Improving Electoral Quality Deepening Democratic Governance in SADC

Lusaka, Zambia, 28-29 November 2007

Background

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), EISA and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) co-hosted a regional conference focusing on electoral quality in Southern Africa in Lusaka, Zambia. The quality of an election constitutes one of the determinants for deepening democratic governance. The conference aimed to contribute towards deepening representative democratic governance in the region and will be followed by a series of in-country consultative meetings and activities in selected SADC countries with the aim of undertaking lobby and advocacy for reforms.

Goal and objectives

The main goal of the conference was to share ideas, draw lessons of experience and make policy recommendations. The specific objectives were to:

  • Review electoral systems including legal frameworks and recommend electoral reforms where necessary;
  • Review electoral processes spanning the three main cycles (namely pre-election, polling day and post-election phase) and drawing lessons from election observation experiences teasing out the extent to which key election stakeholders make deliberate efforts to implement recommendations of election observer missions;
  • Review the cost of elections and assess sustainability of elections given internal and external resources available to the Election Management Bodies (EMBs);
  • Evaluate the degree of citizen participation in elections and share strategies for increasing public interest in elections;
  • Promote a culture of constructive management of election disputes for purposes of maintaining political stability and peace; and
  • Encourage EMBs to move more and more towards the utilisation of Information Communications Technology (ICT) for the improved quality of elections.

EISA's contributions

EISA was represented by Executive Director Denis Kadima, who presented a paper on best practices in election management in the SADC region; Khabele Matlosa and Bertha Chiroro, who facilitated plenary and break-away sessions during the conference.