Mozambique National and Provincial Elections 2014

| October 15, 2014

Commonwealth news. Statement by Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, former Prime Minister of Bahamas and Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, in Maputo, on 10 October 2014: “It is an honour and privilege to have been asked by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma to chair the Commonwealth Observer Group for Mozambique’s National and Provincial Elections, taking place on 15 October. The Group was constituted at the invitation of the National Electoral Commission of Mozambique.

It comprises 15 eminent persons drawn from across the different regions of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 53 independent member countries. Our Group includes electoral experts, current and former politicians and diplomats, and civil society and media experts. Commonwealth Observer Groups have observed a number of elections in Mozambique since the country joined the Commonwealth in 1995, most recently the National and Provincial Elections in 2009. The Charter of the Commonwealth recognises ‘the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live’.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Photo courtesy www.thebahamasweekly.com

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Photo courtesy www.thebahamasweekly.com

Next week is an opportunity for the people of Mozambique to exercise their fundamental right to express their will through the ballot box. We started the day with a comprehensive briefing by Mr Abdul Carimo Sau, Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, about the state of preparedness for the conduct of a peaceful, free and fair election. We are grateful to him for his candid replies and clarifications to a range of questions from the members of the Group.

During our time in Mozambique, we will seek to observe and evaluate the preelection period, polling day activities and the post-election period, and we will consider all factors relating to the credibility of the electoral process. We will be objective, impartial and independent in conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment. The Group will spend the next few days meeting with relevant stakeholders, political parties, independent institutions, civil society and international partners.

Abdul-Carimo Sau. Photo courtesy www.soldoindico.co.mz

Abdul-Carimo Sau. Photo courtesy www.soldoindico.co.mz

We will also observe the closing stages of the campaign. On Monday, Group members will deploy in small teams to various provinces across the country to observe preparations ahead of polling day. We will observe the voting, the counting of the ballots and the results processes. Soon after the elections, we will issue an Interim Statement on our findings. On 21 October, after having completed our assessment, the Group will depart Mozambique, and a final report will be published thereafter.

We hope that our Group’s presence will support the strengthening of democracy in Mozambique. Toward this effort, we call on all stakeholders to adopt a constructive approach to the entire electoral process, in order to ensure a peaceful and credible election. An election is a massive national undertaking, and its success depends on constructive contributions from all Mozambicans – from the National Electoral Commission, to political parties and their leaders, to the media, security agencies, civil society, and voters. This responsibility to act with integrity rests with everybody.

On behalf of my fellow Group members, I wish the people of Mozambique well as they look forward to exercising their right to vote on Wednesday, 15 October.”

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