Nana Leads Observer Team

Nana Akuffo-Addo with Rashid Bawa in Tamale yesterday

The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will lead the Commonwealth Election Observer mission for the South African Election next month.

Sources close to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London told DAILY GUIDE that Nana Akufo-Addo is leading the three-member team for the election scheduled for May 7, 2014.

Nana Addo’s office has been tight-lipped about the news, as his press aide would neither confirm nor deny the story.

Everything is set for the members to carry out their assignment in South Africa, as indicated by grapevine information gathered on social media.

The team is scheduled to arrive in South Africa by Friday.

South Africans go to the polls to elect a president for the Rainbow Nation, with smaller parties challenging the scandal-prone Jacob Zuma, who is ending his first term in office after succeeding Thabo Mbeki, as the third black president since the dismantling of apartheid and the advent of black majority rule.

It will be the first election after the demise of Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa who died last year.

President Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) is being given a hot chase by newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by expelled ANC youth leader, Julius Malema, who appears to be speaking the language of the hugely disappointed black South Africans still wallowing in abject poverty after 20 years of the death of apartheid.

The selection of Nana Akufo-Addo to lead the Commonwealth team is a testament of his strong democratic credentials, as exhibited in the aftermath of his losses in the two previous elections, as well as his diplomatic acumen as a former Foreign Affairs Minister.

The Commonwealth election observer mission’s leadership is a position mostly reserved for former heads of state of Commonwealth member nations, politicians and other professionals such as lawyers with outstanding pedigree.

Supreme Court Judgment
It is instructive to note that one of the distinguished personalities who called on Nana Akufo-Addo shortly after the verdict of the Supreme Court following the petition lodged with the court by him and two others over the 2012 polls was the last apartheid President, Mr. F.W. de Klerk.

The former South African President, who at the time was on an official assignment on the ticket of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), told Nana Akufo-Addo that the world was proud of him and Ghana, for showing maturity after the Supreme Court judgment on the election petition.

F.W. de Klerk commended Nana Akufo-Addo for accepting the outcome of the presidential election petition.

The former President implored the managers of the country’s elections to implement the recommendations made by the justices of the Supreme Court in their ruling, as he hoped that such changes would address the irregularities identified by the petitioners and shown in court.

Commonwealth Observers
Commonwealth observers, who travel by car, small aircraft or even boats, meet with ordinary people, election officials, media practitioners and security personnel assigned election duties, with a view to gauging the quality of the polls in given countries using the benchmark of whether those entitled to vote did so freely or not.

In the 1994 elections in South Africa, the group was made up of 60 members.

Commonwealth election observers stay in such countries they are assigned for a fortnight to assess and analyse the polls and on the Election Day proper, they visit as many stations as possible; and after the counting, they meet once more to consider various issues pertaining to the election prior to their final report.

South Africa is scheduled to go to the polls on May 7, 2014 to elect a new National Assembly, new provincial legislatures – the fifth such democratic exercise under the terms of universal adult suffrage since segregation or apartheid ended in 1994.

The assembly consists of 400 members who are chosen through proportional representation under which 200 will be elected from provincial party lists and the other half from each of the nine provinces.

The President of South Africa will be chosen by the National Assembly so formed and which forms an Electoral College for the purpose.

From Fortune Alimi, London & AR Gomda, Accra

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