Former President of Tanzania Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, will lead a group of eminent persons from across the Commonwealth to observe Zambia’s general elections scheduled for 12 August.
The 14-member team of observers was constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
An advance group of observers was deployed to Zambia on 25 July while the rest of the team is expected to arrive in Lusaka from 2 August.
Secretary-General Scotland said: “Conducting these electoral processes – despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – in an inclusive, peaceful and credible manner would be a demonstration of Zambia’s enduring commitment as a Commonwealth member to our shared values of democracy, transparency, mutual respect and inclusiveness.”
“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.”
“As I indicated in my keynote address during the launch of the Coalition for Peaceful Elections in Zambia on 1 July, elections should be an opportunity to engage in political debate over issues and perspectives and not a platform for trading insults and blows. And for democracy to flourish, it is imperative that political parties and institutions embrace transparency, accountability, and respect for the rule of law.”
The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations.
On election day, the team will observe the voting, vote-counting and results processes with reference to national legislation and international democratic standards to which Zambia has committed itself.
As with all Commonwealth observer missions, the group will function impartially and independently and conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation.
The group is supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Prof Luis Franceschi, Senior Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.
Dr Kikwete also led the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Zambia for the 2016 elections.