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Election Management Bodies in West Africa: A comparative study of the contribution of electoral commissions to the strengthening of democracy

This report is an in-depth study of electoral commissions in six countries of West Africa – Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone – assessing their contribution in strengthening political participation in the region. As institutions that apply the rules governing elections, electoral management bodies (EMBs) have occupied, over the last two decades, the heart of discussion and practice on the critical question of effective citizen participation in the public affairs of their countries. The way in which they are established and the effectiveness of their operations have continued to preoccupy those who advocate for competitive elections, while reforms to the EMBs have taken centre stage in more general political reforms. Election Management Bodies in West Africa thus responds to the evident need for more knowledge about an institution that occupies a more and more important place in the political process in West Africa. Based on documentary research and detailed interviews in each country, the study provides a comparative analysis which highlights the similarities and differences in the structure and operations of each body, and attempts to establish the reasons for their comparative successes and failures.

Moçambique como lugar de interrogação a modernidade em Elísio Macamo e Severino Ngoenha

Moçambique como lugar de interrogação: a modernidade em Elísio Macamo e Severino Ngoenha é uma tentativa de procurar respostas para algumas questões que se apresentam quando pensamos dentro do escopo da ciência moderna a partir das periferias globais. Como fazer ciência sociais ignorando a historicidade destas disciplinas e os sentidos que incorporaram desde o seu surgimento e ao longo do processo de exploração colonial? O livro não pretende negar a possibilidade de desenvolvermos ciência de forma crítica a partir dos nossos lugares de fala ou tampouco negar a importância desta produção em nossos contextos. Pelo contrário, nos desafia a refletir sobre caminhos para esse pensar crítico e assume que do nosso lugar de fala, é fulcral que comecemos por interrogar alguns pressuspostos. Por isso, o nosso lugar é um excelente lugar para levantar velhos e novos questionamentos. O conceito de modernidade é exemplar para o tensionamento destas questões, porque traz à tona a dicotomia que historicamente separou colonizadores e colonizados, que é a dicotomia civilizado-selvagem, moderno-tradicional. Por detrás dele está a negociação da nossa igualdade. Refletí-lo, por isso, é uma forma de desconstruir roupagens que nunca nos couberam. O passeio através das obras de Elísio Macamo e Severino Ngoenha, autores de grande importância no pensamento social moçambicano, é uma forma de buscar algumas respostas para estas questões.

A perspicácia e fecundidade com as quais os autores se debruçam sobre a complexa relação que o continente africano estabelece com a modernidade é uma bela porta de entrada para refletirmos sobre o nosso lugar numa rede mais ampla de produção de conhecimento. Moçambique como lugar de interrogação: a modernidade em Elísio Macamo e Severino Ngoenha não é de forma alguma conclusivo, é uma busca. Mergulhar no pensamento destes autores é um convite para pensarmos nossos horizontes.

Student Politics in Africa: Representation and Activism

The second volume of the African Higher Education Dynamics Series brings together the research of an international network of higher education scholars with interest in higher education and student politics in Africa. Most authors are early career academics who teach and conduct research in universities across the continent and came together for a research project, and related workshops and a symposium on student representation in African higher education governance.

The book includes theoretical chapters on student organising, student activism and representation; chapters on historical and current developments in student politics in Anglophone and Francophone Africa, and in-depth case studies on student representation and activism in a cross-section of universities and countries.

The book provides a unique resource for academics, university leaders and student affairs professionals as well as student leaders and policy-makers in Africa and elsewhere.

Election Management Bodies in East Africa

The management of elections is increasingly generating impassioned debate in these East African nations – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The bodies that manage and conduct elections are, therefore, coming under intense citizen and stakeholder scrutiny for the manner in which they are composed, how they organise and perform their mandates, and the outcomes they achieve.

The effectiveness of electoral management bodies (EMBs) has largely been influenced by the impact of political violence on election management reforms in East Africa. Even in countries where EMBs are the products of reforms initiated in the aftermath of violent disputes over elections, they still face enormous challenges in dealing with electoral disputes and anticipating election-related crises. Although changes to constitutions and the laws in these countries have sought to make EMBs independent and, therefore, more inclined to deliver free, fair and credible elections, there are many issues that determine their impartiality and their ability to allow for the aggregation and free expression of the will of the people. These shortcomings negatively impact on democracy.

This volume assembles case studies on the capacity of EMBs in these five East African countries to deliver democratic and transparent elections.

Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Agencies in East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

With reportedly over USD50 billion lost annually through graft and illicit practices, combating corruption in Africa has been challenging. However, laws and policies at the continental, regional and national levels have been promulgated and enacted by African leaders. These initiatives have included the establishment of anti-corruption agencies mandated to tackle graft at national level, as well as coordinate bodies at regional and continental levels to ensure the harmonisation of normative standards and the adoption of best practices in the fight against corruption.

Yet, given the disparity between the apparent impunity enjoyed by public servants and the anti-corruption rhetoric of governments in the region, the effectiveness of these agencies is viewed with scepticism. This continent-wide study of anti-corruption agencies aims to gauge their relevance and effectiveness by assessing their independence, mandate, available resources, national ownership, capacities and strategic positioning. These surveys include evidence-based recommendations calling for stronger, more relevant and effective institutions that are directly aligned to regional and continental anti-corruption frameworks, such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), which the three countries in this current report – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – have all ratified.

Citizenship Law in Africa: A Comparative Study (3rd edition)

Few African countries provide for an explicit right to a nationality. Laws and practices governing citizenship effectively leave hundreds of thousands of people in Africa without a country. These stateless Africans can neither vote nor stand for office; they cannot enrol their children in school, travel freely, or own property; they cannot work for the government; they are exposed to human rights abuses. Statelessness exacerbates and underlies tensions in many regions of the continent. Citizenship Law in Africa, a comparative study by two programs of the Open Society Foundations, describes the often arbitrary, discriminatory, and contradictory citizenship laws that exist from state to state and recommends ways that African countries can bring their citizenship laws in line with international rights norms. The report covers topics such as citizenship by descent, citizenship by naturalisation, gender discrimination in citizenship law, dual citizenship, and the right to identity documents and passports. It is essential reading for policymakers, attorneys, and activists.

This third edition is a comprehensive revision of the original text, which is also updated to reflect developments at national and continental levels. The original tables presenting comparative analysis of all the continent’s nationality laws have been improved, and new tables added on additional aspects of the law. Since the second edition was published in 2010, South Sudan has become independent and adopted its own nationality law, while there have been revisions to the laws in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child have developed important new normative guidance.