Lusaka, Zambia: On 20-21 April 2016, the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) held a national seminar on the 2015 revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, in Lusaka, Republic of Zambia. The objective of the seminar was to raise awareness and sensitise electoral stakeholders in Zambia on the said Principles and Guidelines which were adopted by the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation in July 2015, in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.
The seminar was opened by the SEAC chairperson Advocate Leshele Thoahlane who welcomed over 100 participants that were present. Among others, the participants included the Chairperson and Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, leaders and representatives of political parties, religious leaders, members of civil society and the media, Heads and representatives of Diplomatic Missions accredited to the Republic of Zambia, representatives of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, representatives of the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC), and representatives of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF).
The two days proceedings afforded the participants the opportunity to deliberate extensively on issues covered in the revised Principles and Guidelines which range from addressing the responsibilities of Member States holding national democratic elections, to outlining the rights and code of conduct of SADC election observers. The seminar proved to be timely for the participants particularly given that in August the country will be heading to the polls for the 2016 General Elections. By holding these types of awareness-raising seminars, the SEAC aims to reach out to electoral stakeholders in the SADC Region to sensitise them on the revised Principles and Guidelines.