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Zambia elections: Commonwealth observer group to be headed by former President of Tanzania

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Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete will lead a Commonwealth delegation to Zambia in August to observe the general elections. In picture is Kikwete in 2010. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

03 August 2021 – The Zambian general elections, scheduled to take place on 12 August 2021, is expected to be a close affair. A Commonwealth observer group to be headed by a former president of Tanzania, is on the way to Zambia to monitor the situation.  

Former President of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, will lead a group of eminent persons from across the Commonwealth to observe Zambia’s general elections scheduled for 12 August 2021.

The 14-member team of observers was constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

An advance group of observers was deployed to Zambia on 25 July 2021, while the rest of the team is expected to arrive in Lusaka from 2 August 2021.

“Conducting these electoral processes – despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – in an inclusive, peaceful and credible manner would be a demonstration of Zambia’s enduring commitment as a Commonwealth member to our shared values of democracy, transparency, mutual respect and inclusiveness,” says Secretary-General Scotland.

“In solidarity with the people of Zambia, the Commonwealth will be present to observe these polls and will continue to work with relevant Zambian institutions towards further strengthening the country’s democracy.

“As I indicated in my keynote address during the launch of the Coalition for Peaceful Elections in Zambia on 1 July 2021, elections should be an opportunity to engage in political debate over issues and perspectives and not a platform for trading insults and blows. And for democracy to flourish, it is imperative that political parties and institutions embrace transparency, accountability, and respect for the rule of law,” says Scotland.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations. On election day, the team will observe the voting, vote-counting, and results processes with reference to national legislation and international democratic standards to which Zambia has committed itself.

As with all Commonwealth observer missions, the group will function impartially and independently and conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation.

Composition of the Observer Group 

HE Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of Tanzania (Chairperson)


Mrs Alicia Peters

Former National Director MYCommonwealth



Hon Donald Malomba Esembe

Member of Parliament



Dr Samuel Kale Ewusi

Africa Regional Director, UPEACE



Ms Lomcebo Dlamini

Gender and Human Rights Specialist



Mr Kenneth Abotsi

Electoral Affairs and Conflict Resolution Expert



Mr Douglas Gichuki

Advocate of the High Court



Ms Renee Ngamau




Ms Idayat Hassan

Director, Centre for Democracy and Development



Mr Samson Itodo

Executive Director, Yiaga Africa



Hon Shandana Gulzar Khan

Chairperson, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians



Mrs Marcella Samba-Sesay

Chairperson, National Election Watch (NEW) and

Executive Director, Campaign for Good Governance

Sierra Leone


Professor Mandla Mchunu
Former Chief Electoral Officer
South Africa


Ms Crystal Orderson


South Africa


The group is supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Prof Luis Franceschi, Senior Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.

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