April 19, 2023

SADC Electoral Advisory Council Pre-election Goodwill Assessment Mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe

SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) is currently conducting consultations with stakeholders in Zimbabwe ahead of the general elections scheduled to take place between July and 26th August 2023. The SEAC pre-election goodwill mission is being led by Judge Ticheme Dlamini, the Chairperson of the SADC Electoral  Advisory Council (SEAC) and the SEAC Member from the Kingdom of Eswatini, and by  Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, the Deputy Chairperson of SEAC and the SEAC Member from the Republic of Namibia. The mission kicked off with a courtesy call to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Amon Murwira who is also the Minister of Tertiary and Higher Education Science and Technology Development in the government of Zimbabwe. In his welcoming remarks Minister informed the delegation that the Zimbabweans are eagerly waiting for the President to proclaim the date of the general elections in line with the country’s constitution.

The mission is being conducted in line with the standard practice of observing elections in SADC Member States, in accordance with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections which provide that the SEAC shall undertake a Pre-Election Assessment Goodwill Mission to a Member State that is due to hold General Elections. 

Amongst other objectives, the SEAC Mission is undertaken to:

  1. Assess if the political and security environments in the country are conducive for the holding of free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections in conformity with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines.

  2.  Assess the Legal Framework governing the 2023 General Elections in Zimbabwe; and

  3. Assess if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is prepared and ready to conduct the 2023 General Elections.

It is routine for the SEAC missions, and indeed, the SADC Electoral Observation Missions (SEOMs) to engage with stakeholders in a Member State that is conducting elections. This routine contact assists the SEAC to appreciate the national context in order to better inform the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation on whether or not to deploy the SEOM when the elections are held. 

The SEAC mission has held consultative meetings with a range of stakeholders in Zimbabwe. These included government departments, political parties (including the opposition and the ruling party), civil society organisations, traditional leaders, the leadership of the United Nations and the European Union Delegation in Zimbabwe.

The purpose of the mission is to inform the SEAC of the views of the stakeholders in Zimbabwe with respect to the conduct of the General Elections scheduled for July/August 2023. It is important to note that contrary to some press reports, the SEAC has not yet made a formal announcement on the readiness or otherwise of Zimbabwe to conduct the elections. This recommendation will be made to the Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation in the formal report to be submitted by SEAC at the conclusion of the mission. The SEAC mission will conclude on 20th April 2023.

Done at Harare, Republic of Zimbabwe, on 19th  April 2023.