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Election observation in Africa

Election observation in Africa

May 29, 2023
Election observation in Africa

Working towards Aspiration 3 of Agenda 2063
Africa has made significant progress in institutionalising electoral democracy over the course of the past decade. This is reflected in a number of successful multiparty elections in most of AU member states.
The African Union contributes to electoral observation through the African Union Election Observation Missions, AUEOM
The objectives of the AUEOM are:

  1. To provide an accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the election, including the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections;
  2. To offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings; and
  3. To demonstrate the AU’s interest to support AU member States’ elections and democratisation process, to ensure that the conduct of genuine elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability.

The AUEOM draws its mandate from various African Union instruments, most importantly: 

  • the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions 
  • the OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa 
  • the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and 
  • the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. 

The observations of the AUEOM are based on the principles and standards for the conduct of democratic elections as enshrined in the aforementioned AU instruments.

In May and June 2019 , the AU observed 3 elections. 

May 2019
The AU deployed an AUEOM to the 8 May 2019 National and Provincial Elections in South Africa; and the Tripartite Elections held on 21 May 2019 in Malawi as well as to the 22 June 2019 presidential elections in Mauritania.
In South Africa, the African Union (AU) deployed a short-term election observation mission from 29 April 2019 to 14 May 2019 as part of its mandate to deepen democratic governance on the continent. The Mission was led by former Tanzanian President, Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
In Malawi, the mission was headed by Mr. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana. The mission comprised 7 long-term observers (LTOs) and 22 short-term observers (STOs). The observers were drawn from the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Ambassadors to the African Union, Election Management Bodies (EMBs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and experts from 20 African countries.

June 2019
To support the electoral process in Mauritania, the AUEOM dispatched a mission led by Mr Philemon Yang, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon . The mission, comprised thirty-five (35) observers, and  deployed from 19 to 29 June 2019.