Obasanjo to head AU Observers for Zimbabwe elections

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“The Mission will be led by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and comprises of sixty (60) observers drawn from members of African Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), Civil Society Organizations, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Human Rights Organisations and members of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) of the African Union,” said a press statement released on Friday.

“As part of his activities, the Mission Leader, Olusegun Obasanjo will meet relevant stakeholders in Zimbabwe including the President, the Prime Minister, the Chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, and Security Agencies.”

The AU says the 60-men-delegation will be supported by an additional team of nine coordinating and technical team from Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, the Pan-African Parliament and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma approved the deployment of an African Union Short-Term Observation (STO) Mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe. The deployment commences 21July 2013 and will complement the work of team of nine AU Long-Term Observers who were deployed to Zimbabwe since 15 June 2013.

“The Mission will remain in constant interaction with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and will release statements on the development through the spokesperson of the Mission,” the statement said.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has begun his election campaign. Thousands of his supporters attended his rally outside Harare on Thursday wearing the colours of his party, Zanu PF. Mugabe has been in power for more than 30 years and at the age of 89, Mugabe remains determined to stay in power.

The European Union (EU) on Friday vowed to lift sanctions against the sub-Saharan country if African observers declare the elections free and fair, and there are no protests by the opposition.