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Manatt Fellow Presents on Election Dispute Resolution in Africa


On September 25-26, 2019, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) participated in the 14th Annual Symposium of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). The symposium was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the goal of reviewing electoral trends in Africa and assessing impact on democracy. It brought together several policy practitioners and civil society stakeholders. Key personnel from election management bodies (EMBs) in the region also attended, including the EMBs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

IFES Manatt Fellow Tinashe Hofisi presented on election dispute resolution as part of the session on trends in electoral justice in Africa. He focused on the presidential election petitions in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The presentation highlighted the unique jurisdictional tools available to various apex courts in adjudication of presidential elections and their effect on judicial outcomes.

Despite the Supreme Court of Kenya’s judgment in 2017, it was shown that courts are still generally reluctant to overturn presidential election results. The symposium participants recommended exploring different forms of electoral jurisdiction to enable a more comprehensive evaluation of electoral results by the courts. The symposium concluded with a presentation of all recommendations, which EISA intends to publish as a policy brief for further regional engagement and advocacy.