Governance and democracy

Elections Put Fewer Women in Parliament – UNDP

According to the United Nations (UN), recent elections in East and Southern Africa have left fewer women in politics, placing countries at risk of not meeting equality targets.

Speaking at a women conference in Johannesburg, UN Development Programme director, Bo Asplund, pointed out that, "Elections in the region have shown regression with regard to women's representation in parliament."

NGOs Call on Mubarak to Dissolve Parliament

Three Egyptian NGOs have called President Hosny Mubarak, to dissolve the newly- elected parliament because of ‘alleged election fraud’.

The Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation released video footage of what it says was bribery, ballot cards being forged and violence at different polling stations across the country.

One of the videos, taken by members of the NGOs, purports to show a 12-year-old boy casting a ballot, while another shows a five-year- old who was allegedly shot in his feet near a polling station in southern Egypt.

Odinga’s Homophobic Comments Slammed

Gay rights activists in Kenya have condemned Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, for saying that anyone engaging in homosexual activities should be arrested.

Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya’s Solomon Wambua has been quoted as saying that, "We are shocked and in fear."

Wambua argues that arresting homosexuals will further cause stigmatisation, which will stop people attending clinics, getting health check-ups and accessing antiretroviral drugs if they need them.

Govt’s Proposed Electricity Mix Criticised

The government’s integrated resource plan (IRP) for this year has been heavily criticised, largely by civil society, which say it would be disastrous for the economy and the environment.

A number of NGOs and community groups, which participated in the Department of Energy public hearings recently, called on the state to scrap the plan and to start the process again.

4.6m South Africans Took HIV Test – Motlanthe

More than 4.6 million South Africans took an HIV test since April, according to Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe.

Speaking at a World AIDS Day event in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga, Motlanthe pointed out that of this number, 800 000 (17 percent) tested positive for HIV.

He explains: "It means that friends, colleagues and families should talk about HIV in their workplaces, homes and communities, and take appropriate action to care for those infected and affected."

Climate Change: Don't Look to South Africa for Leadership

By IPS Correspondents

South Africa is Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. The country’s emissions per capita are on par with those of the United Kingdom, and more than twice as high as China’s emissions by the same measure.

South Africa is presently responsible for about half of Africa’s emissions, with 80 percent of its estimated 400 million metric tonnes of CO2 coming from the energy sector alone.

African Election Calendar 2011

Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, a NGO striving for excellence in the promotion of credible elections, participatory democracy, human rights culture, and the strengthening of governance institutions for the consolidation of democracy in Africa, has compiled the African Election Calendar 2011. The calendar provides information on dates and country where the elections will be taking place.

To view the African Election Calendar 2011, click here.

Child Rights NGOs Challenge Laws on Sex

The Teddy Bear Clinic Laws and Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN) say laws that make consensual sex between teenagers a crime are unconstitutional.

The Teddy Bear Clinic director, Lizette Schoombie, points out that the case involving the highly publicised Jules High School case in which a 15-year old girl was raped on the school grounds, ‘emphatically demonstrated’ the negative effects of the act for children.

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