Windhoek, Namibia, 18th November 2019: The Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019Presidential and National Assembly Elections in the Republic of Namibia, Honourable Oppah C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe launched SEOM in Windhoek, Namibia on 18th November 2019.
The occasion of the launch of the mission was attended by Honourable Patrick A. Chinamasa, the Former Minister of Justice of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Alternate Head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission, Ambassador Joseph André Nourrice, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs at SADC Secretariat, representing Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, representatives and leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, religious organizations and the media.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri stated that the elections in the Republic of Namibia marked yet another important milestone in the country’s history. She strongly urged Namibians to seize the historic opportunity by turning out in high numbers on election day scheduled for 27th of November, 2019.
The Minister said that it was through elections that were free and fair that the SADC region could achieve genuine democracy which were consistent with the shared vision of the SADC Treaty. She added that the SADC Treaty enjoins SADC Member States to build institutions that were democratic and legitimate. She highlighted a number of strategic instruments and mechanisms which the region had developed in promoting and consolidating meaningful democracy.
She pointed out that the central instrument for assessing elections within the SADC Member States was the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015), including other relevant conventions of the United Nations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007).
She further noted that the 2019Presidential and National Assembly Elections were for the purposes of electing the President and Members of Parliament in line with the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and the National Electoral Commission Act. Most importantly she reminded guests that the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) assesses the conduct of the elections in line with the Laws of the Republic of Namibia and the provisions of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).
Honourable Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri went on to applaud the efforts made by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) – particularly providing requisite arrangements for Special Voting by citizens in the diaspora and for sea-going personnel and members of the Namibian Police Force, the Namibian Defence Force and Correctional Services who would be on duty on 27th November 2019. The Special Votes were successfully cast ton 13th November, 2019 at designated polling stations.
SADC’s Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph André Nourrice said that a pre-election assessment mission of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) was conducted from 16th - 20th September 2019 to gauge the legal, political, and security environment and determine whether it was conducive to the holding of elections. The SEAC Pre-Election Mission affirmed the preparedness of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and relevant stakeholders in Namibia to hold the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
He said SEOM began to arrive in Windhoek, Namibia as of 13th November, 2019, and comprised a total of 53 personnel from 8 SADC Member States namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Observers were to be deployed to all 14 regions across Namibia. The observation of the elections would cover voting day activities on 27th November, 2019; and the post-election phase as well.
Namibia will be using Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for the second time since the 2014 elections.
The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Election of the Republic of Namibia will Release its Preliminary Statement on 29th November 2019, at the Windhoek Country Club, Windhoek.