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Africa must consolidate gains in Democracy, Elections and Diversity
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(Gaborone, 17th October 2012)

As deliberations at the ongoing 8th Africa Governance Forum entered its second day, delegates focused their interactions and discussions on the sub-regional trends of democracy, elections and diversity management in Africa.  In a very engaging and interactive manner, the forum observed that different sub regions in Africa have made varying degrees of progress in relation to democracy, elections and diversity management in Africa. The gains achieved so far need to be consolidated with countries leaning and sharing with each other, the forum emphasized.Ga

Speaking on Central Africa sub region, Mr. Lucien Toulou, Electoral Institute doe Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA-Chad, observed that only a holistic and more integrated approach of diversity management in democracy and elections can contribute to transforming the dynamics of competitive politics in Central Africa. He emphasized the importance of citizen participation in democratic and electoral processes, the stakeholders’ relationship in the electoral process and the nature of institutions involved in this transformative efforts.


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Inclusion of marginalized groups, sound electoral management critical for Africa’s prosperity
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(Gaborone, 16 October 2012)

President of the Republic of Botswana Africa must manage its elections well and encourage participation of marginalized groups like women and youth in electoral processes if it is to fulfil its development aspirations. That was the key message delivered by leaders during the opening of the 8th Africa Governance Forum in Gaborone on 16 October.

The speakers emphasized the link between democracy, good governance and human prosperity. They urged African leaders to further democracy and do everything to avoid election-related violence.  “Good governance has become an important factor in the process of sustainable development. For example, it has to a large extend become a prerequisite for foreign direct investment in Africa and many other developing countries.  We have witnessed in some African countries, the repercussion of poor governance which have largely contributed to a reduction in foreign direct investments and political instability, resulting in economic stagnation and civil strife.” commented H.E President Seretse khama Ian Khama, the President of the Republic of Botswana who officially opened the forum.

The forum also heard that understanding and effectively advancing democracy and development helps nations as a whole overcome deprivation, bringing prosperity to communities excluded from the benefits of development. The speakers noted the impact of post elections violence on countries that were thriving around the continent including Kenya, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe. “Electoral violence is a product of uneven playing field amongst political actors and  low capacity, credibility and partisanship of electoral institutions, including protection and security services, unfairness in the distribution of electoral resources; use of incumbency power or blatant manipulation of election results,” said H.E Dr. Carlos Lopes, UN Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary of UNECA.

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Inclusion: the way forward for democracy in Africa
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Talks this week focus on nexus between elections, rule of law, and democracy that benefits all.

By Siphosami Malunga, Senior Governance Advisor, UNDP Africa

After a hotly contested presidential election two years ago, the world watched Côte d’Ivoire plunge into chaos as political parties and militia groups took to the streets. It seemed a throwback to the 1980s, when Sub-Saharan Africa was known for its violent coups, bloody civil wars, and autocrats.

Similar scenarios have played out in countries from Kenya and Zimbabwe. But they are now the exception rather than the rule. Over the last 20 years, the continent has seen a virtual democratic renaissance, evidenced by the organization of more than 200 democratic elections and remarkable improvements in governance and rule of law.

To that end, regional institutions such as ECOWAS, SADC, and the East African Community now keep a close watch on national politics, going as far as suspending countries that experience unconstitutional changes of government.

Elections are an essential component of democratization in Africa. They enable people to choose among a host of competent parties and leaders, facilitate peaceful change, foster more open societies, and in most cases lead to increased economic growth and long-term development.

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(Gaborone, 20 September 2012)

As it prepares for the Upcoming Eighth African Governance Forum (16-18 Ocotber 2012), Botswana organized a validation workshop to report on the findings and recommendations of the AGRIII Country Report. The African Governance Report (AGR) and the African Governance Forum (AGF) are two interrelated and mutually reinforcing projects undertaken through a partnership between UNDP and, UNECA. The former lays emphasis on research and publishing of progress that Africa is making in its democratization efforts, while the latter places emphasis on policy-oriented multi-stakeholder dialogue on democratic trends. The main goal of the AGRIII Validation Workshops held at the Lansmore Masa Hotel in Gaborone was to present the findings of AGRII, a study which BIDPA conducted on behalf of UNECA, and to gather feedback from stakeholders, thus continuing the consultative process at the national level, and facilitating national ownership of the process. Participants’ representation was wide spread, with invitees from various political parties, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, media and some individuals who participated in focus group discussions and expert panel survey.

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(Nairobi, 17 September 2012)

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) finalized its study on “Elections and the Management of Diversity” in Kenya and presented its findings on 17 September 2012 to national stakeholders at a validation workshop in Nairobi Safari Club. The opening of the workshop featured Mr. Alfredo Teixeira, UNDP Deputy Country Director-Programmes; Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia, Chairman, National Cohesion and Integration Commission and Mr. Ahmed Issack Hassan, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The validation workshop took place in the backdrop of Kenya’s troubling history of electoral violence. A clear case in point is the 2007 post election political violence in Kenya which was caused by political actors mobilizing of votes on ethnic lines. The cost of this was 1,500 deaths and 600,000 forcibly displaced. Following this crisis Kenya has adopted a new constitution aimed to address diversity fault lines and its next general election is scheduled for 4th March 2013.

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(Pretoria, 10 September 2012)

National stakeholders met on 10 September 2012 to discuss on the main research findings and policy recommendations. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) are currently implementing the Third African Governance Forum (AGRIII) under the theme “Elections and the Management of Diversity in Africa”. The AGRIII in South Africa was prepared by IDASA. South Africa is one of the 40 countries which are preparing Country Reports as part of AGRIII.

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