Gender and Electoral Management Bodies in Africa

GPEC gives central importance to capacity-building of EMB for the development of a transformative and gender sensitive approach of electoral management. This is to provide African EMB with the tools and support they need to ensure the legitimacy of the process which they are responsible for, according to regional and global standards of electoral democracy which guarantees equal political participation to women and men. One of the priorities of the GPECS Gender Component for the Africa region is to enhance capacity building of election practitioners and EMBs and support communities of practice to mainstream gender in electoral administration through the development of training tools, partnership promotion and dissemination of information.

The high-level meeting of African Heads of EMBs contributed to build the capacity of elections practitioners to develop a transformative and gender sensitive approach to electoral management.

The meeting was the starting point for the community of practice EMBs in Africa, a space for experiences sharing and knowledge updating on electoral management and gender in Africa. Further, participants had collected information for the elaboration of guidance for a transformative gender sensitive electoral management in Africa.

iKNOW Politics created this discussion circle to allow participants to continue sharing knowledge and experience.

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Monte McMurchy's picture

One fundamental electoral question to consider is: What type/kind of electoral system is the best suited for a particular region? For electoral practitioners this is indeed a compelling question/issue of ontological concern. The multiplicity of responses which can be generated only further illuminates the inherent complexity entailed in this discussion concerning the positives and negatives of a particular system of electoral process. Therefore, I intend to suggest another perspective which may provide and generate the 'connective electoral tissue' as to what may be the best kind/type of electoral system best suited to address the needs of a particular region. 'Civic Electoral Appreciation and Understanding' is for me be the normative electoral systemic marker whereby the majority of electoral participants understand, appreciate and respect the probative validity of the electoral operational system being used in determining expressive civic choice which at all times must be open--fair--free from bias and other elements of pernicious suasion. The process of civic electoral appreciation entailing full understanding will be a multi-generational long term civic educative trenching process whereby civic values and considerations become more than words on a regulation or statute or even a legislative promulgation. Rather, this long term civic educative process if prescriptively valid should reduce gender bias including ethnic and religious animus. No electoral system will be able to function if the national citizen participants do not respect or not endorse the process as being fundamentally sound as electoral fairness is a normative construct most difficult to impose. The civic inclined citizens must themselves appreciate the inherent complexities and vagaries entailed in any type/kind of electoral system which is designed to be both inclusive and objectively neutral ensuring that each and every electoral voice is both heard and respected notwithstanding the post electoral outcome. Assuming the citizen electorate participant appreciates the inherent nuance existent in an electoral system in that no particular electoral system can address all the multi-varied concerns which does not imply that the fundamentals ensuring gender neutrality as well as normative electoral probity of political party expression and conduct which is mandated to ensure full free expression safe from violence and any other form of intimidation. Can the citizen elector ever hope to fully respect the system ensuring at least a 'thin obedience' to the "rule of law" which can only enhance the growth and stability of a region type state such as found in the emerging post conflict states?

Monte McMurchy
September 3, 2012