UNDP South-South Cooperation to Elections Support

05 Mar 2014

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UNDP Tanzania and Mexico collaborated to facilitate peer learning between the two Tanzania electoral management bodies (EMBs) and the Mexican bodies responsible for election management and electoral dispute resolution.[1] This effort sought to promote South-South cooperation in the electoral field through a focus on knowledge and experience sharing between Tanzania and Mexico.

The event took place between 18 and 22 February for the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania (NEC) in Iringa and from 21 to 22 for the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Zanzibar. Altogether 40 officials including EMB Chairpersons, Commissioners and Senior Managers in Tanzania befitted from this peer learning.  The six officials from Mexico participating in this effort, as facilitated in collaboration with the Mexico Country Office, included current and retired senior officials from the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (IFE) and Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation (TREPJF) aimed as a broader part of contributing to UNDP’s global and national capacity development efforts in support of electoral cycle programmes under its democratic governance portfolio.

The training was sponsored by UNDP Tanzania through its electoral support project entitled Democratic Empowerment Project (DEP) of 2013 – 2016 whose broad aim is to strengthen the capacity of democratic institutions such as the EMBs, political parties, judiciary, police, media and civil society to fulfil their respective mandate especially in relation to the 2015 general elections.  

Speaking during the opening session of the NEC event in Iringa, the Chairperson Judge Damian Lubuva, welcomed the opportunity for NEC to engage with its Mexican counterpart and exchange views on how to plan and manage elections. He said EMBs have an important role to play in promoting democratic governance through the conduct of credible elections and they therefore need to be well-equipped and funded to carry out their mandate successfully.  Similarly, EMBs need to learn and share experience with each other as a way of improving their credibility and capacity. 

The two separate workshops for NEC and ZEC covered a broad spectrum of subjects based on the electoral cycle which ranged from the constitutional and legal framework of elections, the electoral systems, electoral management design, to election budgeting, operations and logistics.  The training also covered aspects of how EMBs could effectively and sustainably utilize resources at their disposals, such as financial, human and material resources, and also how they can forge and maintain partnerships and good relations with stakeholders such as the government, the media, political parties, civil society, and the security agencies.  A central point throughout all deliberations was the use of technology in elections mainly in the areas of voter registration and election results tabulation and dissemination, and also legal and institutional reform issues in elections. The workshops deliberated at length about the ongoing constitutional reform process in Tanzania and how this would impact on future elections.

The more EMBs cooperate and share experiences and knowledge, the more they become stronger, resilient and efficient in the execution of their mandate”. Chairperson Jecha Salim Jecha – Zanzibar Electoral Commission

The six-member Mexican delegation shared its country’s extensive experiences in political and electoral reform. Among the key areas of reform in Mexico since the mid-1990s has been the high level of functional and operational autonomy which IFE enjoys and the strong control and influence of the EMB on the functioning of other institutions such as the media, civil society and political parties in the context of especially elections.  IFE is one of the most respected public institutions in Mexico which include the media, military and the church.  Beside its responsibility to supervise and conduct elections, IFE is responsible for compilation of the voter register production of voter cards which currently serve as national identity cards. 

With regard to election dispute resolution (EDR), in Mexico, all election disputes are handled by TEPFJ which is specially set up and mandated to serve as the court of last instance on all electoral disputes and it also has the power to certify the results of the presidential elections.

Speaking at ZEC workshop a few days later, the Chairperson Jecha Salim Jecha said the effort by UNDP to bring the Tanzanian and Mexican EMBs together to share experiences and knowledge will go a long way to foster democratic reform at the EMB level in particular and at the country level in general. The Democratic Empowerment Project is supported by Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UNDP and the United Kingdom, and is managed under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme in Tanzania. It is implemented in partnership with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) with UN sister agencies UN Women and UNESCO, supporting implementation as part of Delivering as One United Nations in Tanzania.

For more information, contact Joram Rukambe, Chief Technical Advisor, Democratic Empowerment Project (DEP), email joram.rukambe@undp.org or +255 689 119 826.



[1] These are the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (IFE) and Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation (TREPJF) respectively.