The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is a non-partisan democratic institution established to conduct peaceful, free, and fair elections that meet international standards. To meet its goals it works with different stakeholders.
The task of election which is done in three different phases i.e. pre-election, election-time and post-election is a combined effort of the NEBE, the electoral management bodies, staff of the NEBE (permanent and temporary election-time staff) and different stakeholders.
The NEBE gives seminars and workshops to its staff and different stakeholders on electoral management processes in different ways: i.e. face to face trainings by trainers, by popular (public) television and radio programs in collaboration with public and private press and by special prints i.e. posters, brochures, leaflets etc.
Trainings for Different Stakeholders
1. NEBE Permanent Staff
Educational trainings are given to the permanent staff of the office of the Board on planning and implementation of the different phases of election i.e. pre-election, election-time and post-election processes concerning the specific tasks they are assigned to. The permanent staff of the NEBE comprise of higher management staff of the office of the board, representatives of the branch offices of the board in different administrative regions of the country, heads of departments of the office of the board, higher and lower auxiliary staff.
2. Election-time staff
The task of running an election needs a great number of staff members. To fulfill its man power need the office of the Board recruits a large number of non partisan temporary staff or election-time staff from the public. These election-time staffs are called constituency election officials and polling station election officials. They are permanent dwellers of the given constituency or polling station who work in different governmental offices and are not members of any political party. The office of the board conducts training programs at the metropolitan ( Addis Ababa ) to the staff of the branch offices and to the election officials of the constituencies (547 constituencies) twice per-election package:
- For pre-election phase: Candidates Registration and Voters Registration.
- For election-time and post-election: voting, counting and reporting.
The office of the board has organized a training hall, a feeding hall and lodging rooms for the trainees and gives face to face intensive training of trainers (TOT) programs. Those trained trainers go to their constituencies and provide training to the polling station election officials, to the public election observers and to voters at large.
Other Election Stakeholders
Election is a public task. We have mentioned above that NEBE recruits non partisan election officials: constituency election officials and the polling station election officials who are responsible to run task of election. The people recruit public election observers who observe the day to day activities of the election processes on behalf of the society ( voters). The number of the public observers are three per constituency and five per polling station. The public election observers are people of good manners and non partisan. Training of these two groups of staff is done on the spot by the trained trainers i.e. constituency election officials in relay system.
The role of the police in maintaining peace and order during election campaign and voting time is indispensable. Election candidates and representatives of different political parties are expected to make public gatherings rallying, deliver speeches etc. and where ever there are popular gatherings some sort of mobs and rioters are expected, to avoid such acts police watching is necessary. Training is given to the police force on how to manage such unwanted activities that disturb the society without violating the rights of the contesting parties. Police role in ensuring the election process (campaigning and vote casting) is conducted in a peaceful manner adhering to the Electoral Law and all other relevant Directives and Regulations.
Complaints that may arise during the different phases of the election process are first resolved by the polling station complaints resolving committee and then by the constituency complaints resolving committee. Complainants who are not satisfied with the resolutions given by these committees can appeal to the regular courts. To ensure the resolution of these appeals in the timeframe stated in the Electoral Law, trainings on the Election Law and complaints resolution will be given to the concerned judiciary bodies by reputable legal professionals.
Throughout the election process candidates try to mobilize their supporters and other voters through various campaigning strategies which can lead to a heightened emotional state in the public. During this time journalists have the responsibility to cover the election process in an impartial and unbiased manner. A short training on responsible reporting will be given to journalists by legal professionals, election experts and professional journalism experts.
Political parties are the major stakeholders of election. The NEBE conducts its activities in close contact and collaboration with political parties. Political parties are organized with the promise of improving the lives of the voting public. Therefore political parties are expected to be and should act as ambassadors of peace and order to the voting public and the country as a whole. In this respect trainings will be given to political parties and candidates through the various discussion forums to be held between their representatives and NEBE.