Carter Centre, they developed programmes for potential observers on a wide range of topics, such as the history of democracy and elections in Africa to international continental and regional standards for democratic elections, to an overview of the principles and codes guiding the AUs observers and observer missions, and election observers methodologies. Another important and interesting programme developed by EISA is the Election and Political Processes Programme (EPP). The EPP approach promotes the development and the application of election principles and shares best practices in the field of elections. The objective of the programme is mainly to influence key political processes in Africa. Moreover, it focuses on producing and sharing electoral knowledge and electoral assistance, relying on a network of continental, regional and local experts and organizations. The launch of the EPP facilitated the creation of the two SADC election related networks : Electoral Commission Forum of SADC Countries (SADC-ECF). Civil Society Electoral Supervision Network (SADC-ESN). This programme provides capacity-building programmes and electoral assistance, but also advocates for the participation of special groups of voters such as youth, women and physically challenged people.

The KAIPTC in Accra, Ghana / KAIPTC

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Recommendations

ECOWAS officials speaking to the Press during elections in Burkina Faso / Kenneth Abotsi

Recommendations

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7. Recommendations

B T

ased on the findings/analysis, the following recommendations have been made to promote higher standards for the conduct of democratic elections in Africa.

7.1. Legal Frameworks


o prevent ethnic or religious electoral violence, the African Union and regional organizations ought to urge Member States to adopt national laws and mechanisms that automatically sanction :

The political polarization of the media. The use of the Media to deepen ethnic divisions and abuse of power. Sectarianism, sedition and defamation. To guarantee the freedom of the opposition and the full expression of all political opinions, the African Union and regional organizations should prevail on Member States to enforce gender parity in political representation. This will help promote a better expression of the needs and the viewpoints of women.

7.2. Civil Society


ivil Society should participate in media monitoring. For example, RESOCIT was included in the election observation mission as unit that only focused on the monitoring of the media, which contributed greatly to legitimizing the 2012 presidential election. Civil society should also advocate inter-party dialogues and fora to obligate the political actors to respecting universal standards for democratic elections.

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Recommendations

7.3. Election Management Bodies

or election management bodies to be able to play their role effectively in organizing, conducting and supervising the electoral processes, the AU and regional organizations should urge Member States to :

Develop rigorous and serious selection mechanisms in recruiting EMB members Create organic and financially independent EMBs Abrogate laws that give any president the power to appoint the members of the EMB Ensure the security of tenure to EMB members and a decent salary Establish permanent, not ad hoc EMBs Ensure comprehensive and effective training of EMB members on the overall electoral process and their responsibility for its success Deploy electoral experts who are skilled, well-trained, and aware of the process to in remote areas to train and supervise election officers Develop and conduct effective training programmemes for polling station officers Create and enforce transparent procedures to ensure the recruitment of competent trainers in electoral processes.

The electorate celebrating final results of a free and fair election. / Kenneth Abotsi
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To ensure their independence and assume their pivotal responsibilities in the process, it is suggested that EMBs :

or election management bodies to be able to play their role effectively in organizing, conducting and supervising the electoral processes, the AU and regional organizations should urge Member States to :

Participate actively and collaborate with political parties, civil society organizations and donors, in a permanent civic education programme; Develop qualitative, comprehensive and widely taught civic and voters education programmes; Disseminate voter education programmes for women, people living with handicaps and ethnic minorities; Establish civic education organs responsible for preventing civil disobedience, electoral violence and disseminating thoroughly thought-out civic education programmes.

7.4. The Electoral Process

xperience has shown that judicial mechanisms cannot on their own prevent or settle electoral disputes. Elections are a matter of people pursuing different interests and who are obliged to abide by the same principles. A successful election relies on an unyielding commitment of all actors to the success of the election. Political parties have been at the centre of electoral violence, whether they are the ruling party or from the opposition.

Alternative non-judicial mechanisms that have been successful in Africa have given a core role to building and reinforcing trust and confidence between all the actors of the process. GIZ ought to support programmemes that foster national reconciliation, the implementing structures for promoting political dialogue and the participation of under-represented groups in each countrys political life. Ghana's experience and the strategies that were put in place like its Inter-Party Advisory Committee, National Peace Council, or Senegal's Comit de Veille, (RESOCIT) should inspire the implementation of standards for participatory democratic elections.
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Recommendations

7.5. Development Partners

o promote productive collaboration between the African Union and regional organizations in the field of electoral processes, development partners should support :

The development of a common database and roster of election observers who have undergone formal election observation training. This could lead to the sharing and cross-fertilisation of observers diverse experiences and expertise within Africa and ultimately enhance the quality of election missions on the continent. Platforms for effective coordination of missions deployed by AU and RECs to coordinate with domestic election observation missions. The Professionalisation of electoral assistance through capacity development to initiatives aimed at training facilitators and consultants in charge of electoral assistance. This will help harmonize electoral experiences and knowledge- sharing. This electoral assistance and capacity building programmes must, however, be adapted to the level of democratization of different states. The AU and RECs to initiate electoral knowledge programmes for all stakeholders. Such programmes shall partially focus on continental and regional frameworks for democratic elections as well as the standards they protect.

7.6. GIZ

IZ, in line with the principles of German development policy framework should :

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Advocate the opening up of the political space and the fostering of multi party democracies throughout Africa. This begins with a strong advocacy for the ratification by all Member States of the The African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG). Support Sensitisation of AU and regional groupings on the adoption of clear, stringent and harmonized laws on political parties in order to promote freedom of the opposition and the full expression of all political opinions. Strengthen AU and RECS, to continuously review the electoral laws and party systems in cooperation with their Member States so that these frameworks evolve along with the needs and aspirations of their citizens. Initiate and support training programmes at the continental and regional levels to train human rights defenders and other important stakeholders on the content of the ACDEG and the ways they could use it to hold states accountable and promote progress on matters related to human rights. Support organizing fora, meetings and seminars which bring citizens and political actors together to continuously share the most recent best or worst electoral experiences and analyze strengths and weaknesses of various processes. Extend the provision of direct logistical support to election missions in other regions in Africa like it has done in Central Africa (e.g. Tchad) and the Maghreb region, to enhance the effectiveness of these missions. Support training initiatives, especially institutional capacity-building programmes, as good elections are organized and supervised by effective institutions. For instance, a recent BRIDGE programme funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to reinforce stakeholder capacity in Togo showed the stakeholders' limited competencies. Cooperate with the AU and regional organizations to develop programmes that could prevent the military from interfering with politics. Support the development of election management and election observation programmes, in collaboration with recognised regional training centres and institutions reputed for their acumen in designing and implementing such programmes. In this regard, the effective collaboration between ZIF, GIZ and KAIPTC can serve as a case study.
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GIZ Contribution To Democratic Electoral Processes in Africa

8. GIZ Contribution To Democratic Electoral Processes in Africa


8.1. African Union
IZ contributions to the electoral process within the African Union commenced effectively in April 2011 with the secondment of an Expert Adviser on Election Management Bodies (EMBs), to the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) of the Department of Political Affairs. The GIZ support is structured on one of the two core mandates of the DEAU which is: To promote and support democratic elections in Africa through the enhancement of national electoral processes of member states of the AU within a framework of technical assistance to EMBs in Africa. Since 2011, GIZ has provided funding and logistic supports to AU Commission in the following areas of intervention to enhance electoral processes in Member States : The creation and design of a Master Database of all EMBs in Africa to provide the DEAU an institutional reference and real time information in its engagement with EMBs Electoral Training of EMBs using the Building Resources for Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) curriculum. EMBs of seven (7) countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, Cote dIvoire and Kenya) have been trained and are being trained in different areas of electoral management in the 1st phase of the GIZ - funded African Union National BRIDGE Capacity building workshops for EMBs, which will be concluded in June 2013. In addition, the EMBs are also being trained as BRIDGE facilitators who can implement BRIDGE trainings on their own, and by June 2013, thirty (30) Staff of EMB from these 7 countries will become fully - accredited BRIDGE Facilitators. This programme is aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of staff of EMBs in the management of the electoral process as well as building the capacity of the EMBs themselves in delivering trainings internally using the most comprehensive electoral curriculum - BRIDGE.

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African Union Addis Ababa / AU

Establishment of a Pan-African Electoral Institute that will award full Masters Degree Certificates in Electoral Management. This is a programme geared towards the formalization and institutionalization of standards for electoral training in Africa that will present EMBs the option of qualified and world class human resources for staffing purposes. Presently, an initial feasibility study has been commissioned on establishment of the institute, which will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world.) Post-Election Audit Workshops/Forums designed to take stock of how EMBs performed in previous elections in order to identify challenges faced, best practices as well as chart the way forward. It also includes a mechanism to conduct legislative assessment of the Legal Frameworks for Elections in Member States that have ratified the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance so as to determine the level of domestication of the Charter in these member states. The first AU Post-Election Audit Forum will be conducted in 2013 for the ECOWAS Region in Abuja, Nigeria.

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GIZ Contribution To Democratic Electoral Processes in Africa

Provision of Short Term consultants on Electoral Management to EMBs on request. This is in line with the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which gives member states the right to request consultancy services from the Commission and mandates the Commission, through the DEAU, to provide such services to the requesting EMB. Introduction programme of the DEAU to record measurable impacts in member states that are emerging from conflict. It involves total logistic and technical support by the DEAU in accompanying electoral processes of member states undergoing reforms through provision of electoral materials, technical advice and deployment of expert personnel to the beneficiary EMB throughout the entire electoral cycle. DEAU, with the support of GIZ is presently engaging Guinea Bissau in this process with the collaboration of ECOWAS. The AU should also identify and investigate countries where such a threat may undermine the integrity of electoral processes should be identified and seriously investigated by the AU and other regional organizations.

8.2. East African Community

or the last 2 years, the GIZ Peace and Security Programme has supported the EAC Peace and Security section of the Secretariat in facilitating the implementing of activities in the areas of Conflict Early Warning and Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution of Conflicts. Being in its initial stages of getting protocols, strategies and implementation modalities drafted and approved by Partner States, the EAC Peace and Security section has worked closely with GIZ-EAC Peace and Security program in getting all the necessary documents and legal frameworks in place. Currently, the GIZ-EAC Programme on Peace and Security is exploring new areas of intervention, particularly with election related activities organized by the EAC Political Federation docket. In order to strengthen EAC electoral processes, GIZ has developed a work plan that includes : creating a forum for the five electoral commissions of each of the Partner States, through which their capacities will be enhanced, best practices and challenges shared in order to effectively and jointly address them.
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This will be done through a training workshop (October 2013) for officials of the electoral commissions, to result into a compilation of the lessons learned from the different elections that have taken place in the region. Exchange visits with other RECs will also be organized to enable officials of the different electoral commissions learn from each other and to see firsthand, how the different commissions operate, the laws and procedures that govern their operations, and how these compare to the rest of the commissions. GIZ-EAC Peace and Security Program has also planned to support election observation initiatives starting with the up-coming Parliamentary elections in Rwanda (September 2013). Among the activities to be conducted is the identification of 24 observers & training in the election observation. The trained observers will form the initial members of an election observation roaster, which will grow in number and calibre as more trainings and observations are conducted. Finally, an evaluation workshop will be held, to evaluate the Kenya and Rwanda elections, in order to identify lessons learned for future improvement of the electoral processes.

East African Community Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania / EAC


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8.3. Economic Community of West African States


ince 2004, GIZ has facilitated the professionalization of ECOWAS Election Observation Missions through supporting the training of experts at KAIPTC in close collaboration with the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Unit. The objective of the Election Observation Training is to provide participants with a realistic insight into the operational side of Election Observation Missions and to prepare them for the numerous challenges they might encounter in the field. The training also encourages participants to reflect on their mission readiness and equips them with a set of general skills required for working in an election observation environment. To date, close to 250 observers have been trained in cooperation with ECOWAS, of which approx. 40% have been deployed in ECOWAS Election Observation Missions. Currently, there are ongoing discussions between KAIPTC and ECOWAS to adapt the Election Observation Training to the needs of special groups of ECOWAS observers (e.g. Ambassadors) and thus develop new and abridged training modules in the future. In addition to the Election Observation Training, KAIPTC has also been supported to develop an Election Management course, which aims at enhancing the capacities of electoral stakeholders in managing electoral processes in Africa. At the level of the ECOWAS Commission, GIZ supports the professionalization of ECOWAS Election Observation missions by ensuring that trained KAIPTC experts are utilized and also assisting ECOWAS to establish a regional database of qualified election observers to improve the management of its missions.

ECOWAS Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria / ECOWAS


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8.4. Southern African Development Community


he GIZ-SADC Peace, Security and Good Governance Programme is supporting electoral processes through both state and non-state actors in the region. The core partner of the programme is the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. Within the cooperation support has also been extended to non-state regional actors. The GIZ-SADC Peace, Security and Good Governance Programme has supported the core partner, SADC Organ, in all its election observation missions since 2007, with the exception of the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe. The support provided to the SADC Organ ranges from technical advisory services to logistical support :

Close technical cooperation between GIZ staff and Organ staff responsible for electoral processes; Support to the establishment and current activities of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), a body responsible for all electoral issues at SADC and mandated to assess and advise member states on the state of democracy in the region; Through the support to SEAC, the programme has assisted in the revision of SADCs Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic elections, and the drafting of an Elections Observation Manual for SADC; The programme commissions papers for SEAC, providing a political and electoral analysis of countries going for elections; Support the training of election observers from the region, including civil society. Two kinds of training are supported -Training to increase the pool of trained observers in the region; and country specific training for observers, shortly prior to deployment in the host country holding elections;

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GIZ Contribution To Democratic Electoral Processes in Africa

Logistical support to SADC as an Elections Management Body during missions : flights & accommodation (only for SADC Organ staff), vehicles, car stickers, first aid kits, uniforms, conferencing facilities, and communication; Non-State Actors : SADC Council of NGOs logistical support and advisory services during actual election observation missions; training of observers; cooperation with other non-state actors on electoral processes; Catholic Bishops Conference IMBISA - election observation missions; training of Bishops in observation and monitoring of electoral environment in Zimbabwe; Silveira House support the promotion of a peaceful electoral environment by engaging with the Youth, Media and Security Sector in Zimbabwe, bringing together stakeholders; SADC Electoral Support Network election observation mission; BRIDGE courses for members; Electoral Commissions Forum ECF supported the printing of ECFs constitution and the Principles for Election Management Monitoring and Observation (PEMMO), workshops; SADC Parliamentary Forum SADC PF elections observation mission.

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Conclusion

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9. Conclusion
his paper has explored the accepted standards for democratic elections in Africa and looked into the hindrances that impede the effective implementation of these. It has similarly considered the difficulties preventing various stakeholders from contributing effectively to the fostering of democratic processes on the continent. Moreover the paper has highlighted, based on examples from the region, that the adoption of undemocratic and exclusionary approaches to governance frustrate the implementation of these standards for democratic elections, thereby thwarting the gains that should inure to the benefit of the citizenry. Beyond this, it is also indubitable that although the AU and its regional blocs have put in place some good principles to harmonise standards for democratic elections, most member states, have not shown enough commitment to customising the core principles of these instruments into their national laws. Where attempts have been made at infusing these standards into national electoral laws, the evidence on the ground demonstrates a nexus between that commitment and an improvement in the conduct of relatively successful and peaceful elections. However, in member states where the core principles of these election standards have been abused or violated, elections do have the tendency to lead to a breakdown in governance and development. Although development partners have contributed a lot in terms of supporting advocacy to establish and ratify such laws, the fact that some key stakeholders have been less than committed to implementing them requires a change in approach. Effective strategies need to be developed and supported to sensitize stakeholders on existing frameworks. Development partners must look beyond only supporting the development of such frameworks at the regional and/or continental level and take a deeper look into how relevant stakeholders can be assisted to sensitise citizens on the principles of democratic elections and empowering relevant actors to hold governments accountable for implementing existing frameworks/mechanisms. It is only if this gap between existing policies and implementation on the ground is closed, that Africa can take that important step towards ensuring stability and making democratic governance work for its people.

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Bibliography

Bibliography
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007) African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981) AU Constitutive Act (2000) Chege, Michael, Political Parties in EAST Africa, Stockholm, International IDEA, 2007) Chiroro, Bertha, Political Parties and Democratic Governance: South Africa and Zimbabwe, Paper presented at the UNISA Africa Day Conference, University of South Africa, Pretoria, 2 June 2005 ECOWAS Declaration of Principles Governing Democratic Elections (2002) ECOWAS Handbook on Election Observation. Edward R. McMahon, The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance- A Positive Step on a Long Path, Open Society Institute, May 2007 Election-related Disputes and Political Violence- Strengthening the Rule of the African Union in Preventing and Resolving Conflict. Report of the Panel of the Wise, International Peace Institute, July 2010 Heywood, A., Politics, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1998 International IDEA, Electoral Management Design, Stockholm, The International IDEA Handbook, 2006 Gledhill, John, Power and its disguises-Anthropological perspectives on politics, 2nd edition, 2000, Pluto Press, London Kadima, Denis, South African Country Report based on Research and Dialogue with Political Parties, Stockholm, International IDEA, 2006 Political parties in Africa, Challenges for Sustained multi-party Democracy, Stockholm, International IDEA, 2007 Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol Relating to the Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (2001) SADC Parliamentary Election Observation Mission to Mozambique: Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial elections, October 2009 SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2004). SADC Election Observation Mission to Tanzania General Elections (2010), Preliminary Report. Sowatey, Emmanuel Addo, Ghanas Electoral Experience: Strategies and mechanisms for Trust and Confidence Building Treaty Establishing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1992 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (1999) United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
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Current Members of Elections Working Group

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Current Members of Elections Working Group


1. Kenneth Abotsi (KAIPTC, Ghana) - Coordinator 2. Kelechi Akubueze (AUC, Ethiopia) 3. Sophia Gallina (SADC, Botswana) 4. Volker Moenikes (SADC, Botswana) 5. Liliane Ntibahezwa (SPAI/PAP, South Africa) 6. Nana Odoi (KAIPTC, Ghana) 7. Camilla Preller (FlexiFund, Zimbabwe) 8. David Robert (CEMAC, CAR) 9. Adane Ghebremeskel (SADC,Botswana) 10. Miriam Heidtmann (EAC, Tanzania) 11. Eva Diehl (AUC, Ethiopia) 12. Katrin Freitag (AUC, Ethiopia) 13. Venelina Gancheva (EAC, Tanzania) 14. Peace Uwineza (EAC, Tanzania)

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Brief - Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa (GGA)

Brief
Sector Network Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa (GGA)
his is GIZs platform for knowledge management, horizontal and vertical learning as well as joint conceptual work between governance programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Around 365 GIZ experts from 60 member programmes make use of the GGA to share their knowledge and experiences within the African governance reform architecture. The 60 member programmes support governance reform processes on sub-national, national, regional (Regional Economic Communities) and continental level (African Union). Hence, governance reform processes are directly supported in 31 Sub-Saharan African countries via cooperation on country level, yet all 53 African Union member states are covered through the regional and continental support approach.Based on a thematic division of GIZs Governance Support Portfolio in Africa, the GGA consists of 4 Thematic Clusters created around the thematic areas of Decentralisation, Democracy & Rule of Law, Good Financial & Resource Governance and the Governance of Regional & Continental Integration. Within those clusters 14 Working Groups have been formed. The Elections Working Group belongs to the Governance of Regional and Continental Integration Cluster and has the core objective of increasing cooperation and utilization of lessons learnt between the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and Member States in the area of elections.