18 September 2008
Commonwealth Team observes Swaziland elections
A Commonwealth Expert Team will observe the National Elections due to take place on 19 September 2008 in Swaziland, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today.
Mr Sharma said that the Team of four, supported by a two-person staff team, will be led by Dr Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda.
"These elections are the first to be conducted under the new Constitution which came into effect in 2006", Mr Sharma stated.
The Secretary-General added that the mandate of the Team is to observe the preparations for the election; the polling, counting and results process; and the overall electoral environment. The Team is to assess the overall conduct of the process and make appropriate recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral process in Swaziland.
The Team which arrived in Swaziland on 13 September will remain in the Southern African country until 24 September. It has been constituted at the invitation of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Swaziland.
The full composition of the Commonwealth Expert Team is:
Dr Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere (Team Leader)
Former Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Edmond Sylvester Alpha
Chief: Field Coordination and Reporting Unit
National Electoral Commission
Ms Kaye Wight Oliver CMG OBE
Former British High Commissioner to Lesotho
Mr Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon
Campaign for Free & Fair Elections (CaFFE)
The Secretariat support staff team will be led by Mr Linford Andrews, Political Affairs Officer in the Political Affairs Division.
This is the third Commonwealth Expert Team to be present in Swaziland. Previous Commonwealth Expert
Teams observed the voter registration in July 2003 and the National Elections in October 2003.
Note to editors:
The Team's report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will then in turn send it to the Government of Swaziland, the Elections and Boundaries Commission and Commonwealth Governments.
The Expert Team will act impartially and independently and shall conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.