12 May 2019

Southern Africa: SADC to Use Revised Guidelines On Malawi Tripartite Elections

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President Peter Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima and Lazarous Chakwera of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) has disclosed that it will implement the revised 2015 SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections when overseeing Malawi's tripartite elections scheduled for May 21 2019.

Malanji who is Minister of Foreign Affairs in neighbouring Zambia said so far the mission is satisfied with the level of preparedness ahead of the polls.

SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM), Joseph Malanji, said the principles and guidelines assist the region to improve its democratic processes as well as contribute towards conflict prevention using modern standards and techniques in election observation.

Malanji, who is also Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the remarks in Lilongwe when he launched SEOM on Saturday.

"This approach is expected to engender informed assessments of electoral processes and outcomes that should contribute to enhanced regional efforts. These efforts assist member states in adopting best practices and addressing related challenges through evidence-based qualitative and quantitative observation methodologies," he said.

Malanji disclosed that SEOM will thus assess the conduct of the electoral process in accordance with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of 2015 in line with the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) framework on elections.

These principles and guidelines include full participation of the citizens in the democratic and development processes; freedom of association, assembly and expression and measures to prevent corruption, bribery, political violence, intimidation and intolerance.

"We will also ensure that there is equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media," he said.

In his remarks, SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs director, Kalombo Mwansa, said the mission consists of 39 personnel from eight SADC member states, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mwansa said the 39 personnel will be deployed in 27 of the 28 districts of the country.

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