Election Watch

Promoting democracy in Namibia

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Political Analysis

Guebuza wins landslide victory

Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza won a landslide re-election with 75% of the vote, election officials said on November 11.
"The National Elections Commission announces that citizen Armando Emilio Guebuza has been re-elected president of the republic of Mozambique for a period of five years," the commission's chief Joao Leopoldo da Costa told reporters.
In the parliamentary race, Guebuza's Frelimo increased its majority from 160 seats to 191 seats in the 250-member legislature.

'No space for democracy in Mozambique'

As Daviz Simango bounces down the rutted, unpaved road toward a campaign stop in a dusty town in northwest Mozambique, his head falls improbably to his chest.
The young founder of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), a new political party that has shaken up the traditional two-horse race for Mozambique's elections in two weeks, is asleep.
He dozes briefly, then snaps awake and picks up where he left off, criticising the current state of Mozambique's democracy and outlining his vision for a new kind of politics.

Botswana's Khama wins election

Botswana's President Ian Khama secured a new five-year term, extending his rule over the world's largest diamond producer, after his governing BDP party swept to victory on Saturday in a parliamentary election.
Chief Justice Julian Nganunu said Khama, son of the country's first president, would remain at the helm of the southern African nation, which is battling a recession and hit by internal party squabbling.

Worrying trends in African politics

The Gabonese Minister of Interior’s announcement that Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba, candidate for the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) and son of Gabon’s late President Omar Bongo, has won the 30 August presidential election came as no surprise to many Gabonese and observers of the country’s politics. The final tally gave Bongo 41.7 percent of the vote, with the main contenders, Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mambounda receiving 25.8 and 25.2 percent respectively.

National Assembly MPs: Are we getting full value?

In the past, some MPs have been accused of doing little more than ‘warming seats’ in the National Assembly because of their perceived low contribution to parliamentary debates. However, there has been no attempt by researchers to assess just how much MPs do contribute to debate and which, if any, MPs say very little at all. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently reviewed 19 volumes of Hansard (the official record of the National Assembly) dating from September 2005 to early October 2007.

Mobile Phones Are Useful Election Monitoring Tools

Millions of people worldwide use mobile phones to communicate with friends, take photos, play music and check e-mail. Democracy advocates are harnessing the power of mobile phones to monitor elections by transmitting critical data in real time.
In many developing nations, information communications technology (ICT), which employs mobile phones (commonly referred to as cell phones in the United States) and computers, is increasingly the main source of communication, says Ian Schuler, ICT manager at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington.

Naught for your comfort

No political party would have been particularly pleased by the release of the Afrobarometer's survey of party support in March. Swapo scored 51 percent support from the 1,200 respondents interviewed countrywide last November - lower than its electoral performances of 2004 and 1999 (both in the region of 76 percent) and ten points down on its performance in the 2006 Afrobarometer survey. But then the opposition could hardly take heart either.

SA parties woo voters online

United States President-elect Barack Obama successfully used social networking sites, blogs and SMSing to spark voter interest, raise funds and eventually get elected -- and South African political parties are taking cognizance of that.
In the run-up to the 2009 elections they too are using the internet and its tools to encourage a political conversation among voters.

Parties miss the social media boat

A Saturday morning sometime in March and my Facebook news feed reflects the passions of South Africans: sport, politics and polemic.
"It took Madisha being fired from Cosatu n Sadtu, n a black refuse bag, 2 realise unions must politically b non-aligned," rants Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba against former Cosatu president Willie Madisha's attempts to set up a non-aligned trade union. "Y havn't we known ths truth ourselvz!"

Regulating funding for political parties 'imperative'

Analysts in South Africa recently discussed ways to manage and regulate political party funding, an area of contest in election times.
Head of the Centre for the Study of Democracy Steven Friedman, speaking at a discussion organised by the Helen Suzman Foundation, said the failure to manage the relationship between money and politics “could well be the biggest threat” to democracy.

Election manifestos: Time for a different approach

With the tempo of electioneering gathering pace in South Africa in preparation for the April 22 poll, one cannot but wonder what difference the frenetic efforts of politicians and their spin-doctors actually make to the voter. In 2009 alone, at least twenty countries on the continent are going to hold elections of some sort - from presidential to municipal. Do election manifestos provide sufficient guidance for voters to make a choice among the competing parties?

© 2017 Election Watch

Election Watch is a project of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Windhoek, Namibia. Election Watch is funded by the European Union and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.