from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE African Union (AU) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Election Observation Mission (EOM) is to start its assignment in Zimbabwe on August 16.
Goodluck Jonathan, the former President of Nigeria, will lead the mission, in collaboration with Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, former Prime Minister of Uganda.
African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat confirmed the deployment of the AU, COMESA and EOM.
The AU-COMESA-EOM, comprising 73 short-term observers and three core teams of electoral experts, is set to observe the elections until August 29.
Polls in Zimbabwe are set for the 23rd.
The team is to assess if elections in Zimbabwe meet regional, continental and international standards for democratic polls, offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings and demonstrate AU’s solidarity and support towards Zimbabwe’s election and democratisation process.
This is to ensure that the conduct of democratic, credible and peaceful elections contribute to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in the Southern African country of 16 million people.
The joint AU-COMESA-EOM will engage with several stakeholders and observe the final preparations and polling process.
“Based on the findings, the joint EOM will issue its preliminary statement after Election day,” AU stated from its Ethiopia headquarters.
At the elections, incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking a second term while opposition’s Nelson Chamisa appears to be the strongest challenger.
Court challenges by his rivals and violence have marred preparations.
– CAJ News