Tuesday, April 20, 2010

East Africa Election Monitoring Process Roundtable held in Nairobi

Julius,James and John from KRC,RWECO CU and RIC-NET represented Rwenzori region at he East Africa Election Process Monitoring Workshop was held at the Ndemi Place, Ndemi Road off Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Workshop was organised as the first in a sequel of proposed round table discussions, to provide a platform for engaging the upcoming elections processes in the East Africa region. Rwanda and Tanzania will hold elections in August and October 2010 respectively while Uganda will follow in 2011 and Kenya in 2012. The Workshop therefore brought together HIVOS partners and other interested parties to map out common interests and concerns; outline possible interventions and strategies; and formulate roadmaps through which each stakeholder could engage in the elections processes. Of particular importance to the Workshop was appropriate and innovative ways of using ICTs as tools for effective monitoring and management of the elections processes.

Tamme Hansma the HIVOS Programme Officer, Human Rights and Democratisation (East Africa) made a few opening remarks. After introductions, the Facilitator, Ms Koki Muli gave an overview of the electoral cycle and process, which essentially set the pace and parameters for the Workshop. Jenny de Boer of TNO ICT, Tanya Notley of Tactical Tech, Ezekiel Massanja of LHRC, Reinier Battenberg of Fruits of Thought and Erik Hersman of Ushahidi made presentations on the work of their respective organisations. During plenary discussions and group work sessions, Participants were able to engage with the presenters, the presentations and with one another thus enriching the Workshop’s outcomes.

The Workshop was closed by Ms Will Janssen, HIVOS Representative.

The Workshop was facilitated by Ms Koki Muli while Ms Njeri Kang’ethe recorded the proceedings. Participants were drawn from HIVOS’ Partners and other interested parties and senior HIVOS’ staff.

Some of the outcomes of the Workshop were the strategies that were formulated by the Participants; and which to a great extent, informed the country action plans/roadmaps.

These strategies were:-
For every country, voter education must be a key intervention at every phase of the electoral cycle/process.

Law/Policy Reforms – points of entry must be found for each country e.g. Tanzania review process, Kenya Constitutional Review/Boundaries etc.

Whilst use of donors’ resources e.g. databases is encouraged, CSOs must maintain their autonomy.

Ways must be sought to collaborate with election management bodies to ensure co-operation and avenues of building on synergies rather than working at cross purposes.

CSOs must employ innovative ways of inspecting voter registration, e.g. sampling, collateral surveys.

A comprehensive, sustainable monitoring process that includes conduct of the media, politicians, voters themselves and other stakeholders should be put in place.
For every country a contingency plan should be put in place to deal with what ifs of an election, e.g., parallel votes.

Ways and means should be sought to formulate citizens’ manifesto for every country.

Ways and means of owning means of independent opinion polls should be sought.

There is need to establish a regional steering committee that coordinates the commonalities of the strategies arrived at; lessons learnt, etc. This should be replicated at the national level so that CSOs speak with one voice.

At the close of the Workshop that run from Thursday 4th – Friday 5th March 2010,, each country roadmaps were in place and the Participants had already diarised plans of action. Ms Will Janssen, HIVOS regional representative, offered the option that HIVOS will provide staff input to assist in keeping the momentum going.

This Report is a summary of the proceedings and key outcomes of the Workshop.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Greetings from the Rwenzori region, and updates on the planned citizens based action on elections monitoring process.

Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence (RWECO) has been joined by Kabarole Resource and Research Centre and Rwenzori Anticorruption Coalition to form an elections process monitoring platform that will monitor the electoral process in all the districts of the Rwenzori region (Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kamwenge and Kyenjojo (and the new creations thereof)).This brings a total of 77 sub counties (and new creations thereof) and about 1500 polling stations.

Amongst themselves RWECO and her partners already have a total of 700 grassroots monitors in all the sub counties of the mentioned Districts who are tracking service delivery and holding leaders accountable. These will be mobilized and additional 800 more recruited so each polling station is overseen by a monitor over the entire period of the electoral process (voter registration, display of registers, candidate registration, campaigns, actual polling and post elections).

RWECO plan to use web based tools to document and report on the electoral process and organize interface occasions between the citizens and the relevant electoral stakeholders to demand for and cause action on the issues documented and reported by the citizens.

Also, we intend to mobilize the citizens to formulate a citizen manifesto that will guide them to effectively engage with different candidates who will stand for different positions. We shall popularize the concept of citizens’ manifesto to influence or guide the way grassroots choose their leaders and hold them accountable.

Finally we intend to mainstream and promote peaceful resolution and management of conflicts in the electoral process and post election. We shall promote dialogue at all stages and among candidates and other stakeholders.

The uniqueness of this project is that it empowers citizens to mobilize each other, using a mix of both traditional and web based information and communications technologies, to participate actively in all stages of the electoral process and ensuring the process is free and fair.
It also links elections to the wider good governance picture by empowering citizens to make informed choices in choosing leaders based on mutually agreed terms of reference against which they will hold the leaders accountable. For instance, we plan to ask each person seeking leadership position to sign with the citizens a commitment to fight corruption once in power. The citizens will then hold this leader accountable by the signed commitment they make.