During the April 2009 South African national and provincial elections, following a directive from the provincial legislature, ACCORD constituted an observer mission, the African Alliance for Peace (AfAP) with African partners the Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).
The Observer Mission was divided into 20 teams, deployed to 11 hotspot areas between 19 and 24 April 2009. Each team observed polling at approximately 20 stations, thus totalling the number of stations observed to nearly 400. Delegates from the African continent who are experts in the fields of conflict resolution and peacebuilding staffed the AfAP. It also included a contingent of South Africans familiar with the political and social dynamics of KwaZulu-Natal. The AfAP observer mission specifically targeted historical ‘hotspots’ for violence in the province with the aim of observing and monitoring levels and incidents of election related political intimidation and violence. On 23 April 2009, AfAP pronounced that the overall conduct among voters, political parties, their agents, the state and security officials and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was positive. AfAP observers noted that in the areas reviewed by the AfAP mission, the observed levels of violence did not have a material impact on the electoral outcome. There were no systematic efforts made to foster political intolerance. The majority of polling stations, despite minor problems, were safe places to cast votes – without any undue interference and intimidation from party representatives. In conclusion,
Working with Professor Paulo Zulu’s team from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (the South African component of the AfAP) KPD is currently producing an observer mission report to provide a general analysis of the 2009 elections in the province. Aside from incidents of intimidation and violence, the report will detail the campaigning and voting processes, IEC performance, the role of the media and security forces as well as the role of observer missions and the possibility of replicating the AfAP observer mission on the African continent.
President Obasanjo, who lead the AfAP mission, observing the counting process