| AfriMAP Newsletter # 18
African Peer Review Mechanism: Mozambique assessment
On 7 November 2011, Mrs. Graca Machel launched a report entitled: The APRM Process in Mozambique. Chaired by Ms. Polly Castor, the launch was in partnership with OSISA and the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP). In her keynote address, Mrs. Machel stated that the APRM process presents an opportunity for honest and open dialogue between governments and their citizens, especially given the fact that such a forum is ideal for government to assess itself and measure progress through the voices of its own people. She further stated that civil society's role must expand beyond criticism but also focusing toward partnership to publicize, and broaden the awareness levels and visibility of the APRM to include the ordinary person. Mrs. Machel spoke at length on approaches toward greater participation in the APRM process, and urged the attendees to focus on private sector's involvement in the process, since that is a core constituent that is ultimately the engine of growth, and such status must be leveraged if the process is to be fully effective. Other speakers included Dr. Momade Saide, who represented the National Secretariat of the APRM country office and Ozias Tungwara, AfriMaP director. Marcelo Mosse, one of the researchers gave a presentation of the key findings. The meeting was attended by members of the diplomatic and consular corps, parliamentarians, media, academia, international and civil society organizations.
Public Broadcasting in Africa Series: Kenya
On 11 October 2011, AfriMAP, OSIEA and the Media Council of Kenya, launched the Public Broadcasting in Africa series: Kenya, at the Fairmount Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. The keynote address was given by Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication of Kenya. Dr. Ndemo stated that reforms were currently being implemented at state level. Amongst such reforms were the independence of the Kenya Communications Council, an ushering in of a new media law with input from civil society and other stake holders, and a freedom of information bill. He further stated that Kenya Broadcasting Corporation will have a new channel, which will operate on a Public-private sector basis. The high-ranking government representative, congratulated AfriMAP for the initiative to scrutinize the public broadcaster, and promised to take on board some of the recommendations. Other speakers included OSIEA board chairman, and managing director of the New Nation Media group's newspaper division, Mr. Tom Mshindi, who talked about the importance of the report and stated that it came at a time when Kenya's political transformation remained at the apex of the nation's priorities.
Echoing such a call Dr. Levi Obonyo, gave a very detailed version of the study, and made comparisons to certain cases which conflicted with freedoms of expression and a threat to the media. Other speakers included, Ozias Tungwara, AfriMAP director, and Grace Githiaga, author of the report who presented the key findings. The occasion was chaired by Jeggan Grey-Johnson, AfriMAP communications and advocacy officer. Approximately 80 people graced the occasion, amongst which was a cross section of media owners, journalists, academia, and international organizations focusing on human rights and freedom of expression.
Democracy and Political Participation thematic focus
Kenya: Presentation of draft report
A validation exercise took place in Nairobi, which focused on the study on democracy and political participation in Kenya, authored by professor Karuti. Issue of minority rights was debated, and some participants felt that the draft report was not broad enough on this issue, because it only focused on gender/ women. It was suggested that the topic of corruption needed sufficient focus, despite the fact that it was given prominence in the discussion document. Participants felt that there was need to have a compelling argument as to why this study is needed and who commissioned it. Issues of fragile states and freedom indexes, it was recommended, needed to be featured early on in the document. There was strong debate about recommendation on local and traditional authorities, in instances where such a process was being subjected to political manipulation, for resource control and political patronage driven by ethnicity in Kenya. It was agreed that ethnicity needed to be addressed accordingly. The validation presented an opportunity for useful suggestions that will now be incorporated into the final draft.
DRC: Conference on political participation in the province of South Kivu
On October 18, 2011, a panel discussion focusing on political participation in the South Kivu was organized in partnership with the Bar Association of Kivu. Participants took the opportunity to engage with OSISA and AfriMAP staff by focusing on the recommendations presented in the DRC Democracy and Political Participation report. Among the 47 participants was the representative of the provincial government of South Kivu, Vice-Governor and the Deputy Minister of Justice, a provincial MP, member of civil society organizations, the donor community, professors, magistrates, head of intelligence services, members of the bar association, trade unionists, and MONUSCO. The report has received a wide circulation nationwide, in the run up to DRC's elections.
Senegal: Workshop on democracy report
OSIWA and AfriMAP today organized a workshop to validate a study on "Senegal: An Old Democracy in need of Reform”. The study comes at an opportune time given the immense concern over the prospects of the country's challenging electoral process. The study constitutes a solid base for engaging national stakeholders on political reforms that are urgently needed. According to the author, the study examined the key governance and institutional challenges confronting Senegal including the issues of political participation and the eventual candidature of president Wade which continue to raise serious concern. In addition, the study outlines concrete recommendations that are critical for OSIWA and AfriMAP's programmatic and advocacy work in Senegal.
The workshop was attended by a range of participants including members from various political parties, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the international community. Drawing from the various enriching contributions, most participants commended the timing, scientific solidity and immense utility of the study. It must be recalled that this study fits into the overall strategic outcomes of OSIWA designed to strengthen democratic practices and institution building in the sub-region. Finally, while the study provides a deeper insight into the immense governance challenges in the country it also constitutes a sound policy advocacy document that would be of tremendous use to a range of actors that continue to give decisive support to political reforms in the country.
AfriMAP and OSIWA new country initiative in Guinea A two day training workshop was undertaken on 12 August, as part of
a new AfriMAP and OSIWA joint research project in Guinea. The objective of the research is to provide baseline studies of the current state of governance in the
following sectors: electoral laws and management; justice sector and the
rule of law; anti-corruption institutions and mechanisms; and management of
natural resources. The training was organized
for researchers, program and country coordinators on the methodology and
process of researching the four thematic areas. Pascal Kambale, deputy director for AfriMAP and
Mathias Hounkpe, Country coordinator for OSIWA, facilitated the training
workshop, which was held at the newly opened OSIWA country office in
Engagement with external institutionsEuropean Union Mission in DR Congo
In partnership with the European Union Mission supporting the Congolese police, AfriMAP contributed to the conceptualisation of a guide to civil liberties. The guide will assist both police services and the civil society with a specific focus on the legal framework of various laws in the DRC; its application in terms of good practice for police officers and its implementation for the civil society generally will be highlighted. The practical guide focuses on effective utility of civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution, aimed at consolidating a stronger democratic system in the country. The guide, which is a recommendation from the report on democracy and political participation will be finalised and published in December. The meeting was attended by Roger Mvita, AfriMAP's programme officer.
Conception and publication of a handbook on electoral dispute resolution
On November 25, 2011, a validation workshop focusing on the handbook on electoral disputes was organized by AfriMAP, and coordinated by Roger Mvita. The meeting was attended by Judges, Independent experts, members of the Independent National Electoral Commission and lawyers. This was done in partnership with the Institute of Human Rights of the National Bar Association of the lawyers of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The technical document aims at facilitating the resolution on electoral disputes and it also provides new information on the new electoral law. This publication also addresses the various concerns raised in AfriMAP's study on Democracy and political participation in the DRC in 2010.
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights 30th anniversary celebration conference and colloquium
AfriMAP's advocacy and communications officer, Jeggan Grey-Johnson, attended the ACHPR meetings in Banjul on 19th October, where the implementation of human rights instruments in Africa was a primary focus. The gathering also debated issues pertaining to the need for the Commission to take countries notorious for human rights violations to task. It was agreed to that the Commission needed to do more country focused resolutions. Issues of citizenship rights and racism featured prominently. The case of the Mauritania census discriminating against ‘black' Mauritanians was tabled; the emerging consensus with focus on specifics also centred on issues of corruption and human rights (an area that AfriMAP will be focusing on in 2012) as well as the transformation process of state broadcaster into public broadcaster, and urgency for media reforms in Africa.
UNDP workshop on civil society and governance assessments
UNDP in partnership with CIVICUS, CONCAD, Trust Africa and AGI organized a three day workshop themed: Africa Forum on Civil Society and Governance Assessments. The meeting focused on civil society's involvement in governance assessments. The events presented the opportunity for development organizations, CSOs and research institutes to share knowledge and experiences so as to enhance greater participation in the policy dialogue debate. Jeggan Grey-Johnson presented a paper on strategies, challenges, opportunities, and threats to moving from data to action.
Pan African Parliament: Charter on Democracy
AfriMAP and OSISA together with other partners supported the 11before2011 campaign, which was aimed at accelerating the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance by member states. The campaign spearheaded by the Pan African Parliament's bureau, registered the desired result, and met its goal of contributing to continental advocacy drive and obtaining the needed 15 ratifications from AU members states, so that the charter could come into force. The campaign will continue in 2012, with sharper focus on domestication.
The Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project –AfriMAP, wishes to extend its condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of the late Prof Alfred Esimatemi Opubor. We have interacted with Prof. Opubor in different fora, and have always admired and respected his intellectual prowess, and affable demeanor, which was infectious to all and sundry that he engaged with. We are saddened by his sudden passing and are deeply sorry to have lost such an illustrious man of intelligence and profound knowledge of media and broadcasting in Africa. He will be dearly missed.
AfriMAP's office in South Africa will close for the holidays commencing 16 December 2011 and will reopen on 4 January 2012. AfriMAP wishes all its partners, consultants, sister organisations, and staff a happy and peaceful holiday; Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and happy New Year.