Category Archives: Politics

Kenyan elections: from hopes to confrontations

European Union observers of Kenya’s 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections said on that a lack of government cooperation meant they were unable to travel to the East African nation to present their final report on the vote.

“Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided. Our final report and recommendations are intended to contribute to a better democratic process and a restoration of trust. But with every recommendation, leadership from those in power, support from the population, and cooperation between different fractions are needed in order to initiate reforms” – Chief Observer, Marietje Schaake (pictured) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands explained.

Chief observer said the EU mission was scheduled to present its final report to the government and other groups in Kenya this week. The report to be published imperatively within three months of the vote, per the mission’s agreement with the government.

“We hope the recommendations in our final report will contribute to more resilient
democracy from which all Kenyans benefit”, – MEP Schaake concluded.

“This takes time to build up, which is why it is important that steps
are taken promptly to improve the legal framework, institutions and practices.”

Zuma avoided empeachment

South Africa’s top court ruled that parliament failed to hold President Jacob Zuma to account in a scandal over multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home, in a decision that intensified opposition calls for the president to be impeached.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling followed its conclusion last year that Zuma violated the constitution when he benefited inappropriately from state funding for his Nkandla home. It was one of a series of scandals that have damaged the reputation of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the main anti-apartheid movement leading  South Africa since the first all-race elections in 1994.

 Zuma has survived opposition efforts to oust him in votes of no confidence in parliament, where the ANC party has a majority. Frustrated by setbacks in the National Assembly, the opposition went to court as part of their campaign to impeach Zuma, who has lost support even among ruling party loyalists.

Earlier this month Zuma has been replaced as party leader by deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, known one of the richest people in South Africa, with an estimated net worth of more than $450 million. Cyril Ramaphosa is also known as a critic of the corruption that has undermined South Africa’s economy.

“We conclude that the Assembly did not hold the president to account,” said Chris Jafta, a Constitutional Court judge who read out the ruling.

He called for parliament to institute rules that would provide for a president’s removal. Parliament said in a statement that it would comply with the instruction.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, said its motion to impeach Zuma should be debated in parliament “as soon as reasonably possible.”

The court ruling cited a constitutional provision says parliament “may remove” a president from office by a two-thirds majority for a “serious violation” of the law, as well as a separate requirement that constitutional obligations must be “performed diligently and without delay.”

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng disagreed with the majority ruling, describing it as judicial overreach.

The ANC ruling party said it will study the ruling and discuss it at a high-level meeting on January 10 after holiday.

Mnangagwa promised democracy

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa shared his grand vision to resurrect  Zimbabwe’s ravaged economy and vowed to rule on behalf of all the country’s citizens.

Sworn in days after the overthrow of Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa (75) a former security chief promised to guarantee the rights of foreign investors and to re-engage with the West, and said elections would go ahead next year as scheduled.

In a 30-minute speech to tens of thousands of supporters in Harare’s national stadium, Mnangagwa extended an olive branch to opponents, apparently aiming to bridge the ethnic and political divides exploited by his predecessor during his 37 years in charge.

Mnangagwa promised to serve our country as the president of all citizens, regardless of “colour, creed, religion, tribe or political affiliation,” he said, in a speech that also hailed the voice of the people as the “voice of God”.

Behind the rhetoric, some Zimbabweans wonder whether a man who loyally served Mugabe for decades can bring change to a ruling establishment accused of systematic human rights abuses and disastrous economic policies.

Kenya’s elections annulled

Kenya’s Supreme Court has annulled the result of last month’s presidential election, citing irregularities, and ordered a new one within 60 days.

The election commission had declared incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta the winner by a margin of 1.4 million votes.

Raila Odinga, Mr Kenyatta’s opponent, said the commission was “rotten” and demanded resignations and prosecutions.

President Kenyatta said he would respect the court’s decision but also branded the judges “crooks”.

Other elections in Africa have been annulled or cancelled but this appears to be the first time on the continent that an opposition court challenge against a presidential poll result has been successful.

EU on Angola elections

On 23 august 2017, the people of Angola elected their representatives to the National Assembly and consequently to the Presidency, in the country’s third general election since peace was re-established in 2002.

“The election marks an important moment of political transition in the country. Voters went to the polls in large numbers in a peaceful atmosphere, demonstrating their commitment to democracy. Moreover, this highly contested election was marked by an efficient organisation of the voting process.” – says the statement issued by the European External Action Service (EEAS).

“At this moment in time, it is important that the electoral process is completed in full transparency and any complaint addressed through legal means. In view of future elections, efforts should continue to strengthen a level playing field.” – the statement continues.

“The EU will continue to follow the process and stands ready to enhance bilateral relations with Angola in this new chapter of its history.”

 

 

 

Facebook au Kenya contre “fake news”

Facebook a mis à la disposition des Kényans cette semaine un outil pour aider les utilisateurs à repérer les “fake news”, à quelques jours des élections générales dans le pays.

Les Kényans sont appelés à se rendre aux urnes mardi pour élire leur président, leurs députés, sénateurs, gouverneurs et représentants aux assemblées locales. Le président sortant, Uhuru Kenyatta, 55 ans, brigue un second mandat face à Raila Odinga, 72 ans, le chef de l’opposition.

Une étude de Geopoll and Portland réalisée le mois dernier sur 2.000 Kényans montre que neuf personnes sur dix ont déjà vu, lu ou entendu une fausse information. La moitié des personnes interrogées consomme des informations sur les réseaux sociaux.

“La hausse du nombre de fake news est un vrai problème au Kenya”, constate Alphonce Shiundu, contributeur pour Africa Check, une association qui promeut le fact-checking en Afrique.

Les sept millions d’utilisateurs de Facebook au Kenya vont voir apparaître sur leur fil d’actualité un nouvel outil leur permettant d’évaluer les contenus.

Ils seront redirigés vers une page contenant des conseils pour repérer une fausse information, contrôler le domaine de la page internet, les sources et les autres articles sur le sujet, a dit Facebook dans un communiqué.

A l’approche des élections, les fausses informations ont beaucoup circulé sur les réseaux sociaux.

Par exemple, les Kényans ont pu voir la photo d’un pont en ruines sur une ligne de chemin de fer que le président Kenyatta revendique comme l’une de ses principales réalisations, un projet qui a coûté l’équivalent de 2,7 milliards d’euros.

Un autre faux document avance que la société qui a organisé un débat télévisé auquel le président Kenyatta n’a pas participé appartenait à des proches de Raila Odinga, indique Africa Check.

Guinea Bissau – news media suspension

 

On 30 June the Guinea Bissau government announced the suspension of activities of RDP-Africa and RPT-Africa in Guinea Bissau.

“The freedom of expression and the access to information by citizens are an essential part of accountable governance.  Particularly in periods of political tension, the unhindered work of media are essential for the constructive debate that strengthens society” – says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson on the recent suspension of news media in Guinea Bissau.

“It is at the core of EU values and external action.  It is also in  accordance with the Constitution of Guinea Bissau and its international commitments on Human Rights.”

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