Namibians Off on Observer Mission

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK The Namibian delegation which forms part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission for the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to leave the country this week. The delegation, which consists of officials from the Office of the President, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence will join Namibia’s Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development John Pandeni who is the Head of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission Office. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Immanuel Hamunyela from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the names of the delegates are yet to be confirmed because the different ministries have not forwarded them. ” We are still awaiting the respective ministers or permanent secretaries to forward the names to us.” Hamunyela said the delegation which will consist of about ten people was expected in the DRC from Saturday. The official launch of the SADC Observation Mission Office by Pandeni last week in Kinshasa, DRC paved the way for the election observers from the region to the DRC. At the launch last week, Pandeni said the electoral observation mission has been the most important issue for the SADC. He revealed that the organization would deploy 150 civil observers and 43 military officials in the DRC to ensure a good beginning of the first democratic election in the country in more than 40 years. “The electoral observation mission of SADC will cooperate and coordinate with other observation missions which have already been deployed in the DRC.” Pandeni said that the SADC mission’s activities will be in the scope of consolidating peace in the DRC and to keep a neutral stance during the process of the elections. Pandeni, who is also the deputy secretary general of the Swapo Party, said that the invitation by the DRC to the continental body to witness the election process was proof of commitment of the people of that country to sustainable democracy, political tolerance and unity of purpose. He also underscored adherence to the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections aimed at enhancing transparency and credibility of elections as well as ensuring acceptance of election results by all contesting parties. The first round of the presidential and parliamentary elections in the DRC is scheduled to begin on July 30. Besides SADC, the European Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) have sent their observation missions to the country. Over 100 SADC observers will be deployed to all DRC constituencies by 20 July. The support SADC is expected to render to the DRC during the electoral process includes developing measures to ensure sustain- ability of the elected Government by focusing not only on developmental programmes, but also on strengthening the defence and law enforcement agencies to enable the DRC to protect the strategic natural resources of the country.