Ethiopia, Malawi considering EMSC to manage elections – INEC

 

The Independent Nation al Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the Ethiopian and Malawi Electoral Commissions were already considering the deployment of some aspects of its Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) in the management of their elections.

According to the Commission, “The EMSC may well be another contribution of INEC (and indeed Nigeria) to election management in the world.”

INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure Friday at the retreat on optimisation of the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) operational structure held in Keffi, Nasarawa state.

On the workings of EMSC, Yakubu said the Commission” relies on it to get electoral early-warning, monitoring, implementation and management tool, through field offices and personnel across the 36 states and the FCT.”

According to INEC, the field offices and personnel alert the Commission to the challenges, identify electoral risks/threats and provide real-time information on the status of an election.

He said, “In doing so, the EMSC makes available to it the necessary information in making real-time interventions to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to an election. The EMSC has greatly helped the commission in managing the electoral process, adding that many countries in the West African Region and beyond have shown interest in studying and adopting the system for their use.

“As an electoral early-warning, monitoring, implementation and management tool, the EMSC, relying on field offices and personnel across the 36 States and the FCT, alerts the Commission to the challenges, identifies electoral risks/threats and provides real-time information on the status of an election. In doing so, the EMSC makes available to the Commission the necessary information in making real-time interventions to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to an election.

“As pioneers, we need to keep pushing the frontiers of this system, fortifying its strengths, addressing its challenges and expanding its reach in the conduct and management of elections.

“Having deployed it for the 2019 general elections, the Commission has certainly seen its advantages as well as its challenges. The advantages need to be strengthened and improved upon while resolving the anticipated challenges before the 2023 general elections which is just 560 days away.

“This retreat is, therefore, crucial to the EMSC and the Commission. I urge you all to work round the clock in these two days to suggest novel ways of tweaking the EMSC, addressing its challenges and formulating comprehensive policy guidelines for its operation.”

He expressed delight that, “This retreat is taking place six weeks after the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. Over the last five weeks, eligible citizens have been given the opportunity to commence their registration online and then complete it physically at designated centres.

“At the same time, those who prefer the in-person option can register at any of our state or local government offices nationwide. The two processes are going ahead simultaneously. We are glad that INEC is the first Election Management Body (EMB) to introduce online voter registration in Africa.

“The benefits are already encouraging. Citizens are served promptly and seamlessly without congestion at the registration centres and in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols.”