Head of Mission launches SEOM and meets key electoral stakeholders ahead of General Elections in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana, 14th October 2019: The Head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2019 General Elections in the Republic of Botswana, Honourable Lt. Gen (retired) Dr. Sibusiso Moyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Zimbabwe, launched SEOM in Gaborone, Botswana on the14th 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 and media.

Honourable Minister Moyo, speaking at the launch of SEOM, highlighted that all SADC Member States affirmed their commitment to the implementation of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines (2015). He noted that Principles and Guidelines provide an objective and scientific methodology for the observation of elections, in order to contribute to the consolidation of democracy within the region.

He added that elections are a critical process in the consolidation of democracy. He also urged Batswana to exercise their civic and political rights by going out to vote on the 23rd of October 2019.

Hon. Minister Moyo further encouraged all stakeholders to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible manner. He stated that the SADC region looks forward to an electoral process that 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.

Delivering her welcome remarks at the launch, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax stated that SADC will observe the general 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 18th to 24th August 2019, to amongst others, assess if the legal, political, and security environment are conducive to hold free, fair and credible elections.

Dr Tax added that the pre-elections observations will continue, until the 22nd October 2019, on the eve of elections, while the elections observation phase will take place on the elections day, 23rd 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 highlighted that the Post-election observation phase, will start immediately after elections, and aims to promote electoral integrity, as per the commitments contained in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

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

Botswana's General Elections will be held on the 23rd October 2019 to elect the Members of the National Assembly and Local Authorities in each of the 57 constituencies.

SEOM headquarters is located at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) in Botswana's capital, Gaborone and the Mission will issue its interim statement on the elections on the 25th October 2019 at its headquarters.

Source: Southern African Development Community (SADC)