The Southern African Development Community (SADC) this week launched its electoral observer mission for the upcoming Zimbabwe elections.
The mission is going to the landlocked African country’s first election since long-serving – and apparently – despotic former president Robert Mugabe was ousted last November.
Tete António, Angolan Secretary of State of the External Relations Ministry heads the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) and is the representative of the SADC Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, said the mission was going to Zimbabwe at the invitation of that country’s electoral commission, in conformity with the SADC treaty.
He is reported as saying “given the political and economic challenges Zimbabwe faced in the past two decades, SADC attaches great significance to the potential of the 2018 general election to enable sustainable political and economic prosperity”. He said SADC was ready to extend assistance to the people of Zimbabwe beyond the July 30 elections “within available means”.
On the positive side António pointed out that professionally managed democratic elections, anchored on consensus-based rules and international human rights principles, contribute significantly to peace and stability.
“Conversely, poorly managed electoral processes serve as triggers for conflict,” he said.
SADC will deploy 63 short and long term observers to all 10 Zimbabwe provinces. Observers are from 11 SADC countries Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
The Zimbabwe SEOM is expected to issue a preliminary observation statement on August 1.