Regional heads of electoral bodies who were meeting yesterday in Dar es Salaam for the third EAC forum of National Electoral Commissions (NEC) agreed to formulate a permanent team of observers to monitor regional elections.
According to Charles Munyaneza, the Executive Secretary of NEC, the EAC Secretariat has been using an ad hoc team of observers.
“The electoral observers that have been conducting elections in the region have not been permanent, so a new team will be composed of trained professionals to monitor all the elections in regional countries” he said.
Munyaneza noted that participants at the forum highlighted the harmonisation of electoral laws, adding that the process is expected to start after the political federation is in place.
Speaking at the forum, Beatrice Kiraso, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), emphasised the importance of electoral processes as a basis for prudent democracy and a key pillar of good governance in the EAC protocol.
“Elections can be a tool for stability and development while on the contrary, they can be a cause of instability and violence, depending on how they are conducted,” she said.
Munyaneza further disclosed that they exchanged experiences on emerging issues and best practices in conducting free, fair and credible elections in the region.
Meanwhile, the regional heads of electoral commissions commended Rwanda’s electoral commission for its innovativeness, citing the example of using volunteers as a way of reducing the cost of the polls.
“All participants hailed our use of volunteers in elections instead of spending more money on hiring experts. They were surprised and promised to adopt this mechanism in their countries,” Munyaneza said.
NEC chairman, Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa, headed Rwanda’s delegation to the forum.