Uganda's Electoral Commission Chairman Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu has urged East African Community (EAC) partner states to learn from each other and emulate best lessons with a view to improving electoral practices.
"We shall have good democratic governance principles in our partner states if we could learn from each other and emulate best lessons each other that would result into having best electoral practices," he said at the opening of a meeting of experts on the EAC Principles for Election Observation and Evaluation in Nairobi, Kenya.
The meeting that was officially opened by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation Dr. Julius Rotich was held to review the draft EAC Principles for Election Observation and Evaluation before it is submitted to the Council of Ministers for consideration later this month.
Dr. Rotich said the draft instrument is an indication that the EAC is committed to promoting democratic governance through the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the Partner States.
He noted it has taken quite a while to prepare the draft, noting that an instrument of that nature requires ownership by stakeholders through consultations and urged the participants to look into it thoroughly and finalize the document.
"The experts' input in the draft was critical to ensuring that the region has in place an election observation instrument. "Once the draft principles are considered and adopted, they will serve as a tool in guiding elections in EAC Partner States," he said. He informed the meeting that EAC will deploy an election observation mission to Kenya's general elections to be held in March 2013 and modalities are being worked out.
"This is in line with the standing decision of the Council to deploy observer missions to all elections taking place in the Partner States."
The EAC, he said, supports peaceful and democratic elections in Kenya, adding that the whole region and the world was keenly following the East African country's preparations and eventual elections outcome. "EAC fully supports smooth and peaceful elections in Kenya," he told the audience.
Vice Chairperson of the Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Lillian Mahiri-Zaja said the elections in Kenya would be a litmus test on how the country's new Constitution is being implemented.