The 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been appointed by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma to chair the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African general elections scheduled for May 7, 2014.
Nana Akufo-Addo was appointed apparently for his statesmanship and the peaceful manner in which he conducted himself during the 2012 general elections which were marred by irregularities.
Dorothy Pine-McLarty OJ, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica and Sheik Abdul Carimo Nordine Sau, who is the President of the National Elections Commission of Mozambique, are part of the team.
Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to leave Ghana on May 1, 2014 and will be in South Africa for the entire duration of the Mission, which lasts for two weeks.
Touching on the importance of the elections in a statement, Mr. Sharma indicated that ‘the forthcoming elections are a significant milestone for South Africa. They mark the 20 th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections and are the first elections after the passing of former President Nelson Mandela.’
South Africa’s first democratic elections began on May 27, 1994 after nationalists like the late Nelson Mandela fought against the official system of racial segregation and white minority rule from 1948 known as Apartheid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid .
Mr. Sharma stated that the Observer Mission would consider the pre-electoral atmosphere and election preparations, adding that on the election day, it would observe the counting of votes and the results and determine whether the elections had been conducted appropriately.
The first democratic elections were reportedly marred by irregularities.
The African National Congress (ANC), which was led by ex-President Mandela, was alleged to have obtained over one million fake votes.
Jacob Zuma, the current President of South Africa, is contesting on the ticket of the ANC for a second term.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sharma, the Secretary-General said, ‘As with all Commonwealth Observer Missions, this Mission will function impartially and independently, and will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation to which the CommonWealth is a signatory.
He added: ‘Where appropriate, it will make recommendations to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa for further improvement.
By Melvin Tarlue
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