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St.Kitts-Nevis Ambassador among high powered Commonwealth Observer Mission Team For Zambia’s General Elections And Referendum

HE Ambassador Constance V Mitcham
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Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Her Excellency Constance V. Mitcham the  former Ag Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis and Former Minister of Women’s affairs and the first Elected Female Parliamentarian of the Twin island Federation was named among a Commonwealth Mission Team selected to observe the upcoming general elections and national referendum in Zambia scheduled for 11 August 2016, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland made the announcement recently.

HE Mitcham in 1984 was the first woman to be elected to the Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis and served as Minister of Health, WOmen’s Affairs and Labour until 1995, when she retired from active politics. Along with serving as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Her Excellency is also a Special Advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Hon Timothy Harris.

 

The former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group. The decision to send observers follows an invitation from the Government of Zambia.

President Jacob Zuma is seen with Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete during a news conference in Pretoria, Tuesday, 19 July 2011. Picture: Dept of  International Relations,  Cooperation/SAPA

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is to oversee the election process in Zambia. (File photo: Sapa)

 

On polling day, the people of Zambia will be electing their President, Members of Parliament and municipal council authorities and mayors, as well as voting in a referendum on a bill of rights.

 

In a statement, Secretary-General Scotland said: “Conducting these electoral processes in an inclusive, peaceful and credible manner is a demonstration of Zambia’s enduring commitment as a Commonwealth member to the culture of democracy and to nation-building.

 

“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.”

 

Secretary-General Scotland added: “Holding peaceful and successful elections is a high responsibility for the people and institutions of all Commonwealth member states. All Zambians including the election management body, political parties and their leaders, the citizenry, civil society, security agencies, the media and voters have a duty and responsibility to ensure a peaceful process and a credible outcome.”

 

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 procedures with reference to national legislation and to the international democratic standards to which Zambia has committed itself.

 

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

 

An advance group of observers was deployed to Zambia on 22 July while the rest of the team is expected to arrive in Lusaka on 4 August.

 

The Commonwealth Observer Group will consist of 17 eminent persons including HE Mitcham and  led by former President Jakaya Kikwete. The group is supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Mrs Yvonne Apea Mensah.

 

The full members of the Group are:

 

Chairperson, HE Dr Jakaya Kikwete

Former President

United Republic of Tanzania

 

Ms Angela Taylor

Chief Electoral Officer

Barbados

 

Mr David Langtry

Deputy Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission

Canada

 

Ms Elizabeth Ohene

Former Cabinet Minister

Ghana

 

Ms Virisila Buadromo

Gender Specialist

Fiji

 

Mr Pravin Nikam

Youth Activist

India

 

Dr Kennedy Nyaundi

Former Electoral Commissioner

Kenya

 

Mr Kenneth Tsekoa

Former Cabinet Minister

Lesotho

 

Mr Ollen Mwalubunju

Executive Director, National Initiative for Civic Education

Malawi

 

Ms Rosslyn Noonan

Former Chief Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission

New Zealand

 

Amb Adekunle Adeyemi

Former Diplomat

Nigeria

 

Ms Christina Jillian Keziah Giwe

Youth Representative

Papua New Guinea

 

Prof Mandla Mchunu

Former Chief Electoral Officer

South Africa

 

Ms Kumudini Samuel

Senior Programme and Research Fellow, Women and Media Collective

Sri Lanka

 

Amb Constance V. Mitcham

Former Cabinet Minister

St Kitts and Nevis

 

Ms Irene Ovonji-Odida

Lawyer

Uganda

 

Mr Julius Nkafu

Barrister and Arbitrator

United Kingdom

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