Election Observation Workshop for Religious Leaders

Election Observation workshop for Religious leaders

Within the context of Project in Support of a Peaceful and Inclusive Electoral Process- PROPEL, a workshop on Election Observation for the Joint Committee of Religious Leaders for Tranquillity and Peace was conducted by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) on 24 October 2015 in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The Joint Committee represents the major religious groups in Zanzibar and has played an influential role in previous elections by promoting dialogue and peaceful elections since 2000

The event, held a day before national elections for the United Republic of Tanzania (URT), was organised and co-ordinated by ECES’s implementing partner, the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre (ZANZIC).
The training was conducted by Rindai Chipfunde Vava, Leadership and Conflict Management Head Trainer with an extensive experience in the field of electoral observation; and Dr Kondwani Chirambo, SADC Expert on Electoral Legal frameworks who recently revised the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and facilitated the consultative process concerning the review, under the auspices of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC). Tanzania becomes the first country where the revised SADC normative framework for elections is being used.

The workshop covered many relevant aspects of election observation, beginning with the theoretical understanding of UN Treaty Law and jurisprudence and how it has shaped and defined normative frameworks for election observation and for democratic practice in Africa. 

The second segment of the training covered the rudiments of election observation; the importance of domestic observers; roles and responsibilities, codes of conduct, observers’ checklists and safety tips. 

Furthermore, the workshop allowed to present to participants international principles for election observation with a focus on the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

Lastly, the workshop looked at how observers establish and manage relationships with other stakeholders in the course of their duty, particularly officials of the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), security forces, media, political parties and other observer groups. 

Participants, all of whom had never observed before, were enthusiastic and they indicated it would go a long way in assisting them to contribute meaningfully to ensuring the integrity of the 2015 electoral process.