The Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles, CDWS has last Saturday launched its local observer mission for the presidential and legislative elections coming up this month. CDWS Chairperson Gerard Lim Sam said:
“We have people of caliber who have been formed, who have been trained to go on the field!”
He said that as such the NGO was starting its mission the very same day.
“We will be observing what is going on in the district and having meetings with the different stakeholders, to have their views regarding how the electoral process is going.”
Mr. Limsam said that CDWS is confident that its observers will do their best especially now that sixteen new members have just completed a three-day’s training sponsored by the United States Embassy for Seychelles based in Mauritius. Following the training of the new observers, the CDWS now has a team of 30 observers who swore in on Saturday for these elections.
The training equipped the observers with the necessary tools to be able to deliver on their mission from a solid background. The modules they covered included, what is democracy, the legal framework for elections in Seychelles and what to observe during elections.
Limsam said that once accredited by the Electoral Commission, the CDWS observers are expected to show proof of all they have learned by carrying out effective and impartial observation of the electoral process from now until the three days of voting are over and even the aftermath of the elections.
The US assistance towards CDWS for these elections in October amounts to 42000 USD, which covers the cost of the training as well as for the logistics and equipment they will need for their mission. The work done by CDWS which was the first such organization in Seychelles was hailed by the American Ambassador David Reimer as important. Raimer addressed the CDWS trainees during their closing ceremony through a pre-recorded video message.
The other local NGO involved in observing elections is Association for Information Rights and Democracy ARID, which also has a wider mandate as it specifically monitors the applications of the rights of the individual locally.