The SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) and the SADC Mediation Reference Group (MRG) held a Mediation and Conflict Prevention workshop in Lusaka, Zambia from 1 - 4 September 2019. The theme of the workshop was “Strengthening SADC’s Capacity to Prevent and Manage Electoral Related Conflicts”. The workshop was also attended by the following stakeholders; the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC), the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), the SADC Council of NGO (SADC-NGO) and the SADC Lawyers Association.
The workshop was jointly convened by the Electoral Support Unit and the Mediation Support Units which fall under the Politics and Diplomacy Sector of the Organ. Funding for the workshop was sourced from the following International Cooperating Partners (ICPs); the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA), the European Union’s Support to Peace and Security in the SADC region (SPSS) programme, and the German Corporation for International Cooperation’s (GIZ) Peace Security and Good Governance (PSGG) programme.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the SEAC, Professor Mpho Molomo, SEAC member from the Republic of Botswana, observed that, “the SADC region is often qualified as a region largely at peace, however, despite the absence of large-scale violent conflict in the region, conflict potential remains a reality. The region faces indeed a number of threats with potential impact on its security and stable democratic development. These include in particular a spill-over from political crisis, often stemming from weaknesses in political participation as expressed in tensions surrounding electoral processes”.
The workshop presented an opportunity for the SEAC, the MRG and other stakeholders to exchange views on the operationalisation of the SEAC Strategy on the Prevention of Electoral Related Conflicts. The workshop resolved to concretise collaboration in the areas of capacity building, training, joint deployment of electoral stakeholders; enabling peer exchange and dialogue opportunities, domestication of existing legal and strategic frameworks as well as technical support in the roll out of expert rosters, and the modalities of strengthening SADC’s capacity to prevent, manage and resolve intra and inter-state conflicts.