Thursday, January 30, 2014

South Sudan opposition parties consider forming single party ahead of 2015 elections

At least thirteen South Sudanese political parties are discussing the possibility of forming a single party ahead the general elections schedule for 2015, an opposition figure said on Tuesday.We have been holding [a] series of serious discussions over the past months from which we came out with a consensus to emerge and form a single political party. What we are still discussing is the name of the party and who should be the flag bearer to contest the next general elections", said the member of the opposition who spoke on condition of anonymity.

South Sudan has several opposition parties but they have almost no political influence and power. The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - the political wing of the rebel movement that fought various Khartoum governments for over a decade until a 2005 peace deal paved the way for South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011 - dominates the political landscape.Although opposition parties are allowed, they are widely considered to having little chance of gaining political influence. There are presently more than 23 political parties, according to the registry with political parties’ council office, most of which do not have offices.

The SPLM is still not registered as a political party as it has failed to agree on its constitution and other vital documents as its national convention has been repeatedly delayed.Tensions within the ruling party centre around at at least three senior figures who wished to challenge President Salva Kiir for the chairmanship of the party. The issues came to a head in a meeting on December 15 after which fighting broke out with the South Sudanese army, triggering the current conflict which has displaced over half a million people and killed some 10,000 people according to the International Crisis Group.

The second largest party, judging by the result of the 2010 general election, is the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) led by Lam Akol, which broke away from the SPLM in 2009. The SPLM-DC won five seats compared to the SPLM’s 160. Seven seats went to independents.Other political parties include; The South Sudan Labour Party, United Democratic Front, South Sudan Democratic Forum, South Sudan Democratic Front, South Sudan African Party, Sudan African National Union, South Sudan Community Party, United Democratic Party, United South Sudan Party, United Democratic Salvation Front among others.

Opposition figures do not want to announce the names of the parties in the new coalition because they were still conducting consultations over the name of the new group and deciding on a leader who will be able attract voters.Once identified, he said, the presidential candidate would contest the presidential election on behalf of the coalition parties. In the 2010 election the SPLM incumbent Salva Kiir won almost 93% of the vote. The SPLM-DC’s Lam Akol was his only challenger.

Source: Sudan Tribune

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tunisia's new government sworn in

Tunisia's new technocratic government headed by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa was sworn in on Wednesday, replacing an Islamist-led administration under an accord to end political turmoil and prepare for fresh elections. The formal transfer of power took place at the presidential palace after a marathon overnight parliamentary session in which 149 of the country's 193 lawmakers finally approved Jomaa's line-up.

The new ministers took the oath of office in front of President Moncef Marzouki at a ceremony also attended by members of the former cabinet.Outgoing premier Ali Larayedh and Jomaa met earlier in the day to discuss government policies and pressing issues facing Tunisia three years after the revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Larayedh and Jomaa, who served as industry minister in the outgoing government, highlighted "the difficulties to overcome in achieving fair and transparent elections" due later this year, the government said in a statement. The formation of a new government comes after weeks of horse-trading and is the cornerstone of a roadmap to end a political crisis that has plagued Tunisia since the assassination of two opposition MPs in 2013.The dominant Islamist party Ennahda agreed to relinquish power under the hard-fought political accord reached late last year.

Source: AFP

No presidential candidate for Aford in May 2014 polls

Malawi’s opposition party Alliance for Democracy (Aford) will go to May 2014 tripartite elections without presidential candidate as the party has pledged support to the acting Malawi president Joyce Banda and her ruling People’s Party (PP), Aford acting Chairperson Christopher Lichi has said.The development comes few days after the controversially elected party president Enoch Chihana engaged in verbal attacks with other party officials who accused the president of selling the party to PP.

Lichi also disclosed that the party field only 13 parliamentary candidates and 36 ward councillors in the 2014 polls.Without giving the previous figures, Lichi has described the current figure as an improvement.Chihana who is serving as Minister of Sports and Youth Development in Joyce Banda administration has gone flat out in the northern region campaigning for President Banda and her People’s Party.

However, publicity secretary of the Aford Dan Msowoya described Chihana’s allegiance to PP as a gross misconduct for the Aford.What Chihana is doing is a gross misconduct and his allegiance to ruling PP is inpersonal capacity. Aford is not in alliance with any party.We also ask Chihana to completely leave the party because his political conduct is bringing confusion in the party,” said Msowoya.

Chihana was elected as Aford’s president at the controversial party’s convention.Several members accused Chihana, who was the national chairman, of bringing confusion to the convention.The members also accused Chihana of taking the party to PP in a bid to protect his ministerial position.His presidency is being challenged in court by another camp of the party led by Godfrey Shaba.

Source: Maravi Post

SADC leaders urged to follow Botswana lead over disputed Zimbabwe polls

Leaders in the Southern African region have been urged to follow the lead of Botswana’s President Ian Khama in condemning Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections as neither fair nor credible.In an interview aired on Botswana’s national television station, BTV, Khama said the Zim elections were neither free nor fair. He also announced that Botswana will no longer participate in any SADC election observer missions, because the leadership bloc appears to have let Zimbabwe “off the hook”. The Botswana President insisted that the elections were never fair, and that the rules that govern democratic elections in Southern African were not followed in Zimbabwe’s case.

SADC has set itself guidelines for the conduct of free and fair elections…And in Zim, we sent 80 plus or so observers and almost every one of them said there were irregularities in that election, and there were. I am convinced of it,” Khama said. He added: So, the point was just to say that we must fix the problem because if the guidelines were violated and you create that precedent in Zimbabwe, then it means the next election, because Zimbabwe is going to have elections again, they are likely to repeat the same irregularities.

Khama’s comments fly in the face of SADC’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections, which have also been disputed by the opposition MDCs in Zimbabwe, civil society groups and regional observer teams present during the polls. One of the observers, Masizole Mnqasela, the South African Shadow Minister for Home affairs from the Democratic Alliance (DA), refused to sign off on a SADC report that endorsed the polls. He defended his position this week and said other SADC leaders should learn from Khama’s statement.

The election process could not be regarded as a process that was free, or proper. It was a process that lacked credibility and was unconstitutional. So one could not help but declare them unconstitutional and they could not be condoned,” Mnqasela told SW Radio Africa’s Diaspora Diaries series. He explained that the principles that govern SADC’s commitment to democracy and development need to be upheld, for the good of the entire region.


Leaked list reveals ANC's election candidates

A leaked copy of the ANC's secret election candidates list reveals that President Jacob Zuma and his closest allies dominate the top positions.The Star on Wednesday published what it said was a leaked copy of the list, which was reportedly confirmed by several sources. It was compiled during the ANC's lekgotla and national list conference over the weekend and Monday.

Zuma topped the list, followed by deputy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was sixth on the list, followed by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Public Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan came in at number 13, according to The Star.On Tuesday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe declined to reveal the party's candidate list until the election date was announced, saying it was preferable to release the list once it was registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.

Source: News24

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

South African opposition DA drafts in black figurehead for vote

Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele will run as presidential candidate for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in this year's South African election, giving the main opposition party a respected black figurehead to challenge the ruling ANC.Mamphele, a medical doctor and former World Bank managing director, commands wide admiration among South Africa's black majority as the partner of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, beaten to death in apartheid police custody in 1977.

However, her Agang political party launched a year ago has struggled to gain traction despite growing disaffection among voters with the performance of the African National Congress (ANC), which has run the continent's biggest economy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.I can think of no better person to be our presidential candidate in this crucial election," DA leader Helen Zille told a news conference, before embracing her new political ally.Ramphele - also a successful businesswoman who made millions as a senior mining industry executive - alluded to the death in December of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, as a symbol of the changing political landscape.

I believe this decision is in the best interests of South Africa as we head into turbulent waters," she said. "The death of Nelson Mandela has changed many things for South Africa.Mamphele's inclusion as a top DA candidate is likely to help the party tackle the perception that it is the political home of privileged whites, but it is unlikely to have a major effect on the outcome of the presidential and parliamentary elections expected in May.The ANC won nearly two thirds of the vote in the last elections in 2009 and even though its support has been waning since the advent of multiracial democracy, its overall majority is not in question.

Source: Reuters

Monday, January 27, 2014

Does Africa require a New Electoral System?

An electoral system is [merely] an administrative logistical process designed to ensure that an expressive choice by an entity is both registered and designated to a specific individual or organization without bias or any other form of administrative intimidatory malfeasance.Africa does not require 'a new electoral system' in that the fundamental civic electoral ontology of probity and trust is no different than that element of trust with the requisite administrative conduct which is required in other electoral jurisdictions whether in North America or Europe.

The civic electoral administrative system ought not be suborned to a particular geographic or ethnic region. An electoral system to be effective must be deemed 'trust worthy' and be held to strict public administrative disclosure ensuring that the expressive choice has been expressed in the manner indicated by the elector.
African electoral systems do require localized 'tweaking' to ensure that the local African electors are capable of registering their intent without fear or favour. Such tweaking may include pictographs for those people unable to read or write.

 Logistical extensions in terms of time may be built into the African indigenous electoral process recognizing that transportation of the electoral materials do require time has local infrastructure may require additional time. Media and related public policy concerns must be addressed to ensure that the localized conditions are appropriately represented and addressed ensuring value neutral respect of the civic electoral administrative process.

This in no manner indicates that the essential electoral process is different or requires fundamental intrinsic modification as the essence of the process is no different. Choice registered--choice counted--choice expressed without any external bias or corrupt manner of practice designated to confer an unwarranted advantage to another.In regions of political administrative fragility greater concern must be addressed to the electoral system fundamentals ensuring that the fundamental civic electoral integrity is not compromised which ought to be an essential consideration for all electoral systems in the world.

Writer: Monte McMurchy

Tunisia's assembly passes new constitution

Tunisia's parliament has adopted a new constitution - the first since the ousting of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali three years ago.The National Constituent Assembly passed the text by 200 votes from 216.
Analysts say politicians hope it will send out a message of stability after months of deadlock between Islamist and secular forces.Meanwhile, Prime Minister-designate Mehdi Jomaa says he has formed a new caretaker government.The cabinet consists mainly of independents and technocrats, and is expected to run the country until new elections. No date has been set for the polls.


After the vote on Sunday, the Tunisian flag was unfurled and parliamentarians embraced each other inside the chamber.This constitution, without being perfect, is one of consensus," AP quoted assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar as saying.Parliament agreed the text on Friday after the governing Ennahda party granted a number of concessions, including dropping references to Islamic law.It guarantees freedom of worship but says Islam is the state religion.

The text also recognises equality between men and women for the first time.Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, won the first democratic elections after long-time ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced from power in 2011.But it has faced fierce opposition from secular groups, who have accused it being too close to militant groups - charges it strongly denies. It has also been unable to end an economic crisis, another factor in widespread street protests.

The constitution required two-thirds of assembly members to vote in favour. A signing ceremony is expected to follow.The killing of two secular politicians last year sparked a political crisis in Tunisia. Earlier this month, Ennahda Prime Minister Ali Larayedh stepped down and was replaced by Mehdi Jomaa, who will head a non-partisan, caretaker government, which is expected to be named in the coming days.

Source: BBC

Monday, January 20, 2014

Malawi: 16 registered parties collect nomination papers.

The Electoral Commission in Malawi has only 16 out of 54 registered political parties had requested nomination papers for the May tripartite elections. EC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa could however not name the parties that have collected the papers from the electoral body through the Centre for Multiparty Democracy- CDM.

The parties were advised to communicate the quantity of nomination papers they want to the CMD and CMD relays the number to MEC which processes the forms for the party,” said Mwafulirwa.The commission earlier stated that all candidates who will contest on a political party ticket should get nomination forms from their Secretary General who also have to endorse the nomination of their candidates. According to Mwafulirwa, the commission is expecting all 54 registered political parties to collect the papers since a key purpose for any political party is to contest in elections.He however said collection of nomination papers is not compulsory hence cannot force the parties to collect the forms.

Submission of nomination papers will be from 10 to 14 February 2014 and all parties should collect the nomination forms before then…these parties should also submit all unused or cancelled nomination forms,”
Mwafulirwa.A total of 193 constituencies and 462 wards are expected to be competed for in the May tripartite elections.

Source: Malawi Voice


Friday, January 17, 2014

Namibia: Voter registration delays in some villages

THE general registration of voters commenced countrywide on Wednesday, but no person received a voters’ card in the Koes village on the day. At fault was a malfunctioning printer used to print the new voters’ cards.The same problems were also experienced at Noordoewer, Aussenkehr and Keetmanshoop on the first day of the voters’ registration.

A technician was called in to fix the printer at Koes, but even after ‘fixing’ it, the problem persisted. Registration officials from the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) then opted to register the voters, save their data and print their cards after the printer was repaired. In response, the general voter registration coordinator for the ECN in the //Karas Region, Augustinus Ucham confirmed all the technical problems yesterday, saying that faulty printers were replaced to make sure the delays would not continue.

I did not get any complaint today (Thursday) from anyone regarding the printers again, thus I assume all printers were fixed and everyone is back to work,” Ucham said.He added that there are enough technicians and extra printers; therefore all the printers that had problems printing were attended to.

He used the opportunity to inform the residents of //Karas not to panic about such occasional technical errors, saying they are being attended to on time.I urge the community members to be patient with us and to show up in numbers to register, so that they do not have to do it at the last minute,” the regional ECN coordinator said.The registration of voters will continue until 2 March in view of the Presidential and National Assembly elections set for November this year.

Source: The Namibian

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Malawi Elections: MEC unveils dates for nomination forms presentation

As political parties are busying solving disputes arising from primary elections ahead of May 20 Tripartite polls, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has announced that it will receive nomination forms for presidential candidates at Comesa Hall in Blantyre from 10 to 14 February, 2014.The nomination forms for Presidential candidates, aspiring candidates for Parliamentary and Local Government elections will be available for collection from January 16, 2014.

However, independent presidential candidates will have to collect the nomination forms from MEC Head office in the commercial capital.MEC has since hired Constituency Returning Officers for both Parliamentary and Local Government Elections.Notice is hereby given to all registered voters, aspiring candidates and the general public that in accordance with Section 48 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, Cap. 2:01 of the Laws of Malawi, the Malawi Electoral Commission shall make available to all Registered Parties contesting in the elections nomination forms for their aspiring candidates for Presidential elections from 16 January 2014.

MEC shall also receive nomination forms for aspiring Presidential candidates at Chichiri International Conference Centre (COMESA HALL) in Blantyre from 10th to 14th February, 2014 from 8am to 4pm on designated day," reads the statement in part.Nomination forms for those aspiring to stand as independent Parliamentary and Council candidates will be made available in all district commissioners' offices.

At the time of presentation of nomination forms to the returning officers, candidates will be required to sign a copy of the Political Code of Conduct to which they will be required to strictly abide with to ensure sanity during campaign period.Presidential candidates will have to pay K1 million as nomination fees, male parliamentary candidates K200,000, K150,000 for female parliamentary candidates with Council male and female candidates paying K20,000 and K15,000, respectively.

Source: Maravi Post

Egypt: High turnout in the referendum on a new constitution

Egyptian officials have spoken of a high turnout in a referendum on a new constitution, with voters expected to endorse the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.Top election official Nabil Salib told state TV that voter turnout was higher than in previous polls but gave no precise figure, AP news agency said.

The second day of voting on Wednesday passed off largely peacefully.Nine people died on Tuesday in clashes involving Mr Morsi's supporters.Some 400 people are said to have been arrested over the two days for disrupting the vote.A senior interior ministry official told a private TV channel that turnout in the vote may exceed 55%, Reuters news agency said. He said preliminary results indicated that approval of the constitution may be more than 95%. However, turnout was reported to be low in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds.Mr Salib did not give a figure for voter turnout but said results were expected to be announced on Friday. State TV said initial results showed 50% turnout with more than 90% voting yes.The turnout will be the highest if compared with past polls," he was quoted as saying.

In the December 2012 constitutional referendum held while Mohammed Morsi was in power, 33% of Egypt's 53 million voters took part in the ballot. It was approved by 64% of voters.The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Cairo says that there is no serious doubt that the authorities will get the yes vote they crave, not least because the referendum has been boycotted by Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party. Our correspondent says that the level of participation in the poll is crucial - the army needs a strong turnout to endorse its own political powers and pave the way for its leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president. It is the country's third constitutional referendum in as many years - the army hopes that it will draw a line under a period of often violent turmoil.

Morsi supporters blocked a metro station in a Cairo suburb, stopping some trains, security officials said, but were quickly dispersed by police.The new charter is to replace the constitution passed during the rule of Mr Morsi before he was removed last July.The BBC's Sally Nabil, at a polling station in Alexandria on Wednesday, said the number of people queuing as voting began was noticeably lower than at the same time the previous day. However, another polling station for voters from outside Alexandria was busy, our correspondent reports.Correspondents in Cairo also suggest that polling stations were not as busy as on Tuesday. The BBC's Ahmed Kilany says it was a similar story in the southern cities of Assiut and Sohag.A huge security operation was in evidence throughout the two days of voting, with some 160,000 soldiers and more than 200,000 policemen deployed nationwide.

Source: BBC

Egypt referendum: Polls close after second day of vote

Polls have closed in Egypt after a second and final day of voting on a new constitution.
It was seen as a referendum on the ousting last July of President Mohammed Morsi. Many of his supporters called for a boycott because they are angry at his treatment and the decision to declare his Muslim Brotherhood. A yes vote would likely see the defence minister in the army-backed government, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, launch a bid to become president.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Egypt referendum: Voting amid tight security

A first day of voting has been taking place in Egypt on a new constitution that could pave the way for fresh elections.But clashes involving supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi led to several deaths.The new charter is to replace the constitution passed under Mr Morsi before he was forced out by the army.The military wants a strong Yes vote in the two-day referendum to endorse his removal.

Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, now designated a terrorist group, is boycotting the vote. Shortly before polls opened, a bomb exploded at a Cairo courthouse. His supporters clashed with security forces in several parts of Egypt and officials said nine people had died:

Four people were killed and more wounded in clashes in the Upper Egypt city of Sohag, though details of the incident are disputed
One person died in Nahia, in the Giza district of Cairo
Another was killed during an anti-referendum protest in Bani Suef, south of Cairo, the governor there told the BBC
Three people - Morsi supporters according to security sources - are reported to have been shot dead in the Cairo suburb of Kerdasa

Shortly before voting began, there was an explosion near a court building in Cairo's Imbaba district, although no casualties were reported.A huge security operation is being mounted for the two days of voting. Some 160,000 soldiers and more than 200,000 policemen are being deployed nationwide.Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, wearing dark sunglasses and khaki fatigues, visited one polling station in north Cairo, telling guards there: "Work hard. We need the referendum to be completely secured."

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo says this has been a distorted campaign, with endorsements for the new constitution flooding state-run and private TV and radio.However, spotting any posters from the No campaign is a lot harder and people have been arrested for putting them up, our correspondent says.Democratic or not, she says, the referendum is seen by many as more than a ballot on a new constitution - it is widely viewed as a verdict on the removal of Mr Morsi.

Source: BBC

Monday, January 13, 2014

Malawi's ruling party continues with open voting system in primary elections

Malawi’s ruling People’s Party (PP) is continuing with open voting system in primaries despite the party’s announcement that it would not continue with the system following allegations that some opposition parties’ supporters were taking advantage of it by voting the weak candidate, Maravi Post has established.

A visit to Blantyre rural south west on Sunday where primaries for the party were underway in which the sitting lawmaker Mrs. Juliana Mphande who is also the second deputy speaker of parliament is battling it out with Tariq Bashir Munshi, found that the voting was open to all registered voters as long as they carry voter registration Identity Cards with them.

Boss, if you have ID come and vote. There are two candidates but you should vote for Munshi because Mphande has proved to be good for nothing,” one of the PP officials in the constituency told this reporter at one of the centres.PP’s primary elections were left open to all registered voters in the Centre, North and East.

But at the media conference on Friday, PP officials led by acting Secretary General Paul Maulidi and Vice President for the South Sidik Mia the party announced that the open voting system has been abandoned arguing it was working to the party’s disadvantage as opposition parties’ supporters were mobilizing themselves to vote the weaker candidate.

Souece: Maravi Post

ANC wants to change economy

ANC policy head Jeff Radebe says the priority of the ANC is not to change the Constitution, but to make major changes in the economy. He said the ANC had ended “the first phase of the transition” by bringing about political democracy and was changing tack to realise “the economic emancipation of our people.Right now our objective is to make sure that the things we put in this election manifesto must radically shift the economy gradually towards the hands of South African people as a whole.


The economy right now, in terms of the fundamental structure, is still in the hands of whites and males.These measures we are putting in place is to shift that balance,” he said.Speaking to party supporters in KaNyamazane on Tuesday President Jacob Zuma said the party needed a two-thirds majority “to change certain things that could not be changed”, and took a swipe at those who spoke loudly in defence of the Constitution.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe earlier told City Press that the party was not planning to change the Constitution and that such a proposal was not in the manifesto.The ANC is not sitting somewhere in the corner wanting to change the Constitution. Up to now that Constitution has been amended 18 times. Nobody noticed it. Amending the Constitution to enable the government to work is normal.

Something new

When you have a two-thirds majority that exercise is easier and when you don’t have it you have to lobby other parties to support that amendment. So I don’t think we are sitting here and plan to go for the Constitution, change it, amend it and bring something new.

Our Constitution is a good constitution by the way.

was making an example that if you go to the ANC manifesto, you are not going to find the ANC in a hurry to change the Constitution.You get that in opposition parties actually who will talk about the electoral system that must be changed.It is the opposition parties who aspire to change the Constitution...that’s not how the ANC works.

Source: Fin24

Friday, January 10, 2014

Election Campaign underway in South African

South Africa’s Business Day reported January 4 that the Independent Electoral Commission has opened the process allowing South Africans living and travelling abroad to register to vote in the 2014 elections while overseas, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act 2013. Émigré South Africans, who tend to be wealthier whites, are an important constituency for the opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Meanwhile the DA is trying to expand its provincial lead in the Western Cape, where it is the governing party. It is seeking to wrest the majority from Gauteng’s incumbent African National Congress (ANC) government by appealing to the black middle class vote in the country’s smallest and wealthiest province.

Three other bourgeois parties, each with less than one percent of seats in the National Assembly, have joined the Congress of the People (COPE) in a coalition called the Collective for Democracy. COPE is an ANC split-off formed by Thabo Mbeki loyalists in 2008 in protest at his humiliating removal from national office after he lost the presidency of the ANC to Jacob Zuma at the party’s 2007 Polokwane conference. Like the ANC, the Collective has nothing to offer the poor. On the nominal left, the only parties making any appeal to workers are the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, and the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), which is aligned via the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) to the pseudo-left Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

The DSM states on its web site that it took the decision to form the WASP “Together with mineworkers’ committees.” It boasts of the support of the National Transport Movement, a breakaway from the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union, and is seeking relations with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which is in conflict with the National Union of Mineworkers. The DSM was formerly called the Marxist Workers Tendency (MWT) of the ANC. WASP/DSM realised as early as the beginning of the southern summer that the withdrawal of electoral support for the ruling ANC by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) would result in a bloc of working class voters without a political home in the upcoming elections. Accordingly, WASP has been sedulously courting NUMSA for months.

Source: Socialist Web

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tunisia appoints election commission

Tunisia's Constitutional Assembly appointed a new commission to oversee elections in 2014, paving the way for the resignation of the current Islamist prime minister.The assembly finished voting on the nine members of the High Electoral Commission just before midnight Wednesday. Its members include two judges, a lawyer, a university professor and experts in finance and IT. Three served on the commission that organized the October 2011 elections.

Prime Minister Ali Larayedh of the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party said this week he would step down in favor of caretaker prime minister, Mehdi Jomaa, once the commission had been chosen. Tunisia's political transition had been deadlocked for months following the assassination of an opposition politician, but after a long mediation by the main labor union, the ruling coalition and opposition parties agreed to the formation of a government of technocrats to oversee new elections.

The assembly had planned to have a new constitution ready by Tuesday, which coincides with the third anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled this nation for 23 years. The delay in electing the commission, however, may result them in missing their self-imposed deadline by a few days.Tunisia's revolution inspired similar uprisings across the Arab world, but in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring, the transitions to democracy have stumbled.

Tunisia has seen a rise in extremism and terrorist attacks blamed on shadowy Islamist groups, as well as waves of demonstrations over unmet social expectations amid a faltering economy. Islamists dominated the elections in 2011 but they have since seen their popularity diminish in the face of the country's persistent problems. Polls, however, still show Ennahda as one of the most powerful parties in the country.The assembly will vote on Thursday on which member will preside over the commission and are expected to choose university professor Chafik Sarsar, according to state news agency.

Source: News 24

Botswana's ruling party primary elections hearing delayed

The long awaited internal hearings for the contested Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown region primary elections appeals have been delayed further due to failure by the regional committee to make recommendations, Northcast has learnt. The appeals were scheduled to be heard by the appointed task force on December 30th but were postponed indefinitely. These stem from the recent primary elections in which most of the losing candidates claimed irregularities.

The complainants blamed the Francistown region for the postponement, insisting that they slept on the job. “The regional committee should take this blame because they were supposed to acknowledge the complaints letters within seven days but they never did that. So most of the protestors were not aware of the date of the hearing. We only learnt at the last minute that the hearing had been postponed but when we sought explanation we were told that the regional committee did not make recommendations hence the hearing couldn’t proceed,” said some of the protestors who wanted to remain anonymous.

They referred to Article 12 section 3 of the BDP Constitution, which they said that “clearly states that the respondent may within a period of seven days reply the allegations in writing to the Regional Secretary or Central Committee with a copy of the reply to the appellant, then the regional committee shall consider the appeal, but this never happened.”
They accuse the regional committee for deliberately failing to make recommendations as some are cited in the letters of protests. “We suspect that they deliberately did this because some of them are involved in the elections irregularities, observed one of the protestors.

While they blamed the regional committee for the postponement, the BDP Executive Secretary, Sechele. Sechele told Northcast that the hearing was postponed because the timing was wrong. “The central committee resolved to postpone the hearing because the Secretary General was receiving so many complaints from the protestors about the timing. Most of them pleaded with the central committee that they would not be in town during the festive holidays, so that is why we postponed,” he explained. However, Sechele refuted claims of defying the Constitution, insisting that the proper procedure was followed.

Source: The Gazette

MEC drills constituency returning officers

As preparations for the May 20 Tripartite Elections intensify, the Malawi Electoral Commission has scheduled nationwide trainings on nomination process for Constituency Returning Officers (CROs). The CROs will manage the nomination process at the constituency level whereby they will be responsible for receiving nomination papers from parliamentary and local government elections.
For the first time, the Commission has to conduct interviews, whose candidates were Primary Education Advisors, to identify suitably qualified CROs. Speaking in Balaka when he opened the orientation workshop for CROs from Machinga and Balaka district councils on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Commissioner Dr Wellington Nakanga urged the participants to be neutral and impartial in their work. Whatever you will do as Constituency Returning Officer, will not reflect on you, but it will be the image and integrity of the Commission that will be at stake”.
If you will conduct yourselves professionally, the public will praise the Commission of being professional. If you discharge your duties in a partisan way, taking political sides, un-leveling the playing field and indulging in all that sort of behavior not condoned by the Commission, it will also be the image and integrity of the Commission that will be at stake. The Commission will not condone this,” he said. Dr Nakanga emphasized that the Commission was determined to deliver a credible election and would not tolerate anyone to sabotage the process.
Be informed that the Commission will not hesitate to nip that in the bud any behaviours or acts that would affect its integrity. We are coming from registration exercise which has been successful and we will not accept to fail on nominations, he warned.  The Commissioner cautioned the CROs that there was no room for experimenting, rehearsing or asking for second chances and they had to just get everything right the first time as they discharge their duties.
The Commissioner said for 2014 elections the aspirants will deposit their nomination fees with any branch of the Malawi Savings Bank and attach the deposit slip to the nomination papers. The Commission has planned to start issuing nomination papers from January, 2014 and will receive them back from 10 to 14 February 2014. Similar training took place in Chikhwawa, Mulanje, Lilongwe, Salima, Mzimba and Chitipa and was presided over by MEC Commissioners.

Source: The Maravi Post

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Election fever to hit SADC in 2014

Millions of people in southern Africa will be going to the polls to elect governments, which they think will meet their aspirations as five of the fifteen SADC-member states prepare to hold national elections this year.

South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, will hold national elections this year. Arguably the most peaceful region on the continent, the attention of the international community will descend on SADC to see how the region handles its national electoral processes. Customary to election campaigns, ruling parties will use their success stories to lure the electorate, while on the other hand, the opposition parties will pinpoint the shortcomings and failures of the ruling parties to sway potential voters to their stable.

 South Africa

At 20, South Africa is one of the youngest democracies on the continent. South Africa will be the first to hold elections this year when the people of that country go to the polls to vote for a government of their choice. Like many former liberation movements, the popular ANC, enjoys the privilege of being the founding party of a democratic South Africa, hence people tend to be loyal to the party regardless of who the candidates might be. With the establishment of several parties such as Agang SA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) under the respective leadership of Dr Mamphele Rampele and the outspoken Julius Malema, ANC’s election ammunition will be tested to the core. The century-old party did not have an easy fifth term in office following allegations of poor service delivery and governance, corruption and the unequal distribution of resources, which led to widespread popular discontent. Controversies such as the Marikana killings in 2012 and the Nkandla saga may prove to be the greatest threats to its power base. Opposition political parties are using these national scandals to lure the electorate to their stables.

In 2012, members of the South African Police Service opened fire on a group of strikers, killing 34 and wounding 78 people in the process. The widely condemned shooting spree was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, during which 69 civilians were shot dead by the police. Although President Jacob Zuma was cleared of charges of abusing over N$200 million of state money to upgrade his private residence in Nkandla, millions of poverty-stricken South Africans feel the money could have been used for a better cause. After the Nkandla upgrade became public, Zuma lost popularity and was even bood and jeered while addressing mourners in December during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.


The country will mark its 50th anniversary in July, just a month after Malawians have gone to the polls. Many eyes are zeroed on SADC’s only female president, Joyce Banda, to see whether she can hold onto power. Banda took office as president following the sudden death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika. She also served as the country’s first female vice-president. Her party, People’s Party, was formed in 2011 after she was expelled from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, when she refused to endorse President Mutharika’s younger brother Peter Mutharika as the successor to the presidency for this year’s elections. Banda will have to shake off the ‘Capital Hill Cashgate Scandal’ in which she is implicated, to hold on to power.

During the scandal, it was alleged that billions of kwacha’s were looted from Capital Hill, the seat of the Malawian government, at the expense of the masses.The scandal started when an Accounts Assistant in the Ministry of Environment was found with huge amounts of money far exceeding his legitimate monthly income. President Banda was also implicated in the scandal after claims surfaced that some money was allegedly channeled to her. Nonetheless, Banda has seen her popularity skyrocketing in Malawi in late 2012 when she dissolved her entire cabinet amid allegations that senior government officials embezzled millions of state money. Media reports suggest that Banda admitted that she took a “political risk” in launching a major fight against corruption in May. “The fight against corruption must come first, winning the elections comes second to me,” she reportedly said.


As elections loom for Botswana, a country seen by many as the epitome of stability, political parties looking to garner the most votes will have to convince the populace that they have the ammunition to fight unemployment, which the incumbent government has been struggling to contain. People in that country will go to the polls in October, just a month after the country’s 48th independence anniversary. The country’s unemployment rate now stands at 17 percent despite a growing economy. Being the largest producer of diamonds, the Botswana Democratic Party-led government is trying by all means to reduce its over reliance on diamonds by diversifying the economy to the tourism and agriculture sectors. President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, a professional pilot, is expected to endure stress-

free elections mainly because the country’s opposition parties and the local unions are seriously divided. Khama will be looking to head the country for another five-year term after taking office in 2008 when he succeeded Festus Mogae. Like the ANC, Khama’s party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will be the party of choice for most voters, because it is credited with bringing an end to colonialism in Botswana. The BDP has been in power, uninterrupted, since the country gained its independence in 1966.


Dubbed the tourist Mecca of SADC due to its booming tourism industry, Mozambicans will head to the polls and incumbent President Armando Guebuza has made it clear that he will not be up for re-election. Mozambicans will celebrate their country’s 39th independence anniversary in June and head to the polls in October. Frelimo’s Guebuza became the Mozambican president when he succeeded Joaquim Chissano in 2004.

Economist say the tense political situation in the country threatens the country’s booming tourism industry and more so international investors. The government will be hoping that last year’s armed clashes between Renamo and Frelimo in the central and northern parts of the country do not re-emerge during the polls later this year. Although the numbers of the Renamo camp have declined drastically, experts in that country say their location is of greatest concern. They enjoy significant support in the Sofala province, which is in the middle of major railway lines linking mines in Mozambique and southern Africa with the port city of Beira.

Should the rebels destroy major railway lines, the country could see a drastic decline in goods being imported and exported by rail, which could eventually lead to the crippling of the national economy as a whole. Unconfirmed media reports claim that the Mozambican government is secretly paying Renamo rebels to keep them from destroying the railway lines in the Sofala province. As for the “Green Revolution” the government has promised, President Guebuza said some progress has been made, but not enough. He was particularly concerned at the continuing long delays in granting farmers title to their land.

President Guebuza is particularly popular among farmers and has called on his government to work out means to speed up the granting of land titles and to increase the number of farmers who have formal title to their land. Media reports suggest that the ruling party is yet to choose a candidate to replace Guebuza, a situation which clearly indicates that finding a successor is giving the party sleepless nights.


The country will celebrate its 24th independence anniversary this year, the same year in which all eligible Namibians will go to the polls in November during the country’s sixth national elections. With victory all but a formality, the country’s much-vaunted ruling Swapo Party will be more concerned with obtaining a two-thirds majority. During the national elections in 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, the Swapo Party has been the party of choice for most Namibians and this trend is not expected to change in 2014.

Like the ANC, the Swapo Party played a pivotal role when it came to ending colonialism and ushering in the first ever democratic government in Namibia. The ruling party’s biggest challengers during the last elections, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), have over the years lost the spark with which they broke onto the political scene, because of internal power struggles, and most local political analysts predict that the former apartheid-linked Democratic Turnhalle Alliance will reclaim its official opposition status which it surrendered to the RDP in 2009. The Swapo Party-led government has managed to maintain peace and stability since coming to power, a situation which is definitely in its favour and for which the government has received praise locally and internationally. President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who in November will complete his second and final term in office, has already passed on the party’s baton to vice president, Dr Hage Geingob.

With the overwhelming support the party enjoys in the country, Geingob will surely be the elephant in the election jungle come November. It is an open secret that the incumbent government continues to endure sleepless nights due to the high unemployment rate amongst its citizens, and the ongoing low implementation rate of capital projects meant to create jobs by state agencies is not helping the situation either. Most opposition parties in the country have decided not to form coalitions, a decision which could come back to haunt them.

Source: New Era