Tuesday, July 30, 2013


STATEMENT OF THE SADC –ESN OBSERVER MISSION TO THE 2013 ZIMBABWE HARMONISED ELECTIONS 29th July, 2013, Holiday Inn, Harare The SADC-ESN is a network of civic organisations who actively participate in electoral issues within the SADC region. The network has a membership of fifteen (15) organisations drawn from Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As a network, our aim is to build capacity of our members and share regional best practices, through mutual reinforcement and dialogue. We envisage forming a unified lobby and platform for constitutional and electoral reforms with the view to contributing towards strengthening democratic governance and practice in the respective countries of the SADC region. The individual SADC-ESN members, and the SADC-ESN as a civil society grouping, draw their mandate to engage in the electoral process through the various national, regional, continental and global Charters that encourage and recognize the role of civil society in democratic governance and national development. For this reason, we see ourselves as a critical stakeholder and strategic partner in electoral and governance issues in the SADC region in accordance with our Vision and Mission. In this regard, SADC-ESN has constituted a short term Observation Mission for the upcoming 2013 Harmonized Elections in Zimbabwe. The network has previously commissioned similar missions to Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. SADC-ESN was also privileged to observe the Zimbabwe National Referendum on the Constitution early this year. SADC –ESN has its secretariat in Zimbabwe which has been engaged in the electoral process prior to the arrival of the Observer Team. Members of the secretariat have been observing the process and have had meetings with other local stakeholders. The Observer Team arrived on 27th July, 2013 and will remain in the country to observe the rest of the electoral process, until 3rd August, 2013. The observers will be deployed to cover all the ten provinces in Zimbabwe. The Observer Mission’s aim is to observe the relevant aspects of the preparation, organization and conduct of the 2013 Harmonized Elections in Zimbabwe. This is, with the view, to assessing whether or not the electoral process would have adhered to the country’s own Constitutional and legal framework, as well as the African Union, SADC and other principles, guidelines and standards governing the conduct of democratic elections. Thus far, SADC-ESN would like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts that have gone into the preparations for the elections by the Zimbabwean Government, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, in particular.SADC ESN is aware of some logistical challenges that faced the Special Vote. However, it is our sincere hope that the Commission has continued to work very hard to ensure that the elections on 31st July, 2013 run smoothly and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. This way, ZEC will build confidence in the electoral process and make it easy for contestants to accept the election results. In the same vein, we would also like to acknowledge the relative peaceful environment in which the political campaigns are taking place in the run up to the Harmonized elections. SADC –ESN urges all political players to remain calm and exercise restraint in their actions and to avoid hate speech that would compromise the current peaceful atmosphere ahead of the polls. .We echo the call by SADC on the need to exercise political tolerance and ensure peace before, during and after the elections. SADC-ESN would like to use this opportunity to give solidarity to civil society organisations in Zimbabwe in their quest to participate and execute their mandates freely. This right ought to be exercised without unwarranted restriction. SADC- ESN is also urging all eligible Zimbabwean citizens to turn up enmass and exercise their right to vote on 31st July, 2013. We hope that the Will of the people of Zimbabwe will prevail and be respected so as to facilitate a credible election. It is now my privilege and honour to officially launch the SADC-ESN Observer Mission to the 2013 Harmonized Elections in Zimbabwe and wish the country a successful and incident-free election. I thank you FOR FURTHER DETAILS, CONTACT SADC-ESN SECRETARIAT ON 0771606912

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