2011 Central African Republic Elections: Election Observer Mission Arrival statement

Bangui, 21 January 2011

EISA is pleased to announce the deployment of its Election Observer Mission to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) scheduled to take place on Sunday, 23 January 2011.

Led by Dr. Samuel Azu'u FONKAM, Chairperson of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the Mission consists of 26 members essentially drawn from election management bodies and civil society organisations (CSOs) across the African continent, namely from Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Togo.

The overall objective of the Mission is in line with EISA's vision of promoting credible elections and democratic governance in Africa. Prior to the current mission, EISA deployed a Pre-election Assessment Mission in Bangui from 06 to 12 March 2010, followed by another mission that observed operations related to the registration of voters from 23 October to 20 November 2010. The reports resulting from these missions can be accessed at www.eisa.org.za. Furthermore, a team of long-term observers has been on the ground since 08 January 2011 and will remain in the CAR till 10 February 2011.

The specific purpose of the EISA's Election Observer Mission is to assess whether the organisation of presidential and parliamentary elections of 23 January 2011 is line with international standards for credible elections; including the African Union Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections and Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO), developed under the auspices of EISA and the Electoral Commissions' Forum of SADC (ECF SADC).

Members of the Mission started arriving in Bangui on Sunday, 16 January 2011. Pre-deployment briefing sessions for the Mission were held on 19 and 20 January 2011; thereafter teams of observers were deployed throughout the country from 21 January 2011.

The EISA Mission has deployed a total of 10 teams of observers, including three teams in Bangui and seven teams in the following cities and provinces: Bambari (Ouaka), M'Baiki (Lobaye), Batangafo (Ouham), Sibut (Kemo), Kaga Bandoro (Nana Gribizi), Berberati (Mambere Kadei) and Nola (Sangha Mbaere).

These observer teams are expected to meet with the main stakeholders involved in the current electoral process, including the Independent Electoral Commission at both national and local levels, candidates running in the various elections, representatives of political parties and CSOs, as well as the diplomatic community in the CAR.

The EISA Mission will remain in the country until 28 January 2011, after observing the concluding stages of the electoral campaign, the voting and counting processes, as well as post-polling activities.

After the polls, all the teams will reconvene in Bangui for debriefing sessions during which observations and information received by the teams on the ground will be analysed. An interim statement will be issued thereafter, expressing the Mission's preliminary observations, conclusions, and recommendations on the electoral process.

EISA will maintain its presence in the CAR through its team of long-term observers, who will remain in the country until the announcement of official results of the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections by the relevant authorities, as prescribed by law.

At the end of the process, EISA will compile and publish a final comprehensive report which will include all the observations and findings of the different missions and recommendations aimed at contributing eventually, to the improvement of future elections in the CAR. The report will be an objective and exhaustive assessment of the electoral process, on the basis of universally accepted principles and norms to which the CAR is subscribed.

The EISA Mission is committed to working closely with all the relevant Central African stakeholders and other election observer groups and to acting in an impartial, objective and transparent way at all stages of the electoral process.

Dr Samuel Azu'u FONKAM, Chairperson, Elections Cameroon (ELECAM)
Mission Leader