AUC chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zulu on Thursday approved the mission’s deployment after the government of São Tomé and Príncipe sent an invitation.
Twenty five observers will make up the short-term election observation mission, which is headed by Mozambique’s former president Armando Emilio Guebuza and will oversee São Tomé and Príncipe’s presidential election scheduled for 17 July.
The observers, Dlamini-Zulu noted in a statement, were “drawn from members of the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, African Election Management Bodies, Civil Society Organisations working in the area of democracy, governance and elections in Africa, Think Tanks, AUC staff and independent election experts”.
The mission was expected to arrive in São Tomé and Príncipe on Friday and remain to “observe the voting, counting and announcement of election results”.
Dlamini-Zuma said the mission “has a mandate to observe and report on the credibility and transparency of the election process and will operate in accordance with relevant AU instruments for election observation”.
Processes that need to be adhered to include the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the 2002 AU/OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, the 2002 AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions and the African Peer Review Mechanism, the statement concluded.