12 September 2008
Over 100 observers for elections
By Timothy Simelane
THE secondary elections to be held next week will be closely monitored by over 100 observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
At least 30 of such observers have already arrived and will be deployed in the country’s four regions today. Leader of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission Henriques Banze said all SADC member states had shown their readiness to participate in the event.
“Our mission shall be deployed throughout the width, length and breadth of the four regions of the Kingdom of Swaziland.”
Banze was speaking at the Tum’s George Hotel during the launching ceremony of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission yesterday.
He said the mission members would, during their tour, interact and maintain constant working relations with the electoral authorities and institutions as well as other missions deployed in the country for the same purpose.
“The SADC Mission is not here to manage the electoral process, but to observe the management and conduct of this important process. The SADC Observers will ensure that they operate within the limit of their responsibilities provided for in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and in full compliance and respect for the constitution and electoral laws of Swaziland.” He acknowledged that SADC member states had different electoral systems.
“Accordingly, the elections in Swaziland have a unique formula and system. Nevertheless, the common denominator is an informed participation of citizens in the process.”
The leader said the observer mission would be deployed in two phases. The first phase would comprise the SADC Diplomatic Mission, which constitutes the advanced mission, whilst the second phase would comprise home drawn members. The mission was sent after the incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza mandated the Executive Secretary of SADC to coordinate and make all necessary preparations for the participation of observers.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Tanki Mothae said the SADC Principles and Guidelines governing democratic elections state that the observer mission has to be deployed at least 15 days before the ballot casting through a mandate from the chair to the Executive Secretary to constitute an observer mission.