Commonwealth Appoints Jonathan To Mediate In Zanzibar Election Stalemate

Commonwealth Appoints Jonathan To Mediate In Zanzibar Election Stalemate
November 09 17:21 2015 Print This Article

Following his highly acclaimed leadership of the Commonwealth Observer
Group to last month’s Tanzania general elections, the 53-nation body
of former British colonies has given former President Goodluck
Jonathan a fresh mandate to lead the charge for the resolution of the
political stalemate in the semi-independent island of Zanzibar.

After the October 25 general elections which produced John Magufuli as
the new President of Tanzania, the Jonathan-led COG and other
international observers had endorsed the polling processes as
credible. However, tension rules on the island of Zanzibar, following
the nullification of the presidential election results by the local
electoral body, over claims of irregularities. International observers
have continued to dispute this decision, on the grounds that both the
voting and counting processes were held in an atmosphere of peace.

The Commonwealth which has a history of mediating on the island has
kick-started the international efforts towards resolving the current
crisis, by appointing Jonathan as its Special representative, in what
analysts see as an affirmation of the former President’s towering
status as the moral face of democracy and transparent polling in
Africa. This development was conveyed to Jonathan last week in a
letter sent to him by the Commonwealth Secretary General, Mr Kamalesh
Sharma.

In the letter which Sharma personally signed, the Secretary-General
wrote: “As you are aware, the Zanzibar electoral situation remains
unsolved, although recent reports indicating willingness by the main
political parties to engage in talking is encouraging. In view of the
Commonwealth’s historical role as the moral generator of the Muafaka
Accords, it is important that we remain engaged to continue to
encourage all concerned to resolve the situation in a peaceful and
sustainable manner.

“I am therefore delighted and honoured that you have kindly agreed to
be my Special Representative over the coming weeks, in order to remain
in contact with key political leaders and to encourage them towards an
expeditious resolution of the impasse. I am certain that your personal
close interest can play a crucial role in building the necessary
political bridges.”

He further commended Jonathan for his successful leadership of the
COG, saying that he brought his rare experience to bear on the
challenging mission. Sharma said further: “I am writing to thank you
once again for rendering the Commonwealth such distinguished service
through your generous personal commitment of time and your Leadership
of the Commonwealth Observer Group to last week’s elections in the
United Republic of Tanzania. This has proved to be a challenging
mission and your experience and guidance has been of immeasurable
value.”

Former President, sources said, has set about this new mission by
quietly engaging with the key
stakeholders in the disputed election. It was gathered that a round
of talks will be held in the coming weeks under the chairmanship of
Jonathan who is expected to bring all the parties together to find a
lasting solution.

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