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
Ambassador Pius Ayewoh
Ms Vera Baird Q.C.
Former Solicitor-General of England & Wales
Mr Christopher Cobb
Commonwealth Journalists Association
Dr Karuti Kanyinga
University of Nairobi
Mr Kevin Kitson
First Assistant Commissioner
Australian Electoral Commission
Mr Ravindra Kumar
Editor & Managing Director
Ms Su Ting Melanie Lee
Asia Regional Youth Caucus Representative
Commonwealth Youth Programme
Justice Florence Mumba
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Mr Aloisious Nthenda
Malawi Election Support Network
Ms Sheila Roseau
Executive Director, Gender Directorate
Govt of Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Mr Collin Ruqebatu
Secretary-General of Development Services Exchange
Mr Tiro Goaletsa Seeletso
Independent Electoral Commission
Mr John Walters