The African Union (AU) has announced plans to deploy an election observation mission in Zambia’s upcoming presidential, general, and local elections.

Upon Zambia’s request, AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat “approved the deployment of an African Union (AU) Short-Term Election Observation (STO) Mission to the Republic of Zambia,” said a statement from the union late on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the team will be led by Ernest Bai Koroma, former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and current and former ambassadors, members of civil society, and “independent electoral experts” are included in the team.

“The Mission’s objective is to provide an independent and impartial assessment of all aspects of the 2021 electoral process,” it noted.

Zambians will go to the polls next Thursday to elect their next president, as well as members of the National Assembly, mayors, and the heads and members of local councils.

The AU had previously deployed an election team to observe similar elections in the southern African nation in 2016.

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