The East African Community (EAC) forum of Electoral Commissions has recommended the adoption of the regional principles for election observation and evaluation in the partner states elections.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation Dr. Julius Rotich said the principles give clear guidelines on the structure, methodology, timeframes and reporting back by the EAC Election Observer Missions.
"The Principles also provide guidelines for election observation and the code of conduct for election observers. EAC missions have in the past applied other regional guidelines and codes of conduct from the African Union, SADC and the United Nations," he said in a statement issued last week in Arusha, Tanzania last week.
Rotich added the forum, which met in Nairobi, Kenya, noted that the instrument, which has drawn from different regional and international normative frameworks, has been tailored to be EAC-specific in context.
"The draft Principles provide a systematized framework for organizing and deploying different forms of observer missions and outlines the principles, scope and methodology for the EAC Election Observer Missions," he said.
Rotich explained that the Observer Missions doubled as support missions that would facilitate peer learning and information exchange while entrenching the culture of democracy in the region.
The Forum also proposed the establishment of a support unit within EAC structure for effective implementation of the principles and coordination of electoral matters in the region, adding that they are pertinent to the integration process.
The two-day meeting recommended sending short term as well as long-term observers for the Kenya elections slated for March 2013. This will ensure EAC's presence and visibility in the field that is usually dominated by international observers.
"In principle, the Forum has recommended the time frame for particular missions stating that short term mission should not exceed 14 days while long term observer missions should not exceed 90 days.
The issue has been provided for in the EAC principles for clarity and certainty noting that it will be subject to budgetary provisions as well the electoral calendar of a particular Partner State," said the Deputy EAC Secretary General.