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Commonwealth to observe Zambia’s general elections and referendum

27 July 2016

The Commonwealth will observe the upcoming general elections and national referendum in Zambia scheduled for 11 August 2016, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced today.

The former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group. The decision to send observers follows an invitation from the Government of Zambia.

On polling day, the people of Zambia will be electing their President, Members of Parliament and municipal council authorities and mayors, as well as voting in a referendum on a bill of rights.

In a statement, Secretary-General Scotland said: “Conducting these electoral processes in an inclusive, peaceful and credible manner is a demonstration of Zambia’s enduring commitment as a Commonwealth member to the culture of democracy and to nation-building. 

“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.”

Secretary-General Scotland added: “Holding peaceful and successful elections is a high responsibility for the people and institutions of all Commonwealth member states. All Zambians including the election management body, political parties and their leaders, the citizenry, civil society, security agencies, the media and voters have a duty and responsibility to ensure a peaceful process and a credible outcome.”

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 procedures with reference to national legislation and to the international democratic standards to which Zambia has committed itself.

As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, the mission will function impartially and independently and will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation.

An advance group of observers was deployed to Zambia on 22 July while the rest of the team is expected to arrive in Lusaka on 4 August. 

The Commonwealth Observer Group will consist of 17 eminent persons led by former President Jakaya Kikwete. The group is supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Mrs Yvonne Apea Mensah. 

The full members of the Group are: 

Chairperson, HE Dr Jakaya Kikwete
Former President
United Republic of Tanzania
Ms Angela Taylor
Chief Electoral Officer
Mr David Langtry
Deputy Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Ms Elizabeth Ohene
Former Cabinet Minister
Ms Virisila Buadromo
Gender Specialist
Mr Pravin Nikam
Youth Activist
Dr Kennedy Nyaundi
Former Electoral Commissioner
Mr Kenneth Tsekoa
Former Cabinet Minister
Mr Ollen Mwalubunju
Executive Director, National Initiative for Civic Education
Ms Rosslyn Noonan
Former Chief Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission
New Zealand
Amb Adekunle Adeyemi
Former Diplomat 
Ms Christina Jillian Keziah Giwe
Youth Representative
Papua New Guinea
Prof Mandla Mchunu
Former Chief Electoral Officer
South Africa
Ms Kumudini Samuel
Senior Programme and Research Fellow, Women and Media Collective
Sri Lanka
Amb Constance V. Mitcham
Former Cabinet Minister
St Kitts and Nevis
Ms Irene Ovonji-Odida
Mr Julius Nkafu
Barrister and Arbitrator
United Kingdom