Former Nigerian President: SA met obligations for a democratic election

Charles Molele

The South African 2019 general elections were largely peaceful across the country and were conducted within the prescripts of the law, according to former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan, speaking on Friday at the IEC’s results operations centre as head of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) observer mission, said that throughout the 2019 general elections, South Africa met its obligations to democratic elections.

“Overall, the 2019 elections were conducted within a strong legal and institutional framework that guarantees democratic elections. The key players in the process conducted themselves in accordance with stipulated laws and guidelines. South Africa, through these elections, met its obligations to democratic elections, set out in the different international instruments to which it is party,” said Jonathan.

Jonathan also praised South Africa for its continued commitment to democratic elections.

He said the Electoral Law Amendment Act contributed to the improved quality of the voters roll and compliance with the rule of law.

Accusations against IEC

On Thursday, smaller parties stormed the stage at the IEC results operations centre and demanded a re-run of the elections following allegations of multiple voting in various polling stations across the country.

They also accused the IEC of colluding with bigger political parties – ANC, DA and EFF – in order to suppress smaller parties from contesting power.

The electoral commission has since conducted a full audit to investigate the allegations and various electoral irregularities, including the ineffectiveness of the indelible ink. 

“We call on the aggrieved parties to freely express their dissatisfaction within the confines of the law. We call on South Africans to maintain their trust in the judiciary. The EISA EOM wishes to further encourage political leaders to be measured and well informed in their pronouncements, to avoid misleading or inciting the public. Political parties should also work with the IEC to avoid the extent of the alleged multiple voting and its overall impact on the process,” said Jonathan.

The electoral institute recommended that the IEC address concerns of multiple voting, and consider creating a harmonized digital voter register to ensure that the Zip-Zip machines can be used to track persons who have already cast their ballot.

Jonathan also recommended the country introduce a digitized election voting system in future.

Earlier on Friday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Sello Hatang commended the IEC for conducting a largely peaceful election. Hatang said the observers were overall satisfied with how the voting process unfolded. He said that, for most observers, the elections were “a richly rewarding experience”.

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