interim statement
EISA Observer Mission 2004 Botswana parliamentary and local government elections (continued)

1.4 Method of work

In order to accommodate the need for a holistic approach to election assessment, EISA conducted various activities covering the pre-election phase, the polling phase and will continue to follow post-election developments. These activities included:

  • Election Update: Owing to limited financial resources, it was not possible for the Mission to undertake long-term observation. EISA used its innovative method of information gathering and sharing that was to keep members of the Mission and other stakeholders up to date with the electoral process as it evolved in the run up to the election day. Botswana-based researchers were contracted to gather information in close consultation with EISA on critical election-related matters. This information was published fortnightly in the Election Talk and Election Update series, which were widely distributed electronically and in print.
  • Stakeholder meetings and political party rallies: Members of the Mission held meetings with various electoral stakeholders, including members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), political parties, civil society organisations, the media and academics. The Mission also met domestic observers from the Botswana Electoral Support Network (BESNET), church groups and other international observer teams. Meetings were held at both national and district levels. These meetings provided useful insight into the different key stakeholders' assessments of the process as well as the general mood of the country as the polls drew near. Our teams also attended political party rallies and witnessed Freedom Square meetings.
  • Observation of Voting and Counting: The members of the Mission were deployed in the field from 27 October 2004 where they held further meetings with election stakeholders before observing the voting as well as the counting on 30 and 31 October.

1.5 Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation

The EISA Observer Mission's assessment of the Botswana 2004 elections is based on the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO). PEMMO is a set of benchmarks against which an election can be measured to see whether it is free and fair. PEMMO was developed by EISA in partnership with the Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF) of SADC countries, which comprises all the election management bodies in the SADC region. These principles are the result of extensive research and region-wide consultation with electoral stakeholders, in particular electoral management bodies and civil society organisations who work essentially in the election field. The principles contained in the PEMMO are not inconsistent with the legal framework governing elections in Botswana.

The principles cover the whole electoral process, including the period before, during and after the poll. They provide an objective standard against which an election can be measured. Furthermore, they constitute a useful tool in the post-election review and for electoral reforms. For observers, PEMMO also outlines guidelines on the expected behaviour for the enhanced credibility of observer groups.

After its adoption at a Regional Conference on 6 November 2003 in Johannesburg, PEMMO has been successfully used to assess the South Africa and Malawi elections held in April and May 2004 respectively.