Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, leaves Abuja for Harare on Saturday to observe Zimbabwe’s general elections, scheduled to take place on Aug. 23.
Jonathan would be leading a joint observer mission of the Africa Union (AU) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) for the states
This is contained in statement issued by the AU Commission chairperson, Mr Moussa Mahamat, and made available on Friday in Abuja.
The joint AU-COMESA team, according to Mahamat, is composed of 73 short-term observers and three core teams of electoral experts, who would be involved in the election observation activities from Aug. 16 to Aug. 29 in Zimbabwe.
He said that the objective of AU and COMESA election observer mission was to provide accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the quality of the harmonized elections.
This, according to Mahamat, includes observing the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections.
It will be the fourth time Jonathan would be leading an AU election observation mission since 2016, having led the continental body’s missions to Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia.
It said further: “The observer team is expected to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings;
“Demonstrate AU’s solidarity and support towards Zimbabwe’s election and democratization process to ensure that the conduct of democratic, credible and peaceful elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in the country,” he said.
The AU chairperson also said the joint AU-COMESA EOM would engage with several stakeholders and observe the final preparations and polling process.
Mahamat added that the observer mission would issue its preliminary statement after the election date.
He said the mission would be guided by AU and COMESA statutes governing the holding of elections whose aim is to promote good governance among other democratic tenets.
“The joint AU-COMESA EOM draws its mandate from various AU and COMESA instruments, most importantly: the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions (2002);
“The OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002); African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981);
“The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007); and the COMESA Elections Observation Guidelines among others,” he said.
Mahamat said it was also in line with Aspiration Number 3 of the AU Agenda 2063, which aims to ensure good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice, and rule of law.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Government recently invited local and international observers to the country’s polls.
Other international observer missions, including the European Union and the Carter center, have already deployed their teams to observe the country’s elections.