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LAUNCH: The ethics of studying Africa

...roduction and dissemination. The problem with “capacity building” It has become common for large research grants to have a “capacity building” component, through which skills, experience are resources are supposed to be exported from Western institutions to African ones. This is well meaning, but can also be problematic. To start with, it is founded on the problematic assumption that skills and experience reside in the West. Given the need to reba...
Sierra Leone

Do elections herald the consolidation of peace and democracy in Sierra...

...he country. Both positive and problematic reports were posted in live time online and reported on the radio, described memorably by one commentator as the best thing since gari or sliced bread. This public monitoring process was particularly important given the introduction of a new biometric voting system and the election day ban on all vehicular traffic. There is, thus, much room for optimism about the 2012 elections in Sierra Leone, and the con...
The media, corruption and democracy in Africa

The media, corruption and democracy in Africa

...c media group without the support of politically charged benefactors means freedom of expression generally takes the form of freedom to praise one’s financiers. Perhaps the strangest example of this is that since Kenya’s 2011 invasion of Somalia Kenyan newspapers have not reported a single Kenyan soldier’s death. Either the state has flexed its muscles within the media to make sure there is no public criticism of the invasion or the Kenyan militar...

Reforming Nigeria’s Electoral Law for Mandate Protection In 2023: Opportunities and...

...rovisions had revisions made by a segment of the National Assembly’s joint committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and electoral concerns but were not given to the entire committee for assessment. A Clause outlawed the electronic transmission of results and another clause that attracted much concern removed the powers of INEC to evaluate results announced under duress or in violation of electoral regulations. A close assessme...

More Unfair Elections in Africa, More Unrest: An Avoidable Cycle

...2 electoral outcome, as well as the resignation of the embattled electoral commissioner. The election result has come under intense scrutiny because of fraud allegations, including the belief that vote tally sheets were altered using typewriter correction fluid. Several incidents of violence have since occurred around the country, including in major cities and in the capital Lilongwe. In Mauritania, violent demonstrations have been commonplace in...

South Africa Votes: All you need to know about the May...

...acy in 1994, its elections have been consistently judged to be legitimate, free and fair. Its electoral commission is praised for its autonomy and for conducting elections that are impartial. But, there are problems that threaten this record. The biggest is the prevalence of political killings, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where there has been a history of violence both between factions of the ANC, as well as between the ANC and the Inkatha Freed...

Campaign shows that political tectonic plates are shifting in Mozambique

...nd increasing varieties. Elias argues that when unequal political groups become less unequal, the formerly powerful groups tend to become more aggressive and violent toward the formerly weaker groups. The most recognisable feature of this in Mozambique is the pressure towards decentralisation of political power which began with the election of city mayors. From now on, provincial governors will be elected by the people rather than being appointed...

#BookClub. What drives election rigging – and when citizens resist it?

...ded to speak in terms of patrimonial virtue. But they all had one thing in common – all feel the pull of both registers. This is perfectly demonstrated by the press conferences of election coalitions in Kenya. At these events, the “Big Men” of different ethnic groups line up to endorse the party, while simultaneously stressing their national outlook and commitment to inclusive democracy and development. Over simplification It is often assumed that...

Internal strife in Uganda’s National Resistance Movement

...r. Mbabazi’s daughter, Nina, who led a group of volunteers responsible for compiling the party register, refused to meet with the committee. Mbabazi’s wife, Jacqueline, had already laid her cards on the table when she compared the parliamentary caucus to a group of ‘fascists’ in the wake of the Museveni sole candidacy resolution. As Prime Minister, Mbabazi is also alleged to have used his position as chair of Cabinet meetings to marginalise minist...

REJOINDER: Why democracy in Ghana is not under threat

...Any contrary picture of the country’s democracy (and constitutionalism) could only be an ingenious fabrication of adroitly mischievous imaginations. Michael Gyekye is a Policy and Advocacy Committee Member of the Commonwealth Youth Human Rights and Democracy Network (CYHRDN) and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, UK.  ...