Hichilema deploys third former Zambian VP to head SADC poll mission

By Staff Reporter

SADC Troika chair and Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema has dispatched former Zambian vice president Enoch Kavindele to head the regional bloc’s Election Observer Mission (SEOM) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) polls on 20 December.

Kavindele becomes the third former Zambian vice president to head an SEOM in just three months.

Nevers Mumba headed the SEOM to Zimbabwe’s August 2023 elections, later producing a damning report about the troubled country’s poll.

Godfrey Miyanda, another former Zambian vice president led the SEOM to Madagascar in November.

Kavindele, who also led the SEOM to Eswatini in September, has now been tasked to head the SEOM to DRC.

He was set to arrive in Kinshasa ahead of the mission’s 15 December launch and eventual deployment countrywide.

Hichilema also appointed Lazarous Kapambwe, Zambia’s former ambassador to the United States, to be the SEOM’s alternate head.

The SEOM will cover 18 out of 26 provinces in the DRC during the pre- and post-election periods.

SADC’s mandate for the elections is guided by the basic tenets of democratic polls, it said in a statement.

“These principles emphasise the importance of citizen participation in the democratic and development processes, the implementation of measures to prevent political violence, intimidation, and intolerance, and the promotion of equal opportunities for all political parties to access the state media and for all citizens to access information,” the secretariat said.

Numerous surveys suggest a Felix Tshisekedi victory.

His leading challengers are Moise Katumbi of the Together for the Republic party, 2018 runner-up Martin Fayulu of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party, and Dr Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with rape survivors.

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