The Commonwealth will observe this year's presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana that will take place on 7 December, Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today.
He 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."
Mr Sharma constituted the Commonwealth Observer Group for the elections at the invitation of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
The 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 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:
Lesotho: The Hon Dr Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili, Former Prime Minister (Chair)
Bangladesh: Ambassador Shahed Akhtar, Former Ambassador
Barbados: Ms Rochelle Lashley, Youth Representative / Attorney-At-Law
Belize: Mrs Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer
Canada: Justice Tom Foulds, Magistrate, Ontario Court of Justice
Kenya: The Hon Dr Joseph Misoi, Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya; Ms Koki Muli Grignon, Constitutional Law and Elections Expert
Mozambique: Mr Alberto Francisco Manhique, Director, Electoral Observatory
Nigeria: Dr Emmanuel Terwar Akem, Director, Independent National Electoral Commission
St Lucia: Ms Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Lecturer and Member of the Constitutional Reform Commission, University of the West Indies
Swaziland: Mr Vuyisile Sikelela Hlatshwayo, National Director, Media Institute of Southern Africa
United Kingdom: Mr Max Marshall Caller, Electoral Commissioner, Chair of Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Zambia: Mrs Priscilla Isaac, Director of Elections, Electoral Commission of Zambia