African election officials to benefit from Commonwealth skills upgrade

14 December 2023
African election officials at workshop

Election management professionals in African nations have been equipped with the skills to strengthen the credibility, transparency and inclusiveness of electoral processes.

The officials sharpened their skills during a five-day Commonwealth Election Professionals (CEP) training course in Cape Town recently.

The course covered a wide range of topics, including fundamental principles and legal/electoral framework. Participants were also trained in electoral technology, the result management process, engaging and managing stakeholders, as well as communications and crisis management. 

A decade of training electoral administrators

The comprehensive programme marked a decade of Commonwealth Junior Election Professionals, which was later expanded to be known as the Commonwealth Election Professionals initiative. Since its existence, electoral administrators across the Commonwealth have benefited from opportunities for professional development, knowledge sharing and peer support.

Electoral officials said they appreciated the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners from other countries and to learn from one another’s experiences.

Mandume Nghishekwa, from the Electoral Commission of Namibia, said:

“The sharing of experience is so important, it will increase our effectiveness and impact - and the network we have made will support us going forward.”

George Kaminga, a district election officer with the Malawi Electoral Commission, said:

“The issues covered directly affect my work, for example, engaging with stakeholders. I’m looking forward to using my new skills.”

Credible, transparent and inclusive elections

To date, over 275 electoral administrators across the Commonwealth’s Africa, Asia, Caribbean & Americas and Pacific regions, have benefited from the CEP’s principles-based training to equip them to deliver ever-more credible, transparent and inclusive electoral processes that enjoy the confidence and trust of stakeholders.

This training was co-hosted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa, under the theme: Strengthening confidence and trust in the results management process.

Lehlohonolo Suping, from the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho, said:

“The training will help us to reduce conflict and tension around the critical results management processes.”

Addressing participants, the host and chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa, Mr Mosotho Moepya, described how the organisation made a decision which proved to be pivotal. When apartheid ended, they chose to focus on the integrity of the electoral process.

Mr Moepya said:

“Since 1994, all elections have utilised voting-station-based counting, as a method of isolating any issues, and containing any contamination of results.

"Anyone can complain to the Electoral Commission. If, after their complaint has been considered, the person remains aggrieved, they can ask the Electoral Court to review or appeal the Commission’s decision.”

The CEP is an Australian-funded, multi-year project providing professional development opportunities to election professionals working in electoral management bodies across Commonwealth member countries.

    Media contact

    • Temitope Kalejaiye  Public Relations and Engagement Officer, Governance and Peace Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat
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