Kenya diplomat to lead Commonwealth observers for Zimbabwe elections

Friday August 11 2023

Kenyan Ambassador Amina Mohamed. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG


Kenya's Former Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed will lead the Commonwealth observer mission for the upcoming Zimbabwean elections on August 23.

The forthcoming elections hold immense significance for Zimbabwe's political landscape, as citizens eagerly await the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights and shape the future direction of their nation. 

As the elected leader of the Commonwealth Observer Mission, Ambassador Mohamed and her team will play a crucial role in monitoring the process, assessing its credibility and providing valuable insights into its integrity.

Approximately 6.6 million people are registered to vote in this year's elections and will have the right to cast their ballots for the presidential candidate, candidates for both houses of the National Assembly and local councillors.

Read: Split couples and ghost voters haunt Zimbabwe elections

Notable step


Zimbabwe is currently in the midst of a process to assess its eligibility for readmission to the Commonwealth, and this election marks a notable step forward in Zimbabwe's democratic governance. 

In particular, this is the second successive mission by the Commonwealth Observer Group (Cog) to monitor Zimbabwe's synchronised elections, following its suspension from the Commonwealth in December 2003.

Commenting on the establishment of the Cog, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC underlined the Commonwealth's unwavering commitment to the promotion of peaceful democratic governance.

Democratic governance

"The Commonwealth's commitment to the promotion of peaceful democratic governance is unwavering. Our engagement in Zimbabwe's electoral process demonstrates our commitment to transparent, inclusive and credible elections. By adhering to the principles of the Commonwealth Charter, we aim to promote transparency, strengthen democracy and the rule of law, and safeguard the right of the Zimbabwean people to participate in their country's democratic journey," she said.

The Commonwealth Observer Group is a diverse and experienced group of individuals from a range of countries who have been appointed to observe the electoral process in Zimbabwe. This group of experts is expected to ensure the transparency, inclusiveness and credibility of the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. 

Read: HRW: Zimbabwe's upcoming poll will not be free, fair

The observers will be in Zimbabwe from August 16 to 29 and will be supported by a team of Commonwealth Secretariat staff led by Joshua Setipa, Senior Director of the Strategy, Portfolio, Partnerships and Digital Division.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 sovereign states, all of which are equal members of the Commonwealth. With a collective population of 2.5 billion, the Commonwealth represents a diverse tapestry, with over 60 per cent of its people aged 29 or under. The alliance spans the globe, uniting a range of economies from advanced to developing, and includes 33 small states, a significant proportion of which are island nations.

In June 2022, the Commonwealth expanded its family by welcoming Gabon and Togo as its 55th and 56th members, a significant step following Rwanda's accession in 2009.

This enduring unity is a testament to the Commonwealth's commitment to strengthening global cooperation, facilitating mutual growth and addressing pressing global issues.