Aims And Objectives Of An Election Situation Room
The objective of every Election Situation Room set up, is to collect relevant information, analyze information, provide evidence based information and to be able to alert the appropriate authorities in real time. This is to effect rapid response to incidences before, during and after elections. It is designed to enhance collaboration, proactive advocacy and rapid response to crises associated with an electoral process amongst civil society groups and is ultimately complementary to the traditional methods of election observation.
The aims include:
- To improve the quality of the electoral process: The Election Situation Room is focused on helping government and the election management body delivers free, fair and credible elections. In crisis situation, the question the Situation Room asks is this: What can be done - both in advance and when things start going wrong to ensure that the process is kept credible and reflects the will of the people.
- Collaboration amongst civil society groups: Given the enormous challenges that elections pose, it is important that civil society groups work together. Coalitions often need to invest time and attention to establishing effective cooperation. The Election Situation Room aims to provide a collaborative platform that allows for individual identities. It is a hybrid coalition, which allows groups to pursue their own election work and leverages joint effort to engage government, as it is a melting pot of ideas and capabilities.
- Advance planning: The Election Situation Room is a forum for advance planning and scenario building. It aims to provide a platform for civil society groups to strategize and plan on election engagement. Through its diverse membership, the Election Situation Room is able to provide early warning of potential problems, thereby giving government and civil society the opportunity and background information to prepare for eventualities.
- Evidence-based analysis: The Election Situation Room is a forum for evidence-based analysis. It aims to utilize the resources/information gathered from the field to provide analysis that will aid the election process. With the network of observers available to its members, the Election Situation Room’s objective is to utilize information provided and ensure its credibility, provide recommendations; options and analysis based on the information and mobilize networks. This is to ensure that there is an effective policy or operational response based on these options.
- Rapid response: The greatest attribute of the Election Situation Room is the capacity for rapid response to emergencies that affect the election process. As expectations of elections have grown in Africa, outrage when incumbents are perceived to be trying to fix the results has also increased. This is in many ways a positive development, but the outcome can be expensive in the lives of citizens and security of those caught up in post-election violence. Preventing the problems that provoke violence through proactive and real time engagement saves society from the cost of violence and the reactive responses, which in emerging democracies can often do little to improve the situation.
- Constructive engagement of other actors: The Election Situation Room aims to be a credible platform for engagement of the election management body, government, media, general public and other stakeholders on the elections. Given its structure and resources, it brings to the table valuable social capital based on the credibility of its members, as the diverse composition enables a balanced approach that ensures objectivity.