SADC calls for peaceful elections in Mozambique

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maputo - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for peaceful elections in Mozambique on 28 October.

"The Mozambican general and provincial elections should be peaceful, and there should be consensus among the competing forces," said Joao Caholo, the SADC deputy executive secretary.

The scenarios of conflict that had emerged from some other African elections should not be repeated in Mozambique, he said.

"We hope that a legitimate winner emerges from the elections, who has a mandate to govern. We appeal to all Mozambicans to respect the law, and to Mozambique, as a member of SADC, to obey the SADC governance principles."

Caholo said the SADC mission will send teams into the provinces to accompany the election in the final stages of the campaign and up to polling day. "Only the facts verified on the ground, and not just what is said to us, will determine the opinion of the observers," he stressed.

He added that the SADC mission expects to issue its report on the elections three to five days after the results were proclaimed.

On polling day, the SADC will have 120 observers. By Sunday, 38 had arrived from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Mauritius. Observers from South Africa and Zimbabwe are also expected.

The head of the observer mission, Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Mpande, said that by this week the SADC observers will be working throughout the country, "otherwise our work would have no impact."

Mpande urged all the Mozambican candidates and political parties to exercise their rights "with tolerance, mutual respect and strict observance of the law, so that these elections can be held in a peaceful environment."