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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
of the SADC-ESN observer mission to the 2013 Zimbabwe harmonised
July 29, 2013
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
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
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