By Staff Reporter
SADC Electoral Observer Mission has launched the National and Provincial Elections marked for May 7, 2014 in South Africa.
In her statement, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, SADC Executive Secretary said the forthcoming elections in the Republic of South Africa, which are to be followed by elections in the Republic of Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia, are a true testimony that SADC Member States have entrenched democratic values and practices; with firm commitment to enhancing democracy and democratic institutions in the Region.
“It is important to underscore the paramount importance of the current elections, as they come at the time when we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the new multi-racial and democratic South Africa, after the end of the Apartheid in the country”. Noted the SADC chairperson.
In line with the SADC Treaty, SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections; the Republic of South Africa invited all SADC member states to observe its 2014 National and Provincial Elections, which are scheduled for 7th May.
However, the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, the current Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba, has constituted the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to observe the forthcoming elections in the Republic of South Africa.
At the official launch held in Pretoria on Saturday, SEOM constituted that SADC Observers will be deployed throughout the nine (9) provinces of South Africa according to the electoral process before, during and after the elections.
Dr. Lawrence emphasised that “SADC is committed to continuously consolidate peace, security, political stability and enhance democracy in the Region; in order to eradicate poverty, promote economic growth and sustainable development in the Region.”
She stated that, in the process of enhancing democracy in the Region, SADC Member States have rooted and entrenched universal values and principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to the principles of the rule of law.
“At this juncture, it is equally important to underscore that for a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process; the dissemination of democratic values and principles among all relevant stakeholders and society in general is a responsibility of all stakeholders.” she said.
SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in that country will also ensure that the provisions of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections are adhered to in the conduct of democratic elections.
The conduct of the SEOM will be guided by the SADC Treaty, SADC Protocol on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections; as well as by relevant legislation of the Republic of South Africa and other relevant continental and international instruments governing democratic elections.
As a part of its best practices aiming at enhancing reliability and validity of its findings, the SEOM will share information with other Election Observation Missions deployed in that country.
Chairperson of the SADC further explained “In this respect, consultations with stakeholders involved in the elections process will continuously be undertaken by the Mission in order for us to stay abreast with the electoral environment and momentum.”
The activities of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in the Republic of South Africa will be conducted from its Headquarters, at the Shereton Hotel in Pretoria.
Thereafter, the election observation exercise, they will meet there for the Mission to present its findings and Preliminary Statement on the 2014 National and Provincial Elections in South Africa.