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Commonwealth to deploy election observers in Uganda

8 February 2011
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados to lead Group

A Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) will be deployed during Uganda’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections due to be held on 18 February 2011.

The Group will be led by the former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Dame Billie Miller. 

The Group was constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the invitation of the Government of Uganda.

“The Commonwealth has a long history of engagement with Uganda, and we are pleased to observe these significant elections,” the Secretary-General said.  “We very much hope that they will further strengthen democratic culture and contribute long term development and prosperity for all in Uganda.”

The Group’s mandate is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, the counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment. It will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework in Uganda.

The Group will determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Uganda has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments.

The Group will act impartially and independently, and will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Group’s report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Uganda, the Electoral Commission of Uganda, political parties, and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

The Commonwealth Observer Group is expected to comprise 14 experienced persons and will be supported by a team of Commonwealth Secretariat staff, led by Ambassador Ayodele Oke, Adviser and Head of Africa in the Political Affairs Division. The team will arrive in Uganda on 11 February 2011 and is expected to stay until 24 February 2011.

The full team is listed below:

Dame Billie Miller (Chair)

Former Deputy Prime Minister & former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Barbados

 

Ambassador Pius Ayewoh

Former Diplomat

Nigeria

 

Ms Vera Baird Q.C.

Former Solicitor-General of England & Wales

United Kingdom

 

Mr Christopher Cobb

International Vice-President

Commonwealth Journalists Association

Canada

 

Dr Karuti Kanyinga

Academic

University of Nairobi

Kenya

 

Mr Kevin Kitson

First Assistant Commissioner

Australian Electoral Commission

Australia

 

Mr Ravindra Kumar

Editor & Managing Director

The Statesman

India

 

Ms Su Ting Melanie Lee

Asia Regional Youth Caucus Representative

Commonwealth Youth Programme

Singapore

 

Justice Florence Mumba

Former Chairperson

Electoral Commission of Zambia

Zambia

 

Mr Aloisious Nthenda

Chairperson

Malawi Election Support Network

Malawi

 

Ms Sheila Roseau

Executive Director, Gender Directorate

Govt of Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

 

Mr Collin Ruqebatu

Secretary-General of Development Services Exchange

Solomon Islands

 

Mr Tiro Goaletsa Seeletso

Secretary

Independent Electoral Commission

Botswana

 

Mr John Walters

Ombudsman

Namibia

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