Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nigeria 2011 : ReVoDa-Nigerian Mobile Election Monitoring Application

A new mobile application for election monitoring and designed by the Enough is Enough(EiE) was launched in Lagos as part of civil society movemvnet to observe Nigeria 2011 Elections. The mobile apps called ReVoDa works on any GPRS enabled phone and can be downloaded via text messaging or online via .  

According to the ÉiEnigeria's coordinator, Mr Gbenga Sesan, ReVoDa Mobile app allows voters to report as independent citizen observers from their respective polling units across Nigeria. The process begins with registration on the ReVoDa network by sending your name and polling unit number by SMS to 08128882011, using this format: PU# Name (e.g. 24/13/02/015 Oluwangozi Danladi). If you are sending from someone else's phone, enter your own mobile number after the PU number and name, using this format: PU# Name Mobile# (e.g. 24/13/02/015 Oluwangozi Danladi 0800 000 0000). You will get a return SMS confirming your registration and advising you to download the app. ReVoDa also allows EiE Nigeria to send relevant information about the electoral process to registered users in specific locations. ReVoDa was designed and built for EnoughisEnough (EiE) Nigeria coalition by a team of tech volunteers including @takinbo, @OoTheNigerian, @EmekaOkoye, @mayowaowolabi, @namzo, @eolutosin, @lekanSTEPHEN and @gbengasesan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Liberia: NEC set 23rd August 2011 for National Constitutional Referendum

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has issued a Writ of Referendum to elections magistrates announcing May 1, 2011 to August 1, 2011 from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m. as the periods for campaigning for the National Constitutional Referendum in Liberia.

The magistrates were identified from 19 magisterial areas in the country thereby identifying August 23, 2011 as the official date for the conduct of the National Constitutional Referendum which is in keeping with the Joint Resolution passed by the 52nd National Legislature.

The Referendum amongst others, aims at amending  the 10-year residence clause in the Constitution, the tenure of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices, as well change in the elections timetable from the 2nd Tuesday in October to the 2nd Tuesday in November.


Egyptians to decide on their constitutional amendments

AEP March 18th 2011

Egyptians will tomorrow decide on the fate of their constitution through a national referendum. A firm decision on a 'yes' or 'no' vote to the proposed clauses of the Constitution made by an adhoc committee will in a long run derail or put the country back to democracy. In all 11 amendments proposed by the Committee will receive votes. The 11 includes eight (8) amendments to an existent article, one proposed cancellation and two proposed additions.

As the debate on the constitutional amendments rages on, two factions have emerged; one group which advocates implementation of the amendments that is the Islamists and the other group which insists on the drafting of a new Constitution who have been referred to as the secular force. The latter group is of the perception that an amendment to the existent constitution will only be a reproduction of a regime similar to Mubarak's own but rather a new constitution drafted under a new Committee will ensure no favouritism.

Hossam Issa, a law professor at Ain Shams University and a strong advocate of a new constitution has been quoted by Al-Masry Al-Youm as sayng "If the amendments are passed, the situation will become very sad because we will be reproducing Mubarak's regime,"  "We want a new Constitution. These partial amendments are being introduced to a Constitution that has already become nil. The Constitution fell the same day power was handed over to the armed forces."

Owing to the break in the social structure and the emergence of total anarchy which resulted after the ousting of Mubarak, most citizens believe that conducting a referendum or elections in the country's present state where the military has an upper hand will not produce free and fair results.

Some of the proposed amendments include; Article 77 which when amended will reduce the presidential term to four years with a two-term limit, Article 139 will read future presidents would need to appoint a vice president within 60 days of taking office, Article 76 will read Presidential candidates would need either to secure the support of 30 members of the two houses of the country's parliament or the backing of 30,000 eligible voters across at least 15 governorates, or they would need to be nominated by a registered political party with at least one member elected to either the People's Assembly, the lower house of parliament, or the Shura Council, the upper chamber , Article 75 will necessitate the president to  be at least 40 years of age, and of Egyptian parents and no other nationality, and not married to a non-Egyptian and a yes to Article 189 will mean parliament will select a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution within six months.

Al- Ahram reports that the country's two main presidential hopefuls, present Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa and ex-chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El-Baradei ,  have all expressed their  misgivings to the proposed amendments.

El-Baradei has described the amendments "as an insult to the achievements of the 25 January youth revolution," arguing that "an interim presidential council be tasked with drafting a new constitution within one year" instead and urging the cancellation of the present referendum.

Meanwhile some 200 judges have threatened to boycott the referendum claiming the committee used "favouritism" in choosing certain judges to supervise particular polling stations.

If they are approved in Saturday's referendum, the changes will lay the groundwork for parliamentary elections in June and a presidential vote in August or September.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Penplusbytes Turns Ten: Celebrating 10 years of driving excellence in ICT Journalism

The International Institute for ICT Journalism (penplusbytes) turns 10 on the 18th July 2011. Over the past 10 years we have worked to achieve our vision of DRIVING EXCELLENCE IN ICT JOURNALISM.

Working with our partners and network members we hope to accomplish the following mission statement in the years to come:

To be the leader for developing ICT Journalism by: 

a)    Empowering & Building the capacity of the media through cutting edge ICT skills

b)    Developing a vibrant research capability in ICT Journalism to support the Media and other Stakeholders

c)    Building a vibrant community of ICT journalists around the world.

d)    Advocating for media rights in the Information society

 Watch out for key anniversary activities and join us to celebrate Excellency in ICT Journalism. 

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, March 10, 2011

African Elections Project(AEP) to cover Niger second run Elections

African Elections Project (AEP), your authoritative elections information and news services is covering Niger Elections 2nd round slated to take place on Saturday the 12th of March 2011 between the former Prime Minister Seini Oumarou(MNSD-Nassa) and long-term opposition figure Mahamadou Issoufou(PNDS-Taray)

The Niger 1st round general elections, took place on  Monday 31st January 2011 to elect a president out of 10 candidates and 113 members of parliament. The final results indicated that, none of the 10 candidates who aspired to be president got more than the 50% required thereby necessitating a second round to take place.

 According to Gerard Guedegbe, who is leading a team of reporters to cover this elections said "African Elections Project is set to provide timely  and relevant elections information and knowledge while undertaking covering specific and important aspects of governance working hand with citizens journalists and civil society actors engaged in elections observations."

AEP was established in 2008 to empower journalists to cover elections using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across the continent. AEP have successfully covered elections in Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique, Malawi, and Togo and has launched coverage of the upcoming elections in Liberia with plans are also far advanced to cover Nigeria, Uganda and Cameroon.

 In addition to its flagship online portal,  AEP is covering this elections using other new media tools such as facebook, blogs, frontlineSMS and twitter Subscribers can subscribe to our SMS news and results service by sending a text message to (00227) 97 16 30 37 in Niger or international - +447537401839

The African Elections Project-Niger is coordinated by Ghana based International Institute for ICT Journalism ( ) working hand in hand with la Maison de la Presse du Niger and other key partners. The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)  is the main strategic and funding partner for AEP Niger.




Boubacar Diallo

Maison de la Presse du Niger

Niamey, Niger

10th March 2011


International Institute for ICT Journalism 

Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security launched

As pro-democracy campaigners take to the streets across the Arab world, and as 19 African countries prepare to hold national elections this year, an international initiative to promote the integrity of elections is today launched in South Africa.

Recent events in Cote d'Ivoire and elsewhere have highlighted more clearly than ever that elections are vital to democratic government, but they are not sufficient. Too often, we see incumbents rig the elections, illicit funding or media bias distort the electoral process, and losing candidates refuse to accept the results. Where elections are marred in these ways, people lose faith in democracy and the political process, and human rights and security are put at risk.

The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, jointly created by the International Institute for Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Kofi Annan Foundation, is made up of 12 eminent individuals from around the world, including Kofi Annan, Ernesto Zedillo, Martti Ahtisaari, Madeleine Albright and Amartya Sen.  It aims to highlight the importance of the integrity of elections to achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world.

The Global Commission will work to convince different stakeholders why elections with integrity matter not just for democracy, but also for security, human rights, and development.  At the heart of the Commission's approach is ensuring that the international community applies political solutions to the political problems surrounding elections, rather than purely technical approaches.
It aims to help:

  • raise the costs for those who seek to rig and steal elections, and to insure that when elections take place, the potential for abuse and violence are reduced;
  • strengthen international commitment to the professional conduct of elections, including supporting high-quality, credible electoral monitoring;
  • bolster international support for stronger national capacity to run fair elections;
  • reduce the potential for abuse and election-related violence;
  • build international consensus to stand firm in cases where parties try to steal elections.

 "Building democracy is a complex process. Elections are only a starting point but if their integrity is compromised, so is the legitimacy of democracy," said Kofi Annan, Chairman of the Global Commission. "Most countries have agreed to principles that would, if respected, lead to credible electoral processes, but too often these principles are ignored because of lack of political commitment, insufficient technical knowledge or inadequate international support. The Commission will therefore seek to renew political commitment to the integrity of the electoral process."

"We have learnt from experience elsewhere," remarked Vidar Helgesen, the Secretary General of IDEA, "that democracy is not what you find in the pot when you take the lid off heavy authoritarian government. Building sustainable democracy therefore is not a technical exercise but one that requires political leadership and commitment at national and international levels."

"The Commission will draw its strength from having no national agenda," added Vice-Chair Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, former President of Mexico.  "Its members all have a track record in integrity and commitment to democracy, and their high profile on the world stage will give it unique credibility and influence."

The Commission expects to conclude its work and present its recommendations by the end of 2012.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Prévention des conflits en période électorale-L'ONC outille les Journalistes Nigériens

En prélude au second tour de l'élection présidentielle au Niger, l'Observatoire national de la communication (ONC) a initié une conférence publique, hier mercredi, à la maison de la presse. Objectif : outiller les journalistes sur la prévention des conflits en période électorale.

 Animée en deux sous thèmes par M. Mamadou Mamane, journaliste consultant, enseignant à l'IFTIC et M. Dalatou Malam Mamane, président de l'Association des Journalistes du Niger (AJN) dont respectivement «  la responsabilité du journaliste avant, pendant et après les scrutins » et «rôle des médias dans la prévention des conflits », ladite conférence intervient à un moment  où le Niger est sous les projecteurs de l'actualité internationale avec le second tour de l'élection présidentielle prévu pour le 12 Mars prochain.

Pour  Mamadou Mamane, la responsabilité du journaliste en période électorale ou en dehors de celle-ci reste et demeure une responsabilité sociale, publique et professionnelle.  Et d'expliquer que la différence réside dans les enjeux qu'il y a en période électorale, des enjeux que le journaliste doit avoir à l'esprit et prendre en compte dans l'exécution de son travail.

Selon lui, Il y va de la responsabilité sociale du journaliste de  contribuer à la promotion de la paix   en adoptant une ligne éditoriale apaisée, en faisant attention au respect de l'éthique et la déontologie de son métier. Cette ligne, a-t-il dit, doit être centrée sur la politique et basée sur les programmes, les faits et non sur des propos susceptibles d'attiser des tensions.

 Le journaliste  doit savoir dissocier les genres rédactionnels, traiter les informations de façon équilibrée, neutre et honnête tout en restant impartial et en donnant aux faits leur importance sans exagération, a indiqué le conférencier.

 Le second conférencier a surtout mis l'accent sur l'éthique, la déontologie et la responsabilité sociale auxquels le journaliste se doit de se référer à tout moment dans leurs tâches quotidiennes de collecte, de traitement , de diffusion et/ou de publication de l'information politique surtout en période électorale.  Car,  les médias constituent un espace de paix et  de promotion de la quiétude sociale. Ils peuvent donc servir ou desservir la société en ce sens qu'ils peuvent amplifier ou pondérer les conflits sociaux, a-t-il fait observer.

 C'est pourquoi, selon lui,  conscients de cette responsabilité, les journalistes doivent faire la promotion du dialogue social, de la tolérance, de la culture de la paix et servir de sentinelles en développant  les réflexes de détection des risques de conflits.




Thursday, March 3, 2011

African Elections Project @ Mobile Innovation Conference

The African elections Project (AEP) is currently participating in a 2-day Mobile Phone Innovation Conference in Monrovia, Liberia.  The conference aims to increase citizens' participation in national dialogues and decision making process.

AEP presented a case study of the 10 different elections across the African continent the Project has covered.  Mr. William Sam, Consultant with AEP took the participants through the technical processes of information gathering during elections, data processing and analysis and finally how that information is broadcasted via SMS and other channels such the AEP online portal, email and through other social media platforms.

The Project team also highlighted some specific experiences of using mobile phone technology in elections coverage. Some examples given included the use of mobile applications in educating the public about their civic rights and obligations, SMS usage in covering and monitoring elections, the use of SMS to alert relevant stakeholders about potential violent incidents, citizen journalism and news production.

The conference which will end on Friday the 4th of March 2011 is being attended by Liberian Ministers of State and organizations from both Ghana and Liberia. This conference forms part of a 5year IREX  programme in partnership with USAID that seeks to build the capacities of Liberian Civil Society Organisations and the Media with the ultimate objective of promoting peace and democracy in Liberia by the use of technology.