- The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has deployed eighty-eight elections observers throughout the length and breadth of Botswana for the general elections to be held on 16 October.
The SADC elections observers have been divided into fifteen teams to cover constituencies of Gaborone Central and Gaborone South; Gaborone North and Gaborone North West; Mochudi; Tlokweng/ Ramotswa; Kanye; Serowe; Molepolole; Maun; Gantsi; Tsabong; Francistown; Mahalapye; Kasane; Lobatse and Selibe Phikwe. The teams are further divided into sub-teams to ensure that every electoral zone is covered during the elections period.
The eighty-eight observers have been drawn from Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Additional SADC observers were expected to arrive from other member states.
The SADC Electoral Observer Mission, headed by Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Minister of Diplomatic Affairs in the Office of the President of the Republic of Mozambique, was launched in Gaborone last week Thursday, following the invitation by the government of Botswana and consistent with the provisions of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The Mission will undertake its observation of the elections in the three phases of the electoral process, namely the pre-election, the election itself (voting day) and post election. The Mission will also engage and support the people of Botswana as they go through these phases, availing itself to all elections stakeholders and consulting widely at national, regional, district and local levels with stakeholders to the elections, to greater participation and ensuring transparency at all stages.
"While recognising the challenges that come with the implementation of the SADC Principles and Guidelines, we, as SADC have made efforts to ensure that the process is peaceful, credible and legitimate. We believe that the process must assure voters and those voted for, to honourably accept the people’s verdict.
"It is, therefore, our hope and expectation that the entire SADC region and indeed the international community will render assistance to the people of Botswana during the General Elections on 16 October 2009," said a comminique from SADC issued at the weekend.
Botswana has been one of Africa's most stable democracies since independence from the British in 1966. Current President Ian Khama, the son of the first Republican president is expected to extend the rule of the Botswana Democratic Party, with a comfortable margin against challengers, Gilson Saleshando of BCP and Otsweletse Moupo of BNF.
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