Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ex-Tanzania President Kikwete To Lead Commonwealth Observers

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
By Paul Shalala
Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has been appointed by the Commonwealth to lead a 17-man team of election observers to Zambia for the country’s August 11 general elections and referendum.
In a press statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland hopes that Zambia will conduct an inclusive, peaceful and credible poll to demonstrate the country’s culture of democracy.
She has disclosed that an advance group of Commonwealth observers was deployed in the country on 22 July while the rest of the team is expected to arrive on 4 August. 
“In solidarity with the people of Zambia, the Commonwealth will be present to observe these polls and will continue to work with relevant Zambian institutions towards further strengthening the country’s democracy,” said Ms Scotland.

She added that holding peaceful and successful elections is a high responsibility for the people and institutions of all Commonwealth member states.
“All Zambians including the election management body, political parties and their leaders, the citizenry, civil society, security agencies, the media and voters have a duty and responsibility to ensure a peaceful process and a credible outcome.”

According to the statement, the Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations.
On August 11, the team will observe the voting, vote-counting and the results procedure.
The Commonwealth joins other international observers like the African Union, SADC and the European Union who have already deployed their observers.
Zambia has seven million registered voters who will be electing a President, Members of Parliament, Mayors, Council Chairmen and Councillors.
Voters will also be casting ballots in a referendum to amend the Bill of Rights.

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