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The second president in post-Apartheid South Africa, Thabo Mbeki has been appointed head of the Commonwealth electoral observation group for Malawi’s tripartite elections later this month.Malawians go to the polls on 21 May to elect a president as well as members of the national assembly and local government councillors.
These are the country’s second tripartite elections, after the first which were held in 2014.
The Commonwealth said in a statement on Friday that its observer group is being deployed to the country by the organisation’s Secretary-General Patricia Scotland following a request to that effect from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
The group includes politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender and election administration from across the Commonwealth.
The Secretary-General said: “Conducting credible elections through which citizens can choose their leaders and representatives freely in a peaceful environment is a fundamental part of a healthy democracy and is a collective strength of Commonwealth member states”.
She said the Commonwealth will be present in Malawi to observe the elections and work closely with the country’s authorities to consolidate its democracy and strengthens and embed good practice.
The Comonwealth scribe reminded stakeholders that the responsibility for conducting elections with integrity falls on all of them.
These shes said range from the election management body, to political parties and their leaders, to civil society, security agencies, the media and the voters.
“Each and every one has a rightful role to ensure a credible process and outcome” she added.
The observer group will examine preparations for the elections, before observing the voting process, vote-counting procedures and announcement of the final results.
Malawi was the 19th country to join the Commonwealth shortly after independence from Britain.Source: APA