By Rejoyce Kgabo Legodi
My country’s wellbeing and its development depends on me, and observing elections is more than just experiencing the YOUTH, GRANDPARENTS AND OUR PARENTS exercising their constitutional rights. The observer role is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections as observers help oversee and assist the public bravery and confidence in the honesty of electoral processes. Observing elections should be something that excite especially young people, not because there is a buying power (somewhat involved), but because there is so much wisdom and unspeakable knowledge involved. As young people we should grab such opportunities with both hands and maximise them. The 2019 national elections came about organically, very raw and I got an experience to observe – it was an experience of a life time granted by the largest youth network in Mzansi , the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network.
As observers, when we are consciously aware that it’s all about free and fair elections, there is no doubt that results to be produced will remain positive reports and continue to build legitimacy of the governments that emerge from elections. There is so much that we as the youth and the network can take home from observing the elections such as professional responsibilities:
Professional responsibilities such as
>Not interfering with election processes
>Fairly giving weight to positive actions as well as regulations when reporting
>As Observers we adhere to our organisation’s rules for media contacts; its reporting requirements, and information sharing / dissemination strategy
>Observers are to act in a strictly neutral manner, in accordance with the laws, regulations and election code of the country (strictly FREE AND FAIR elections)
>Information disclosed must be accurate (by all means necessary), sustainable and not based on isolated circumstances (conclusions should be disclosed prematurely).
Initially, observers may be in situations where assistance with elections operations is either requested by elections managers, or it becomes obvious to observers that elections officials are unable to implement some required actions. When observing under ACTIVATE!, the pressure that usually becomes operational is not necessarily felt because we get proper online training and we get to ask meaningful questions beforehand which makes the work much easier. As an Activator, I stand proud as a previous observer and I made a vow to myself that given an opportunity I would observe over and over again.
Observation can help promote and protect the civil and political right of participants in elections.