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.

Former 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 Mahama
Former President of Ghana

Mr Gary Dunn
Former Deputy Secretary-General
Commonwealth Secretariat

Mr Darrel Bradley
Former Mayor of Belize City
Member of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Board

Rev Mpho MW Moruakgomo
Association of Local Authorities
and Chairperson of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Board

Dr Fonkam Azu’u
Former Chairman
Electoral Board

Ms Sabrina Grover
Strategic Partnerships Advisor
Young Diplomats of Canada

Prof John Packer
Conflict Resolution Expert

Prof Kwadwo Afari-Gyan
Former Chairman
Electoral Commission

Hon Hanna Tetteh
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Member of Parliament

Mr Jayanta Roy Chowdhury
Journalist and Senior Editor

Judge Margarette May Macaulay
Former Judge
Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Justice Willy Munyoki Mutunga
Retired Chief Justice

Advocate Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim
Advocate & Solicitor

Dr Francis Agius
Former Minister and Former Head of
Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe

Mr Tim Barnett
Former Member of Parliament
New Zealand

Ms Andie Fong Toy
Former Deputy Secretary-General (Political)
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
New Zealand

Ms Clare A Keizer
Editor-In-Chief of Searchlight newspaper
St Vincent and The Grenadines

Ms Marcella Sesay Samba
National Elections Watch
Sierra Leone

Ms Janet Love
Electoral Commission
South Africa

Mr Nikoli Edwards
Former Vice Chairperson Policy, Advocacy and Projects
Commonwealth Youth Council
Trinidad and Tobago

Prof Sylvia Tamale
Gender Expert

Lord Robert Hayward OBE
Member of the House of Lords
United Kingdom

The Rt Hon the Baroness Margaret Jay
Member of the House of Lords
United Kingdom

Judge David Radford
Retired Senior Circuit Judge
United Kingdom
Democracy and Elections

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