The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to Zimbabwe will deploy its members countrywide on Friday ahead of general elections to be held on 23 August.

In a statement released on 11 August, SEOM said the SADC Secretariat team has been in the country since 10 August. It said:

"the SADC Secretariat team arrived in Harare on 10 August 2023 to prepare logistics for the launch of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, and its concomitant full deployment on 18 August 2023."

"The SEOM will be deployed to all ten (10) Provinces of Zimbabwe to observe the pre- and post-election 

phases and the polling day."

"Before the Launch, the Head of Mission (HoM), the Republic of Zambia (the Incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs) for SEOM Zimbabwe shall undertake a Courtesy Call to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Zimbabwe."

"The HoM will also conduct meetings with the leadership of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as well as the SADC Ambassadors and High Commissioners Accredited to the Republic of Zimbabwe."

It has invited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zimbabwe Republic Police, Attorney General, political parties, voters and citizens, traditional leaders, faith-based groups, civil society, members of the media, Diplomatic Missions/Corps, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, European Union Delegation in Zimbabwe, other International Cooperating Partners, and the Heads of Delegations of International Electoral Observation Missions, to attend the Launch of SEOM Zimbabwe at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare.

SEOM’s mandate is guided by the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of 2021. Reads the statement:

"The Mission will assess the conduct of the elections against a set of central principles stipulated in the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of (2021) which include, amongst full participation of the citizens in the democratic and development processes, measures to prevent political violence, intimidation and intolerance, equal opportunity for all political parties to access the State Media as well as access to information by all citizens, and acceptance of and respect for the election results by all political parties."

SEOM will join various other observer groups, such as the Carter Centre and the African Union-COMESA teams, already stationed in the country’s 10 provinces.