The Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation of the East African Community (EAC) Beatrice Kiraso has called on partner states to have similar electoral periods, saying this will lead to the smooth running of the regional bloc’s affairs.
“Right now the elections in different countries take place at different times and almost bring work of the Community to a stand-still, because the quorum of EAC meetings is the presence of all Partner States,” a press statement quotes Kiraso as saying yesterday in Arusha, Tanzania.
She told journalists who had sought her positions on the progress of the EAC Electoral Support Mission that the election period can only be harmonized if Partner States allow a “give and take” that may require one or two countries to have a longer term to catch up with the others.
“We may have to accommodate this nightmare until the time when the Political Federation is established, because then there will be one East African Constitution,” she remarked.
Kiraso added that the EAC also intends to move from conventional election observer missions to election monitoring.
The EAC official added that this will entail long term activities to be looked into, adding that electioneering is more than mere casting of ballots on the voting day.
“It involves voter registration, civic education, ensuring the right material is in the right places and at the right time. The process needs to be monitored during counting, tallying, announcing of results and even up to swearing-in of successful candidates,” the Deputy Secretary General added.
The commitment is in line with the regional bloc’s policy on upholding its fundamental principles which include Democracy, Rule of Law, Protection of Human Rights, Accountability, Transparency and Equal Opportunities, among others.
This year, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania will hold elections. Uganda will follow in 2011 while Kenyans will be casting their ballot in 2012.