Honourable Joseph Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia and Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections in the Republic of Malawi on 11th May, 2019 launched the Mission at a public event held in Lilongwe.
During the launch, Hon. Joseph Malanji was supported by the Alternate Head of the SEOM, Honourable Dr. Kalombo Mwansa, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia and the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at SADC Secretariat, Mr. Jorge Cardoso, representing the SADC Executive Secretary.
In his launch statement, Hon. Joseph Malanji acknowledged Malawi’s progress towards strengthening its democracy, since the first multiparty elections in 1994. On this note, Hon. Malanji noted that, over the last 25 years, the country has progressed well, expanding its democracy through subsequent multiparty elections.
The SEOM Head of Mission encouraged all stakeholders to ensure that the 2019 Tripartite Elections are conducted in a peaceful and secure environment and expressed optimism that the electoral process will adhere to the laws of the land and in conformity with the democratic values and principles envisioned in the SADC Treaty, SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The SADC Electoral Observation Mission to the Tripartite Elections in Malawi consists of 39 members drawn from eight (8) SADC Member States, namely, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Mission will cover all three regions of Malawi and 27 of the 28 districts while observers will be deployed on 12th May 2019.
The launch was attended by senior officials from the Government, representatives of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), heads and representatives of Diplomatic Missions and United Nations agencies in Malawi, SADC Ambassadors accredited to Malawi, representatives and leaders of political parties, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), religious institutions and the media.
Over 6.8 million Malawians have registered to vote across the country, with seven (7) Presidential candidates, 1, 329 Parliamentary candidates contesting in 193 constituencies and 2709 candidates contesting in 462 local government wards.
SEOM activities in the Malawi will be coordinated from its headquarters, located at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe and the Mission will issue its Interim Statement on 23rd May, 2019 at its headquarters.
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