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Commonwealth to observe elections in Ghana

26 November 2012
Former Lesotho PM Pakalitha Mosisili to lead observer group

London, 26 November 2012 - The Commonwealth will observe this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, which will take place on 7 December, Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today.

Mr Sharma said former Prime Minister Dr Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho will lead the 13-member Commonwealth Observer Group.

Speaking in London after constituting the group, the Secretary-General said: “I want to thank Prime Minister Mosisili and all the other members of the group for accepting my invitation to undertake this important exercise on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

Mr Sharma expressed hope that the conduct of the December elections in Ghana will extend the country’s good track record and further deepen its democratic culture.

“We hope these elections will build on the elections of 2008, which the Commonwealth also observed, and that all sides will engage peacefully and constructively throughout,” The Secretary-General said.

Mr Sharma constituted the Commonwealth Observer Group for the elections at the invitation of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process, assessing whether the elections are conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself. Where appropriate, the group can also make recommendations for future strengthening of the electoral framework. Commonwealth observers act impartially and independently, and conduct their business according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Commonwealth Observer Group for Ghana will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Ghana, the Electoral Commission of Ghana, political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

A five-member team from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Mark Stevens, Head of the Democracy Section in the Political Affairs Division, will support the group.

The group is expected to be in Ghana from 30 November to 14 December 2012.

The Commonwealth Observers include:

The Hon Dr Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili

Former Prime Minister

Lesotho (Chair)

Ambassador Shahed Akhtar

Former Ambassador


Ms Rochelle Lashley

Youth Representative / Attorney-At-Law


Mrs Josephine Tamai

Chief Elections Officer


Justice Tom Foulds

Magistrate, Ontario Court of Justice


The Hon Dr Joseph Misoi

Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya


Ms Koki Muli Grignon

Constitutional Law and Elections Expert


Mr Alberto Francisco Manhique

Director, Electoral Observatory


Dr Emmanuel Terwar Akem

Director, Independent National Electoral Commission

Ms Cynthia Barrow-Giles

Lecturer and Member of the Constitutional Reform Commission, University of the West Indies
St Lucia

Mr Vuyisile Sikelela Hlatshwayo

National Director, Media Institute of Southern Africa

Mr Max Marshall Caller

Electoral Commissioner, Chair of Local Government Boundary Commission for England
United Kingdom

Mrs Priscilla Isaac

Director of Elections, Electoral Commission of Zambia

Note to Editors:

The Chair of the Observer Group, Dr Mosisili, will address a news conference on

4 December 2012 at 8.30 am at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, Ghana.