Office of Former President Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 August 2021:
The Head of the African Union Elections Observation Mission to Zambia, Former President Ernest Bai Koroma, has today welcomed and held a debriefing session with his team of observers ahead of their deployment in the country.
Former President Ernest Bai Koroma described the task ahead as demanding and hoped that the debriefing session would enable the observers to better appreciate the political context as well as the level of preparedness by Zambians to cast their votes in the August 12 general elections.
He reminded the team of experts about the COVID – 19 pandemic and encouraged them to adhere to all regulations in order to prevent themselves and the people they would be working with.
Former President Koroma also explained that the elections will be tightly contested and that the atmosphere leading to the forthcoming elections in Zambia has been characterised by tensions. (Photo: HoM in a Group photo with AU observers following the opening of the two- day orientation. Flanked by the Amb. Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace Security and other African Ambassadors who are part of the Mission.)
“I kindly request that as the AU observers, you apply strict neutralism, objectivity and professionalism, as well as adhere to the AU Code of Conduct for Election Observers throughout your stay in the Mission,” he stated.
The Head of Mission further urged his team to “particularly respect Zambia’s national laws, customs and traditions.”
President Koroma expressed optimism for a peaceful, credible, and acceptable outcome of the 12 August polls and wish his team of observers well in the field.
In another development, former president Koroma has kickstarted his engagement with stakeholders in a meeting of African Ambassadors and senior diplomatic officials accredited to the Republic of Zambia. They include Egypt, Botswana, Somalia, Namibia, Tanzania, Burundi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, DRC, Kenya and Malawi. (Photo: Group Photo of the AU HoM, H.E. Enerst Bai Koroma, with African Ambassadors and senior diplomatic officials accredited to the Republic of Zambia).
The diplomats provided a detailed briefing to the former president on the political/electoral context. The key message is that this election is being keenly contested and requires the collective efforts of everyone to ensure a peaceful, credible and acceptable outcome.
The diplomats applauded the AU on the choice of the Sierra Leonean statesman as head of this mission. They believe that his rich experience would be of immense value in achieving the AU objective, and indeed, everyone’s expectation that Zambia can pull this off with its historic democratic and peace credentials intact.