Commonwealth election observers arrive 

Dec 1, 2021, 12:27 PM

A Commonwealth election observer group has arrived in Banjul, Gambia to observe the presidential election due to be held on Saturday, 4 December 2021.

The Commonwealth Election Observer Group will be led by former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, as Chairperson.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Prosper Bani, former Ghanaian Minister of Interior, said: “We recognise the significance of this presidential election to the people of The Gambia, and the historical context in which this contest is taking place. We also recognise the particular challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic - both in terms of campaigning and election administration.

“Our mandate, as set out in the Commonwealth’s ‘Revised Guidelines’ for election observation is to observe and evaluate the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period. We will consider whether conditions exist for a credible, transparent and inclusive election.”

The Group will meet various stakeholders, including political parties, the police, civil society groups, citizen observer and monitor groups, and the media.

From 2 December, the Group will deploy observers in small teams to each of the six regions to observe electoral preparations and meet with stakeholders in their respective areas.

On Election Day, The Group will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes.

The interim statement of its preliminary findings will be issued on 6 December and the Group is scheduled to leave Gambia by 10 December.

The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:

H E Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria, (Chairperson)

Prosper Bani, Former Minister of Interior, Ghana

The Hon Martha Karua, Former Minister of Justice, Kenya

Robert Phiri, Executive Director, Public Affairs Commission, Malawi

Hendrick Gappy, Former Chairperson, Electoral Commission, Seychelles

Shyamala Gomez, Executive Director, Centre for Equality and Justice, Sri Lanka

Candia Dames, Executive Editor of the Nassau Guardian,The Bahamas

Crispin Kaheru, Commissioner, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Uganda

Musa Mwenye, SC Former Attorney General, Zambia