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conference on regional initiatives on electoral reforms
Election Support Network (ZESN)
August 05, 2004
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), in conjunction with
the Electoral Institute
for Southern Africa (EISA), held a regional conference on regional
initiatives for electoral reforms in SADC.
was attended by the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Honourable
Emmerson D Mnangagwa, the Speaker of the Lesotho National Assembly
and Chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Honourable Nthloi
Motsamai, Vice President of the Senate of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Honourable Gaetan Kakudji, the Secretary for Information
and Publicity in the ZANU PF, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, the Secretary
General for the MDC, Professor Welshman Ncube, Honourable Members
of Parliament from the Region and from Zimbabwe, Members of Electoral
Commissions in the Region and Zimbabwe, Representatives of Zimbabwean
Political Parties, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the
Donor Community, Representatives of the African Union, Representatives
of the SADC Parliamentary Forum , the Clerk of the Zimbabwean Parliament
–Mr Austin Zvoma, Members of International, Regional and Local NGOs
and various interested stakeholders.
sought to discuss and come up with consensus on issues around electoral
reform initiatives in the SADC region and how they can be carried
out using pre-existing benchmarks so that we can move in the same
direction as a region.
Africa in general and SADC in particular is making significant strides
in democratising its election systems.
NOTING, that Africa in general and the SADC region in particular
needs home grown electoral systems that are reflective of our socio-cultural
to the regional initiatives conference on electoral reforms in SADC
held at Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls from the 2nd
–3rd of August 2004 resolved that:
Electoral reforms need to be in line with the existing benchmarks
in particular the SADC proposals.
Election observation is crucial as it places a seal of approval
to the electoral systems and processes, therefore African countries
should agree on common principles that form the basis for observation
and should be on the forefront of observing their own elections.
Electoral reforms, standards and norms as recommended by the Principles
for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation (PEMMO) and
the SADC PF norms and standards on elections, should not be seen
as duplicate but as complimentary.
Disputes arising out of the electoral process should be addressed
by a jurisdiction out of the normal court system for expeditious
and efficient resolutions.
The SADC PF norms and standards, PEMMO and the AU guidelines on
elections and principles should be embraced by all member states
with mechanisms put in place to test national laws for adherence
and compliance to these norms and standards.
The appointment of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) must demonstrate
a palpable tendency towards their independence with the whole
process being carried out transparently and in public.
To ensure gender, mainstreaming in the electoral systems
An election is a process and not an event and as such all laws
should allow conditions for a free and fair election
In addition to electoral reforms, there is need to have political
will from governments, trust, reliability, credibility, transparency
and honesty in the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and processes
Election observation should not be confined to voting days only
but to a period, which allows for the observation of the campaign
period and internal democracy to be enhanced and observed.
There is need to continue lobbying the regional and local level
for electoral reforms, in particular, lobbying the upcoming SADC
meeting to be held in Mauritius on the proposed SADC principles,
norms and standards on elections.
EISA to explore mechanisms at regional level to engage SADC leaders
through the organ on Politics Defence and Security.
ZESN to continue what they have started to make sure that recommendations
made can be taken on board in the electoral reform processes.
State resources, including the state media, must be equally accessible
to all political parties.
Visit the ZESN
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