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Commonwealth Observer Group calls for peaceful elections in Zambia

10 August 2016

A spokesperson for the Commonwealth Observer Group to Zambia, Mr Kenneth Tsekoa, has urged the country’s people to play their part in ensuring peaceful and credible elections on Thursday 11 August 2016.

The former Cabinet Minister of Lesotho, who is Vice Chair of the Group, made his remarks in a statement in Lusaka, following the deployment of 17 Commonwealth observers on Tuesday.

“Our role as independent observers is to scrutinise the entire election process, then take a view whether it has been conducted to the national, regional, Commonwealth and international standards to which Zambia has committed itself,” Mr Tsekoa said.

The Commonwealth Observer Group is led as Chairperson by former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Observers have received a series of briefings from political parties, civil society, women’s and youth groups, and the media to enable them to get a sense of the mood in the country ahead of the elections.

Deployed to nine districts in the country they will make detailed observations to assess the pre-election period as well as visit polling stations on election day and during the post-election environment.

These elections will be the sixth General Elections to be held in Zambia since the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1991. Zambians will be voting in general elections for the President, 156-member National Assembly and over 1,600 local government councils. In addition, for the first time, Zambians will also directly elect Mayors or Council Chairs and vote on a referendum on the Bill of Rights, making a total of five ballots per voter.

Edgar Lungu served as Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence in the Patriotic Front Party before he was elected into office after a by-election in 2015, following the death of the PF Party President Sata in 2014. Lungu won by a narrow majority against Hakainde Hickilema of the United Party for National Development. The President, served for eighteen months completing the full term of office. 

Read the statement in full
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Note to Editors

Since 1980, the Commonwealth has observed more than 130 elections in 36 countries. Commonwealth observers have contributed to the entrenchment of democratic practices globally by offering recommendations for practical action and giving voters confidence that an independent, impartial and public view will be taken on the integrity of an electoral process. Learn more at: www.thecommonwealth.org/elections

Find out more about the mandate and composition of the Commonwealth Observer Group, and download photos, at: www.thecommonwealth.org/zambiaelection2016

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. It is home to 2.2 billion citizens, of which over 60% are under the age of 30. The Commonwealth includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, spanning five regions. For more on the work of the Commonwealth visit our website at www.thecommonwealth.org

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