Governance and democracy

2010 Elections: Tanzanians Have Spoken

Tanzanians headed to the polls in the country’s general elections which was held last Sunday. Despite being declared ‘free and fair, transparent’ by the six presidential candidates including - Jakaya Kikwete (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba (Civic United Front) and Dr Wilbrod Slaa of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) – few challenges characterised these elections. Some eligible voters could not cast their votes because their names were not appearing on the voter register and the country’s National Election Commission (NEC) did nothing about it.

When the Leadership Lost Vision, the Poor Suffer

I share the fatherly pain in the horrible and horrible, brutal raping and guerilla-type execution of a young girl, a Grade 11 student at David Bezuidenhout School, Magdalena Stoffels. I have the same sorrowful emotion with the members of the family whose child/sister was robbed from their company. I put myself in their shoes; imagine a mother/brother/sister bid farewell to a loved one to go to school and only to be informed that, “Sorry, she is no more”. And not to find out that she got raped and had her throat cut.

Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma: Protection of Information Bill

His Excellency Jacob Zuma

President of the Republic of South Africa
Union Buildings
Private Bag X1000,
Pretoria,
0001
South Africa

BY FAX: +27 12 323 8246

19 August 2010

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at two recent moves by the ruling ANC that seriously threaten press freedom in South Africa.

Protection of Information Bill: SA Media Under Attack

Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, reminded us in 1994 that: “A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.” 16 years into democracy, opposition parties, civil society, activists and other stakeholders are facing new realities associated with our democracy - the proposed Protection of Information Bill and Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT).

Call for Rwanda to Respect Rights

Amnesty International (AI) has called on Rwanda to take steps to reverse a climate of fear that is looming over next week's presidential election.

In a press statement, AI’s deputy director for Africa programme, Tawanda Hondora, points out that in recent months killings, arrests and the closure of newspapers and broadcasters have reinforced a climate of fear.

Vote Ruling Party, NGO Tells Voters

Zambian NGO, the Authentic Advocates for Justice and Democracy (AAJD) has urged voters to vote for the ruling party in the parliamentary by-elections to benefit from economic development through easier links.

AAJD argues that opposition-controlled constituencies lag behind in development because of the missing link with the Government.

Call for Disability Rights in Africa

A Ugandan lawyer working with the nonprofit group Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities (LAPD), Med Ssengooba has called on Uganda and other African countries to improve opportunities for their disabled citizens.

Ssengooba says any vision for the future of Africa must include people with disabilities, whom he says constitute a significant percentage of the community anywhere in Africa - almost 10 percent of the population.

Liberia’s Senate Summons Three CSOs

The Plenary of the Liberia Senate has voted to summon three CSOs to appear before it this week for making statements the senate describes as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘inciting’ against it.

The three organisations - Liberia Democracy Watch, Center for Democratic Empowerment and the Institute for Democracy and Development, were complained to the Senate by one of its member for making alleged derogatory remarks against the August body for the passage of a recent joint resolution instead of the threshold bill.

Sudan Criticised Over Rights Violations

Amnesty International (AI) says the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is carrying out a brutal campaign of arbitrary detentions, torture, and mental and physical intimidation against opponents and critics of the government.

In its latest report, the AI’ Africa programme director, Erwin van der Borght, points out that, “The extensive, multi-pronged assault on the Sudanese people by the security services has left the critics of the government in constant fear of arrest, harassment or worse."

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