Ex-President Mahama Leads 24-Member Commonwealth Observer Mission in Zimbabwe

Former President, John Dramani Mahama, is to lead a 24-member Commonwealth delegation to observe Zimbabwe’s general elections on July 30.

His appointment follows a similar role he played in the Sierra Leone and Kenya general elections last year.

The elections, which has 23 presidential candidates, while the 270-seat House of Assembly is composed of 210 members elected from constituencies and 60 women elected by proportional representation.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will arrive in Zimbabwe on July 23, and would be supported by a nine-member staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Katalaina Sapolu, Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.

Although Zimbabwe withdrew its membership from the organisation in 2003, the deployment of the Commonwealth team to observe the Zimbabwe elections was as a result of the expression of interest by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in re-joining the association, and requesting the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections.

A statement issued by the Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland said the observation group’s report on the election would contribute to the informal assessment of whether Zimbabwe should be readmitted.

The team was expected to assess factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole as well as consider the pre-electoral environment, the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results.

They were to act impartially and adhere to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth was a signatory.

The team would submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will send it to the Government of Zimbabwe, its Electoral Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments before it is made public.

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