8 November 2012

Uganda: Olara Otunnu to Observe Sierra Leone Elections

Photo: AllAfrica
Riot police in Freetown (file photo).

The president of Uganda People's Congress, Olara Otunnu, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group on Nov 17, in monitoring both National and Local Government Elections.

The elections which are the third to take place in Sierra Leone since its decade-long conflict ended have always been observed by the Commonwealth as a commitment to strengthen democracy in that country Sharma Kamalesh the Commonwealth General Secretary said.

He said that Otunnu will arrive in the capital, of Freetown on Nov11 with a group of nine observers, supported by five Commonwealth Secretariat staff.

Kamalesh said that the Commonwealth Observer Group's mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the election process and assess compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Sierra Leone has committed.

He added that where appropriate, the Group may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the country's electoral framework.

Kamalesh said that the Observer Group is impartial and independent and will conduct itself according to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Elections Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

He also said that the group is subject to submitting its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the government of Sierra Leone, the National Election Commission of Sierra Leone, political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

Kamalesh said that the Commonwealth Observer Group will stay in Sierra Leone until 25 November to ensure maximum peace and stability have returned to the country before their departure.

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