SADC Preps For Zimbabwe 2023 Elections
21 July 2023
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Zimbabwe Briefs SADC on Preparedness for Harmonized Elections.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava

Windhoek, Namibia – Zimbabwe, represented by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava, yesterday briefed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the country’s preparedness for the forthcoming harmonized elections scheduled for August 23. Minister Shava, leading a Zimbabwean delegation at SADC’s 25th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee for the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, pledged that Zimbabwe would hold free, fair, and credible polls.

During his address to colleagues, Minister Shava emphasized Zimbabwe’s commitment to peaceful, credible, and transparent elections as fundamental to maintaining strong and vibrant democratic institutions. He reiterated that Zimbabwe, as a member of the international community and SADC, adheres to global, continental, and regional best practices in conducting elections.

Zimbabwe recently welcomed a SADC Electoral Advisory Council goodwill electoral advisory mission, which conducted an election pre-assessment. Minister Shava informed the ministerial meeting that the country had received a report from the assessment mission. Taking into account the findings and the overall calm in the security and political environment, SADC decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission.

Formal requests have been made to SADC to witness the upcoming elections, and invitations have been extended to numerous international observers, organizations, and domestic observers to witness Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.

The 25th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee, chaired by Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, commenced yesterday and will conclude today. The meeting is a significant step in addressing peace, security, and political relations within the SADC region.

Deputy PM Nandi-Ndaitwah, as the chairperson of the Meeting of the Ministerial Committee and with Namibia leading the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, stressed the crucial role of peace, security, and stability in fostering regional cooperation and integration.

Before the Ministerial Meeting, a Senior Officials Meeting was held from July 17 to 19 to lay the groundwork for the discussions during the 25th session.

During the meeting, trafficking in persons in the region will be one of the key topics of discussion. Deputy PM Nandi-Ndaitwah highlighted the importance of reinforcing legal provisions, enhancing capacity, and raising awareness to effectively combat this phenomenon.

The Ministerial Meeting is also expected to approve an instrument aimed at strengthening regional integration in the area of immigration. The status of ratifications of the Protocol on the Facilitation of the Movement of Persons in the SADC Region (2005) will be considered, with member states encouraged to sign and ratify the protocol to maximize the benefits of regional integration.

SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi stated that the meeting would receive updates and progress reports on the organ’s efforts to consolidate peace, democracy, and good governance in the region. These discussions and exchanges of information are pivotal in advancing SADC’s objectives of fostering stability and cooperation among member states.

As the Ministerial session continues, participants are focused on advancing regional peace and cooperation, creating an environment conducive to sustainable development, and strengthening ties among SADC member countries. The meeting serves as a platform for meaningful discussions and actions that will shape the future trajectory of the region.

According to Article 5 of the SADC Protocol of the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, the Ministerial Committee of the Organ consists of ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Public Security, and State Security from all SADC member states. The committee is tasked with coordinating the work of the SADC Organ in promoting peace and security in the region, as peace, security, and political relations are fundamental to fostering SADC regional cooperation and integration.