Botswana Press Agency
2 October 2008
Swaziland conducts free and fair poll
GABORONE – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) electoral observer mission has commended Swaziland for holding free, peaceful, transparent and credible elections.
The mission was invited to observe the elections held in Swaziland recently.
The mission, which was led by the Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Mr Armando Guebuza, comprised 60 members who were deployed in all four regions of the kingdom.
A statement from the mission says the elections reflected the will of the people of Swaziland and congratulated them for the lesson of civility, good behaviour and mutual tolerance.
With regard to the voting process, the mission noted that polling stations were located in neutral places such as schools, churches and civic centres.
The mission noted that polling stations opened and closed at the prescribed time and the proceedings unfolded in an orderly manner. It said both electoral officials and voters behaved in a civic way that characterised the true African spirit.
The electoral officials, it says, performed their duties in a competent, professional, efficient and effective manner and no sign of anxiety or tension could be observed.
To improve the electoral system in the future, the SADC observer mission recommended the extension of the period between the primary and the secondary elections to ensure the conclusion of possible court cases before the final stage.
Improvement of civic education and voting procedures especially to cater for the senior and physically challenged citizens were also called for.
In carrying out their activities, the members of the mission acquainted themselves with the constitution and other laws and regulations governing the electoral process in Swaziland.
The members and the leader of the mission are said to have interacted with civil society, the news media, the electoral and boundaries mission, the law enforcement agents, international missions and various communities.