Since the reintroduction of multiparty democracy in 1990s, most countries in the COMESA region have opened up democratic space as periodic elections have been held as a means of strengthening democratic consolidation. While some of the elections have contributed to peaceful political transitions, in some cases others have been a source of political contestation and violence. In line with its mandate derived from the COMESA Treaty (Article 3d) and various policy decisions, COMESA has been supporting the strengthening of electoral processes in the region through pre-election assessment missions, elections observation and strengthening the capacities of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in the region. he programme strengthened COMESA capacity in elections observations through the development of Guidelines on the Conduct of COMESA Elections Observer Missions, as well as a pool of trained elections observers in Member States.
The EMBs forum was established in 2012 for purposes of strengthening the electoral management process through peer support. In addition, COMESA aimed to use the forum to support the electoral staff through targeted training on electoral related issues. In addition, COMESA developed an electoral best practice manual for the region comprising of best practices in electoral systems, electoral processes and electoral management bodies. This manual was adopted by the COMESA Policy Organs in 2012.