Goodluck Jonathan leads AU poll observer mission

Goodluck Jonathan
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FORMER Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will lead a joint observer mission of the Africa Union (AU) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) to observe the country’s harmonised elections on August 23.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Government recently invited local and international observers to observe the country’s polls.

The European Union has deployed its team to observe the country’s elections.

Government has assured the world that the country’s polls will be held in a free, fair, and transparent manner. The invitation to the country of observer missions is a testimony that Government has nothing to hide.

International observer missions have already given the thumbs up to the preparatory work that the country has made ahead of the polls.

The country is witnessing peaceful campaigns with political parties canvassing votes without any restriction.

In a statement, AU Commission chairperson Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat said the AU would be deploying an AU and COMESA election observer mission to Zimbabwe for the elections.

“The joint AU-COMESA mission, comprising 73 short-term observers and three core teams of electoral experts, are set to observe the elections from 16 to 29 August 2023. The joint mission will be led by His Excellency, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan in collaboration with Rt Hon Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda,” he said.

AU said the objective of the observer mission is to provide accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the quality of the harmonised elections.

This includes observing the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental, and international standards for democratic elections.

“The observer team is expected to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings; and demonstrate AU’s solidarity and support towards Zimbabwe’s election and democratisation process to ensure that the conduct of democratic, credible and peaceful elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in the country,” said Mr Mahamat.

He said the joint AU-COMESA EOM will engage with several stakeholders and observe the final preparations and polling process.

The continental body said the observer mission would issue its preliminary statement after the election date.

Mr Mahamat said the mission would be guided by AU and COMESA statutes governing the holding of elections whose aim is to promote good governance among other democratic tenets.

“The joint AU-COMESA EOM draws its mandate from various AU and COMESA instruments, most importantly: the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions (2002); the OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002); African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981); the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007); and the COMESA Elections Observation Guidelines among others,” he said.

“It is also in line with Aspiration Number 3 of the AU Agenda 2063, which aims to ensure good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice, and rule of law.”

Source – The Herald