Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced on 14 May 2012 that former Malawian President Dr Bakili Muluzi will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Lesotho Parliamentary Elections, to be held on 26 May 2012.
Mr Sharma said he was delighted that Dr Muluzi had accepted the invitation to lead the Group.
“I am grateful to President Muluzi and other members of the Group for accepting to serve on this important undertaking. The Commonwealth attaches great importance to conducting credible elections as a means of strengthening democracy and giving citizens the opportunity to choose their leaders,” he said.
“Lesotho is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, and we are delighted at having been invited to observe these elections. Credible and peaceful elections are a litmus test of how healthily the democratic culture in a country is taking root,” he added.
Mr Sharma said that the mandate of the Commonwealth Observer Group is to “determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Lesotho has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments".
The Commonwealth Observer Group has been constituted at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Lesotho. It follows an Assessment Mission in April 2012.
The Assessment Mission established that there exists broad support from political parties and civil society for the presence of Commonwealth Observers. It also concluded that there will be full freedom of movement for observers, and that they will enjoy access to all stages of the process – which is vital if they are to make judgements on its credibility.
The Commonwealth Observer Group will be supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Linford Andrews of the Secretariat’s Political Affairs Division.
The full list of the Commonwealth Observer Group is:
Dr Bakili Muluzi
Former President of Malawi (Chair)
Chief Election Officer
Malawi Electoral Support Network
Assistant Director of Elections
Dr Rajendra Prasad MP
Med S K Kaggwa
Uganda Human Rights Commission
Media Consultant and Journalist