The Election Observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are undergoing a two-day Pre-deployment Training for the Short-term Observers from 9-10 May, 2019, as part of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government (Tripartite) Elections in the Republic of Malawi.
Speaking at the opening of the training in Lilongwe, Malawi, the Director of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Jorge Cardoso, representing the Executive Secretary of SADC, expressed gratitude to Member States for availing observers and urged them to adhere to the relevant provisions of revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015), which are in conformity with international and regional frameworks such as the United Nations Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
Mr Cardoso underscored the need for the SADC Observers to understand the political, legal and cultural context and environment in which elections are conducted in Malawi in order to undertake their electoral observation effectively. On this point, Mr Cardoso asked the observers to familiarize themselves with the Constitutional and Electoral frameworks, as well as to respect the Malawi culture and applicable laws. He emphasized on the need for observers to display the required integrity and high levels of professionalism.
The training is being facilitated by the SADC Secretariat in conjunction with the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). Participating observers in the training have been drawn from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and they are all expected to sign a Code of Conduct that regulates the conduct of election observers.
Meanwhile, the Head of SEOM to the 2019 Tripartite Elections in Malawi, Honourable Joseph Malanji, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia and also the Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) will preside over the launch of the SEOM on 11th May, 2019 at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Convention Centre (BICC), Umodzi Park in Lilongwe. During the mission, Hon. Malanji will be assisted by Hon. Kalombo Mwansa, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia.
The mandate of SEOM is to ensure adherence of the Member State holding elections to the relevant provisions of the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015). 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.