SADC election observers in Luanda for August 23 polls
By Santos Vilola
Luanda – The SADC Electoral Observer Mission has arrived in Angola to monitor the country’s forthcoming general elections on 23 August.
The 20-member mission is headed by Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Augustine Mahiga. In total, the SADC region will be represented by 130 election observers.
On Tuesday, the SADC executive secretariat held a seminar in Luanda to raise awareness of those involved in the electoral process. The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the security organs, civil society, churches, academic and individual entities, was aimed at providing participants with knowledge of the Principles and Guidelines Governing Electoral Processes in SADC.
A spokeswoman for the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Júlia Ferreira, told the press that the process of accreditation of national and international observers started on Monday, August 7 and will run until August 17. As of Wednesday, 1 000 observers had already been accredited as per the CNE.
Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti has expressed his satisfaction about the organisation of the election observation process by the CNE. The minister, who will be part of the monitoring mission of international electoral observation, has ensured that all is in place for the reception of electoral observation delegations.
In the coming days, electoral observers from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region; the Economic Community of Central African Nations; the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and the African Union are expected to arrive in the country.
Joaquim do Espírito Santos, the director for Africa, Middle East and Regional Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told media that the African Union observation mission will be led by former Cape Verde president José Maria das Neves.
Minister Chikoti said the August 23 elections will be observed by representatives of 90 regional, continental and international institutions, as well as individual entities such as the former presidents of East Timor, Ramos Horta; Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia; Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano; Pedro Pires of Cape Verde; Manuel Pinto da Costa from Sao Tome and Principe as well as Ghanaian John Mahama.