Electoral Observer Mission to Malawi officially launched

WINDHOEK: The Head of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) has encouraged all political and electoral stakeholders in Malawi to observe the political processes with tolerance.

This will ensure peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible elections, Namibian Foreign Affairs’ Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said in a statement availed to Nampa here on Friday after she officially launched the SEOM in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe.

“The SEOM is in this country in accordance with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which requires Member States to cooperate on the political processes for the purpose of promoting common political and democratic values,” she noted.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the forthcoming tripartite elections on 20 May in Malawi is of a larger magnitude of complexity, hence the need for all electoral stakeholders to join hands and work together in ensuring peaceful, transparent and credible elections.

In fulfilling its mandate, SEOM will be guided by the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

The Observer Mission’s mandate includes the assessment of the political and electoral environment such as political and civil rights, voter education, the registration of voters, the compilation of the voters’ roll, party and candidate campaigns, access to media coverage as well as the state of preparedness of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Nandi-Ndaitwah reiterated SADC’s commitment to ensuring that Malawi conducts free and fair elections as a means to strengthen and deepen democracy in the region.

“To effectively carry out the mandate, the SEOM will constitute teams of 40 observers, who will be deployed in all three regions of the Republic of Malawi,” she noted.

The tripartite elections were then described as an opportunity for the citizens of Malawi to participate in the selection of the political leaders of their choice.

“The tripartite election is a significant milestone in the democratic governance of this country and the region as a whole,” Nandi-Ndaitwah stated.