Where to Zimbabwe? Another stage set for flawed elections under Mnangagwa’s leadershipPosted: 3 April, 2023 Filed under: Nqobani Nyathi | Tags: accountability, African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, amendment of the Constitution, by-elections, constitution, Constitution of Zimbabwe, democracy, electoral disputes, Emmerson Mnangagwa, free and fair elections, government-affiliated media, Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa, human rights, Luke Malaba, peaceful resolution, Private Voluntary Organisations Bill, PVO Bill, rise to power, unlawful killings, violence, ZEC, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 1 Comment
Author: Nqobani Nyathi
Doctoral Candidate and Project Officer, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
In 2018, and perhaps at the peak of his popularity, Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly won a disputed Presidential election in Zimbabwe. In the aftermath, chaos ensued, and soldiers shot and killed people. No one has been held accountable so far, perpetuating an environment of impunity and fear. Mnangagwa’s unconstitutional rise to power the previous year had subverted democracy and as predicted, he has continuously demonstrated an unsettling disregard for the Constitution and the principles of democracy. Zimbabwe’s next general election is scheduled for some time this year, on a date yet to be announced. If Mnangagwa persists on his current path of undermining the Constitution, the election could lack the legitimacy necessary for a functioning democracy.
To whom it may concern: South Sudan may not be ready for elections, yet democracy cannot waitPosted: 25 July, 2022 Filed under: Joseph Geng Akech | Tags: African expert, challenges, democracy, democratic future, Election Commission, election readiness, elections, Humanitarian relief, International Institute for Democracy and Elections Assistance, legislation, permanence of transitions, political transition, public perceptions, Revitalised Peace Agreement, security stabilisation, South Sudan, Transitional Period, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, unprepared 2 Comments
Author: Joseph Geng Akech
Assistant Professor of Law, University of Juba, and independent researcher in human rights & constitutional designs
Early this year, Yach Garang, political science PhD student at the University of Juba authored a blog piece asking ‘will South Sudan be ready for its first democratic elections come 2023?’ According to him, certain benchmarks are critical for South Sudan’s democratic election readiness. These include security stabilisation, enactment of electoral laws, adoption of a new constitution and conduct of population census. While I agree with his ‘benchmarks’, I contend that South Sudan may not be ready for elections, but it is imperative to note that democracy cannot wait for a perfect environment.
This piece, therefore, is addressing those to whom the democratic future of the country remains a priority.
The South African local government elections and the COVID-19 pandemicPosted: 20 September, 2021 Filed under: Tariro Sekeramayi | Tags: 2021, African Charter, African Court, Constitution of South Africa, COVID-19, democracy, Dikgang Moseneke, elections, electoral process, fairness, free and fair election, IEC, Independent Electoral Commission, Moseneke Report, municipal elections, pandemic, registration, South Africa, South African Local Government Elections, transparency, voting 1 Comment
Author: Tariro Sekeramayi
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
South Africa’s local government elections, to elect the municipal tier of government, are constitutionally mandated through section 159 of the Constitution of South Africa to take place every five years. These elections were scheduled to take place towards the end of 2021 and have been the subject of great deliberation in the nation. Conducting elections during a pandemic has been the subject of much debate on the continent and worldwide, with certain countries choosing to continue with elections amid the pandemic and others choosing to postpone their elections amid concerns of the risks involved. Nations on the continent that have held elections during the pandemic include Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire. Given the extent of the risks of holding elections during the pandemic and mixed calls on whether to postpone or continue with elections in the nation, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa ordered an inquiry commission to determine the nation’s capacity to hold free, fair elections during the initially scheduled period in October.
Constitutionalisation of public service and administration in AfricaPosted: 23 March, 2021 Filed under: Paul Mudau | Tags: accountability, administration, African Constitutions, Constitutional Reform, democracy, good governance, human rights, public administration, public policies, public service, rights of individuals, transparency Leave a comment
Author: Paul Mudau
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law at the University of South Africa
‘Modern African constitutions’ produced by the recent wave of constitutional reforms that swept across Africa generally transpired in the constitutionalisation of public service and administration. Public administration is any institution with operations aimed at applying, enforcing or fulfilling public policies and programmes or undertaking public service duties as well as regulating the conduct of public servants. Public service is any service or public-interest activity provided by government under the authority of the relevant administration.
Africa is bleeding: The Anglophone crisis in CameroonPosted: 4 November, 2020 Filed under: Mary Izobo | Tags: #StopCameroonViolations, 24 October 2020, Anglophone crisis, autocratic, Cameroon, democracy, discrimination, economic resources, Francophones, human rights violations, inequality, Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Kumba, President Paul Biya, rule of law, territorial integrity Leave a comment
Author: Mary Izobo
International Human Rights Lawyer and Gender Advocate
The failure to promote the rule of law and democracy creates an environment for conflict, often exacerbated by marginalisation, discrimination, inequality and inequity. The bitterness of citizens roused by violence is usually entrenched in lack of basic services and public infrastructure, corruption, lack of personal and economic security and lack of transparency and accountability of government to its citizens. Thus, the greatest problem of African countries is their failure to protect the economic, political, social, and cultural concerns of its people. This year, 2020 has been marred by a series of human rights violations from Lagos to Kumba, Africa is bleeding.
On 24 October 2020, at least eight children were killed, and dozens wounded by a group of armed men at the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy Kumba, in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. There has been a lot of attacks in Cameroon since 2016, however, these attacks have intensified dramatically.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of South Africa’s constitutional democracy?Posted: 23 July, 2020 Filed under: Paul Mudau | Tags: apartheid-era, Bill of Rights, Collins Khoza, constitutional democracy, coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, Cyril Ramaphosa, democracy, Disaster Management Act, extraordinary legal measures, Gary Pienaar, isolation measures, lockdown, lockdown regulations, National Disaster Management Centre, nationwide lockdown, pandemic, PCCC, South Africa, state of emergency, Table of Non-Derogable Rights 3 Comments
Author: Paul Mudau
PhD Candidate and Researcher, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand
On 15 March 2020, and while owing to medical and scientific advice and with the aim of controlling and managing the invasion and the spread of the invisible enemy, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa introduced extraordinary legal measures, placed the country under a nationwide lockdown and sealed its international borders. The lockdown took effect from 27 March 2020. The President simultaneously declared a national state of disaster in terms of section 27 of the Disaster Management Act (52 of 2002). Apart from the 1996 Constitution, the Disaster Management Act is applicable during lockdown together with other relevant statutes such as the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 and Prevention of Combating and Torture of Persons Act 13 of 2013. This, was followed by a series of announcements and impositions of numerous lockdown Regulations and Directives that require hygienic practices, physical and social distancing, quarantine, and isolation measures.
Democracy in times of COVID-19: a time for introspection?Posted: 8 April, 2020 Filed under: Eduardo Kapapelo | Tags: Angola, basic services, China, COVID-19, democracy, global pandemic, government, health systems, human rights, Hungary, inequality, Institutions, lockdown, massive corruption, militarised society, national lockdowns, pandemic, political system, politics, WHO, World Health Organization Leave a comment
Author: Eduardo Kapapelo
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
My father used to say ‘politics must be conducted in a country which is open, a country which has the space for deliberation and opposing views’. He added that ‘politics must be conducted in a country which is mature’. We find ourselves in challenging times, times in which the openness and maturity of our countries are being tested.
A scale we can use to test the openness and maturity of our institutions is to interrogate (i), the nature our institutions; and (ii) the quality of our institutions. In regards to their nature we can reflect on how they are structured, what they look like on paper, and how they actually function in reality. As regards quality, we can reflect on how institutions respond to stress – how they respond to the demands of the people and whether they are mature enough to understand that when individuals take to the streets in the exercise of their human rights demanding better quality of life, they are not challenging the State, but rather exercise their constitutional right to be heard.
Where is democracy? Reflections on the ascendancy of Mnangagwa as president of ZimbabwePosted: 27 November, 2017 Filed under: Charles Ngwena | Tags: Ayi Kwei Armah, constitution, coup, democracy, dictatorship, elections, Emmerson Mnangagwa, ethnic cleansing, Gukurahundi, Matebeleland, military, military intervention, national army, political change, Robert Mugabe, white minority rule, ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Defence Force 3 Comments
Author: Charles Ngwena
Professor of Law, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
What seemed unimaginable has happened. After an uninterrupted ‘reign’ of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, the de facto emperor of Zimbabwe, has ‘resigned’ from office. There has been genuine jubilation not least among those who have been at the receiving end of Mugabe’s increasingly despotic, corrupt and dysfunctional governance – the majority of Zimbabweans. Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken office as Mugabe’s successor. It is a historic moment. Since attaining independence in 1980, Zimbabweans have only known Mugabe as their political supremo – initially as prime minister and latterly as president. The fact of Mugabe’s departure from office, alone, has raised hopes that we might be at the cusp of a compassionate, fairer, humane and democratic Second Republic. At the same time, the clouds are pregnant with contradictions, counselling us not to throw caution aside even as we pine for change. Why is this?
The tragic dialectic between happiness and apartheidPosted: 21 June, 2016 Filed under: Saul Leal | Tags: apartheid, Barnett Potters, Constitution of South Africa, democracy, discrimination, freedom, happiness, Hendrik Verwoerd, human dignity, human rights, inequality, non-racialism, non-sexism, policy of separate development, prejudice, racism, right to happiness, sadism, segregation, Steve Biko, superiority 3 Comments
Author: Saul Leal
Vice-Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA)
Some political speeches announce tragedies. In South Africa, the tragedy was announced during a radio broadcast on 17 March 1961, when the people heard the following statement: “The policy of separate development is designed for happiness, security, and stability (…) for the Bantu as well as the whites”. It was the first phrase proclaimed by the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, Hendrik Verwoerd, in his Address to the Nation. The policy of separate development would prove to be a scandalous euphemism. Verwoerd continued to promise that “we shall provide all our races with happiness and prosperity”. Verwoerd would become known as “the architect of apartheid”.
The South African Governor-General was Supreme Chief in the Transvaal up until 1956. At that time, Cape Africans were considered too advanced to be treated as an underclass. Elizabeth Landis, an American expert on Southern Africa affairs, explains that the government had to change this consideration, with the explanation that ‘if we want to bring peace and happiness to the Native population (…) then we cannot do otherwise than to apply this principle which has worked so effectively in the other three provinces, to the Native population of the Cape as well (…)”. Happiness therefore becomes a scapegoat.