Chairman of the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission to Tanzania, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday urged whoever loses Sunday’s presidential election to promptly concede defeat for the sake of peace and unity in the country.
He said it was equally important to realise that, for the poll to be free and fair, all stakeholders, including the National Electoral Commission, NEC, political parties, police as well as voters, must play their part.
“If you lose, accept defeat,” he said, warning that any attempt to reject the will of the people can only lead to chaos.
Since his arrival in Tanzania last Monday, the former president has been receiving briefing from a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Dar es Salaam, including chairman of the electoral commission, leaders of political parties, journalists, youth organisations and representatives of the civil societies.
He told them that he immediately conceded defeat after losing his re-election bid early this year because he did not want his personal ambition to derail democracy in Nigeria.
“I was concerned about allowing my personal ambition to scuttle a democratic system I had helped to nurture.”
He said in any election there will be winners and losers, adding that the presidential candidate who would lose on Sunday should gracefully concede defeat to avert political crisis, adding that everybody has a role to play to make the general election a success.
The two leading Tanzania’s national newspapers, The Guardian and The Citizen which have been celebrating the former President since he arrived last Monday quoted him as saying: “If all parties including the National Electoral Commission, Political Parties, and Police Forces will play their roles, nothing will stop Tanzania from recording a free and fair election this year.”
“Successful elections will depend on how each stakeholder playing his or her role to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process. I’m confident Tanzanians will achieve this,” Dr Jonathan said.
He reminded all stakeholders to peacefully uphold democratic principles, adding that the Commonwealth “stands in solidarity with the people of Tanzania by supporting improvement being recorded in the electoral processes.”
Speaking further, Jonathan stated that the Commonwealth Observer Group would perform their observation role with impartiality, independence and transparency.
The former president insisted that Commonwealth Observers Group would issue an interim statement on the preliminary findings shortly after the elections and a final report would be prepared in Tanzania.
“We will also submit the report on the Tanzanian elections to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and subsequently share with relevant stakeholders and the public. The group is scheduled to depart Tanzania on 31st October 2015,” he said.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. It is home to 2.2 billion citizens of which over 60 percent are under the ages of 30.
The Commonwealth includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, spanning five regions. Thirty one of its members are small states, many of them island nations.
Commonwealth countries are supported by an active network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil societies, cultural and professional organisations.
The group is scheduled to leave on October 31. The team comprises 14 members drawn from various Commonwealth regions, including Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
Dr Jonathan is one of two former African heads of states who are leading observer teams in the run-up to the elections.
The other is former Mozambican president, Armando Guebuza, who is leading the African Union, AU mission. Mr Guebuza was Mozambique’s third president, who led the country for a maximum of two five-year terms and handed over to a successor from his party, Frelimo.
The Commonwealth and AU teams are part of observer missions comprising about 600 members who will monitor the elections. Other observer teams are from the East African Community, European Union, Southern African Development Community, the US and Britain.

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