A Cameroonian part of the Commonweath high profile team to observe presidential election in Zambia.
Julius Nkafu, a Barrister and Arbitrator in British Court and the chair of Africans for Labour of Cameroon origin is one of the 17-member Commonwealth Group of dignitaries led by former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to observe presidential election in Zambia
“In solidarity with the people of Zambia, the Commonwealth will be present to observe these polls and will continue to work with relevant Zambian institutions towards further strengthening the country’s democracy.” reads a statement attributed to Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary General of the organisation available in the organisation website,
“It is a great experience” enthuses Julius who is relishing his new role as a Commonwealth observer. Joining us from Lusaka the barrister describes the job as enjoyable but very hard work though, with many meetings from morning to evening every day with only lunch breaks. “We are meeting with all the stakeholders before the Election Day itself.” “As you can imagine there are accusations and counter accusations from all the candidates” he continues.
Indeed, from reports gathered through different websites, the atmosphere in Zambia is very tense a few days before the polls, contrasting with a rather peaceful spell the country had enjoyed since the then president Rupiah Banda conceded defeat to Michael Sata in Zambia’s 2011 elections. The latter sadly passed away due to illness in 2014, opening a Pandora box in the war of succession. What’s more, electoral violence is said to be worryingly high this time compared with past elections, with more than 50 incidents reported between January and July 2016, many resulting in severe injuries or even death.
The neutrality of the observers is therefore going to be if not tested but instrumental for a peaceful election, which will see the incumbent president Edgar Lungu face a strong challenge from opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. The parliamentary, mayoral, councillors election and a referendum will take place the same day on 11 October 2016 in the country
Organisations such as the African Union with former President Goodluck Jonathan as head of delegation the European Union, and regional bodies have also deployed their contingents to monitor the election.