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FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT LEADING AU OBSERVER TEAM FOR ZAMBIAN POLLS

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been appointed to lead the African Union (AU) election observer mission to the Zambian general election set for next week.

The AU Commission says in a statement received here that it has deployed two sets of observers — long- and short-term — to Zambia, with the former, consisting of 10 people who have been in Zambia since July 14. The short-term observer team to be led by Jonathan was deployed from Monday and will spend two weeks in Zambia.

“The objective is ensure that the AUEOM (AU Election Observer Mission) approaches its work with added professionalism and factual analysis of the legal, political, electoral, media and campaign aspects of the electoral process in Zambia,” the AU said in explaining why it deployed long-term observers.

The main role of the mission is to provide an accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the quality of the general elections as well as offer recommendations for future improvements, the continental body said.

Incumbent Zambian President Edgar Lungu of the governing Patriotic Front (PF) faces a stern challenge from eight other candidates in the presidential election with the United Party for National Development (UNDP) leader, Hakainde Hichilema, posing the main threat.

In a by-election held early last year to replace the late Zambian President Michael Sata, Lungu narrowly defeated Hichilema after polling 48.3 per cent of the vote against the latter’s 46.7 per cent.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK