The African Union (AU) has appointed former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to lead its Election Observer Mission to the Zambian elections, which are scheduled to take place on Thursday next week.
In a statement, the AU Commission said Jonathan would shortly lead a 10-member delegation to Lusaka where they will join a long-term observer team which deployed on July 4 and is due to leave on August 22, two weeks after the polls.
For the first time, the team of AU long-term experts include election, legal, political, media and campaign analysts.
“The objective is to ensure that the AU-EOM approaches its work with added professionalism and factual analysis of all aspects of the electoral process in Zambia. At the second phase of the mission, the long-term experts will be joined by short-term observers from August 1-15, 2016. The short-term mission will be headed by Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the AUC said.
Meanwhile, political violence has continued in various parts of the Southern Province of the country, leading to the arrest of at least 30
supporters of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) in the past two days.
Southern Province Commissioner of Police, Godwin Phiri, told the Lusaka Times that most of the activists were arrested in connection with
A few were arrested for mounting illegal roadblocks where they harassed and intimidated motorists.
The suspects included five men detained in the town of Mazabuka on suspicion of involvement in the July 29 politically-motivated murder of
a woman whose partial decapitation was captured in a video that has since gone viral on social media.
Phiri said one of the suspects, a local council election candidate of the UPND, had also been charged with spreading malicious information suggesting that the governing Patriotic Front (PF) planned to airlift pre-marked ballot papers from Zimbabwe to the area to rig the elections in its favour.