The SADC Electoral Observation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Presidential, Legislative, and Provincial Elections was launched in Kinshasa on Saturday.

This is in line with Article 3 of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which provides that SADC shall observe all general elections held in its member states.

Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema and Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security Cooperation appointed former Vice President of Zambia, Enoch Kavindele, as the Head of Mission.

The mission will focus on the pre-election, election day, and post-election period, which includes the campaigns, polling day, and counting of the ballot papers.

"SADC urges all registered voters to exercise their civic and political rights by voting on December 20, 2023. We encourage all stakeholders to ensure that these elections are peaceful, fair, free, transparent, and credible. We look forward to an electoral process that has the democratic values and principles envisioned by the SADC Treaty."

The SADC Secretariat has been further mandated to coordinate the Electoral Observation Mission, including the facilitation of the in-country deployment of observers.

Comprising 71 personnel, 52 of whom are deployable, the observation mission will cover 18 of the 26 DRC provinces.

As Election Day draws nearer, concerns about security are steadily increasing.

"Security is always a concern in elections. We were assured that they  have done their best to meet with the command, who has assured them that security will be provided. In this country, security forces don't vote, so no security personnel are on leave. They will be all working on voting day to attempt, and I must say attempt because this country is very, very huge, to provide security. So wherever security is placed, their job on voting day is to assist in making sure that the issue of security is addressed."

The SADC Electoral Observation Mission is expected to release its preliminary statement on the 22nd of December before concluding its business in the DRC on the 30th. 

"It is our wish that this country has credible elections as stipulated in the SADC Charters. So that is my prayer that peace is maintained in this great country."

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nbc Digital News


Ndishishii Hamufungu