|AfriMAP Newsletter 7
Broadcast media survey launched
Research has begun for a major new twelve-country survey of public service broadcasting in Africa jointly hosted by AfriMAP and the Open Society Institute’s Network Media Program (NMP). The survey will examine issues of impartiality, independence and quality in public service broadcasting (including not only the public service broadcaster but relevant private media), with a view to producing recommendations for better regulation of the sector, especially in the context of the expected digitalization of broadcast media. The editor-in-chief for the survey is Hendrik Bussiek, a specialist in broadcasting reform issues based in Cape Town. Regional editors are: Jeannette Minnie for Southern Africa, Peter Mwesige for Eastern Africa and Ibrahima Sané for West/Central Africa. The advisory committee for the project is: John Barker, Guy Berger, Kwame Karikari, Alfred Opubor, Zoe Titus and Muthoni Wanyeki. A research guide for the survey was finalized at meetings in Johannesburg in September 2007 and Accra in November, in consultation with AfriMAP and NMP staff, the OSI foundations in Africa, the advisory committee, editors and country researchers. The countries covered in the research are: Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Publication of the final report is anticipated in early 2009.
AfriMAP submission to the Audit of the AU Institutions
AfriMAP made a submission to the ‘audit review’ of the African Union institutions being carried out by a panel of eminent persons appointed in accordance with the Accra Declaration on Union Government adopted at the AU summit in July 2007. The AfriMAP submission was based on the findings and recommendations in the report Towards a People-Driven African Union and its other research and engagement with the debates around the proposed Union Government. It emphasised that ‘any new institutions and structures established at continental level should enhance the democratic accountability of the AU and empower Africa’s citizens and communities, and not just its governments’.
Towards a People-Driven African Union updated
An updated version of the report Towards a People-Driven African Union: Current Obstacles and New Opportunities, published by AfriMAP jointly with Oxfam-GB and AFRODAD, is now available. The new edition includes a new chapter – also available as a separate download – on developments at the African Union during 2007, including the debates around the Union Government and the election of the ECOSOCC structures.
AfriMAP submission to the APRM Secretariat on its review of procedures
The African Peer Review Mechanism held a workshop in Algiers in November 2007 at which it debated proposals for amendments to the questionnaire on which its country self assessments are based, as well as the implementation process at national level. AfriMAP has sent a submission to the APRM Secretariat based on its engagement with and observation of the APRM in the countries where it has been implemented so far. The submission includes detailed recommendations on the contents of the questionnaire, as well as suggestions in relation to access to information, participation, monitoring of the APRM results, and harmonisation with other processes.
South Africa reports launched
Two AfriMAP reports on South Africa — on Democracy and Political Participation and on Effective Delivery of Public Services — were launched at an event at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on November 29, together with other reports published by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa on the media and access to information in South Africa. The launch event included a panel discussion on challenges facing South African democracy chaired by Mail and Guardian editor Ferial Hafferjee and featuring Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, Xolela Mangcu and Justice Malala. Open Society Institute President Aryeh Neier also spoke on the prospects for open society in South Africa.
The AfriMAP research process was officially launched in Benin in July 2007 with a methodology workshop hosted by AfriMAP and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The organisations and researchers present nominated Gilles Badet of the University of Abomey-Calavi as coordinator for the three themes. The first drafts of the reports are expected during the first quarter of 2008.
In September 2007 the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) appointed Roger Mvita to coordinate AfriMAP research in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A research project on the administration of military justice in DRC is already underway. An abridged version of the AfriMAP justice sector questionnaire was drafted to be used for this research. At the same time, OSISA recruited researchers for completion of the research on the three AfriMAP themes, and a methodology workshop is planned for early 2008. In addition, AfriMAP in DRC has joined with Global Rights and other organisations to make a submission to the Committee on Policy, Legal Affairs and Administration (la Commission Politique, Jurique et Administrative) of the National Assembly, which is currently debating a draft law on the Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature (the equivalent of the Judicial Council or Judicial Services Commission in common law countries). The submission (available here -- in French) is based on AfriMAP’s research in other countries and is aimed at informing the members of the committee on the structure and independence of similar bodies in other African countries.
AfriMAP participation in other events
Ozias Tungwarara, AfriMAP director, presented a one-day module at the annual training targeting senior NGO staff in Africa organized jointly by OSISA and the University of Botswana’s Centre for Specialization in Public Administration and Management (CESPAM) in October. The course aims to develop policy making capacity of NGO leadership. The AfriMAP module looked at ‘Continental and Regional Governance Architecture’. AfriMAP was requested to conduct a one-day module during the three-week InWEnt training course held in Windhoek, Namibia, also in October. InWEnt is a German non-profit organization commissioned by the German federal government to carry out human resource development. One of the courses they conduct is ‘Measuring Governance’. Ozias Tungwarara shared the AfriMAP methodology and lessons learned from assessing governance in Africa.
The AfriMAP staff send warm regards to our friends and colleagues for the upcoming religious festivals, and best wishes for new year.