By Tiri Masawi
Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) chaired by Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, will launch their mission in Namibia next week as preparations for the November 27 presidential and parliamentary elections gathers steam.
A statement released by the SADC Secretariat said SEOM, under the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation chaired by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, will be in Namibia to observe the electoral process at the invitation of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).
Namibia will hold its presidential elections with 11 candidates vying for the presidency while 15 parties will fight it out for the available 96 parliamentary seats.
“In line with the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, the Electoral Commission of Namibia invited SADC to observe the elections in Namibia. The president of Zimbabwe in his capacity as the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, has constituted SEOM,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, political parties in Namibia are headed to their last round of campaigns with the ruling Swapo Party continuing with its star rallies across the 14 regions of the country canvassing for votes premised on improved economic performance as well as consolidation of power and empowerment of the marginalised.
On the other hand, opposition political parties squared off in a presidential debate, a first of its kind in Namibia in a bid to sell their manifestos and encourage the Namibian public to cast their votes in their favour.
The presidential debate was attended by Landless People’s Movement firebrand politician, Bernadus Swartbooi, Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani, Swanu president Tangeni Iiyambo, Rally For Democracy and Progress president Mike Kavekotora and NUDO presidential hopeful, Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, while incumbent Swapo President Hage Geingob and independent candidate Dr Panduleni Itula chose to stay away from the debate.
While the electioneering is on a steam roller, Namibians in the diaspora and those that are working in the marine industry cast their ballots on 13 November in a special arrangement meant to create convenience for all Namibians.