Senior officials from three regional blocs observing elections in Uganda have underscored the value of jointly observing elections in Africa, saying that it is one of the most effective ways of promoting integration.
The first ever regional joint observer mission comprises of the East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), was launched in Kampala over the weekend.
They are in Uganda to observe the February 18, Presidential election.
Beatrice Kiraso, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), described the joint efforts as one way of stopping developed countries from getting involved in governance issues on the continent.
“Time has come for Africans to take their destiny into their own hands,” Kiraso said.
“Short of that, we will not be able to eliminate the big-brother-syndrome which LDCs have suffered for decades because of economic dependence; we find our hands tied when there is interference in our governance issues.”
The joint observer mission is running under the Regional Political Integration and Human Security Support Programme (RPIHSP), supported by the European Union.
She added that by jointly observing elections, African countries are attempting to integrate the processes and outcomes in order to initiate common strategies to address common challenges that have an impact to regional integration.
Mahaboub Maalim, the Chief Executive of IGAD said that by the three blocs jointly observing elections, it adds credibility to the final outcome of results.
“What we are doing by this mission, is to demonstrate to the world that the region is united with the aim of ensuring peace. Also united to demonstrate the integrity of our regional blocs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of delegation of the European Union to Uganda, Dr. Roberto Ridolfi, held talks with Kiraso in which the two discussed issues pertaining to the EAC regional integration and the support the EU was extending to EAC regional initiatives.