Peace-CI, an Ivorian coalition comprised of over 200 civil society members, are helping ensure peaceful and credible elections during the up- coming presidential elections by organizing the country’s largest Election Situation Room (ESR).
“The situation on the ground has been calm, but our democracy is still in its adolescent phase,” explains Mariam Dao Gabala, chairperson for Peace-CI’s ESR decision-making committee. “We hope the political parties will continue to put aside their personal interests the closer we get to elec- tion day.”
Peace-CI’s ESR is based on past ESR models that have been used throughout Africa. It is a rapid- response online electoral tool that is used to help consolidate the democratic process during elec- tions, and has proven effective in improving the organization, transparency and credibility of the entire electoral process. Peace-CI’s ESR will be the largest to take place this year in Cote d’Ivoire with over 2,000 observers stationed at more than 10% of the voting booths across the country.
“ESR’s are simply invaluable in our elections today,” says Marie Joelle Kei, National Coordinator for the Cote d’Ivoire branch of West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), the lead civil so- ciety organizer for the ESR. “It allows for civil society, security officials and the government to work together to help encourage voter engagement and, most importantly for us Ivorians right now, to push for peaceful elections. This above all else.”
Cote d’Ivoire’s last presidential elections, in 2010, pushed the country into turmoil after disputed election results were followed by massive violence and unrest. The country was once considered West Africa’s economic powerhouse — a title they are eager to once again restore.
“Our ESR will help avoid a repeat of what happened in the 2010 elections,” says Gabala,who is also President of the Coalition of Female Leaders of Cote d’Ivoire (Coalition des Femmes Leaders de Côte d’Ivoire). “The ESR allows Ivoirians to really understand the elections, and it will be the first time, since 1990, that we will be able to truly experience democratic elections again in this country.”
Gabala will be joined in the Peace-CI’s ESR by six other members of Ivorian civil society, including Imam Djiguiba Cisse and Priest Eric Norbert Abekan from the Forum des Confessions Religieuses.
Peace-CI is advocating for peaceful elections and encouraging voter engagement throughout the electoral process. Alongside the ESR they are organizing a series of activities in the lead-up to elections. These range from collaborations with prominent online Ivorian activist and cartoonists, including a live tweet-up event on Wednesday, October 21st, and behind-the-scenes access to the ESR on election day for members of the media.
Follow @Peace_CIV on Twitter and Facebook . Visit their website and the ESR platform.