A great deal of fuss is being made by the Opposition concerning the issue of election observers for the August 10 general election. They seem to think that the presence of observers will ensure that the election is free and fair. But observers do no such thing.
Observer missions are small, usually between ten to 20. Even with 20, visiting 2,200-odd polling stations is impossible. And only a few minutes can be spent at each one.
Is there any sane politician who thinks that an observer mission can oversee the operations on poll day better than his/her own election agents who spend the entire day (and part of the night) observing the conduct of the polls? Don’t they trust their own agents to ensure everything is above-board? What can a few random foreign observers do that your 2,200 hand-picked agents can’t?
While it’s nice to have external observers pronounce on the conduct of our election, it really is not necessary. And with the advent of Covid-19, the cost of a mission escalates significantly. Remember, you have to house, feed and provide medical services for the observers for an additional two weeks.
Yes, it would be nice to have observers but it’s not a disaster if they cannot come.