President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is assessing the necessity of having foreign observers in local elections after Malawi successfully held elections with local observers only.
As a way to increase the legitimacy of elections, several African countries have in the past invited international observers including the European Union, Commonwealth and the United Nations.
Addressing guests during a banquet hosted for Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera who was in Zimbabwe on a two-day visit, the President said:
I should congratulate Malawi, for the first time in our region, possibly on the continent, here is a country which has had the general elections without foreign observers, without the United Nations, African Union, Sadc and almost all these civil society organisations observing elections.
They (the elections) were successful, peaceful elections conducted by Malawi, on her own.
This, as I mentioned to you earlier, makes us think whether it is still necessary for Sadc countries to look for supervision from across oceans. It is a question that we are interrogating.
Elections in Malawi were held in June without observers from the United Nations, Sadc and civil society organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that restricted international travel.
President Mnangagwa speaks ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections scheduled for 2023.
In the past, some foreign observers discredited Zimbabwean elections citing irregularities such as voter intimidation, vote-buying and manipulation of results.