Accra, May 12, GNA – Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has arrived back home after leading a 53-member strong African Union Observer Mission to the fifth South African national parliamentary and provincial elections.
The AU observers deployed in all of the nine provinces and in their interim report with about 90% of votes counted declared the elections ‘free and fair.’
A statement by his Spokesperson, Mr Frank Agyekum, said Former President Kufuor before departure called on President Jacob Zumah, whose party, the African National Congress won the election, and commended South Africans on the smooth run of the elections.
Former President Kufuor praised the Independent Electoral Authority for their efficiency and said it had gone to enhance the image of South Africa as a lead country in Africa.
President Zumah thanked the AU for sending a mission under the leadership of former President Kufuor who he said had a carved an ‘enviable reputation on the continent.’
He said the era of ‘strong men’ in Africa was gone and praised South Africans for going through the elections peacefully, adding that it has cemented its democratic record.
About 23 million voters cast their ballots for 29 parties in the elections in which voters born after the apartheid era 20 years agoparticipated for the first time. It was also the first since the death earlier this year of South Africa’s first post-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela,
Before arriving in South Africa, Former President Kufuor was in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where, in his capacity as Special Envoy of the United Nations on Climate Change, he participated in an international summit on Climate Change.
Dubbed the ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent in support of Climate Summit 2014’ the meeting is seen as the last gathering of international partners before next September’s UN Summit on Climate Change which is aimed at endorsing bold and ambitious commitments from governments on how to stem the rapid degradation of the environment.
The meeting dealt with topics on Agriculture, Transportation, Clean Energy, Forests, Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction, among others.
It was opened by Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change of the UAE.
Other speakers apart from President Kufuor, included, Mr. Al Gore, Former Vice-President of the United States, Mr. Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of the Britain, Mr. Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, Former President of Mexico and Professor Jeffery Sachs, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and Director of the Earth Institute.
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