Zimbabwe Heads SADC Poll Observer Mission to Botswana

15 October 2019

The SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) will assess the conduct of elections in Botswana in accordance with bloc's revised guidelines governing democratic elections, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo, who is heading the SEOM to the Botswana elections slated for October 23, has said.

He was appointed by President Mnangagwa in his capacity as chairman of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

Speaking at the official launch of the SEOM in Botswana on behalf of President Mnangagwa, Minister Moyo said the country was ready for the elections.

He said the deployment of the SEOM was preceded by a pre-election assessment and goodwill mission of the Sadc Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) from August 18 to 25.

"As we launch the Sadc electoral observer mission, our observations will focus on the pre- and post-election periods which include the campaigns, voting day and the process of the counting of the ballot papers," said Minister Moyo.

He said the mission noted that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) achieved a number of things, including the registration of 1 273 880 out of a total of 1 592 350 eligible voters.

The IEC also established 2 294 voting stations across the country and published the exact locations for each of the stations.

The electoral commission, he said, also enabled voters outside the country to cast their votes by establishing 36 voting stations to cater for the Diaspora vote in 20 countries where some Batswana are resident and conducted training workshops around the country for prospective candidates, returning officers and senior police officers.

"The pre-elections phase concluded that the Republic of Botswana is prepared to hold the general elections," said Minister Moyo.

"The SEAC mission also interacted with a number of stakeholders, issues raised and the findings thereof will be analysed together with the SEOM observations in the pre-election phase as well as during the elections phase."

Minister Moyo said Sadc will issue a preliminary statement on October 25.

The SEOM consists of 55 personnel from 11 Sadc member states, namely Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Minister Moyo said the observers will be deployed in 10 administrative districts of Botswana, namely Central, Chobe, Gaborone City, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Ngamiland, North-East and Southern.

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