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THE ELDERS HEADING FOR ZIMBABWE FOR JULY 30 ELECTIONS

JOHANNESBURG, The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights founded by Nelson Mandela, are headed to Zimbabwe on Thursday to lend their weight to calls for free and fair elections in that country on July 30, and for stakeholders to accept the results.

They will be followed by a Commonwealth Observer Mission to be headed by former Ghanaian President John Mahama.

The current Chair of the Elders, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, said here Wednesday: "We are going to have honest and frank discussions with all stakeholders, political leaders, civil society, church groups as well as diplomats about working together for a free and fair election, with integrity and legitimacy to avoid violence and accept the results of the elections."

Depending on how the elections go, Zimbabwe, a former member of the Commonwealth, could be re-admitted, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland.

Zimbabwe has invited us to do so on the basis that they have indicated that they would like to re-join the Commonwealth and one of the first steps is for me to make an assessment of whether they are able to meet the values that are contained in the Commonwealth Charter," she added.

"Part of that is going to involve us going to Zimbabwe and observing how they manage this election because freedom and participation in electoral processes are the fundamental part of having a real democracy so we will be sending an observer mission that will be headed by former President of Ghana Mr John Mahama and he is going to lead and present his report.

Meanwhile, hundreds of young people gathered at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg Wednesday to walk with the Elders to mark the Nelson Mandela centenary birthday celebrations.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK