Cairo, Saturday, March 24, 2018: Thirty-two election observers from COMESA and CENSAD have been trained in election observation as a way of equipping them with the necessary skill to be able to observe the critical phases of the electoral cycle that includes voting, vote counting and declaration of results.
Different experts from the National Election Authority of Egypt, civil society, the media, CENSAD and COMESA Secretariats made various presentations to the observers who are from different African countries.
The two-day training in Cairo was officially opened by the Heads of the Joint Observer Missions namely Ms Hope Kivengere, a member of the COMESA Committee of Elders and Ambassador Amadou Toure leading CENSAD.
Ms Kivengere urged the observers to pay particular attention to the guidelines and legal provisions of the country for them to have an effective mission “As you are aware, the observation process will be guided primarily by the constitution and legal framework of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and relevant international and regional instruments including the COMESA and CENSAD Guidelines on Election Observation. I urge you to adhere to the provisions of these legal frameworks in your roles as observers,” She said.
This first ever joint election observation mission between COMESA and CENSAD has been anchored by the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and a follow up MoU signed between COMESA and CENSAD. Both documents underscore the need for collaboration and building synergies between and among the RECs. “Am elated that the provisions of the MOU have been realized today through this joint mission,” Ms Kivengere added.
In his remarks, Ambassador Toure Amadou, Head of the CENSAD Observers commended the two organizations for having implemented a key provision in the MoU on collaborating with sister RECs. He emphasized that deepening regional integration in Africa is important and organisations such as COMESA and CENSAD need to compliment and support each other in various areas.
“Observing elections on the African continent by Africans is very important and I therefore commend these two organisations for ensuring that this happens for the first time in Egypt,” he added “This must be the beginning of more collaboration,” Amb. Amadou said.
Egyptians go to the polls from 26 to 28th March 2018 to elect a President for a four-year term. COMESA and CENSAD (the Community of Sahel Saharan States) will observe in 10 governorates of Egypt.