General News of Wed, 18 Jul 201847

Zimbabwe Elections: Afari-Gyan, Hanna Tetteh named Commonwealth observers

Former Chairman of Ghana's Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh have been included in the John Mahama-led Commonwealth group to observe Zimbabwe’s general elections on July 30.

Former president Mahama, Dr Afari-Gyan and Madam Tetteh were appointed following the visit of a pre-election assessment team to the country in June.

Mr Mahama will lead the 24-member team of observers constituted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General. He has previously led the Commonwealth teams observing elections in Sierra Leone and Kenya.

The Commonwealth in a press statement also named former Chairman of Ghana's Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh as members of the observer group who will assess factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole.

The Commonwealth observers will also consider the pre-electoral environment, the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results.

The group is independent and will determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards of Zimbabwe’s election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.

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The observers are expected to act impartially and adhere to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The statement said the Group will 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. The report will then be made public.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will arrive in Zimbabwe on July 23, 2018, and will be supported by a nine-member staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Katalaina Sapolu, Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.

Zimbabwe is not a member of the Commonwealth. It withdrew from the organisation in 2003 after it was suspended for being in breach of the Harare Declaration, which sets out the Commonwealth’s core principles and values.

In May of this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa wrote to the Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, expressing an interest in re-joining the association, and requesting the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections.

The observation group’s report on the election will contribute to the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s informal assessment of whether Zimbabwe should be readmitted.

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There are 23 presidential candidates in all. In accordance with Zimbabwe’s constitution, if no presidential candidate receives a clear majority in the election on July 30, a run-off vote will be held on 8 September.

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 members are:

HE John Dramani Mahama

Former President of Ghana (Chairperson)

Mr Gary Dunn Former

Deputy Secretary-General Commonwealth Secretariat Australia

Mr Darrel Bradley

Former Mayor of Belize City Member of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Board Belize

Rev Mpho MW Moruakgomo

President Association of Local Authorities and Chairperson of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Board Botswana

Dr Fonkam Azu’u

Former Chairman Electoral Board Cameroon

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Ms Sabrina Grover

Strategic Partnerships

Advisor Young Diplomats of Canada Canada

Prof John Packer

Conflict Resolution Expert Canada

Prof Kwadwo Afari-Gyan

Former Chairman Electoral Commission Ghana

Hon Hanna Tetteh

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament Ghana

Mr Jayanta Roy Chowdhury

Journalist and Senior Editor India

Judge Margarette May Macaulay

Former Judge Inter-American Court of Human Rights Jamaica

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Justice Willy Munyoki Mutunga

Retired Chief Justice Kenya

Advocate Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim

Barrister Advocate & Solicitor Malaysia

Dr Francis Agius

Former Minister and Former Head of Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe Malta

Mr Tim Barnett

Former Member of Parliament New Zealand

Ms Andie Fong Toy

Former Deputy Secretary-General (Political) Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat New Zealand

Ms Clare A Keizer

Editor-In-Chief of Searchlight newspaper St Vincent and The Grenadines

Ms Marcella Sesay Samba

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Chairperson National Elections Watch Sierra Leone

Ms Janet Love

Commissioner Electoral Commission South Africa

Mr Nikoli Edwards

Former Vice Chairperson Policy, Advocacy and Projects Commonwealth Youth Council Trinidad and Tobago

Prof Sylvia Tamale

Gender Expert Uganda

Lord Robert Hayward OBE

Member of the House of Lords United Kingdom

The Rt Hon the Baroness Margaret Jay

Member of the House of Lords United Kingdom

Judge David Radford

Retired Senior Circuit Judge United Kingdom Democracy and Elections

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