LEAD ToT Maseru
Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) in Maseru, 19th September to 24th September 2016
ECES, in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho (IEC) and the Election Support Network of the SADC is delivering a 5-day Training of Trainers in Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) in Maseru, Lesotho 2016. The workshop opened 19th of September and ended on 24th September. The workshop brought together participants from diverse fields, predominantly IEC representatives as well as political parties, civil society and faith based organisations. This LEAD training is part of ECES regional conflict prevention project, funded by the European Union (EU) at 75 per cent and ECES the remaining 25 per cent. During the course of the training, participants were gradually equipped with an in-depth understanding of the LEAD curriculum and conflict management and mediation techniques sprung out of practical experiences. The IEC South Africa was commissioning their Senior Manager for Electoral Matters Mr. Granville Abrahams, to support the training and bring in experiences from neighbouring South Africa.
The first day was opened by an inspiring speech delivered by IEC's Chairperson, Honourable Mr. Justice Mahapela Lehohla. He thanked ECES and its management for having organised this workshop that brought together electoral stakeholders and he recalled that although conflict is a natural part of political events and completion, it is necessary to learn how to prevent and peacefully manage it. Justice Mahapela Lehohla, also the Chairperson of the Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC emphasised that tensions and disagreements need to be openly and transparently addressed in order to avoid heightened escalation in later stages. Ms. Mariam Homayoun, representative of EU Delegation in Lesotho delivered a speech on behalf of the EU Ambassador to Lesotho, Dr. Doyle. Her speech focused on the importance of inclusiveness, exchange and inter-institutional understanding, which are all strong European values. Ms Mariam stressed that “elections are part of a cycle that runs through different stages. In each one of the stages, potential conflict may arise. Likewise, each stage provides unique windows to prevent, mitigate and manage conflict as well”. She also reiterated that the European Union would continue to be an ally to all those standing up for Democracy and Human Rights.
During the week-long training, participants explored leadership concepts, both from an individual and organisational point of view and develop standards, values and principles that should guide their work. The award-winning film, An African Election directed by Jarreth Merz during the 2008 electoral process in Ghana proved to give much food for thought and shed light on the different, but all so important roles that all stakeholders play in the electoral process. The LEAD training challenges conventional ways of analysing conflict and brings in elements of human psychology, collective responsibility, economic drivers and social identities to delve deeper into the root causes of election related conflict and violence. The facilitator team were coming from diverse backgrounds, composed by Rindai Chipfunde Vava, Vice Chair of the ESN-SA and Director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Zefanias Matsimbe, Senior Electoral Expert from Mozambique and Victoria Florinder from ECES Coordination Cell in Brussels. The workshop was being coordinated by Martina Garbuglia, ECES Programmes Advisor based in ECES headquarters in Brussels.