The EISA, Chad political parties capacity building project was created to support the implementation of the 13 August 2007 political agreement between the ruling coalition and opposition parties. After several years of political stalemate, this political arrangement provides for electoral reforms and paves the way for the consolidation of the democratisation process in Chad. It is worth emphasising that this process culminated in a power sharing agreement. In a permanently volatile socio-political climate, exacerbated by attempted coups and military onslaughts by a myriad of rebels groups, Chadian politicians deemed advisable to resort to dialogue and consensus on the way forward.
In its article 4.2, the agreement prescribes decentralised training sessions to be provided to political parties, with a view to enhancing their participation in the electoral process. Hence, training seminars will be organised in six zones (N'Djamena, Bongor, Moundou, Mongo and Abéché) over a 18 month period. Overall, 170 cadres will be trained as trainers. They will be selected from 70 parties that were involved in the process that culminated in the signing of the political agreement. These cadres will then go back to their parties to empower their parties' members.
EISA-CHAD engaged in a number of programmes over the past year with political parties to improve their capacity to be more effective and strengthen their internal democratic processes. The above was decided based upon the premise that, all too often the focus on political parties is limited to their engagement in the electoral process.
To start its support to political parties EISA Chad organised a roundtable in N'Djamena on the 25th-26th June 2012 attended by 33 party representatives from the majority and the opposition parties to create awareness and consider the wide range of activities political parties can develop between elections. The workshop also prioritised the areas in which political parties required support.
EISA conducted a number of workshops around the theme "Political Marketing and Public Review" which was attended by regional leaders of political parties. The workshops were held in several regions in Chad providing political parties with techniques of political marketing and public relations and techniques to engage with the public in order to be able to plan and conduct action plans between elections. The workshops took place in some of the following areas:
To assist political parties EISA developed a capacity building manual for political parties which was launched on the 7th November 2012 at a ceremony in N'Djamena. The ceremony was attended by 53 chairpersons and secretary generals of political parties, including 11 MPs and six local councillors, two of whom were mayors. The new manual deals with various sessions such as:
On 27-28 September 2011, a second in-country political parties' benchmarks workshop took place in Chad. The report of the initial benchmarks suggested by Chad's political parties on 05-06 October 2010 was presented as well as the consolidated standards for democratic parties adopted during the EISA annual symposium in Johannesburg in November 2010. The workshop also gave participants a useful opportunity to reflect on the way forward for their parties to adapt, adopt and further endorse EISA's Benchmarks for enhanced political party performance for democratic governance in Africa.
EISA continued to provide assistance to political parties through the Political Parties' Resource
Centre established by EISA, offering IT equipment, Internet access and other resources such as books and magazines on election and governance topics to political parties. One of the major outputs of the Resource Centre was the Chad political parties' database, which was completed in 2011. A questionnaire was circulated to political parties with 40 responding positively during the inception phase of the research. The current database contains useful information such as full name and date of creation of the party, details and short biographies of party leaders, party's ideological settings and programmes, how many times the party has contested elections, how many representatives it has in the National Assembly, full contact details of the party, etc. This database is the first and only one of its kind containing such information and available to the public.
EISA Chad has established a resource centre for political parties. The new Political Parties' House operates from within EISA's office in N'Djamena and provides political parties with books, computers, internet access and light duty equipment such as megaphones.
The center was launched in a ceremony on 2 July at EISA Chad's office. The launch and was attended by the Minister of Economy (overseer of the project), the Minister of the Interior, the European Union (project funders) as well as international partners and political party leaders.
In a post-conflict scenario where political parties seldom interacted, and therefore nurtured suspicions against one another, the Political Parties' House will be a place where party cadres meet and have an opportunity to share ideas. The center aims to foster a political dialogue among parties that will remove barriers and help them discover areas of common interest.
The consensus stemming from the 13 August 2007 Political Accord in Chad needs to be sustained with political cohesion, particularly during the electoral season. Within this context the Political Parties' House is a milestone.
In addition, political parties will be able to use computers with a view to implementing new administrative and financial systems, as part of their capacity building program. With regards to elections, since the Chad electoral commission does not have a systematic communications system yet (there is no web site, etc) the internet access provided by Political Parties' House will help by swiftly providing parties with relevant information and documents. Political Parties may also use the internet to receive and dispatch documents, and to report elections related issues to EISA (from key cities that have internet, such as Sarh, Abeche, Moundou, Bongor, N'Djamena). Since all party members cannot be given access to this center, objectively selective rules will be used to prevent abuse.
The set of activities undertaken included training sessions in six regions. Party delegates participated in a Train the Trainer workshop, developing knowledge and skills in topics such as the role of political parties in a democratic system, the regulatory framework of parties, party vision and ideological development, organisation and outreach activities, internal democracy, financial and administrative management, electoral campaign and political marketing, coalition building and conflict management. Achievements included:
EISA Chad established a resource centre for political parties with the objective of fostering political dialogue among parties and to provide an environment that will remove barriers and encourage parties to explore areas of common interest. In addition, political parties will be able to use computer equipment with a view to implementing new administrative and financial systems provided by EISA's capacity building programme.
The new Political Parties' House operates from within EISA's office in N'Djamena and provides political parties with information, books, computers, internet access and light duty equipment such as megaphones, digital and video cameras. In a post-conflict scenario where political parties seldom interacted, the Political Parties' House provides the space for party cadres with the opportunity of sharing ideas and exchanging views, particularly during the election period. Within this context the Political Parties' House was a milestone.
The 13th August Political Agreement made provision for decentralised training sessions to be provided to political parties, with a view to enhancing their participation in the electoral process. Owing to the political context, approaches to EISA assistance were developed in consultation with the Chadian political parties and tailored to suit development needs from a wide range of beneficiaries. As a result, EISA has conducted training sessions in six regions for 170 delegates drawn from 80 parties. Selected from parties involved in the Political Agreement, these cadres were trained as trainers in topics such as the role of political parties in a democratic system, the regulatory framework of parties, party vision and ideological development, organisation and outreach activities, internal democracy, financial and administrative management, electoral campaigns and political marketing, coalition building and conflict management.
Training on how best the interaction between political parties and the CENI can be ensured was another priority. Two activities were conducted for this purpose. The first was the high level meeting that EISA convened in December 2009. The meeting was attended by prominent political leaders, the CENI Chairperson, the president of the steering committee of the 2007 Political Agreement and prominent members of the diplomatic community. One achievement of this consultation was the opportunity provided to political parties to raise their concerns regarding the conduct of the electoral process. Another achievement was the possibility for participants to share their views on the possibility of setting up a Party Liaison Committee within the CENI. The second activity was the political parties' pre-electoral operations workshop that followed and which was attended by 83 political parties. Beyond training of party delegates on the pre-electoral operations, this activity prompted the creation of internal election committees in some political parties. EISA also provided political parties with the official electoral calendar and the president of the CENI addressed participants during the workshop.