Elections

Following an invitation from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Thematic Election Expert Observation Mission (TEEOM) commenced work on 31 October 2021.

The mission’s focus was on the rights and opportunities of women, youth, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented groups to participate in the electoral process. It also assessed media freedoms, the role of the media and online coverage of the election campaign.

Following an invitation from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the WFD Thematic Election Expert Observation Mission (TEEOM) commenced work on 31 October 2021 and will continue to follow the process until 20 December 2021. The mission’s primary focus was on the rights and opportunities of women, youth, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented groups to participate in the electoral process. It also assessed media and online coverage of the election campaign.

Uganda held general elections on 14 January 2021. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Electoral Commission (EC) announced that these should be ‘scientific elections’ and adopted social distancing measures. In effect, this led to the curtailing of public rallies and in-person campaigning. Political parties and candidates were forced to rely heavily on newspapers, radio, and television – but also on social media.

International election observation is the most visible form of democracy assistance – and one that is particularly prominent in sub-Saharan Africa. In the lead up to an election the presence of observers gradually intensifies, peaking in the final week before a poll. On election day, teams of observers spread out to different polling stations, monitoring both the voting process and the count.

Electoral commission independence is the extent to which electoral commissions can operate independently of political pressures and external interference. Electoral commission independence is an important driver of public perceptions of electoral integrity. As a result, it directly impacts on the legitimacy of those political parties and individual politicians who are elected to political office. A commission that is seen to be compromised is unlikely to be able to confer credibility on a contested general election.