Lusaka, Zambia: On 30 July 2016 the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2016 General Elections in the Republic of Zambia was launched by the Head of Mission, Honourable Oldemiro Baloi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. The SEOM is in Zambia to observe the forthcoming 2016 General Elections which take place on 11 August 2016.
The launch event was opened by Ms. Emilie A. Mushobekwa, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), while the Head of Mission, the Honourable Minister Baloi, outlined the role of SEOM in Zambia and officially launched the Mission. Representatives from Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Heads and representatives of Diplomatic Missions accredited to the Republic of Zambia representatives of political parties, members of civil society and the media, and representatives of international election observation missions.
In his remarks, the Head of Mission highlighted that SADC Member States continue to uphold democratic values and practices through the holding of regular democratic elections as well as the promotion of election observation. In this regard, he noted that the deployment of the SEOM to Zambia was in line with the regional practices.
The Head of the Mission also mentioned that the deployment of SEOM was preceded by the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) national seminar on the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which was held in April 2016 in Lusaka. The objective of the seminar was to raise awareness and sensitise electoral stakeholders in Zambia on the said Principles and Guidelines. He further stated that this Seminar was followed by the Pre-election SEAC Goodwill Mission to Zambia in June 2016, which assessed the country's level of preparedness and readiness to hold the 2016 General Elections.
Additionally, the Honourable Minister noted the steps undertaken by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and other electoral stakeholders to prepare for the General Elections. Among others, these included the ECZ's collaboration with other stakeholders on civic and voter education matters.
In his conclusion he encouraged electoral stakeholders to adhere to all relevant legislation governing the electoral process and reminded Zambians that the outcome of the elections remained in their hands, as dictated by the manner in which they conduct themselves throughout the electoral process.