Selima at Commonwealth Uganda election mission

Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (BWCCI) President Ms. Selima Ahmad has been selected for Uganda election observer mission of Commonwealth. Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, will lead a team of Commonwealth election observers to Uganda for the country’s general elections, scheduled for 18 February 2016. Selima Ahmad is one of the team members. Here as a team member she will observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment. She will also assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make Selima-Ahmadrecommendations for the strengthening of the electoral system in Uganda which will help her to have a very significant experience. She along with the team will determine in her own judgment whether the elections have been conducted according to standards to which Uganda has committed, including domestic law and relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international standards. The observers act impartially in their own independent capacity, and will be bound by the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Observer Group will comprise 13 eminent persons led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as Chairperson, and Senator Amos Wako of Kenya as Vice-Chairperson. The group is supported by a staff support team from the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Ms Nishana Jayawickrama.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced the composition of the Commonwealth Observer Group on Friday 5 February, having received an invitation from the Government of Uganda. Election Day will see voters asked to choose a President as well as constituency representatives to the 418-member Parliament. The last general elections were held in February 2011.

In a statement, Mr Sharma said: “The Commonwealth Charter recognizes ‘the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live’. In this spirit, we urge all stakeholders in Uganda to commit to ensuring a peaceful and transparent election in which candidates and voters are free from intimidation, and fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly are respected.”

“I thank President Obasanjo for accepting my invitation to lead this team, and each of the Commonwealth observers for agreeing to undertake this important assignment. In offering their assessment on the conduct of the election and the overall credibility of the process, they will be contributing to the strengthening of democracy in Uganda.”