The Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) is a platform that brings together heads of Election Management Bodies in Africa to dialogue, share experiences, lessons and best practices in election management.
The Executive Committee of the AAEA held a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday May 12 and Friday, May 13, 2022. The meeting was made possible with the support of the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECEC) . After a two-year period of dormancy, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAEA Executive Committee reconvened to meet to explore strategies aimed at revamping the Association in order to render it more effective in supporting African EMBs in managing elections in line with international continental norms and standards of democratic elections.
The meeting was attended by Chairpersons from the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, Malawi, and Central African Republic. Also in attendance were the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the Africa Union Commission (AUC). The meeting was chaired by the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of AAEA and Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana Mrs. Jean Mensa as well as the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Wafula Chebukati and Chairman of the Independent Election Boundaries Commission of Kenya.
In her welcome address, the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of AAEA and the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana Mrs. Jean Mensa, indicated that at the last meeting of the Association in 2019, the Secretariat assured the meeting of starting activities to revive the AAEA. Unfortunately the activities could not happen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She indicated that as a gesture of its commitment, the Secretariat had initiated a number of activities including:
- Revamping and updating the website of the Association to reflect current information on the Association and elections in Africa;
- Developing an easy – to – read E – Newsletter which contains relevant information about elections and electoral processes of member countries.
- Concluding the recruitment process for a full – time dedicated staff to the Secretariat. The said staff will be assisted by bilingual staff of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
- Relocating the Secretariat to a more spacious facility equipped with robust technology and reliable internet.
- Developing a draft Mission and Vision Statements for consideration by Members.
On his part, the President of the General Assembly and Chairman of the Independent Election Boundaries Commission of Kenya Mr. Wafula Chebukati stated, in his opening remarks, that the time was ripe for Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in Africa to explore alternative ways of organising elections during emergency situations. He noted that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions and risks was a wake up call to EMBs to develop alternative strategies to fulfil democratic tenets.
Outcome of the Meeting
At the end of the meeting, members resolved to revive the Association in order to amplify its relevance and influence on the issues of election management on the Continent.
In this regard, the following key decisions were arrived at:
- The meeting agreed to develop medium to long term work plan to guide the Association’s activities.
In the short to medium term, the meeting agreed on the following activities:
- Solidarity visit by members to Kenya ahead of their elections in August, 2022.
- Regular updates and maintenance of the AAEA website in order to enhance the visibility of the Association and leverage its brand as Managers of Elections in Africa.
- Updating the Contact List of members and shearing same with members.
- Compiling a database of professional competencies of AAEA members and experts.
- Conducting virtual workshop for members on the use of technology in Election Results Collation and Transmission.
- Reminding and encouraging to honour their financial obligations to the Association
- Strengthening relations with development partners and exploring multiple sources of funds.
- It was agreed that the next General Assembly meeting would be held in Mozambique in November 2022 under the theme “Building Resilience of Election Management Bodies to Safeguard Democracy in Africa”.
Members reiterated their commitment to the professional, free and fair conduct of elections on the continent. In this regard, the meeting called on all regional and sub-regional bodies, civil society and the development community to partner with the Association in pursuing and driving its agenda. Attached is the communiqué issued at the end of the two-day-meeting.