Support to the African Union observation missions

EISA has worked with the African Union (AU) since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with it in 2007 (see Partnerships).

By supporting AU Election Observation Missions (AUEOMs) EISA, through its Elections and Political Processes (EPP) department, seeks to contribute to improving its election observation and so promote credible democratic elections on the continent as mandated by the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Pre-election Assessment Mission reports (PAM) have informed the deployment of EOMs, while the Popola data management system has been used to collect data from the field, and collate and anaylise them wherever possible.

2020

AUEOMs: Ghana, Central African Republic and Niger

Dec 2020

In December, EISA provided technical support to AUEOMs in Ghana, Central African Republic (first round) and Niger (first round).

For all these missions, EISA facilitated pre-deployment training of AU observers, trained observers in the EISA Popola data management system and on how to use the tablets to gather and transmit the data recorded. EISA collated and analysed the data and supported the AUEOM report drafting team. To the Niger and Ghana missions, the teams included a media consultant who supported the public profiling of the EOMs. The AU was not able to use the EISA Popola data management system in CAR due to poor network coverage. In the Republic of Congo, the team had to revert to the use of manual forms despite deploying tablets to the field due to internet shut down instituted by the government on the eve of the election.

EISA held three consultative meetings with the AU's Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) technical team to continue with evaluation of activities conducted, and laid out expectations for the coming months.

Knowledge production: Manuals and documents

EISA contributed to several AU election related manuals and documents. This includes the development of the "African Union Guidelines for Elections during COVID-19 and other Public Health Emergencies" manual. The manual is being drafted in collaboration with the AU, Africa Centre for Disease Control, and International IDEA. The EPP department has contributed three chapters in this manual that will be shared with Election Management Bodies in African countries.

EISA also completed the review of the AU handbook on long-term election observation and the Aide Memoire for Heads of Missions. The two manuals have been sent to the AU for feedback before finalising.

AUEOMs: Comoros, Cameroon, Togo and Guinea

Jan-Feb 2020

EISA coordinated the deployment of EISA technical support teams to the AUEOMs deployed in Comoros (January 2020), Cameroon (February 2020), Togo (February 2020), and Guinea Conakry (February 2020).

As in all AU Technical Support Missions (TSMs) the scope of activities included training observers, technical support on the use of smart tablets (except for Togo where the network was poor and the possibility of internet cut offs by the government existed), statement and report drafting, publicity and profiling.

PAMs: Namibia, Togo and Egypt

Jan-Feb 2020

The EPP department coordinated the deployment of PAMs to Namibia (November 2020) and Togo (February 2020). A PAM to Egypt scheduled for March 2020 could not be completed due to challenges in finding a local partner to assist with visa facilitation.

2019

EISA renews MoU with AU in 2019
EISA renews its MoU with the African Union

Nov 2019

EISA's first MoU with the AU was signed in 2008, since then the MoU has been renewed twice. A three-person EISA delegation was dispatched to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the new MoU was signed on 22 November 2019. The next phase of EISA's partnership with the AU will be in place for the next three years.

The MoU covers the following areas of mutual interest:

  • election assessment, support to Election Management Bodies and electoral stakeholders, prevention and resolution of election-related conflict; and
  • support to political parties and other democratic governance institutions.
AUEOMs: Tunisia, Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Guinea Bissau

Sep-Dec 2019

EISA coordinated the deployment of EISA technical support teams to the AUEOMs deployed in Tunisia, Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Guinea Bissau. The scope of EISA's support to these AUEOMs varied in each country but covered training of observers, technical support on use of smart tablets, report drafting, publicity and profiling. Although the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) did not officially request the deployment of an EISA team to Mozambique and Tunisia because an EISA EOM was deployed in both countries, the coordinator of the AU assessment team sought EISA's advisory support during the planning phase of the AU TAM in Tunisia and in Mozambique, EISA deployed an expert from its EOM to support the AUEOM.

Approval for the full transfer of EISA's Popola data management system received

Based on EISA's 2018 advisory memo on the transfer of the Popola data management system, the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) received approval for the full transfer of the system onto the AU Commission server from the AU ICT department. EISA commenced discussions with the technical service providers and will complete the transfer at the end of 2019.

AUEOMs: South Africa, Malawi and Mauritania

Sep-Nov 2019

The EPP department coordinated the deployment of EISA technical support teams to the AUEOMs deployed in South Africa (May 2019), Malawi (May 2019), and Mauritania (June 2019). The AU requested EISA's support in Madagascar, but the mission was cancelled after the EISA team's arrival.

The scope of EISA's support to these AUEOMs varied in the countries but covered training of observers, technical support on use of smart tablets, report drafting, publicity and profiling.

Draft AU-EISA MoU and Terms of Reference for secondment of experts submitted

Jun 2019

Based on the outcome of the evaluation mentioned below, EISA was invited by the AU to submit a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commence the process of renewal of the MoU which ended in June 2019. The AU Commission's decision is pending the MoU being reviewed by its Department of Legal Affairs. EISA also submitted draft Terms of Reference for two experts who will be expected to provide on-site support to the AU's DEAU and its Department of Political Affairs (DPA). These experts will be expected to support the AU Commission in electoral support and political party support.

EISA is also awaiting feedback on the Terms of Reference so that the appointments can be finalised.

AU-EISA partnership evaluation report submitted

Jun 2019

The team of evaluators contracted by EISA submitted the final report of the performance evaluation of EISA's partnership with the AU in April 2019 to the AU Commission. With the feedback received two months later, EISA submitted a revised final report to the AU Commission in June 2019.

Evaluation of AU-EISA partnership conducted

Mar 2019

As part of the procedures for renewal of its MoU with the AU, EISA commissioned a performance evaluation of its MoU with the AU. The evaluators visited the AU and EISA donors in Addis from 11-15 March 2019. Consultations with other respondents were conducted remotely. The final report of the evaluation is expected to be submitted in April 2019.

Pan-African Parliament technical partners' meeting

6 Mar 2019

An EISA Programme Manager attended a partnership meeting hosted by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Johannesburg on 6 March 2019. The meeting sought to gather technical partners providing support to PAP in various sectors and to revisit current and former partnerships.

This event accorded EISA a further opportunity to recommit itself to strengthening its partnership with PAP through the signing of a second partnership agreement. EISA and PAP signed the initial MoU in 2007.

AUEOMs: Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Comoros

Feb/Mar 2019

The EPP department coordinated the deployment of EISA technical support teams to AUEOMs in Nigeria (February 2019), Senegal (February 2019), Guinea Bissau (March 2019) and Comoros (March 2019). The technical teams facilitated the pre-deployment training of AU observers on the use of the smart tablets and the front-end of the data collection system, provided technical support on the use of the tablets for data collection, transmission and analysis on AUEOMs, managed the election data collection and analysis system and supported core teams with the drafting of the preliminary statements. The teams also provided support with public profiling of AUEOMs in the media in host countries. EISA's support to the AUEOM in Nigeria was restricted to the use of the smart tablets and the management of the election data collection and analysis system. This was done at the request of the AU's Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the AU Commission.

2018

AUEOMs: Sierra Leone, DRC and Madagascar

EISA coordinated the deployment of EISA technical support teams to AUEOMs deployed in Sierra Leone (February to April), the DRC (December) and Madagascar (November/December 2018).

The technical support teams facilitated the pre-deployment training of AU observers, provided technical support in the use of smart tablets for data collection and analysis and supported the report drafting team. The teams included a media consultant who supported the public profiling of the EOMs.

Prof John Stremlau (EISA Board Member, right) and AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, HE Minata Samate Cassouma and Prof Khabele Matlosa
Courtesy visit to the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs

16 Nov 2018

Within the framework of its partnership with the AU, a delegation from EISA paid a courtesy visit to the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Ambassador Cessouma Samate on Friday 16 of November 2018. This was the first official visit paid by EISA to Ambassador Cessouma Samate since her appointment as Commissioner for Political Affairs.

The EISA delegation was led by Professor John Stremlau, an EISA Board Member. Other members of the delegation were Denis Kadima, Executive Director, Ilona Tip, Operations Director and Olufunto Akinduro, Right to Left: Olufunto Akinduro (Head Elections and Political Processes), Ilona Tip (Ops Director), Denis Kadima (ED), Prof John Stremlau (EISA Board Member), AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, HE Minata Samate Cassouma and Prof Khabele Matlosa Head of Elections and Political Processes.

The meeting provided a platform for EISA to kick-start discussions with the political leadership of the AU's Department of Political Affairs (DPA) on the renewal of the its MoU which ends in June 2019, and to seek assurances that the implementation of the work plan that was jointly agreed during the meeting of the technical teams will commence in August 2018.

Training workshops on EOM reporting

2-5 May 2018

EISA experts co-facilitated two training workshops on AUEOM reporting in Addis Ababa from 2-5 May 2018. These workshops contributed to building the capacity of AU core teams and to long-term knowledge transfer to personnel. EISA contributed to discussions about the consolidation and improvement of the structure and content of AUEOM outputs, including weekly reports, statements, and final reports.

2017

AUEOM to Equatorial Guinea

Nov 2017

An EISA technical team was deployed to support the AUEOM in Equatorial Guinea. EISA did not provide media support to the mission nor did it use the EISA Popola data management system because of the country's closed political space. This strengthened the capacity of the AU to support the electoral process in Equatorial Guinea through the formulation of key recommendations to national stakeholders.

2016

Long-term observation capacity building

Apr-Jun 2021

EISA co-facilitated a series of training workshops organised by the African Union. These included a training of trainers of long-term observers, conducted in French from 20-30 April 2016; a political and media expert workshop, conducted in English from 23-27 May 2016; and a political and media expert workshop conducted in French from 28 May - 2 June 2016. EISA thus contributed once more to increasing the pool of key people with specialised expertise to be deployed on AU long-term missions, and so to the conduct of professional and credible election assessment by the AU.

2015

AUEOMs: Sudan, Togo, Benin and Ethiopia

Through its partnership with the AU Commission, EISA contributed to the quality of technical assessments conducted by AUEOMs during this review period. EISA technical teams were deployed to all AU Election Observation Missions (AUEOMs), namely:

  • 13-16 April general elections in Sudan
  • 25 April presidential election in Togo
  • 26 April national assembly elections in Benin
  • 24 May national assembly election in Ethiopia

EISA furthermore provided technical support on the use of technology to the AUEOMs in Benin and Ethiopia. The use of handheld tablets for election day data collection and real time data analysis added value to the quality of the assessment done by these missions, for the quality and credibility of the statements and reports from these AUEOMs were enhanced by verifiable quantitative statistics. Unfortunately, EISA was unable to provide support on the use of technology to the AUEOM in Togo as the Togolese customs confiscated the handheld tablets at the airport. The AUEOMs have benefited from the use of tablets enabling the AU to provide immediate and up to date election information.

EISA also contributed to the publicity and profiling of the AUEOM in Benin by deploying a media consultant as part of its technical support team. Media consultants were not deployed in Togo and Sudan as the AU Commission deployed communication officers as part of their coordination teams.

2014

EISA's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the AU renewed

9 Jun 2014

The renewal of EISA's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the AU Commission marked an additional milestone for the partnership that was initiated in 2008. The MoU was renewed for another five years at a signing ceremony in Addis Ababa on 9 June 2014.

AUEOMs to 12 countries supported

EISA technical support teams were deployed to AUEOMs deployed to the following countries: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa and Tunisia. EISA staff attached to AUEOMs provided technical advice to the Mission coordination team; facilitated the observer briefing and orientation sessions; supported the use of technology by AUEOMs; contributed to public relations by the AUEOMs; and supported the drafting of key AUEOM statements and reports.

Popola data management system introduced

In line with EISA's contribution to improving the observation methodology of the AU, EISA introduced the Popola data management system for data collection and analysis. Following the successful conduct of a first pilot test in the use of this technology during the tripartite elections in Malawi, full scale tests were undertaken in Mozambique and Namibia. The use of the tablets made collection and analysis of election day data efficient and timely. The quantitative data collected using the tablets further improved the reporting of the AUEOM.

Workshops for long-term observers and for election and legal experts

EISA co-facilitated two training workshops for AU long-term observers (LTOs) and two training workshops for AU election and legal experts. Through these workshops, EISA contributed to the development of a pool of AU LTOs and experts who will in future serve as core team members on AUEOMs. The linguistic diversity of EISA staff enabled it to deploy Anglophone, Lusophone, and Francophone trainers to cater for the needs of specific groups of AU observers and experts. The manual was published in English and the French and Portuguese versions will be available in early 2015.

2013

Support to 14 AUEOMs

EISA continued to provide technical support to the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) of the AU Commission in the field of election assessment. EISA deployed technical assistance teams to support all the 14 EOMs deployed by the AU in 2013. Each EISA team provided technical advice to the EOM coordination team, facilitated the observer briefing and orientation sessions and supported the report drafting committees on these AUEOMs.

Beyond the deployment of EISA technical staff, the EISA teams also included a media consultant, who were responsible for the EOM's publicity. Media consultants included in the EISA teams in elections were considered critical in enhancing the visibility of the AUEOMs, which is critical in spreading good electoral practices on the continent.

Long-term observation capacity building

The AU launched a long-term election observation during the March 2013 Kenyan elections. EISA contributed to the refining of the AU's election observation methodology through its participation in a validation workshop for its long-term observation methodology held in Johannesburg on 30 April and 1 May 2013. EISA also contributed to a methodology review workshop held in Addis in August 2013 at which the methodology for data collection was reviewed. EISA contributed to the development of a new set of checklists for use by AU observers.

2012

AUEOMs: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya and Sierra Leone

In 2012 EISA's experts provided technical assistance to the AU elections observer missions in Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya and Sierra Leone.

2011

EISA Manager Dieudonne Tshiyoyo with former Presidents Carter and Kufuor during the African Union observer mission to the January 2011 referendum in South Sudan
AUEOMs: Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia

EISA support essentially consisted of training of observers and providing technical assistance to the observer missions' secretariats. It is worth noting that PAP EOMs have now been integrated into AUEOMs. In 2011 EISA seconded its experts to the African Union (AU) election observer missions to Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia as well as during the self-determination referendum in South Sudan.

After successfully partnering in election observation, the AU and EISA resolved to work together in all national elections taking place on the continent from 2012 onwards. This arrangement substantially widened the EISA's geographical coverage.

Broadening the pool of observers

EISA also assisted the AU in increasing its pool of observers through conducting training workshops in Gabon in July 2011 for observers drawn from Central and West Africa and in November 2011 in Tunisia for observers drawn from North Africa. The training in Tunisia was the first of its kind for the Maghreb countries and introduced the participants from North Africa to international best practices in electoral observation.

Election Observation Manual finalised

EISA also finalised the draft Election Observation Manual following the AU's DEAU's approval.

2010

EISA continued to provide support to the African Union in election observation. This support materialised in two ways: support provided to the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU ) of the African Union Commission and technical assistance and expertise provided to the African Union election observer missions during their deployment.

Manuals developed

In partnership with the Carter Center (TCC) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), EISA developed two manuals for the AU's DEAU . The first was designed as a training manual for the AU observers, whereas the second manual focused on the training of DEAU staff in election observer missions' management and coordination.

Orientation workshops on election observation methodology

A second series of orientation workshops on election observation methodology was conducted for the AU election observers in Dakar, Senegal, from 1 to 3 March 2010, facilitated jointly by EISA, IFES and TCC for DEAU.

2009

EISA continued to provide technical assistance to the African Union and the Pan-African Parliament. The assistance consisted of facilitating a training programme on election observation and providing technical assistance in coordinating and managing the Pan-African Parliament's election observer mission to Namibia. Furthermore, EISA, in partnership with the Carter Centre (TCC), held the first of a series of training workshops on election observation methodology for 44 African Union election observers in Kenya in September 2009.

2008

Based on the Memoranda of Understanding signed with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the African Union Commission respectively, EISA provided technical support to the two Pan-African bodies.

Support to the Pan-African Parliament

EISA continued to provide technical assistance to PAP's Secretariat in election observation, facilitating a training programme in election observation, the establishment of an election unit and logistical and technical assistance in coordinating and managing PAP's election observer missions to Zimbabwe, Angola, Swaziland and Ghana.

Training was administered to PAP Members of Parliament who were subsequently deployed to observe elections in the countries mentioned above. In Ghana, the staff from PAP were able to organise an election observer mission with limited technical support from EISA. This is an achievement for EISA as the purpose of engaging with PAP was to ensure skills transfer to PAP support staff and members.

Support to the African Union Commission

EISA also provided direct technical support to the African Union in deploying an observer mission to Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, EISA, in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and The Carter Center (TCC), took the first steps in supporting the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) of the African Union Commission. The support involved compiling a database of election experts and electoral institutions in Africa, producing a manual for DEAU staff on organising election observer missions and compiling handbooks for the training of election observers.

2007

Support to the Pan-African Parliament

A broad Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Pan-African Parliament, after which EISA provided technical assistance to PAP Secretariat in election observation. The assistance consisted of the conception and administration of a training programme in election observation, the establishment of an election unit and logistical as well as technical assistance in coordinating and managing the first ever PAP election observer mission, which was to Kenya. The training was administered to PAP MPs who would be deployed to observe various elections on the continent.

Support to the African Union Commission

The African Union Commission and EISA agreed to the text of an MoU providing for a wide range of areas where the two institutions can forge partnerships aimed at promoting democracy, good governance and credible elections on the continent. EISA assisted the African Union in deploying observation missions to Sierra Leone and Togo.