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    Will SADC Mission Ensure Fair Election?

    SWAPO Party veteran Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah shakes hand with Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri a veteran of ZANU-PF and leading the Sadc Electoral Observer Mission in Namibia.
    The history of SWAPO Party and ZANU-PF is long, and both two liberation movements share the same sociopolitics and culture. The people of two sisters' political parties believed that now is the time for them to defend what they fought for during the liberation struggle. The Tanga's group be it South Africa’s ANC; Tanzania’ CCM; Angola’s MPLA; Mozambique’s FRELIMO; Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF and the SWAPO Party owe to defend one another. Well, of course, the liberation integrity must be protected!

    Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and indeed the Head of SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in Namibia she paid a courtesy call to Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to discuss matters in concern with the upcoming election.

    Honourable Oppah C.Z. Muchinguri – Kashiri launched SEOM in Windhoek, Namibia and the workshop is underway. She said Namibia marked yet another important milestone in the country’s history; an opportunity which she strongly urged Namibian citizens to vote in large numbers on election day scheduled for 27th of November 2019.

    SADC Electoral Observation Mission met with ECN's Chairperson Ms. Notemba Tjipueja.
    Election in Zimbabwe 

    Since Emmerson Mnangagwa came into power in November 2017, he has been courting the international community to attract foreign investment into Zimbabwe in order to resurrect the country’s battered economy. Free, fair and credible elections are critical to convincing investors that the political and human rights landscape in Zimbabwe has improved, and that greater political stability will hopefully lead to more economic certainty and an investor-friendly environment.

    The president is undoubtedly aware that international and domestic observers play a role in conveying these messages to the world: he has invited a large contingent of international observers – spanning 46 countries and 15 regional blocs – to observe the 30 July elections. For some like the European Union, this will be the first time since 2002 that a mission will be on the ground. The international community needs to take the opportunity to hold Zimbabwe to the strictest standards set out by the (SADC) Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in Africa and the African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Holding peaceful, credible, free and fair elections is of paramount importance because this is the first step in Zimbabwe’s reintegration into the international community.

    While the SADC and the AU fell short of pronouncing the developments in November 2017 a coup, as it would have meant Zimbabwe’s immediate expulsion from international communities and further isolating it, the US decision to extend sanctions to key Cabinet members was done on the basis that their ascension was precipitated by a ‘coup’. The EU also responded to the November developments by extending its sanctions regime to February 2019. Both the US and EU sanctions extensions are contingent upon the outcomes of the July elections.

    Greater representation from international observers has meant that Zimbabwe’s election process was marred by many irregularities. In June a bipartisan US Observer report published by the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute confirmed many of the irregularities with the voters’ roll and the operations of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) that have been highlighted by the opposition. The MDC Alliance have been actively organising protests against the perceived bias of the ZEC. This is critical also for SADC and AU observers who have whitewashed gross irregularities in the past that occurred elsewhere on the African continent.

    Election in Botswana

    Despite the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) and the African Union Election Observation Mission giving the Botswana 23 October 2019 general elections a ‘clean bill of health’, the President of the opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Biggie Butale, claims ‘massive rigging and electoral fraud' at the polls.

    Botswana’s main opposition leader says October’s national election, which the ruling party won by an unexpectedly large margin, was rigged, and that he intends challenging it in court to head off potential public protests. Duma Boko, leader of the Umbrella for Democratic Change opposition alliance, questioned the integrity of the voters’ roll. He said many of his group’s supporters, including his own wife, were turned away at the ballot box due to errors made by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the number of voters was also inflated, said Boko.

    President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party extended its 53-year grip on power by winning 38 out of 57 constituencies in the October 23 vote. The party, which has been in power since Botswana won independence from the UK in 1966, rebounded from its worst-ever electoral performance in 2014. That was despite infighting within its ranks and a host of social ills ranging from inequality to a high rate of HIV-prevalence. The UDC won 15 seats, compared with 17 seats in 2014. “We have to put our faith in the courts,” Boko said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office on Tuesday, adding that he’s concerned about the potential reaction of his supporters.

    “If people lose faith in the electoral process, then what steps will they take to change the government?” Boko said there was a 33% discrepancy between the number of people the IEC said were on the roll in March and the actual total when counted. About 75,000 people, or 8% of the electorate, didn’t have their gender recorded on the roll, disqualifying them from voting which attributed to deliberate tampering,” he said. “Is there any other explanation?” The election was endorsed by observers from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.

    The opposition lost seats it has usually won in the past, including his own. He has 30 days from the date of the election to file legal objections and hasn’t yet decided whether to challenge outcomes in individual constituencies or the entire result. “The laws of Botswana allow him or any person to challenge the outcome of an election result,” said Osupile Maroba, a spokesperson for the IEC. The commission is aware of Boko’s concerns, he said. While Botswana’s economy is expanding, with growth expected to average 4.2% until 2024, according to the International Monetary Fund, its key diamond industry has limited employment opportunities and its tourism industry is under threat from a controversy over elephant hunting.

    Election in Mozambique 

    The Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections in the Republic of Mozambique, Honourable Oppah C.Z. Muchinguri – Kashiri launched SEOM in Maputo, Mozambique on the 7th October 2019. However, Mozambique's opposition political party has called for the results of recent elections to be annulled. Opposition parties said the vote was rigged, after the governing FRELIMO party won in every province, including areas where the opposition usually dominates. A close-run race had been expected and some observers and many Mozambicans have said the results are unbelievable.

    Election in Namibia

    The Zimbabwean Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who is leading the Sadc Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) has launched the regional observer's assessment of Namibia’s Presidential and National Assembly elections to be held on November 27. A total of ten candidates are expected to run for the presidency. Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri is in Namibia following her appointment to lead the SEOM by President Mnangagwa who is the chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

    Muchinguri-Kashiri sitting next to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at ZANU-PF rally.
    The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in Namibian General Elections 27 November consists of a total of 53 personnel from eight SADC states include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri the head of the ion said observers will be deployed to all 14 regions of Namibia.

     There are many speculations among the opposition especially the supporters of Independent Candidate Dr. Itula the main rivalry and challenger to incumbent President Hage Geingob. The youths who want #Change in the country are daunting about the transparency in the coming election which already intoxicated by the use of EVMs without paper trails for auditing and providing evidence in the rule of law. Some analysts said the SEOM is just a club of dictatorship brotherhood that seeking to cement African regimes on power through the jurisdiction of the regional bloc.

    Muchinguri-Kashiri, however, rejected accusations that SADC mission tend to favour the ruling Swapo Party during the elections by not reporting on all events happening in the country, which could question the credibility of the elections. She added that the mission has so far observed that there were several issues of concern to the voters, such as the use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the disputed process of barring some people who held positions in the public service from contesting in the National Assembly elections.

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