Johannesburg, South Africa: On 29 February – 5 March 2016, the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) met in Johannesburg, South Africa for its 8th statutory meeting and Annual Strategic Planning Retreat. The SEAC members were welcomed by Mr Jorge Cardoso, the Director of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, while the Outgoing Chairperson of SEAC Professor Gerhard Tötemeyer of Namibia presented an overview of the proceedings.
In his remarks, the Director recognised some of the key contributions that SEAC has made to the Region thus far since its establishment in 2010. He made particular mention to the valuable contribution of SEAC’s advisory role rendered to SADC Electoral Observation Missions (SEOMs) as well as the support to the development and publication of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections which were adopted by Member States in 2015.
The proceedings provided the electoral Council with the opportunity to review the advisory services it extends to SADC Member States on electoral, democracy and good governance matters. Among others, these services involve SEAC engagement in the SEOM’s and the undertaking of pre-electoral Goodwill Missions to Member States holding national democratic elections.
Additionally, during the event, the outgoing chairperson Professor Tötemeyer and Deputy Chairperson Advocate Duarte of Mozambique handed over the SEAC leadership reins to the newly elected SEAC Chairperson Advocate Leshele Thoahlane of Lesotho, and Deputy Chairperson Justice Esme Chombo of Malawi.
The deliberations concluded with the development of a five (5) year robust strategic plan which among other aspects outlines the areas of SEAC intervention on matters related to the election-related conflicts, post-election follow-up missions and research and publication on democracy and good governance issues.