The Commonwealth secretariat has appointed former Malawi Head of State Bakili Muluzi to chair a Commonwealth Expert Team for national elections in Swaziland scheduled to be held on September 20.
Muluzi confirmed to Nyasa Times that he was approached by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth to chair the group which will comprose five members.
He described the appointment as a challenge but also an opportunity for him to put into practice his role as Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador on Governance and Human Rights accorded to him in 2011.
“I am very grateful to the Commonwealth for recognizing my role,” said Muluzi.
Team members have been invited in their personal capacities and the views they would express regarding the elections will be their own and not either of their respective governments or of the Commonwealth secretariat, according to the letter.
The team is expected to be in Swaziland from September 15.
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, who signed the letter, said the appointed members are aware of the significance of the Swaziland elections and believed that their contribution would strengthen the democratic process in the country and throughout the Commonwealth.
The team, according to terms of reference, will submit a report to the Commonwealth secretary general, who will forward it to the government of Swaziland, the Elections and Boundaries Commission, political and civil society organisations, and thereafter, to all Commonwealth governments.
The former Malawi leader also led Commonwealth observer mission in Lesotho.
Muluzi wrested power from dictator Kamuzu Banda in Malawi’s first democratic elections in 1994, and then stepped down after two terms in office.