Malawi: Citizen observation

2008


Workshop on communication systems and regional standards

Jul & Nov 2008

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

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

2005


Civic traning and election observation by CSOs in the SADC

EPP has contributed to enhancing the capacity of civil society organisations in the region to plan and conduct election-related activities such as civic and voter education and election observation. Each of the networks that EPP has worked with was able to develop good quality training manuals for civic and voter education and/or for election observation.

They were also able to plan, assemble and deploy professionally sound domestic election observation missions. These organisations have become bolder in their approach to election monitoring and their increasingly effective participation in election reform debates. All those domestic civil society organisations which directly benefited from rinciples for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO) training have used it in designing their election observation checklists as well as training their observers. This has led to a great deal of incorporation of PEMMO principles into the actual work of domestic observer groups. Indeed, the signs are that most of the election stakeholders in the region are aware of the principles and some have started to incorporate it into manuals, training materials and assessment tools. A wave of electoral reforms will hopefully close the circle by ensuring that the benchmarks set in PEMMO influence new laws positively.

2004


Technical Financial support to election observation

EISA has been able to provide technical and financial support to civil society actors in Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique to ensure their participation in observing elections in their respective countries. The rationale is to ensure the existence of strong civil society whilst promoting the use of PEMMO as the election assessment tool by domestic groups. EISA believes that locally-based organisations are best placed to ensure the entrenchment of the election principles espoused by PEMMO.

Under this project, EISA helped many civil society actors design training material, took part in training observers and assisted them with the logistical and substantive arrangements of the actual observation exercise, as well as reporting on their observations. Aside from the contribution to designing material and training trainers for the South African elections, as a member of the national South African Civil Society Observation Coalition, EISA provided office space and jointly co-ordinated Gauteng observers with the South African Council of Churches.

Financial support to election observation in Mozambique Malawi, Botswana and Namibia

EISA has been able to provide technical and financial support to civil society actors in to ensure their participation in observing elections in their respective countries. The rationale is to ensure the existence of strong civil society whilst promoting the use of PEMMO as the election assessment tool by domestic groups. EISA believes that locally-based organisations are best placed to ensure the entrenchment of the election principles espoused by PEMMO.

Under this project, EISA helped many civil society actors design training material, took part in training observers and assisted them with the logistical and substantive arrangements of the actual observation exercise, as well as reporting on their observations. Aside from the contribution to designing material and training trainers for the South African elections, as a member of the national South African Civil Society Observation Coalition, EISA provided office space and jointly co-ordinated Gauteng observers with the South African Council of Churches.

2003


Conflict Management, Democracy and Electoral Education

During 2003 EISA's Conflict Management, Democracy and Electoral Education (CMDEE) worked with civil society organisations in Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique. Two representatives from each country attended a "Designing Democracy, Voter Education and Human Rights" capacity building programme at EISA in Johannesburg in January 2003. During 2003 participants were provided with the opportunity to pilot the programmes they dveloped with input and support from EISA.

In anticipation of 10 SADC elections scheduled in 2004/5, CMDEE collaborated with civil society organisations in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana to strategise and identify relevant areas of itervention by civil society. Planning woorkshops were convened and discussions held with CSO networks in these countries from which emerged interest in about citizen participation eduction, women's political empowerment and citizen observation initiatives.

CMEE also collaborated with the University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights in the Centre's "Election Observation Training" programme conducted f19-30 May 2003 which drew participants from across Africa.

Towards the end of 2003 these type of activities were transfered from CMEE to EPP.