25 November 2004
The Commonwealth Observer Group for the Mozambique parliamentary and presidential elections on 1-2 December 2004 has arrived in the capital, Maputo, led by former Prime Minister of St Lucia Dr Vaughan Lewis.
|Members of the Commonwealth Observer Group in Mozambique.|
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon confirmed the Observer Group has been established in response to an invitation from the Comissão Nacional de Eleições (National Electoral Commission). The Group consists of 10 eminent Commonwealth citizens, supported by six Commonwealth Secretariat staff.
The other Observers are: Gilbert Ahnee, Editor-in-Chief of 'Le Mauricien', Mauritius; Hamat Bah, Member of Parliament and Leader of the National Reconciliation Party of The Gambia; Audrey Gadzekpo, Lecturer, School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana; Jane Michuki, Advocate of the High Court and Board Member of the Institute for Education in Democracy, Kenya; Justice John Zwibili Mosojane, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Botswana; Bernard Narokobi, former Speaker of the National Parliament, Papua New Guinea; Dr Steve Surujbally, Chairman, Election Commission, Guyana; Fipe Tuitubou, Member, Commonwealth Pacific Regional Youth Caucus, Fiji Islands; and John Wilde, former High Commissioner to Botswana and The Gambia, United Kingdom.
The full Observer Group started work on 23 November 2004. The 'Advance Observer', Elijah Rubvuta, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Democratic Process in Zambia, started work in Mozambique on 15 November 2004.
This is the 46th Observer Group constituted by the Commonwealth Secretaries-General since October 1990.
The Observers have been invited in their individual capacities and the views they express regarding the elections will be their own and not those either of their respective governments or of the Secretariat.
Mr McKinnon sent a Commonwealth Secretariat Assessment Mission to Mozambique in October 2004. This established that there would be broad support from the political parties and civil society for the presence of Commonwealth Observers.
The Group will observe relevant aspects of the organisation and conduct of the elections and consider all the factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. They will determine whether conditions exist for a free expression of will by the electors, and if the results of the elections reflect the wishes of the people.
CNIS - the Commonwealth News and Information Service - Issue 211 - 24 November 2004