SADC PF to observe DRC elections
Addressing a Press conference in Windhoek on Tuesday, SADC-PF secretary general Kasuka Mutukwa said 100 Members of Parliament from the region were already on standby to observe the much awaited elections while a pre-election mission arrived in the DRC on May 15 to assess the situation prevailing on the ground. “The Forum is already on standby with 100 MPs to observe the forthcoming elections in the DRC which are scheduled for July this year. A Pre-Election Mission of the Forum-designated Parliamentarians arrived in the DRC on 15th May 2006 to commence familiarisation with the environment, context and preparations for the elections in the DRC,” said Mutukwa. This is not the first time SADC-PF will be keeping an eye on elections in a SADC member country. Since its formation 10 years ago it has observed 15 parliamentary and presidential elections, the first exercise being in 1999. “From 1999, well over 600 Members of Parliament and staff of Parliaments have observed 15 parliamentary and presidential elections in SADC countries,” Mutukwa, a former Zambian MP, said. In 2004, the Forum observed elections in South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique and last year it observed elections in Mauritius. Apart from observing elections, SADC-PF, which is headquartered in Windhoek, has also been involved in other activities such as campaigning for gender equality and harmonising policies and laws of the 13 member countries. Currently all the member countries have 2,500 MPs of which 500 are in the DRC interim parliament.