Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Commonwealth to Observe Malawi Elections
London, 12 May 2014 - Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today that the Commonwealth will observe elections in Malawi on 20 May. This follows an invitation from the Electoral Commission of Malawi.
Former Vice President of Botswana Mompati Sebogodi Merafhe will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group.
The Secretary-General said: “These elections will consolidate the democratic process in Malawi. Conducting credible elections where citizens can choose their leaders and representatives freely in a peaceful environment is a fundamental part of a healthy democracy and is a collective strength of Commonwealth member states. The Commonwealth will be present to witness and observe the elections and to work in partnership with Malawi towards strengthening and embedding good practice.”
Mr Sharma added: “The responsibility for conducting elections with integrity falls on all stakeholders in the process - from the election management body, to political parties and their leaders, to civil society, security agencies, the media and the voters. Each and every one has a rightful role to ensure a credible process and outcome.”
The observer group will consider the pre-electoral environment and election preparations. On Election Day, it will observe the voting process, vote-counting procedures and the announcement of results, in the light of international standards for democratic elections, to which the country has committed.
As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, this mission will function 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.
This observer mission to Malawi follows a Commonwealth observer mission in South Africa during that country’s elections last week.
Martin Kasirye, Head of the Democracy Section in the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Political Affairs Division, will lead a Secretariat team that will support the observers.
Composition of the Observer Group
The Commonwealth Observer Group will consist of 11 eminent persons supported by four Commonwealth Secretariat staff members. The members of the Group are:
Chair: Lt. Gen. Mompati Sebogodi Merafhe, former Vice-President of Botswana
Dr. Namanga Amos Ngongi, Retired United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Diplomat, Cameroon
Ms Linda Duffield, Retired Diplomat, United Kingdom
Hon Ntlhoi Motsamai, Former Speaker, Lesotho
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman, Electoral Commission, Ghana
Mr Malietau Malietoa, Electoral Commissioner, Samoa
Dr Leith Dunn, Academic, University of the West Indies, Jamaica
Ms Maureen Khamala Mudi, Media Expert, Kenya
Mr Boniface Cheembe, Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Zambia
Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka
Ms Sudharashana Lakshmi Ayyappan, Youth Representative, India
Commonwealth Secretariat Support Team
The Commonwealth Secretariat Support Team is made up of the following staff:
Mr Martin Kasirye (Team Leader)
Mr Julius Mucunguzi
Mr Koffi Sawyer
Ms Zippy Ojago