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
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.
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.
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 MahamaFormer President of Ghana(Chairperson) Mr Gary DunnFormer Deputy Secretary-GeneralCommonwealth SecretariatAustralia Mr Darrel BradleyFormer Mayor of Belize CityMember of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) BoardBelize Rev Mpho MW Moruakgomo PresidentAssociation of Local Authoritiesand Chairperson of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) BoardBotswana Dr Fonkam Azu’uFormer ChairmanElectoral BoardCameroon Ms Sabrina GroverStrategic Partnerships AdvisorYoung Diplomats of CanadaCanada Prof John PackerConflict Resolution ExpertCanada Prof Kwadwo Afari-GyanFormer ChairmanElectoral CommissionGhana Hon Hanna TettehFormer Minister of Foreign Affairsand Member of ParliamentGhana Mr Jayanta Roy ChowdhuryJournalist and Senior EditorIndia Judge Margarette May MacaulayFormer JudgeInter-American Court of Human RightsJamaica Justice Willy Munyoki MutungaRetired Chief JusticeKenya Advocate Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim BarristerAdvocate & SolicitorMalaysia Dr Francis AgiusFormer Minister and Former Head ofParliamentary Delegation to the Council of EuropeMalta Mr Tim BarnettFormer Member of ParliamentNew Zealand Ms Andie Fong ToyFormer Deputy Secretary-General (Political)Pacific Islands Forum SecretariatNew Zealand Ms Clare A KeizerEditor-In-Chief of Searchlight newspaperSt Vincent and The Grenadines Ms Marcella Sesay Samba ChairpersonNational Elections WatchSierra Leone Ms Janet LoveCommissionerElectoral CommissionSouth Africa Mr Nikoli EdwardsFormer Vice Chairperson Policy, Advocacy and ProjectsCommonwealth Youth CouncilTrinidad and Tobago Prof Sylvia TamaleGender ExpertUganda Lord Robert Hayward OBEMember of the House of LordsUnited Kingdom The Rt Hon the Baroness Margaret JayMember of the House of LordsUnited Kingdom Judge David Radford Retired Senior Circuit JudgeUnited KingdomDemocracy and Elections