SADC Observers Arrive in the Country

Seventy-four (74) election observers for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have so far arrived in Namibia to observe and monitor the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly election slated for November 28.

Head of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, announced this yesterday.

Nkoana-Mashabane, who is also the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, further revealed yesterday at the launch of the SADC electoral observation mission to Namibia, that in total, 90 observers from 15 SADC countries, will be dispatched to “adequately cover the election process” here.

She said some of the observers were members of parliament or held distinguished positions in their countries.

SADC have been closely following preparatory work for elections in Namibia and are also aware of the country’s constitutional amendments and electoral laws, including the introduction of the electoral voting machines (EVMs), Nkoana Mashabane told journalists yesterday.

She added that it remains the responsibility of ECN to ensure that the election process is not compromised, while political parties have to make sure that their voters have information on how to vote.

“We are all here to support them (ECN) in their primary duties, but we can’t take the place of the ECN,” she added.

The South African minister praised Namibia for a young and vibrant democracy and noted that holding regular elections since independence is significant and bears testimony to a consistent democratic practice.

“The electoral process is fundamental to any competitive democracy as it allows eligible voters to express their political will and choice,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane said that the constitution and electoral laws of the hosting country, as well as the regional legal provisions and frameworks together with international norms to ensure democracy and good governance guide observation mission’s engagement and observation.

“The region’s governance aspirations are prescribed in Article 4 of the SADC Treaty that commits Member States to ensure the observance of human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” she continued to say.

The SADC observation mission will assess the elections according to SADC principles and guidelines, which include looking at full participation of citizens in the political process, regular intervals for elections as provided for by the constitution, equal opportunity for all political parties to access state media, independence of the judiciary and impartiality of electoral institutions and acceptance and respect of election results by political parties.

On November 30 , the mission will present the SADC Preliminary Statement on the electoral process.

“May the best candidate win,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Source : New Era