Election observers’ workshop commences

WINDHOEK; A workshop for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum Election Observation Mission to the 2014 Namibia Presidential and National Assembly elections commenced here on Wednesday.

The three-day training will brief members of the mission on the state of preparedness of the Electoral Commission on Namibia (ECN) and other members on their roles as observatories for the elections due on 28 November 2014.

The mission’s leader and Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jocob Mudenda said the workshop and training will ensure that election observers add value to the election process.

He said elections are the only legitimate means of acquiring political power and changing governments.

“They provide the electorate with the opportunity to choose their political representatives.

It follows from this that elections must be conducted in a professional and transparent manner, guided by rules and procedures as outlined in the laws of the individual country as well as regional instruments to which our countries are party,” Mudenda said.

He highlighted the introduction of transparent ballot boxes that replaced opaque boxes, the establishment of independent election management bodies with their own administration and budgets to manage elections as improvements made to the electoral environment and processes.

This also includes the counting of ballots at each polling station in the presence of party agents, monitors and observers, and the signing of polling station results sheets by electoral officials and party agents and posting of the results at each polling station.

Representatives from Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho are attending the workshop which ends on Friday.