14 September 2008
Six observer organisations for our elections
By MAKHOSI MAGONGO
MBABANE—About six international organisations have already indicated that they will be sending official observer missions for the Secondary elections on Friday.
Some of the members of these organisations have already arrived in the country in preparation for the elections. They will be monitoring the final stages of the elections.
Deputy Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Mzwandile Fakudze confirmed that six organisations have assured the EBC of their presence, adding that his organisation has already started welcoming some of the observers’ teams’ members.
He said organisations that have confirmed are the Pan African Parliament, the Southern African Development Community, the Electoral Commission Forum (which comprises of Election Commissions from SADC countries), The Commonwealth and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA).
Already, 30 members of the SADC observer mission are in the country getting ready for Friday’s Secondary Elections.
Henriques Banze leads the SADC delegation. Members of the mission are being deployed to various constituencies and are expected to interact with other local and international officials who are also participating in the elections process.
The SADC team was dispatched on the mandate of incoming Chairperson of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Armando Guebuza, who is also President of Mozambique.
While regional organisations have managed to schedule the Swaziland Parliamentary elections in their election observer roasters, organisations such as the European Union will not send an external team.
Initially, Chief Gija insisted that the EU had confirmed that it would send an Observer Mission, the local representatives of the EU stated the opposite.
In a statement issued in July, the EU said: "The deployment of EU election observers is a comprehensive process which requires significant planning well in advance of the election, since the EU has adopted the policy to only have long term observation missions. The EU can only consider the deployment of observation missions to those elections for which the authorities of the country concerned have issued a formal invitation sufficiently ahead of election day." It further states that given that their local representatives did not receive such an invitation on time, they could not include the Swaziland elections in their roster.
Fakudze acknowledged the EU’s statement this week, adding that only EU observers based in Swaziland would monitor the election.
Elections monitoring is the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organisation (NGO), primarily to ensure the fairness of the election process.
There are national and international election observers. Monitors do not directly prevent electoral fraud, but rather record and report such instances. The legitimacy of an election can be affected by the criticism of monitors, provided that they are themselves seen as unbiased. A notable individual is often appointed honorary leader of a monitoring organisation in an effort to enhance its own legitimacy.