The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) whose main objective is the attainment of regional economic integration for sustainable growth and development, was founded on a number of principles; among them the promotion of a democratic governance and observance of the rule of law in each Member State. On of the ways COMESA implements this Treaty Provision is the deployment of Electoral Observer Missions to Member States.
The deployment of the COMESA Electoral Observer Missions to Member States is premised on the following principles:
(a) a sign of solidarity of the people of the COMESA Region with their brothers and sisters in a Member State as they reaffirm their commitment to democratic system of governance;
(b) a contribution of the people of the COMESA Region to the transparency of an a Electoral Process in Member State.
(c) The belief that a democratic COMESA is an environment in which each and every citizen can exercise his or her rights to effectively exploit the opportunities available in the Region for the eradication of poverty and wealth creation;
(d) a democratic COMESA Region is a conducive environment for foreign and domestic investment; that will translate into economic benefits for her people through employment opportunities and technology transfer;
(e) credible and legitimate democratic elections are a foundation to sustainable peace, security and stability for Kenya and the region at large.
Electoral Observation Guiding Principles
The COMESA Authority has adopted the Universal Declaration of Principles of Democratic Elections which the United Nations adopted on 27th October, 2005 and uses these principles in the observation of the Electoral Process in the region. These principles are applied, side by side with the legal electoral framework of a particular member state, in recognition of the following principles:
(a) genuine Democratic Elections are an expression of sovereignty;
(b) the free expression of the will of the people of a particular Member State provides the basis for the authority and legitimacy of government in the country;
(c) Genuine democratic Elections serve to resolve peacefully the competition for political power within a country and thus are central to the maintenance of peace and security.
Electoral Processes Observed
So far COMESA has been invited to observe electoral processes in the following countries:
(a) Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC)
Composition of Missions
COMESA Electoral Observer Missions are composed of eminent men and women from the COMESA Region nominated for their experience in the promotion of democracy as well as their contribution to the promotion of peace, security and stability for the region.
Outputs of Observer Missions
At the end of each Mission, a report is produced which is discussed which normally contains general observations and findings of the mission. The reports also include recommendations on how a country can strengthen its electoral processes.