Head of Mission launches SEOM and meet with key electoral stakeholders

Maputo, Mozambique, 7th October 2019: The Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections in the Republic of Mozambique, Honourable Oppah C.Z. Muchinguri Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe launched SEOM in Maputo, Mozambique on the 7th October 2019.

The launch of SEOM was attended by SADC Executive Secretary, Heads of Diplomatic Mission, representatives and leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, religious organizations and the media.

In her remarks, SEOM Head of Mission observed that, despite the fact that the first democratic elections of 1994 came in the wake of a 16-year civil war that started in 1977, the Republic of Mozambique has done well in practicing democratic principles as well promoting democratic institutions in the country.

She further said the Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections coincided with the country's celebration of 27 years of the signing of the General Peace Agreement in Rome, Italy on 4 October 1992, which promoted peace and stability and the institutionalization of democracy in the Republic of Mozambique.

Honourable Minister Muchinguri - Kashiri further noted that on the 6th August 2019, His Excellency, President Filipe Nyusi and the RENAMO leader Mr Ossufo Momade signed the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement to further cement lasting peace. She highlighted that the Agreement fosters the cessation of military hostilities and the immediate Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) into society of combatants of Renamo's armed wing and the amendment of the constitution to allow for provincial governors to be directly elected during the elections.

Minister Muchinguri Kashiri encouraged all stakeholders to ensure the elections are conducted in a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible manner, which adheres to democratic values and principles envisioned in the SADC Treaty, the Protocol of Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation; and the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).

For her part, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax said in line with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015), SADC will observe elections based on its three-phase approach, the pre-elections phase, the elections phase, and the post-elections phase. The pre-elections observation phase was deployed from 20th to 23rd August 2019, to amongst others, to assess if the legal, political, and security environments are conducive to hold free and fair elections.

Dr Tax said the pre-elections observations will continue, until the 14th October 2019, on the eve of elections, while the elections observation phase will take place on the elections day,15th October, 2019, to ascertain if the environment was conducive for voters to exercise their civic right to vote for the party of their choice.

She said Post-election observation phase, will start immediately after elections, and aims to promote electoral integrity, and in doing so, to give effect to the commitments contained in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

The Head of Mission was accompanied to her engagements by SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, and members of SADC Elections Advisory Council (SEAC).

Mozambique's Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections will be held on the 15th October 2019 to elect the new President, Members of Parliament, Provincial Governors in each of the 10 provinces and the City of Maputo.

These will be the sixth elections to be held since the introduction of the multi-party system by the 1990 constitution.

SEOM headquarters is located at the AFECC Gloria Hotel in Mozambique's capital, Maputo and the Mission will issue its interim statement on the elections on the 17th October 2019 at its headquarters.

Source: Southern African Development Community (SADC)