Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has started deploying its election observer mission to Zambia ahead of general elections set for August 12.
COMESA secretary general Ms Chileshe Mbundu Kapwepwe said the team will be led by its Committee of Elders, headed by Ambassador Gamal Rashed of Egypt, he will be assisted by Ms Hope Kivingere of Uganda.
Other members of the observer mission are drawn from Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe and the bloc’s secretariat staff.
“Pursuant to the invitation by the government of Zambia, the COMESA Election Observer Mission will be deployed to the field after going through a training program on the bloc’s election observer principles and methodology. The mission will cover all the 10 provinces of Zambia,” said Ms Kapwepwe.
The official said as part of its mission, the team will consult various electoral stakeholders including political parties, security, the Electoral Commission of Zambia, civil society, and the media among others, and exchange views with other elections observer missions.
He said the observation will be guided primarily by the constitution and legal framework of Zambia as read with relevant international and regional instruments, including COMESA’s Guidelines on Election Observation.
Prior to the deployment of the observers, she said, the secretariat which is based in Zambia has been monitoring the evolving pre-election situation in the country including campaigns, civic education, and voter registration.
“We welcome this opportunity to contribute tit e democratic process in the Republic of Zambia and look forward to the cooperation of all Zambians,” said Kapwepwe.