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The SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 elections in Botswana has said the country is ready to hold the general elections on October 23,2019.
Announcing pre-election assessment during the launch of the observer mission, SEOM head, Retired Lt Gen Dr Sibusiso Moyo said in consistence with the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, the deployment of the SEOM was preceded by a pre-election assessment and goodwill mission of the SADC Advisory Council (SEAC) from the August 18-25 this year.
"In assessing the level of preparedness for the country to hold the elections, the SEAC mission noted among other issues the IEC achieved the following, registered 1 273 880 voters 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 of each of the stations, enabled voters outside the country to cast their votes by also establishing 36 voting stations to cater for the diaspora vote in 20 countries where some Batswana are residents and conducted training workshops around the country for the prospective candidates, returning officers and senior police officers, he observed.
He said the SEAC mission interacted with a number of stakeholders and issues raised and findings would be analysed together with the SEOM observations in the pre-election phase as well as during the elections phase.
Dr Moyo said the observer mission would assess the conduct of the elections against a set of central principles stipulated in the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
He noted that the observer mission consisted of a total of 55 personnel from 11 SADC member states.
He said they would be deployed to the 10 administrative districts of Botswana.
"As we launch the SEOM our observations will focus on the pre and post-elections periods which includes the campaigns, the voting day and the process of the counting of the ballot papers.
Elections are a critical process in the consolidation of democracy, in this case I urge citizens to exercise their civic and political rights by going out to vote," he said.
Dr Moyo encouraged all stakeholders to ensure the elections were conducted in a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible manner.
He said he was looking forward to an electoral process that adheres to democratic values and principles envisioned in the SADC treaty, the Protocol of Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
For her part Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said SADC would observe elections based on its three phase approach which included the pre-election phase, the election phase and the post-election phase.
She said the pre-election observation phase was from August 18-25 during which a goodwill mission assessed if the legal, political and security environments were conducive to the holding of credible elections in its conformity with the SADC principles.
She said this phase would continue until the eve of the elections while the elections observation would take place on election day and post-election phase would start immediately after elections.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>