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Review of SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections - Opinion and Analysis
Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections
African Development Community (SADC)
August 19, 2004
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Principles and Guidelines
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SADC region has made
significant strides in the consolidation of the citizens’ participation
in the decision-making processes and consolidation of democratic practice
and institutions. The Constitutions of all SADC Member States enshrine
the principles of equal opportunities and full participation of the citizens
in the political process.
The Southern African
countries, building upon their common historical and cultural identity
forged over centuries, agreed to encapsulate their commonality into a
single vision, that of a SHARED FUTURE. In this context, in 1992 the Southern
African countries meeting in Windhoek, the Republic of Namibia, signed
a Treaty establishing the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Article 4 of the Treaty
stipulates that "human rights, democracy and the rule of law"
are principles guiding the acts of its members. Article 5 of the Treaty
outlines the objectives of SADC, which commits the Member States to "promote
common political values, systems and other shared values which are transmitted
through institutions, which are democratic, legitimate and effective.
It also commits Member States to "consolidate, defend and maintain
democracy, peace, security and stability" in the region.
The Protocol on Politics,
Defence and Security Cooperation provides that SADC shall "promote
the development of democratic institutions and practices within the territories
of State Parties and encourage the observance of universal human rights
as provided for in the Charter and Conventions of the Organization of
African Unity [African Union] and the United Nations."
In addition, the Strategic
Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO), as the implementation framework
of the Protocol, emphasizes the need for democratic consolidation in the
region. The development of the principles governing democratic elections
aims at enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections and democratic
governance as well as ensuring the acceptance of election results by all
The Guidelines are
not only informed by the SADC legal and policy instruments but also by
the major principles and guidelines emanating from the OAU/AU Declaration
on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa – AHG/DECL.1
(XXXVIII) and the AU Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation
and Monitoring Missions – EX/CL/35 (III) Annex II.
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