16 Jul 2013 08:10
WINDHOEK, 16 JUL (NAMPA) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) attaches paramount importance to the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe, as it is part of the process of consolidating democracy in that country, the SADC Executive-Secretary has said.
General elections will be held in Zimbabwe on 31 July 2013, and it will be the first elections held under a new constitution which was approved in a referendum in March 2013.
?The presence of SEOM in Zimbabwe is to ensure that the provisions of the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections are adhered to in the conduct of democratic elections,? Tomaz Augusto Salomao said in a statement availed to Nampa here on Tuesday after the official launch of the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) in Zimbabwe on Monday.
Salomao said in accordance with the provisions of the SADC Treaty, the SADC Protocol on Political, Defence and Security Cooperation as well as the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, the government of Zimbabwe invited SADC to observe the forthcoming elections.
He explained that the conduct of the mission will be guided by the relevant legislation of the Republic of Zimbabwe as well as other relevant international instruments governing democratic elections.
These instruments include the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, the Electoral regulations, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation as well as the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers are other instruments which will be used in the governing of democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
?As part of the best practices and aiming at enhancing reliability and validity of its findings, SEOM will share information with other Election Observation Missions in the country,? Salomao indicated.
He further pointed out that consultations with stakeholders involved in the process will be ongoing and undertaken by the mission in order to be seized with the electoral environment and momentum.
As the country is heading closer towards the polling day, Salomao said the challenge and responsibility to have peaceful, free, fair and credible elections lies in the hands of Zimbabwean people.
The SADC Executive-Secretary encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to continue to demonstrate political maturity and responsibility by upholding democratic values, principles and practices.
Thus, he said, the process must assure voters and all stakeholders to honourably accept and respect the people?s verdict.
Meanwhile, police officers and soldiers who will be on duty during Zimbabwe?s upcoming elections in just two weeks' time began voting on Sunday.