The SADC Electoral Advisory Council is in Zimbabwe to assess the country’s preparedness for the holding of free, fair and credible elections, in line with the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
For the first time, the government of Zimbabwe has promised unconfined access to all those wishing to observe elections that are slated for this year.
The seven member SADC delegation, which arrived in the country yesterday, held its first key engagement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo to brief him on their terms of reference.
Minister Moyo welcomed the team and asked the body to provide as much technical support as they can to warrant transparent and credible elections.
Chairperson of the SADC Elections Advisory Council, Advocate Leshele Thoahlane said their main task is to assess the state of readiness by Zimbabwe to hold free, fair and credible elections this year.
The findings from the week long pre-election assessment process will be presented to the SADC Executive Secretary for onward transmission to the SADC heads of state.
Another mission will then be sent by the regional body to observe the elections.
Opposition parties have welcomed the opening up of electoral processes by the Zimbabwean government, saying it will help ensure a level playing field as most election disputes occur way before the polling day and those with concerns will have ample time to air out their grievances.
The SADC Election Advisory Council is being led by Advocate Thoahlane from Lesotho and other members of the council include Professor Mpo Molomo of Botswana, Justice Dorothy de Gabriel of Malawi, Reverend Daniel Ngoy Mulunda of DRC and three members of the SADC Secretariat.
The council was created to provide an advisory role on issues concerning elections and the enhancement of democracy and good governance in the SADC region.
Teams from the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) are also expected to visit Zimbabwe on a similar undertaking. – state media