Zimbabwe elections: SADC to deploy observers this week ahead of polls

Zimbabwe elections: SADC to deploy observers this week ahead of polls

By News 24.com

The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) will deploy its members nationwide in Zimbabwe this Friday ahead of polling on 23 August.

It will join various other observer groups, such as the Carter Centre and the African Union-COMESA teams, already stationed in the country’s 10 provinces.

The SADC Secretariat team has been in the country since 10 August.

In a statement, SEOM said its mandate was to “assess the conduct of the elections against a set of central principles stipulated in the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of 2021, which include, amongst others, full participation of the citizens in the democratic and development processes, measures to prevent political violence, intimidation, and intolerance, equal opportunity for all political parties to access the State Media as well as access to information by all citizens, and acceptance of and respect for the election results by all political parties”.

The revised SADC Principles and Guidelines are grounded in promoting the development of democratic institutions and practices within the territories of member states.

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It also encourages the observance of universal human rights as provided for in the Charter and Conventions of the AU and the UN.

Meanwhile, SEOM has taken issue with an aticle in the state-run Herald that ran with quotes attributed to government spokesperson George Charamba and had the headline: “Stray and we will deport you: Charamba warns election observers”.

The story had a picture of an election observer dressed in SEOM regalia.

“The story is accompanied by a photographic image of an individual dressed in the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) regalia. The article alleges ulterior motives and pro-opposition agenda by foreign election observers reported to have deployed to Zimbabwe for the forthcoming elections scheduled for 23 August 2023,” SEOM said in a statement.

It added that while the story mentioned specific institutions and observers with no links to SADC, “the use of the SADC branded image to accompany this story places SADC in a negative context and has the unfortunate potential of putting personnel in the service of SADC at risk.”

The headline on the story has since been altered.

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