The current developments in the Arab world, should be a wake-up call for policy makers and opinion leaders in the West. What is happening in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries puts democracy support back on the foreign policy agenda. Stability is not served by supporting regimes that oppress their people. Peace and prosperity can only be achieved through well-functioning democratic states.
In a statement prepared by the International Steering Comittee, the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) calls on states to offer assistance to the government of Tunisia in its transition to democracy.
Last Friday, on a cold and cloudy morning, about half million Kenyans celebrated the promulgation of a brand new constitution in an impressive show of unity at Uhuru (freedom) park in central Nairobi. The constitution now in force is a very modern and comprehensive document. It introduces many substantial changes which will impact on the nature of politics in Kenya.
Leaders and activists meet in Kraków
On the weekend of 2-4 July, world leaders, including the U.S. Secretary of State, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Community of Democracies at a High Level Meeting in Kraków hosted by the Polish government.
Party leaders take up President's challenge to focus on substance
Munyonyo, Uganda – In response to the call by President Museveni for all parties to increase their focus on substance and policy, six Ugandan political leaders yesterday took up the challenge, engaging in a televised debate on the issue of the country’s economy.
In 1992, Ghana returned to multiparty democracy having followed a turbulent political trajectory since its independence in 1957. One of the first countries in Sub-Sahara Africa to achieve independence, Ghana became a ´beacon of hope´ for other African countries under colonial rule. Today, the successful consolidation of multiparty democracy in Ghana is proving that democracy can work in Africa. Now that Ghana is on the road to becoming a middle-income country, it also demonstrates that democracy and economic development can go hand in hand.
'It is our experience that people, wherever in the world, want their voices to be heard and be counted. Hence, the imperative to provide assistance to democracy building.'
Interview with Njeri Kabeberi, human rights defender, on electoral violence, ethnicity and politics in Kenya.
by Marcus Lens van Rijn, independent reporter
Westlands is a residential area in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where tensions between poor residents and commercial interests express the divisions inherent in Kenyan society. On 18 August 2009 I met with 38 representatives from youth clubs in the Westlands area, to talk about political representation for young people in this part of Nairobi.
As part of my fieldwork on the role of youth political participation and representation within political parties in Kenya, in August 2009 I held two focus group discussions with youth in Mvita Constituency, Mombasa. Unlike mainland Kenya, which is divided between traditional African religions and Christianity, Mvita is predominantly Islamic and the majority of the young people on this island strictly adhere to the regulations of this faith.
On 11 August 2009 I met with student leaders from a variety of Kenyan universities to get a better idea of the way university students in Kenya are organized. While all student organizations in Kenya are represented by the Kenya National Students Union (KNSU), I was also interested in the way in which students organize themselves on their own campuses.
Ms. Susan Mangéni came to be the Youth Chairlady and the automatic member of the National Executive of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) formed the coalition. Ms. Mangéni is a member of LDP. She said that Kenya has a large pool of youths who participate extensively in politics acting as everything from critical voters to campaigners and general mobilization agents for their parties to foot soldiers and security providers for their political godfathers and leaders from their ethnic groups or regions.
Mr Ludwig A. Hlodze is deputy national youth organizer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He is also personal assistant to President John Attah Mills and an advisor on the role and place of young people within both the NDC and the new government. We meet at the Castle, which doubles as a presidential palace and working office.
"Our party literally has the youth at heart" John Boadu, youth organiser for the NPP, tells me. This is because, he explains, "60% of our members are under thirty-five". While quickly pointing out that the NPP is a conservative party, upholding the concept of seniority as espoused in the African tradition, he recognizes the fact that young people play a critical role in shaping and sustaining party politics.
As it is my intention to speak with all political parties to hear their view on youth and politics, I have made appointments with them, with the help of IEA - NIMD's partner organization here in Ghana.
The Global Youth Action Network (GYAN) is an international network of youth organizations spanning 180 countries, and headquartered in New York, near the United Nations. GYAN is a youth-led not for profit organization that incubates global partnerships and increases youth participation in decision-making. I visited the coordinator in Ghana, to hear his opinions on the challenges for the youth, their representation and participation in Ghanaian politics.
Interview with People’s National Convention organizer Emmanuel Wilson
The People's National Convention (PNC) is a party formed out of the CPP, the first Ghanaian president's Kwame Nkrumah liberation party. The PNC has its origins in 1992, at the start of Ghana's fourth Republic. The party currently has two members of Parliament. Both of them are above 35, which is an age I stick to, when speaking about youth.
Youth groups convened at Ghana's Parliament building last Wednesday to petition government for the implementation of a youth policy. Although Ghana has reached several milestones towards democracy since its independence in 1957, a formal national youth policy has never been adopted.
NIMD fellow Gideon Chitanga reports from Ghana
Accra is warming up for the arrival of US President Obama in Ghana tonight, marking his first visit to an African country since his inauguration. The streets of Accra are awash with portraits of Obama side by side with his host, President Mills. Obama follows in the footsteps of his immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton and George Bush, who both visited Ghana during their terms in office.
Ernesto Aranibar, Coordinator of Agora Democrática, the joint NIMD-IDEA program in Ecuador, has written an article he would like to share. In the article, entitled 'The strengthening of political parties in Latin America within a countercyclical analytical framework', Ernesto suggests new possibilities for political party development in the region.
You can download a copy of our latest publication 'Writing Autobiographies of Nations: A Comparative Analysis of Constitutional Reform Processes"
NIMD's newest publication 'Writing Autobiographies of Nations: A Comparative Analysis of Constitutional Reform Processes' will be launched in Nairobi on June 11. Part handbook, part manifesto for participatory constitutional reform, 'Autobiographies' examines through case studies of Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe how constitution-making can be an inclusive, democratic process - engaging both political parties and a widening spectrum of public opinion.
While a second round of negotiations between the opposition and the ruling party is not yet in the air, the extra-parliamentary opposition has taken time-out for regrouping, and certain new coalitions look likely to form. Whether the opposition will come with an alternative, positive action plan or vision after regrouping remains to be seen.
The extra-parliamentary opposition regrouping will be possibly finalized by the coming August, the latest.
Malawi voted on May 19th to re-elect president Bingu wa Mutharika's Democratic Progressive party, returning Mutharika to office with two thirds of the vote. It was one of Africa's most peaceful and fairly organised elections.
To take account and share lessons from an exemplary election, the CMD in Malawi along with a host of other partners organised a 'Democracy in Progress: Election Evaluation Conference' in Lilongwe on 22 June.
The Georgian political situation has remained largely the same for the last 48 days. The ruling UNM headed by president Saakashvili, the cooperative parliamentary opposition and the extra-parliamentary opposition have yet to reach any tangible agreement. There is still a ray of hope that if the ruling party, parliamentary opposition and certain extra-parliamentary parties launch successful dialogue over constitutional and other legislative changes, the crisis can resolved - to the benefit of the Georgian political system if new checks and balances are approved.
Parties, churches, and councils across Malawi, as well as the international community have been working in all manner of ways to keep the peace and make sure this week's elections pass off freely and fairly.
The Georgian public as well as the international community has been looking forward to a positive breakthrough in the battle between Georgia's political gladiators for over a month now. A breakthrough seemed to come on May 11 when a dialogue was at last established between the ruling party and it's extra-parliamentary opposition.