SADC impressed with electoral environment
Harare (New Ziana)- The Southern African Development Community Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) has commended the government and the people of Zimbabwe for observing peace in the build-up to the harmonised elections to be held on Wednesday next week.
Head of the SEOM, former Zambian Vice-president Dr Nevers Mumba made the remarks on Friday while launching the observe mission in Zimbabwe, adding that the pre-election assessment that the team made had concluded that the country was prepared to hold elections.
Zimbabweans will next Wednesday be voting for a new President, as well as Parliamentary and local government representatives for the next five years.
The SEOM consists of 68 personnel who will be deployed throughout the 10 provinces of the country.
“Since the arrival of the SADC team in Harare on the 10th of August 2023, and my arrival on the 16th, we have observed a general calm and peace, and for that we commend the Government and the people of Zimbabwe.
“Let me also take this opportunity to thank the Independent Electoral Commission of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the invitation extended to SADC to observe the harmonized elections,” he said.
Consistent with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, Dr Mumba said the deployment of the SEOM was preceded by a Pre-Election Assessment Goodwill Mission to Zimbabwe by the SADC Electoral Advisory council (SEAC) from 12 to 19 April this year.
“SADC observes elections in its member states, based on the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections (2021). The principles and guidelines provide an objective and scientific methodology for the observation of elections to contribute to the consolidation of democracy in the region by enhancing best electoral practices and addressing any shortcomings.
He said SEOM noted that the elections would be governed by the Zimbabwean Constitution and a comprehensive set of relevant laws, as contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act of 2013.
“It is in line with these national legal instruments that the SADC Electoral Observation Mission will assess the conduct of the elections against a set of principles stipulated in the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections,” he said.
The SEOM team had since started stakeholder engagements in earnest since their arrival to appreciate the political, legal and security situation, he said.
Mumba urged registered voters to exercise their civic and political rights by going to cast their ballots on election day.
The SEOM will release a preliminary statement regarding their observation of the elections on the 25th of August, 2 days after the elections before the final one to be released a month later.