Election observers confident in South African elections — Jonathan

A voting station is pictured, 06 May 2019, in Alexandra Johannesburg.Over 700,000 special voters are expected to cast their vote on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the main Election Day. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times (Photo Source: TimesLIVE)
A voting station is pictured, 06 May 2019, in Alexandra Johannesburg.Over 700,000 special voters are expected to cast their vote on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the main Election Day. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times (Photo Source: TimesLIVE)

The head of the election observer mission of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), former President Goodluck Jonathan, says the observer mission has confidence in the South African elections, based on what they have observed so far.

Speaking to the SABC News at the Independent Electoral Commission’s Results Operation Centre in Pretoria, Mr Jonathan said the body that manages the elections plays an important role in ensuring safe and successful elections.

“This year’s election appears to be one of the strongly contested elections so far in the history of SA democracy and everybody is interested in the outcome. We have observed some of the rallies and we are quite comfortable how things are going,” he said.

He adds, “The key thing about elections is the body managing the election and of course the security, the police. If the stakeholders, the political parties have confidence in these two organisations, then of course we are quite hopeful.”

The former president also expressed the optimism that management of elections is improving across the continent.

“I have gone to many African nations as leader of different observation missions including the Commonwealth, African Union, National Democratic Institute, and of course EISA and I am quite impressed and hopeful that the standard of managing of our elections will continue to improve.”

According to him, the trend of well managed elections would bring about marked improvement in leadership and development on the continent. “I believe that If we improve our standard of elections we will get to that point where people, using their vote, can remove a leader they feel is not leading them well.”

Mr Jonathan who admitted that young people have a role to play in governance however added that the issue of leadership in Africa should not focus on age alone but on competence and ability of leaders to understand new trends in the areas of governance and information technology, especially in the age of knowledge-based economy. “Good leadership does not depend on age alone. It has to do with the individual… The key thing is being able to lead your country well.”

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