SADC needs 'independent electoral bodies'
Johannesburg - SADC member states must work hard to ensure the independence and impartiality of the electoral management bodies, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Tuesday.
"As you are well aware, nourishing democracy in our continent is one of the ultimate objectives in terms of which we want to ensure a better life for our people," Motlanthe said at the opening of the SADC Electoral Forum conference in Magaliesburg, west of Johannesburg.
He said building democracy calls for setting up electoral institutions that have full capacity to execute their duties in a manner that creates confidence in the electorate, in the process deepening public trust.
"...we also need to keep working to enhance transparency in the election process and making all our citizens owners of the process, stakeholders in the democratic firmament we are building," he said.
"By making our people the legitimate owners of the electoral process, we are also preventing electoral conflicts and guaranteeing political stability in our countries and region"
Motlanthe said deepening democracy ensures effective governance and in turn creates sustainable conditions of peace and stability, ending wars, conflicts and poverty afflicting the lives of many people.
He said that the SADC region have proof that working together under the principle of self-determination and sovereignty in the region could create conditions of sustainable democracy for the benefit of the people.
"Thus far the joint work we have carried out shows some encouraging results. Inspired by these achievements, we should continue to steadily take our region."
He said debates leading up to difference of opinion and dialogue should become a habit of mind, done without any form of self-conscious restrictions on the part of individual members of society.