2019: Ex-Tanzanian President To Head Commonwealth Observer Group For Nigeria Elections

Former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete will head the Commonwealth Observer Group in Nigeria’s 2019 elections.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, constituted the observer group following an invitation from Tanzania’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

A statement issued by the Senior Communications Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat, Josephine Latu-Sanft said members of the observer group include politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender and election administration from across the Commonwealth.

An advance group of observers was deployed to Nigeria on 29 January, while other members of the team are expected to arrive in Abuja on 8 February.

“The Commonwealth has a long history of observing elections in member countries, in solidarity with electors as they choose their leaders, and in support of efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in accordance with the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter.

“The Commonwealth has observed the previous five elections in Nigeria, and I am pleased to be deploying so distinguished a group to again support the nation in its continuing journey of democratic development,” said Secretary-General Scotland.

“The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. It will assess whether the elections have been conducted in accordance with the standards for democratic elections to which Nigeria has committed itself, with reference to national legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments. Where appropriate, the Group can also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.

“The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations. Members will be deployed to various regions of the country where they will observe the voting, vote-counting and results procedures.

“The Group will submit its final report for consideration by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and she will in turn share it with the Government of Nigeria, INEC and political parties before conveying it to all Commonwealth governments. It will then be made public.

“The Group will be supported by Commonwealth Secretariat staff led by Ms Katalaina Sapolu, Senior Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.”

The Commonwealth Observer Group is composed of:

His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, Chairperson
Former President
United Republic of Tanzania

Dr Lesley Clark
Gender Specialist

Mr Gary Dunn
Former Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General

Mr Omar Jallow
The Gambia

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey
Executive Director, Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG)

Mr Prosper Bani

Hon Emmanuel Bombande
Senior Mediation Adviser, United Nations

Dr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India

Mr Orrette Fisher
Elections Consultant

Ms Jedidah Waruhiu
Commissioner, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Adv. Notemba Tjipueja
Electoral Commission

Dr Eric Kwa
Papua New Guinea

Mr Ernest Sagaga
Head, Human Rights & Safety
International Federation of Journalists

Mrs Marcella Samba-Sesay
Chairperson National Election Watch (NEW)
Sierra Leone

Ms Crystal Orderson
Regional Director, The Africa Report
South Africa

Ms Joy Napier
Commonwealth Youth & Human Rights Representative
St Kitts & Nevis

Ms Elizabeth Donnelly
Deputy Head & Research Fellow, Chatham House
United Kingdom

Ms Linda Duffield
Retired Diplomat
Former Chief Executive, Westminster Foundation for Democracy
United Kingdom

Mr Musa Mwenye
Former Attorney General

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