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Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group and Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the opening press conference.

Commonwealth Observer Group Chair, Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the opening press conference

Thabo Mbeki leads Commonwealth Observers for Malawi’s Tripartite elections

18 May 2019

Malawians will go to the polls on 21 May to vote for a president, members of national assemblies and local councillors in the country’s tripartite elections. 

Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, is leading the 12-member Commonwealth Observer Group (COG). They arrived in Blantyre on 15th May and will be deployed to six locations to observe pre-poll preparations, voting day and the results processes. 

The group has already received briefings from the electoral commission, political parties, police, independent institutions, civil society and the diplomatic community.

On arriving in Malawi, President Mbeki said: “The COG is aware that this is Malawi’s second tripartite election and fully appreciates its significance to the people of Malawi. Our presence here affirms the support of the Commonwealth to the country and its democratic processes.

“As we observe the electoral process we will act impartially and independently. The process of observing elections entails scrutinising their organisation and conduct, which includes assessing the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post–election period. 

“As the COG, we will do all these, as well as assess whether the elections have been conducted in accordance with the laws of Malawi and the international and regional standards to which Malawi has committed itself.”

Following the election, the Group will present its preliminary findings at a press conference on 23rd May in Blantyre. A final report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General. It will be made available to relevant stakeholders and the public at a later date.

A Commonwealth Observer group was present for the first tripartite elections in 2014.

Composition of the Group:

  • HE Thabo Mbeki, Former President, South Africa (Chairperson)
  • Ms Paula C.M. Lee, Commissioner, Electoral Commission, Antigua and Barbuda
  • Dr Simon Munzu, Former UN Deputy Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon
  • Mr David Langtry, Former Deputy Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canada 
  • Mr Aaron Joshua Pinto, International Trade and Investment Associate, Consulate General of Canada in New York, Canada 
  • H.E  Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, Former Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, The Gambia 
  • Mr Seabata Motsamai, Executive Director at Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, Lesotho 
  • Prof Attahiru Jega, Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria
  • Ms Marvi Memon, Former Federal Minister and Member of Parliament, Pakistan
  • Ms Charmain Naidoo, Former Journalist, Sunday Times, South Africa
  • Ms Terry Dale Ince, Organizational Development Consultant, CEDAW, Gender and Human Rights Advocate, Trinidad and Tobago 
  • Mr Henry Hogger, Former Diplomat, United Kingdom

Read full statement 

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