Inside the Information Society: Of Politics and Social Media

There’s been a lot of talk lately about politics and social media. Some have seen Facebook, Twitter and the like as champions of empowerment; others, more recently, as vehicles for hate. I’d suggest they’re both and more; that their impact’s messy; and that it’s changing and will continue to do so. Some thoughts, then, about what’s happening and what we need to know.

Phase one: Insurgency (or not)

​Zuma Urged to Act on Gordhan-Hawks Saga

President Jacob Zuma says that while he supports his embattled Finance Minster‚ Pravin Gordhan, his hands are tied when it comes to intervening between the Hawks and the minister. 

Helen Suzman Foundation’s Piet Olivier points out that while the president cannot interfere with specific investigations or prosecutions‚ he has plenty of power to oversee the Hawks.

Will the Zambian Poll Results Trigger a Constitutional Crisis?

The results of Zambia’s historic five-ballot election are threatening to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. This month, the opposition filed a petition in the Constitutional Court challenging the validity of the results. The poll was a crucial test for Zambia’s new constitution, which was amended and adopted earlier this year.

What is at Stake for New Councils in South Africa?

The eight percent decline in the voters’ support for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party between 2011 and 2016 represents a fundamental shift in South African politics.
Much has been written on the implications for the ANC and the country, but a significant and underreported short-term impact relates to the implications for budget expenditure and service delivery at a local level.

Youth Loses Interest in Politics – Survey

A survey by Afrobarometer shows that the youth in Africa are losing interest in politics.
Joseph Maniragena partnership officer at African Monitor says that, “Young people see politicians as corrupt people and therefore they are not inspired. Young people‚ specifically in South Africa‚ don't see any change. Political parties come during elections ... After elections‚ politicians don't come back.”

Public Protector Candidates Urged to Quit Politics

Corruption Watch says the Public Protector candidates’ political affiliations will create a lack of confidence from the public.

The organisation states that as a parliamentary ad-hoc committee begins shortlisting 62 candidates to fill the role of public protector when Thuli Madonsela’s term ends in October, the contenders with political affiliations must resign from their respective parties.

Corruption Watch’s Bua Mzansi Campaign coordinator, Kavisha Pillay, says their campaign aims to oversee transparency by the ad-hoc committee formed to deal with the appointment.

Anti-Mugabe NGOs Wasted ‘Our Money’ – Diplomat

There is very little to show for the huge amounts of money invested in local pro-democracy groups over the years, a western envoy has lamented, adding that the non-governmental organisation sector has become as corrupt as the regime whose ouster it sought.

A diplomat who heads one of the western donor organisations in the country says that, “You can see that there (has been) no, or very little, change in the democracy situation in the country despite the civil society having been well resourced financially.”

​Civil Society Under Serious Attack - CIVICUS

Mandeep Tiwana, head of policy and analysis at CIVICUS, an international organisation representing civil society organisations, points out that, "Civil society freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly have been under serious attack in 109 countries around the world in 2015 alone."

Tiwana is of the view that, "One of the main tests of the justness of any society is how it treats its minorities whether there is equality of opportunity for all particularly for disadvantaged populations."


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