Two international observer groups – the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) — have so far confirmed their presence in Seychelles for parliamentary elections set for September 8-10. Two local observer groups — Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles (CDWS) and the Association for Rights, Information and Democracy (ARID) — are also gearing up for the polls. Headed by the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine P Mahinga, the SADC observer mission was launched on Friday at the Avani resort on the western side of the Seychelles main island, Mahé. Dr Mahinga said that the SADC mission is being guided by the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, adopted in 2015.
Nineteen observers from eight of SADC’s 15 member countries are part of the mission. SADC’s Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs Jorge Cardoso confirmed on Friday that the 19 observers will be deployed to voting stations covering all of the 25 electoral districts, including on the main island Mahé, as well as on Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette.
The head of the SADC mission, Dr Mahinga, has expressed hope that the deployment of the SADC observers will contribute to the enhanced credibility of the overall process.
“As SADC observes these elections, it encourages the Electoral Commission of the Seychelles to conduct its work to the highest professional standard; the political leadership to play an exemplary role in terms of electoral conduct; and the electorate to act conscientiously and honourably,” he added.