Skip to main content
Tag

Elections - Centre for Democracy & Development

Overview of Key Issues in the Pre-Election Period for the June 18, 2022 Ekiti State Governorship Election (Pre-Election Press Statement)

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Election Analysis Centre (EAC)

Introduction

Preamble

The first of two off cycle governorship elections for 2022 will be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ekiti State, on June 18, 2022. The election is the seventh in the state since the return of the current democratic dispensation in 1999. Following a 2010 Court of Appeal verdict, which removed then Governor Segun Oni, and declared Dr. Kayode Fayemi the rightful winner of the 2007 governorship election, Ekiti became one of several states holding off cycle governorship elections. The June 18, 2022 Ekiti State gubernatorial election is the very first to be conducted under the amended Electoral Act, 2022.

 As voters in Ekiti State head to the polls for tomorrow’s governorship election, the contest is apparently shaping up to be a three horse race involving the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which has clearly emerged as a third force in the election. CDD observes that there are 16 political parties fielding candidates for the election. Only two candidates and seven deputy governorship candidates are women, just as the age range of the candidates indicate low participation of the youth.

 The CDD EAC will be closely observing the electoral process with the objective of collecting data to support evidence-based analysis of key aspects of the Ekiti State governorship election. The CDD EAC will also host a fake news hub for the purpose of tracking and countering fake news and misinformation as it affects the election.

Pre-Election Observations

Based on the observation of the CDD EAC in the pre-election period, the following are the key trends, which have underlined the process.

CDD notes that the June 18, 2022 Ekiti State Governorship election is significant because it will serve as the first dress rehearsal as the INEC prepares for the 2023 general elections. The election will also be the first to be conducted under the Electoral Act, 2022, and the new INEC guidelines and regulations for conduct of elections. CDD EAC further notes that although INEC has made commitments to conduct a credible election in Ekiti State, its success in this regard would depend on its neutrality, professionalism and the level of its understanding and commitment to the new legal framework. The credibility of the process would also depend on how well INEC uses some of its new powers as derived from the extant electoral law, especially the power conferred on the Commission to delay the release of election results, if the Commission needs to take a second look.

The CDD EAC is concerned about violence, money politics and violations of incumbency powers and the possible effects of these on the credibility of the election. CDD EAC notes that Ekiti State, has recorded several incidents of violence during previous elections. In the build up to the 2022 governorship election, pockets of election-related violence have been recorded in places like Ado Ekiti, Efon Alaiye, Oye, Ido/Osi and Oye Ekiti. Other observable issues, which would shape the credibility of the election include; how well INEC is able to effectively deploy technology, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), impartial security provisioning, the quality of results management, curtailing the role of money, incumbency and god fatherism in the election. Also critical is the need for stakeholders in the election to proactively track, and counter fake news and misinformation. Already, the pre-election period has witnessed the spread of fake news capable of undermining voter confidence and participation in the process. An example is the fake news which trended recently on a purported Appeal Court decision nullifying the primaries of one of the major political parties and, by extension, its candidate. 

In terms of some of the election risk factor, CDD notes that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) has crippled the local economy especially in university towns in Ekiti State. This has created a threat in terms of the availability of idle youth being recruited for activities, which could undermine the credibility of the election. By grounding the local economy, the strike has also created the wrong incentives as voters are more likely to see the election as an opportunity for economic survival, thereby exacerbating the risk of vote buying. This becomes even more relevant when it is considered that Ekiti State introduced the issue of “stomach infrastructure” into the Nigerian political lexicon. CDD has also observed that based on history of past violence in elections in the state, the following Local Government Areas, constitute potential flash points in the election; Ado Ekiti, Efon Alaiye, Ido/Osi, and Oye.

Signed:

Professor Adele Jinadu

Chair, CDD EAC

Women’s Political Representation: A review of frameworks and quotas in West Africa

By PublicationsNo Comments

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) pursues the promotion of good governance, peace and security and free, fair and credible elections in member states through a combination of direct involvement and diplomacy. The Commission, with a mandate derived from the ECOWAS Treaty, has developed legal frameworks such as the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (1999), and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) to guide its interventions. In line with its legal instruments the Commission has deployed institutional organs such as ECOWAS StandbyForce (ESF), Early Warning System, the Mediation and Security Council, Offices of the Special Representative, the Council of the Wise (CoW) and Special Mediators to successfully prevent and resolve conflicts in the region. ECOWAS has successfully intervened in civil wars and political crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

These interventions represent some of the concrete examples of ECOWAS’ ability to apply legal and institutional frameworks to promote peace and security in the region. However, it is also true that often these successes have been
marred by incidences of human rights violation including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Generally, women are still at the margins of the political, economic and social development agenda, and continue to face
enormous challenges in exercising and fulfilling their fundamental human rights in peace and conflict situations. The 1979 ECOWAS Revised Treaty adopted by member states, specifically Article 63 on Women and Development, directs the ECOWAS Commission to formulate, harmonize, coordinate and to establish appropriate policies and mechanisms for the enhancement of the economic, social and cultural rights of women in West Africa. This has
driven decisions to transform the West African Women Association (WAWA) into the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, to set up an ECOWAS Technical Commission on gender and to adopt the ECOWAS Gender Policy in 2005. All were intended to provide the legal, institutional and policy frameworks to engender the regional integration agenda.

This report explores the regions’ progress towards addressing gender inequality by focusing on the analysis of women’s representation in the political space in West Africa. It highlights examples of positive
affirmative action measures that have advanced women’s political representation. The report also identifies some of the barriers in the electoral processes that are impediments to women exercising and enjoying their electoral
rights. It concludes with practical suggestions on ways to bridge the gap. The analysis draws from the findings of a series of gender and election workshops held with over 300 participants (85% women) in nine ECOWAS
member states -Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Gambia – from 2015 to date, as well as the Report of Assessment on Gender Mainstreaming in Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in Electoral Processes in West Africa (2019) prepared by the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, the Directorate of Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, and the Secretariat of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).

Author: Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe

Click here to download the full report

How Youth Can Reshape Political Participation in Nigeria

By Blog, Publication, Publications

By Chris Olaoluwa Ògúnmọ́dẹdé

Can Nigeria’s #EndSARS protests evolve into a force that can restructure electoral politics? Or will the protests, which culminated with the state opening fire on its own citizens in Lagos, simply become a dramatic, but ineffective interlude, to the status quo?

If recent electoral contests held in Lagos, Imo, Bayelsa, Plateau and Abia are an indicator, the civic awakening that seemed apparent at the height of the demonstrations in October 2020, has thus far failed to spill over into the electoral realm. Voter apathy, which typifies Nigerian elections, has been a notable feature of these polls. But as the 2023 elections draw closer amid a gloomy political and economic outlook, Nigeria’s young voters and activists are yet again being pushed to consider their role in politics while trying to navigate the relative power of protest and electoral politics as modes of civic participation.

Activists and organisers who participated in the #EndSARS protests must decide between redoubling their efforts or stepping back from all contentious political activity; whether, and how, to change tactics; what issues they should focus on; or if abstaining completely from electoral politics would be the most powerful statement. These questions are particularly pressing for Nigeria’s so-called “s’oro s’oke generation” or what I like to call the “70 Percent Club” – the cohort of Nigerians believed to be 30 years old or younger.

In a country as large and heterogeneous as Nigeria, these young people come from all walks of life and have different experiences, but they also share some important commonalities. They have no little to no memory of Nigeria under military rule, they increasingly reject the respectability politics that govern intergenerational social interactions, and they are very online. #EndSARS was undeniably their moment; their introduction to the world as a social force to be reckoned with.

Fresh voices

#EndSARS as a struggle in the public square coincided with the takeover of the virtual one, much of it driven by this “70 Percent Club”. Even as the protests gathered steam in early October 2020, the overwhelming majority of Nigeria’s print and broadcast media – whose ownership structure is largely concentrated in the hands of political entrepreneurs with close links to government officials and the Nigerian state – gave little to no coverage to the protests. But in a country where 61% of the population has access to the internet, these attempts to stymie the protests proved to be a miscalculation. Young Nigerians do not rely on newspapers, television and the radio for news and information to the same degree their parents and grandparents do.

According to 2019 findings by NOI Polls, 70% of Nigerians aged 18-35 have access to the internet compared with 56% of those aged 36-60. Roughly 20% of the Nigerian population has a Twitter account, with young people again the more likely users. WhatsApp and Facebook have even more significant numbers of users. During the protests, social media users got the #EndSARS hashtag trending globally. The millions of unique impressions on Twitter and other platforms, gained the attention of international celebrities and the Nigerian diaspora. Online spaces and new media platforms like Pulse Nigeria, Zikoko and The Native quickly worked to fill the gaps left open by legacy media.

The digital prowess young Nigerians displayed during the #EndSARS protests played a huge role in its reach, fundraising, coordination and message discipline. They used online platforms to share information in real-time, coordinate activities with protesters across the country, fight misinformation and document important events such as attempts by hired thugs and pro-government forces to subvert the protests and the fatal shootings in Lekki on 20 October. Women were at the heart of this movement, with The Feminist Coalition playing a critical coordinating role, alongside SARS victims’ mothers’ groups, in demanding transparency and accountability for victims of police brutality. 

The challenge now is how to institutionalise the vibrant online activism demonstrated during the #EndSARS protests into electoral politics and broader civic participation. The protests did a lot to dispel the myth of apathy among so-called “lazy Nigerian youths”, who have been forced to provide social goods and services for themselves amid a weak state incapable of meeting their basic needs. The immense strides the ICT and creative sectors have made in the last decade largely reflects the ingenuity and entrepreneurialism of the “70 Percent Club”. Far from being frivolous and lazy, young Nigerians have simply lost hope in institutions that do not serve their interests or reflect their preferences. Their low participation rates in electoral contests reflecting disenchantment with the ruling elites and the systems of governance they oversee.

But this disillusionment with the political system and the lack of trust in civic norms and institutions represents the best opportunity to reshape political participation in Nigeria. There is a need to shift Nigeria’s civic culture from one skewed overwhelmingly towards elections as the primary means of participation, and towards a system inclusive of mass civic activism designed to trigger long-term political development and social change. This effort must start with building the kinds of “mediating structures” Alexis de Tocqueville argued strengthened democracies by providing alternative loyalty bases and sources of information for citizens. These mutually reinforcing online and offline entities would serve as a bulwark against dominant political forces, and as intermediaries between citizens and the Nigerian state, who are socially distant from each other.

Learning from the past

A crucial mistake made after the collapse of military rule and return to civilian democracy in 1999 was the failure to connect institutional politics – understood narrowly as represented by political parties and elections – to the participatory ethos that energised the pro-democracy movement of the 1990s. Electoral politics returned to being the crown jewel of civic participation in Nigeria’s civilian democracy, with many democracy activists – some of them erstwhile politicians – running for and winning elected office, or getting appointed to government and party positions.

At the same time, civil society organisations (CSOs) arguably did not, and still do not, serve as intermediaries between citizens and state, acting more as entrenched, professional middle-class interests or even as an extension of the political class. Many CSOs rely on international donors for funding – when they are not covertly funded by political figures – and have come to prioritise access and closeness to government and foreign donors, raising questions among their critics about their ability to be effective intermediary institutions. The weakness of the rule of law and a culture of opacity in government, combined with the aforementioned tendencies, makes contemporary organised CSOs incapable of, and unsuited to, being a credible mouthpiece for young, socially-networked Nigerians.

Leaderless and decentralised

Historically, organised activism in Nigeria leaned towards centralised representation, usually in the form of professional organisations, trade associations and farmer, labour and student unions. The #EndSARS protests were structured differently, resembling the many “leaderless” movements that have emerged across the world in recent years. Although Lagos served as a sort of symbolic capital of the movement, the protests were decentralised away from any one geographic location or group and were truly national in scope. Nigerians in 21 of the 36 states participated in demonstrations, along with diaspora supporters in London, Johannesburg, Washington DC and elsewhere.

Time will tell whether this format of mass activism will become the norm in Nigeria, but its spontaneity, message discipline and organisational prowess caught the Nigerian establishment by surprise. This in part explains the violent crackdown that brought the protests to a halt, as well as the continued repression by state authorities against key organisers and ordinary protesters. Many demonstrators remain detained, with the whereabouts of more than a handful an open question. Others saw bank accounts frozen or had their passports seized.

Making engagement meaningful

Given the varied manifestations of poor governance across the country which the #EndSARS protests sought to challenge, it stands to reason that localised organising which reflects the reality of Nigerians in their immediate communities should drive the establishment of mediating structures. But if the broader trends which emerged during the protests are to have any significance during the 2023 elections, the demands of Nigerian political organising should not be directed solely at centres of power like the major cities and state capitals.

Although the #EndSARS movement drew on a cross-representation of Nigerians, the most dominant narratives and visible organisers emerged from Lagos, which served as the protests’ centre of gravity to a large extent. The emergent forums and collective platforms which formed during the protests demonstrate the necessity of broader inclusivity of Nigerians across different income groups, regions and communities. Mediating structures must be designed to broaden constituencies and bring in voices who may not be well-represented among Nigeria’s online population. The problems of governance in Nigeria might have similar dimensions across the board, but they manifest themselves differently everywhere and these mediating institutions ought to reflect these nuances. Solutions that might work in Abia might not be replicable in Zamfara, and vice versa.

With the myriad of challenges bedevilling Nigeria, efforts to resolve them cannot wait until 2023, and neither should Nigerians. While young people should be encouraged to register to vote and join political parties and other organs of institutional politics, these efforts should be coupled with a commitment to building long-term civic institutions that give youths a means of engaging political systems and actors beyond election day. More civic participation by youths will not guarantee better governance outcomes, but it does raise the odds of bridging the significant gap between those deciding policy and those who have to weather its effects. And that is a useful point of departure. 

Chris Olaoluwa Ògúnmọ́dẹdé is a foreign policy analyst, writer, editor and political risk consultant specialising in comparative authoritarianism, regional integration in the West Africa region and transnationalism in African diasporic communities. He is also an editor at The Republic, a pan-African global affairs publication. Follow him on Twitter at @Illustrious_Cee.

Editor’s note: This is the seventh article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can click to read the sixth, fifthfourththirdsecond and first.

Insecurity and Covid-19: Threats to Electoral Democracy in Africa

By Blog

By Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim

More than 13 African countries are scheduled to hold or have already held, parliamentary or presidential elections in 2021. Reflective of the democratic backsliding observed on the continent in recent years, more than a third of these polls are likely to be little more than political theatre – aimed at garnering a fig leaf of legitimacy for leaders need to be seen to have a popular mandate.

In Uganda’s January poll the same winner was returned for the sixth consecutive election following a campaign marred by attacks on opposition candidates. Measures put in place by the Electoral Commission for ‘scientific campaigns’ designed to limit the spread of Covid-19 were implemented more rigorously on opposition candidates, by security agencies who remained loyal to President Museveni. In November 2020, security forces clashed with protestors in Kampala demanding the release of opposition candidate Bobi Wine, after he was arrested for violating the guidelines that required presidential candidates to meet or address crowds of less than 200 people. Over 50 Ugandans were killed in the clashes. The combination of, and links between, Covid-19 and insecurity are an increasingly common challenge facing polls on the continent.

The coronavirus context

According to the 2016 Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index 2016, 22 of the 25 countries most vulnerable to infectious disease are in Africa. But to date, the continent has recorded a little more than 4 million cases of Covid-19 and over 100,00 deaths out of a global total of more than 120 million cases and more than 2.5 million deaths. But the social and economic impacts of the pandemic might end up having the greatest impact. The imposition of lockdowns, designed to restrict movement and slow down the spread of the disease, have equally affected jobs and livelihoods especially for the poor. These measures have also created opportunities for authoritarian regimes to restrict people’s ability to engage in civic and political processes like elections.

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy’s tenure was elongated after parliamentary elections scheduled for August 2020 were postponed due to Covid-19. Despite opposition from the federal government, political actors in Tigray province opposed this decision and decided to go ahead with its own regional election. The region is now involved in an active conflict with the Ethiopian state, with the problematic elections one of several triggers for a multifaceted conflict that has drawn in actors from neighbouring countries.

For the most part elections did proceed as planned in 2020, even if scheduled by-elections were postponed in eleven countries – Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. But the health risks of doing so quickly became apparent. In Burundi, having stood aside after serving three-terms President Nkurunziza died in office, shortly before his elected successor was due to succeed him. Covid-19 was the suspected cause, though officially his death was ascribed to a heart attack. A similar fate befell President Magufuli in Tanzania last month, just five months in to his second tenure at the helm. Nkurunziza and Magufuli were both vocal deniers of the existence of Covid-19 and did not seek to introduce measures to stop its spread.

Elsewhere restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus have also impacted on the space for political discontent. It is not just the election campaign period that is being affected, restrictions on public gatherings can impact voter education efforts and wider demands for greater transparency and accountability in how governments operate. That is not to say that measures to limit the spread of the deadly disease should not be in place to protect voters and candidates alike during elections but that they must be balanced carefully with commitments to a fair and equitable process.

Growing insecurity

In contexts like Chad, Ethiopia, Libya, Niger, Burkina Faso and Somalia the challenge of holding elections during a pandemic has been, or will be, further exacerbated by prevailing insecurity. Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project data showed a steep upsurge in violent attacks taking place in March and April 2020 across Africa – when restrictive measures were first introduced to address the threat posed by Covid-19. This suggests that terrorist and non-state armed groups capitalised on the pandemic to increase attacks. If these trends continue, “Africa is at risk of losing ground to violent groups following years of counterterrorism advances alongside regional and international security partners” according to experts at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Recent events in Niger are a concern in this regard.

On 2 April 2021, Mohamed Bazoum was sworn in as elected President of Niger. He took over from Mohammed Issoufou who stood down after completing his two constitutionally-mandated terms in office in what was the first ever democratic transition from one elected administration to another in country’s history. But Bazoum inherits an insecurity pandemic. In January at least 100 people were killed in a terrorist attack near the border with Mali: seven members of Niger’s election commission died when their car hit an explosive device on election day in February; whilst in March another 137 Nigeriens civilians perished in two separate attacks by gunmen on motorbikes. Niger has been troubled by insecurity for several years but the spate of attacks by hardlines Islamist groups in early 2021 seem to have been aimed at disrupting and undermining the election process.

However, Bazoum and the ruling party – to which he and Issoufou both belong – have also been able to utilise the prevailing insecurity narrative for political ends in recent weeks. After unsuccessfully challenging the election outcome at Niger’s Constitutional Court, leading opponent Mahamane Ousmane called for mass protests to overcome what he claimed was a rigged outcome. But the prevailing insecurity, including an attempted coup d’état on 30 March, created the conditions for the rallies to be banned by the government.

Prevailing insecurity also limited the participation of voters in Burkina Faso’s November 2020 poll. Although provisions were put in place to support voting for those internally displaced by insecurity, the amended electoral code stated that the more than one million IDPs were to be enrolled where they were displaced, and their vote counted in the constituency they currently occupied, not where they have previously lived. The impact of this was that under threat constituencies elected officials charged with trying to address multiple challenges, are now doing so with a very small popular mandate. Furthermore, voting amidst a string security presence can have implications for voters’ perceptions of freedom.

Invariably, the responsibilities of maintaining internal security, peace, order and justice within a country lies with the police. However due to the lack of an effective internal security mechanism, several African states regularly deploy the army to maintain internal insecurity and forestall instability. With military personnel that are usually earmarked for counterterrorism measures now being deployed, or having been deployed, to enforce lockdowns or implement pandemic response measures, in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya, there are concerns about an oversecuritisation of key state functions, without an improvement in the prevailing security situation.

Implications for democracy

Politically, Covid-19 has created conditions that have worsened the state of insecurity on the continent. It has also impacted on the electioneering process and political campaigns by providing justification for leaders with authoritarian ambitions to restrict rights and oppress opposition. Selective use of pandemic control measures to restrict the ability of opposition parties to campaign poses a threat to multi-party democracy. While Africa has so far largely avoided the worst case Covid-19 scenario, the emergence of new variants could potentially create health, social, economic and political emergencies in the coming months and years, especially as vaccine rollouts remain slow. All with serious implications for democratic accountability.

But on a more positive note, the pandemic has increased the speed at which digital tools are being developed and deployed for democratic accountability. Notwithstanding the challenges, these have the potential to make African elections safer, cheaper, more efficient and more accurate. 

Jibrin Ibrahim is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development

Editor’s note: This is the sixth article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can click to read the fifthfourththirdsecond and first.

How tenure elongation and a lack of term limits weaken the integrity of elections in Africa

By Blog, Publication, Publications

By Ayisha Osori

Until the late 1980s, Liberia’s constitution was the only one in Africa to provide clarity for presidential term limits. Without these limits, political succession was a major source of instability on the continent, with many countries dominated by a single leader who insisted on his – and it was always him – indispensability. The end of their rule was invariably by force. In 35 years from 1961 to 1997, Africa witnessed 78 coups d’états.

But by 1995, at least 33 countries had revised their constitutions to include presidential term limits. The Organisation of African Unity (as it then was) built on this trend by developing a rule against coups and what it called “unconstitutional changes in government” with the recommendation that “any manipulation of the constitution aimed at preventing a democratic change of government” be outlawed. By the 2000s elections and term limits had replaced death and coup d’état as the most common way in which African presidents and prime ministers left office. Term limits were one effective way of curtailing the excesses of all-powerful executives and a tool that allowed for greater investment in the independence of critical democracy strengthening institutions such as the judiciary, legislature and election management bodies (EMBs).

Fast forward to 2021, and 16 countries across the continent have either revised their constitutions to remove term limits or seen the extension of the tenure of the incumbent president against the spirit of term limits. A further eight – Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco, Somalia and Eswatini – still have no term limits, whilst another nine countries, have term limits that exist in law, but that has yet to be tested or applied in practice.

Electoral choice

According to academic Andreas Schedler, to qualify as democratic “elections must offer an effective choice of political authorities among a community of free and equal citizens”. He identifies seven conditions that should exist if regular elections are to fulfil the promise of effective democratic choice: empowerment, free supply, free demand, inclusion, insulation, integrity and irreversibility.

Empowerment and insulation speak to voters’ ability to vote freely without restrictions, fear or intimidation. In the January 2021 presidential elections in Uganda – where presidential term limits were removed in 2005 and age limits in 2017 – political violence linked to the election resulted in over 50 deaths, while more than 400 individuals have been forcibly ‘disappeared’ in a pre and post-election clampdown. In Guinea, after changing the constitution through a dubious referendum, President Conde contested and won, a third term in 2020 amidst sustained protests that saw at least 12 people killed.

Free supply, free demand and inclusion cover citizens ability to form, join and support opposition parties, candidates and their policies; and mitigate against candidates being prevented from participating in the elections through legal or pseudo-legal means. An increasingly common way of preventing candidates from participating in elections is the sponsorship system where presidential candidates are required to secure a minimum threshold endorsement of registered voters or elected representatives. This, along with high filing fees, effectively narrows the number who can contest.

Ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, Cote d’Ivoire’s election management body required that to be eligible candidates must secure the signatures of at least 1% of the electorate. This gave a significant advantage to the incumbent, Alassane Ouattara, who successfully secured a disputed third-term against reduced opposition. In addition to technical obstacles, more direct threats can be used by incumbents. Ahead of April’s presidential poll in Chad, the leading opponent to President Deby’s sixth term in office, Saleh Kebzabo, withdrew his candidacy after a deadly raid by security forces at the home of another opposition candidate.

The integrity factor relates to the election process, rules and execution. When EMBs or courts are perceived as compromised, the impact on the credibility of the electoral outcome is diminished. Like in Uganda in January, many voters in Congo Brazzaville cast their ballot on 21 March 2021 with continued doubts about the independence of the EMB given that nothing has changed since it oversaw a questionable outcome in 2016. An election that followed the 2015 removal of term limits, that gave President Sassou Nguesso the opportunity to seek a third term in his second spell in power. A fourth term is set to follow.  

Finally, the irreversibility condition covers the sanctity of the result and winners taking office peacefully. Elections should have the desired consequences, where the will of the majority of voters is respected. In 2016, Yahya Jammeh tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to ignore and annul the results of the election, but the EMB, supported by regional powers, held firm to force him from office after two decades at the helm.  

Limiting power

Those who argue against the imposition of term limits claim that they compromise the sovereignty of the people and their choice, as well as risk undermining the stability and continuity required for the development. They argue that instead of term limits, the focus should be on improving the integrity of elections. But a determination to stay in power predisposes leaders to oversee compromised polls. Presidents contesting for or having won, their sixth term in office in 2021 – Museveni in Uganda, Sassou-Nguesso in Congo Brazzaville and Deby in Chad – do not feel more secure. Instead, with each successive election the violence against the opposition, the rhetoric of intolerance and abuse from state security actors increases. As Schedler has argued, “the desire of those who manipulate elections is to enjoy the fruits of electoral legitimacy without running the risk of democratic uncertainty”.

But respect for term limits alone is not a vaccine against electoral authoritarianism. Niger’s historic transition in February affirmed its commitment, for the first time, to two-term limits, but the vote, which was won by the ruling party candidate amidst protests about the results and an internet shutdown, exposed the fragility of the country’s democracy. Despite adherence to term-limits in Tanzania, a change of the political party in power has not been forthcoming. In places where the ruling party never loses, there can be a systemic weakening of the checks and balances, and critical voices, required for a healthy democracy. Even in places where term-limits are in place and turnovers have occurred – Benin, Senegal and Nigeria – continued vigilance is required. There have been deep erosions to the independence of democracy strengthening institutions in recent years.

Innovative thinking is needed to tackle anti-democratic forces intent on capturing and controlling access to power whilst maintaining a veneer of electoral legitimacy. Africa still has more countries that have strengthened and upheld term limits than not. But constitutional power grabs are on the rise, particularly in West Africa, and the complicit silence of the Africa Union (AU), and regional bodies like ECOWAS, is a concern. In addition to considering the adoption of non-amendable presidential term limits, as has been proposed as part of Burkina Faso’s constitutional review, the AU should lead a collective review of the application of the non-retroactivity principle to constitutional amendments to make it explicit that leaders who oversee constitutional amendments cannot reset their tenures on that basis. The spirit of the principle is to prevent a retroactive application of punitive law and not to give sit tight men a window to legally hijack their countries.

Most importantly citizens must also be encouraged, and supported, through investments in organising and social movement-building to demand change. Afterall half of the dozen African leaders who have tried to evade limits over the past 15 years, were foiled by populations who rallied against these tenure extensions. Listening to, and learning from, the experiences of Burkina Faso, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia can offer valuable lessons.  

Ayisha Osori is Executive Director of Open Society Initiative West Africa

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can click to read the fourth, thirdsecond and first.

Crafting Credible Election Commissions in West Africa

By Blog, Publication, Publications

By Professor L. Adele Jinadu

The crass and partisan manipulation of African electoral management bodies (EMBs) was a central feature of the legacy of abuse that successor regimes to colonial rule in Africa inherited and perpetuated. Embedded in partisan politics through “outright control” by successor regimes, EMBs became “ineffectual mechanisms for democratically managing diversity”.

To lay the ghost of such partisan political abuse, and to nurture and strengthen trust in electoral commissions, the democratic transitions of the 1990s stipulated new norms and rules for redesigning competitive party and electoral politics and systems. These norms included democratic political succession, entrenched provisions for the periodic conduct of credible elections, in the case of presidential systems, fixed presidential term limits, the promotion of diversity, civic participation, and engagement, especially through an increased role of civil society and marginalised groups and the establishment of independent EMBs.

Indicators of what credible EMBs and electoral integrity should look like were set out in African codes and standards such as the African Charter on Popular Participation in Development and Transformation (1990) and the African Charter of Democracy, Elections, and Governance (2007) to name just two. But has the objective of nurturing credible EMBs and electoral integrity been achieved?

Multiple management models

EMBs in Africa are currently either a single, independent body; comprised of two or more bodies with shared responsibilities for election management; or a hybrid government-civil society EMB under an independent oversight supervisory body of experts, usually judges. Non-autonomous or fully government controlled EMBs inherited at independence, notably in francophone and lusophone countries, have been replaced with autonomous or semi-autonomous ones. But within these classificatory models, structures and composition vary significantly, dictated by each country’s constitutional and political history, and the interplay of contending sociocultural forces and prevailing circumstances.

However, appointment processes and the tenure terms of the chair and members of election commissions are problematic areas across the continent. Concerns remain about the transparency of the nomination, appointment and removal process of EMB members according to a 2013 Economic Commission for Africa expert opinion survey. It found that “in only 10 of the 40 African countries surveyed did more than half the respondents consider the procedure to be mostly or always transparent and credible…[with] serious implications for the integrity of elections in Africa.”

Renewal under consecutive fixed tenure for members tends to enhance EMBs’ credibility, but remains problematic and is diminished by the power of appointment and renewal, which is also the power of removal. This power can be used to remove members perceived as resisting or not pliable to executive branch partisan influence, or who, by general perception, have not lived up to the integrity expectations of their office. In Nigeria and Sierra Leone, EMB members have been removed before their tenure expired. To pre-empt such a possibility, it has been suggested that the tenure of EMB members should be fixed, like judges, to their retirement age, except for cause, as is the case in Ghana.  

Autonomous actors?

Recent studies of West African EMBs distinguish between their formal, administrative and financial autonomy. The level of autonomy varies not only from country to country but also within country over electoral cycles according to a 2019 study of six West African countries comissioned by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC). The study explored factors driving or constraining the autonomy of the EMBs and how these impact election integrity.

In Benin, the financial autonomy of the Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome (CENA) is constrained by attempts by the Ministry of Finance to exercise a priori control over its expenditure. This leads to dysfunctions in the electoral administration process. Another problem is the dependence of the CENA on the executive to obtain electoral funds. A challenge that confronts many EMBs in the ECOWAS region. Furthermore, in Senegal, the 2019 ECONEC study found that when the funds were released, almost half the election budget was spent by the other institutional actors such as the judiciary and security agencies.

But formal autonomy on paper does not always translate into practice. In West Africa, several EMBs have almost identical legal provisions protecting their independence, yet they have widely differing degrees of autonomy. An EMB, like CENA in Benin, made up of members nominated by political parties, whatever its defects, has sometimes conducted elections with more independence and competence than an expert commission such as Nigeria’s. Cape Verde’s EMB has a longer tradition of effective performance and independence in action than Senegal’s. Even though both exemplify the same classificatory model.

Although the different systems of appointment and composition do have an impact, institutional partnership and collaboration – like the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security established by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – between EMBs and other institutions with election-related mandates, can play an equally important role in shaping perceptions of EMB capability. Issues like a country’s size, the relative balance of powers among political parties, the internal security situation, and the strength of courts, the civil service and civil society, are critical for the conduct of credible elections.

In short, an autonomous EMB is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for conducting credible elections. An anti-democratic political culture of impunity characterised by abuse of power by incumbent parties for partisan electoral gain; a zero-sum approach to electoral competition that ignites and fuels electoral violence; and high-levels of vote-buying and voter-intimidation create an environment in which conducting credible elections is difficult, regardless of the technocratic skills and technological innovations deployed. This is the experience in Nigeria, where controversial elections were held in 2015 and 2019, despite the popular perception of INEC as increasingly credible after it invested in technology such as smart-card readers and undertook internal administrative and financial reforms, after polls in 2011, to try and limit the space for electoral malpractice.

Advancing credibility

Enhancing the application of ICT and internal administrative reforms that improve the transparency of EMBs has improved electoral transparency in Ghana and Nigeria. So too can enhancing the administrative and financial independence of EMBs. This can be done by vesting in them powers to recruit their own staff, professionalise their bureaucracies, and make their annual budget and election budget direct charges on national consolidated revenue funds. Reforming EMBs also requires removing their members’ appointment and reappointment process from political officeholders and vesting them in independent, non-partisan individuals or bodies.

But election commissions need to be supported in their efforts to conduct credible polls. Partnerships with civil society organisations can improve civic awareness and tackle prevailing problems such as vote-buying. Allying with impartial security actors can also discourage campaign and election-day violence, whilst regular dialogue with all political parties can go some way to reducing the zero-sum, winner-takes-all approach to politics. They also must continue to learn from each other. ECONEC, and the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Community countries, are constantly sharing experiences that can shape regional best practices.

The impact of these discussions and dialogues become clear on election day, but the work to get there is ongoing and unending. Maintaining credibility does not just mean standing still. Election commissions across West Africa must be constantly evolving if they are to do their part to oversee elections that reflect the will of voters.

Professor L. Adele Jinadu is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Democracy & Development, Abuja, Nigeria.

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can click to read the third, second and first.

Judgements and Jurisprudence: Presiding over presidential petitions in Africa

By Publication, Publications, Uncategorized

By Dr O’Brien Kaaba

In 2017 the Kenyan Supreme Court became the first court on the African continent to annul a presidential election following full due process. In February 2020 the Malawian High Court, sitting as a constitutional court, followed suit in cancelling the results of the May 2019 presidential election. Not only did the judges demonstrate extraordinary courage in pronouncing these verdicts, but they demonstrated what a competent and independent judiciary can do to ensure democratic electoral processes are free, fair and credible on the continent.

Hiding behind technicalities

For the most part courts across Africa have been unwilling to reverse electoral outcomes, preferring instead to seek refuge in technicalities when casting judgement. This reflects poorly on judicial independence, and brings to the fore the reality that many judges are appointed as a reward for their loyalty to those in power, not because of their competence and capabilities.

The first of these is the use of procedural technicalities to dismiss the case, thereby avoiding hearing its merits. In 2016, the Zambian Constitutional Court decided to abandon the election petition, without determining its merits, on the pretext that the 14 days set by the Constitution, during which the case should be heard and determined, had elapsed.

Another technicality used by courts is simply to abdicate judicial responsibility and avoid rendering a judgment. This has been a common approach deployed by the Zimbabwean judiciary. Following the 2002 elections, a petition was filed in the High Court by losing opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai seeking the nullification of the presidential election results on the grounds that the election was characterised by widespread violence and intimidation, corruption, voter fraud and ballot-stuffing. After hearing the case for seven months, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo, in a terse one-page ruling, dismissed the allegations and promised to render a reasoned judgment in two weeks. The judgment never came.

The 2013 Zimbabwean elections were also challenged in Court. To prepare their case, the petitioner made a preliminary application to the Court to allow him to have access to election materials. The Constitutional Court reserved ruling on the application and by the time the hearing of the petition commenced, had still to take a decision. This forced the petitioner to withdraw the petition, indicating that it was going to be impossible to substantiate the allegations of irregularities without access to election materials.

A final, and arguably most common technicality, is to misapply the materiality test, also known as the substantive effect rule. This rule is premised on the idea that some electoral irregularities may be minor and inconsequential, while others may be significant enough to have a bearing on an election’s fairness and legitimacy. Inconsequential mistakes, omissions and commissions should not lead to an annulment of an election, provided that its overall fairness was not vitiated. But the substantive effect rule has provided an escape route to timorous or compromised judges who prefer to defer to incumbents.

In Uganda, successive election petitions by opponents of the incumbent have been unsuccessful, ultimately because the petitioners have been unable to prove, quantitatively, that the alleged malpractice has substantially affected the outcome of the election. This focus on numbers can effectively legitimatise large scale election cheating. But proving substantive effect is difficult. It is further complicated by short timeframes and the fact that the data that can be used to validate the claim is often in the hands of the electoral management body and that some irregularities, such as political violence, are not susceptible to numerical quantification in relation to election results. Interpretations of the substantive effect rule have been applied in judgements that confirmed the outcome of recent elections in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Historic decisions

In August 2017, the Kenyan Supreme Court made a ground-breaking decision when it annulled the election of Uhuru Kenyatta. By a majority of four to two, the court held that the presidential poll was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable laws, rendering the declared result invalid, null and void; that the irregularities and illegalities in the election were substantial and affected its integrity, the result notwithstanding; that Uhuru Kenyatta was not validly declared as president-elect and that the declaration was invalid, null and void; and that the electoral commission should conduct fresh presidential elections in strict conformity with the constitution and applicable electoral laws within 60 days.

The Kenyan Court’s decision demonstrated the value of proactive adjudication. Prior to the elections, the 2011 Elections Act was amended to introduce the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System. This was intended to be used in biometric voter registration and, on polling day, in voter identification as well as instantaneous transmission of election results from polling stations to the Constituency Tallying Center and the National Tallying Center. The transmission of results required the use of standard forms – Forms 34A and 34B – but in many instances the results were not transmitted in the manner required by law.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gave no plausible explanation for this, while the petitioners alleged that the system had been hacked and results tampered with in favour of the incumbent. The Court appointed its own IT experts to assess the IEBC servers and report their findings. However the IEBC, in violation of the court order, declined to give the court-appointed IT experts access. The Court held that the failures by IEBC were a clear violation of the 2010 Constitution and the Elections Act (as amended). It raised serious doubt as to whether the election results could be said to be a free expression of the will of the people, as required by the Constitution. 

Perhaps the judgment’s greatest contribution to electoral jurisprudence in Africa was its correct application of the substantial effect rule. It held that elections are not just about numbers and that the quality of the entire process matters when gauging whether the result reflects the will of the people. In the words of the Court, “even in numbers, we used to be told in school that to arrive at a mathematical solution, there is always a computation path one has to take, as proof that the process indeed gives rise to the stated solution.”

Similar jurisprudence was applied in relation to Malawi’s 2019 presidential election petition. The Court found that election results forms, which were used to tabulate national figures, were pervasively altered unlawfully. Based on adduced evidence, it concluded that a substantial number of the official result sheets had results altered using correction fluid, popularly known as Tippex. The judgement reached was that the Electoral Commission had failed to preside over a free and fair election, that the electoral process was compromised and that it was conducted in a manner that violated electoral laws and the Constitution. It nullified the election and ordered a new election to be held within 150 days. The re-run saw opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera win 58.6% of the vote to comprehensively defeat incumbent, and winner of the 2019 poll, President Peter Mutharika.

In terms of the threshold for the integrity of the election, Malawi’s High Court, followed the Kenyan precedent of 2017, in agreeing that it is not just numbers, but the quality of the electoral process that matter in determining the substantial effect of irregularities on election results. This is an important recognition that the judiciary must consider the context in which an election is held in order to determine if the will of the people could have been exercised freely.

Continuity…for now

The decisions reached in Kenya and Malawi demonstrate the capacity of what competent and courageous judges can do to enforce electoral rules. The judgments also pose a challenge to other African judges: will they follow in their footsteps or will they choose to hold fast to the archaic and pro status quo jurisprudence that has prevailed up to now?

Early indications suggest that continuity, rather than change, continues to prevail. Recent electoral decisions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia have continued to produce judgements that look for substantive effect on the outcome, and less on the process. In Uganda, a petition to challenge the outcome of the January 2021 presidential election was withdrawn over concerns about the judicial independence.  

Nonetheless, the verdicts handed down in Kenya and Malawi serve as landmark decisions, that over time will serve as a yardstick of contextually relevant presidential election jurisprudence in Africa. Both set a precedent that the quality of an election and the environment in which the election is held matter, and have a bearing on the outcome, regardless of numbers.   

Dr O’Brien Kaaba is a lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Zambia and a senior research fellow at the Southern Africa Institute for Policy and Research.

Editor’s note: This is the third article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can read the second and first piece.

Electoral Corruption In Nigeria: A Case Study Of The 2019 General Elections

By Publication, Publications

A major pillar of post-1990 democratic transitions in Africa is the periodic organization and conduct of constitutionally entrenched competitive party
elections, by an independent electoral management body (EMB), to elective
public political offices in the executive and legislative branches of government in the African state.

The conduct of the elections is required to conform substantially with guiding principles of electoral integrity that provide the indicators and measure of free and fair elections.


The principles are designed to guarantee that the outcomes of democratic
elections are uncertain, in the sense of their being “indeterminate ex-ante.” The outcomes are expectedly “indeterminate ex-ante” because the measures and indicators to ensure such outcomes are designed to create a competitive electoral level playing ground to make it possible for yesterday’s winners to become today’s losers, and yesterday’s losers, today’s winners.

Although there is no general agreement on the meaning of electoral integrity, the operative or defining word in the concept, integrity “refers to incorruptibility or a firm adherence to a code of moral values,” in the conduct of democratic elections.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

COVID-19 Pandemic: Steps To Conducting An Election

By Fact Check

With guidance from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released measures to be taken by electorates and officials to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) during elections in Nigeria.

These measures include steps expected to be taken by both electoral officers, voters and observers during an election in Nigeria.

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with support from the MacArthur Foundation and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) produced this video for guidance.

How To Prevent Spread of COVID-19 During Election| CDD West Africa

CDD Election Statement Burkina Faso

By Press Release

Political Context

With Burkina Faso set to hold presidential elections on 22 November 2020, there are fears of the widespread inability of accessing polling stations due to the presence of extremist groups that have disrupted voter registration in many parts of the country.

The incumbent, President Roc Marc Kabore is seeking a second five-year term in office with the ruling People’s Party Movement for Progress. The two emergent factors of peace and security, have dominated the headlines as the country finds itself in the grips of insurgency.

Kabore was voted in after the popular uprising in 2014 saw the removal of former president Blaise Campaore, who ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years after the assassination of Thomas Sankara. The wave of optimism that greeted his election in 2015 has been muted this year as the increasingly frequent attacks have dampened the electoral campaign.

The volatile security situation has resulted primarily from insecurity in the western Sahel region spilling into Burkina Faso. In recent year, the country has seen attacks form various terror groups including the militant Islamist JNIM from neighbouring Mali, and the Islamic State.

Internet penetration in the country remains low, however it remains an extensive source of misinformation and disinformation. As the globe continues to battle a global pandemic, online sources have been awash with information either proffering cures, both in French and in local languages.

Despite the low internet penetration in the country, which stands at less than ten percent, there have been increasing reports of false information being dispersed on various platforms such as radio, messaging platforms like WhatsApp, and Facebook, which commands the largest share of online users in the country.

Fighting Disinformation

For the general elections of November 22, 2020, CDD has developed a strategy allowing it to adequately observe the information ecosystem and assess both the levels of disinformation, but also the effect. The methodology adopted, based on our continued work in the field of countering fake news and disinformation will make it possible to actively monitor sources of information on online platforms that are false, correcting those false narratives and shortcomings throughout voting day.

Specifically, monitoring will allow:

  • The collection and analysis of information on the conduct of the elections in real-time in order to assess the credibility and veracity of the information on social media.
  • optimize a fact-checking system on election day;
  • help correct any false information observed on election day by providing fact-checks in real time

Since the start of the process, CODEL has been able to carry out several observation and monitoring activities:

Establishment of the Election Analysis Centre

On the eve of these November 22 elections, CDD is pleased to announce the establishment from November 21 to 23, 2020 of its Election Analysis Centre at the Spendid Hotel. Established in partnership with CODEL (Convention des organisations de la société civile pour l’observation domestique des élections).

The Election Analysis Centre established by CODEL and CDD is an opportunity to establish a dedicated hub to countering fake news and disinformation. This will be the first of its kind and will create not just a database of sources, but will also begin to counter and fact-check election related disinformation.

Based at Splendid Hotel, the Centre will be operational the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of the month of November 2020. The main aim of the Centre will be about collecting all information that may be false, and identifying and establishing the sources and proceed to the verification. For the day prior to the elections, the work will be devoted to creating a channels inventory (TV, radio online’s press social network and so on).

Conclusion

The political environment in Burkina Faso is fragile and is steadily proving to be vulnerable to the threats of misinformation and disinformation. The general elections on November 22, 2020, while ordinary supposed to represent a history moment, have instead raised more questions as the country’s delicate state of security, political disenfranchisement and high number of displaced persons point to an election that will be vulnerable.

CDD is hopeful that this partnership with CODEL and other relevant stakeholders will come together to address the potential dark spots that will be exploited by fake news and, doing so, brighten the prospects for the conduct of not only peaceful but also free and fair elections in Burkina Faso.

Africa, Trump, and the Stakes of the November 3rd Election

By Uncategorized
U.S President Donald Trump. Photo Credit: ABC News

 By Prof. Boubacar N’Diaye

The challenges Africa faces have not changed that much over the last few years: Reclaim its battered dignity, build sound economies and democratic institutions, and address a pressing security crisis.  In short, to establish throughout the continent effective democratic, accountable political and security governance.  To reach this goal, Africans and their states can use all the help they can get. A common wisdom, not necessarily borne out by facts, is that America and the West generally provide most of that help, hence that hazy relationship between the continent and its partners.  

Against this backdrop, shortly after Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in 2016, Trevor Noah, the talented South African comedian, offered his television program viewers a hilarious skit. With eye-catching graphics for maximum comical effect, he suggested that president Trump could be compared to some of the most reviled African presidents of the 1970s and 80s.  That was before everything that transpired over the last three and a half years of the Trump presidency; before President Trump, in the Oval Office, referred to African countries as “s**t-hole countries;” before his reported disrespect for Nelson Mandela, and other racist utterances and behavior reported by people who knew him well; before his former secretary of Defense deduced that he was “dangerous;” before his former Director of National Intelligence expressed a lingering suspicion that he may have been under the influence of America’s foremost global adversary; and, of course, before the unmitigated disaster his mismanagement has been of the Covid 19 pandemic and of the other, older and entrenched scourge of racism. 

All of which have led many a comedian to conclude that, actually, Africa’s worse dictators “ain’t got s**t” on M. Trump (who, singlehandedly, may have mainstreamed that once shunned four-letter word), and, in light of the devastation of Covid 19 and violence in America’s streets during protests against the relentless killing of unarmed black men by the police, to mischievously ask “which country is the “s**t-hole now?”  What a difference a few months make!

The wry wisdom of rascally–if perceptive–comedians aside, with only a few weeks before the ominous November 3rd presidential election, one can easily imagine America’s public diplomats in Africa (and across the world), their colleagues of US development Aid agencies and other US-funded NGOs having such a hard time explaining with a straight face why a given African country ‘must’ adhere to some democratic principle such as respect the rule of law, fight corruption, build and respect democratic institutions, and even how such a deeply flawed man could have been elected (and may quite possibly be reelected) president of what is dubbed ‘the oldest democracy in the world.’ With three million votes less than his opponent, mind you. 

The truly onerous task American diplomats will face aside, over the next few weeks and until the dust settles, African policymakers and opinion leaders will have to reflect critically on the record of the Trump presidency on Africa’s challenges as posited at the outset.  There is no doubt that within just a few weeks, what has to be called the ‘crisis of democratic morality’ president Trump has wrought on his country and the world will reach its most dangerous stage with the crisis that will surely result from what is shaping up to be the most chaotic election in US history.

A few of the US latest presidents made it a point to visit Africa, usually during their first term to showcase the historical ties evidenced by the presence of millions of Americans of African descent, and to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the continent.  Beyond the symbolism, the two last presidents launched significant multi-year programs (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for George W. Bush, and POWER AFRICA and Young African Leaders Initiative for Barack Obama) to help tackle singularly haunting challenges facing African peoples and their governments.  Not Trump. 

Clearly, he couldn’t care less. Amid the insults, it was enough to send First Lady Melania for what qualified as an old-fashioned safari, even as he proposed massive cuts to US foreign aid that would have affected disproportionately Africa, had Congress not objected.  Since his coming into office, the singular challenges Africa has faced have been insecurity and terrorism.  They seriously hampered faltering democratization processes and sketchy economic development efforts. Exacerbated by the West’s decision to assassinate Libyan leader Gadhafi in 2011, these challenges have since worsened. In West Africa, rampant insecurity and terrorism have slowly expanded beyond the Sahel area. 

Some of the antiterrorism policies enacted by Bush and Obama were not repealed in the knee-jerk fashion that characterized Trump’s default stance on anything Obama-related. For example, the drone base in Niger appears to be still operational although the fight against terrorism the US was supposed to lead was, in essence, gladly left to the Europeans led by France.  Indeed, it took much pleading by the French to dissuade the Trump administration abandoning this fight and withdrawing altogether from Africa.  Not even the occupation of a northern Mozambican region by marauding terrorist hordes claiming Islamic ties and the risk to expand terrorism to southern Africa were enough to spring the Trump administration into action.  This amounts to a willingness to ignore US national security interests in countering terrorism for what appears to be a primal aversion to anything African.

 Let’s face it, president Trump’s visceral disdain for the continent may be unsurmountable. A President Biden will most likely resume the traditional US approach to Africa (still US-national interests-centered of course, but casually respectful of Africans, their dignity and marginally of their interests). Africans must, today, more than ever, draw the appropriate lessons of Trump’s spectacularly disastrous presidency for Africans (beyond the mere optics) and, for that matter, for his fellow citizens of African descent.  The looming electoral crisis and any violence that may come as it unfolds, is likely to affect persons of African descent living in the US whether they are US citizens or not.  They should acknowledge it and prepare accordingly to lessen its impact.

In preparing for a post-Covid 19 world when the afore-mentioned challenges are inescapably exacerbated, Africans, wherever they live, must come to terms with the sober reality that they have only themselves to count on, especially should Trump secure reelection as a result of corrosive antidemocratic antics that would put to shame the most loathsome African authoritarian leader.  Trevor Noah’s initial skit may have been a bit off after all. 

Prof Ndiaye is a member of the CDD International Governing Council

DISCLAIMER: The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD
West Africa is not responsible for the views expressed in this
publication.

DOWNLOAD FULL PIECE HERE

Shin Majalisar Dattawa Taki Tantance Lauretta Onochie Dan Nada Ta a Matsayin Kwamishina a Hukumar Zabe Ta Kasa INEC?

By Fact Check

Gaskiyar Magana: Labarin Yana Cike Da Rudani

Tushen Magana:

A ranar Alhamis, 15 ga watan Oktoban da muke ciki, masu tantance sahihancin labarai na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun gano wani labari da wani azure yanar gizo mai wallafa labarai mai suna Wazobia Reporters ya wallafa inda yake ikirarin cewa majalisar dattawan Najeriya taki tantance Lauretta Onochie dan nada ta a matsayin kwamishina a hukumar zabe ta kasa INEC da Shugaba Muhammadu Buhari yake son yi.

Labarin ya kara da cewa majalisar dattawan ta nemi fadar shugaban kasa ta sake nazari akan yunkurin nada Lauretta Onochie a matsayin kwamishina a hukumar zaben kasa INEC.

Labarin jingina madogararsa da wata jarida mai suna Nigerian Daily a matsayin inda ya samo labarin.

Gaskiyar Al’amari:

Bincken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gani cewa labarin dake cewa majalisar dattawan Najeriya taki tantance Lauretta Onochie dan zama kwamishina a hukumar zabe ta ksa INEC labari ne na bogi.

A ranar Talata, 13 ga watan Oktoban da muke ciki, Shugaba Buhari ya zabi Onochie da wassu mutane uku wato Mohammed Sani daga jahar Katsina, da Kunle Ajayi daga jahar Ekiti da Saidu Ahmed daga jahar Jigawa da nada su a matsayin kwamishinonin zabe a hukumar zabe ta kasa INEC.

Binciken da CDD ta zurfafa game da batun ya gano cewa jaridar da Wazobia Reporters sukace sun samo labarin daga wajen su wato  Nigerian Daily basu buga wani labari makamancin wannan ba. Saboda haka labarin da Wazobia Reporters din suka buga labari ne na karya.

Idan Shugaban Kasa ya gabatar wa majalisar dattawa jadawalin mutanen da yake so ya nada a wassu mukamai, majalisar zata mika sunayen ga kwamitoci daban-daban dan gudanar da binciken kwa-kwaf akansu.

Bayan kamala bincike game da mutanen da Shugaban Kasa ke san nadawa a mukamai, kwamitoci zasu gabatar da rahoton su ga majalisar dattawan dan daukan mataki na gaba. Kuma kawo yanzu ba’a kamala wannan aiki na bincike ba kuma bada wata matsayarta game da batun tun bayan sanar da cewa Shugaban Kasa ya aiko sunayen mutanen da yake son nadawa a mukamin kwamishinoni a hukumar zaben a ranar Talata, 13 ga watan Oktoban da muke ciki.

Kammalawa:

Labarin da ake yadawa cewa majalisar dattawa taki tantance Lauretta Onochie dan zamowa kwamishina a hukumar zabe ta kasa INEC karya ne.

Har yanzu majalisar dattawa bata dauki kowane irin mataki ba game da sunayen da Shugaban Kasa ya aika mata a ranar Talata, 13 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020.

Kuna iya aikowa CDD labarai ko bayanan da kuke da shakku akansu dan ta tantance muku sahihancin su. Zaku iya turo labaran ta wannan lamba: +2349062910568 ko a shafukan mu na Twitter a @CDDWestAfrica ko @CDDWestAfrica_H

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Cote D’Ivoire’s High‐Stake Presidential Election

By Publications

Ivorians will head to the polls to vote in a presidential election on 31 October 2020. The election is already causing severe tensions along long-­ standing political and ethnic divides, raising security risks in the country. With only a few weeks to the elections, the president of CEI announced that the 2020 provisional electoral list, indicating a 14% increase in the number of registered voters from 6,595,790 in 2018 to 7,500,035 voters in 2020.


A total of 1,645,693 new requests were processed, although more 60,000 were rejected for non-­‐compliance. On 14 September, the Constitutional Council approved four presidential candidates and rejected 40 candidates ‐ three representing the major political parties and one independent.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

Ondo election: CDD, others call on INEC to intensify voters’ education

By Press Release, UncategorizedNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intensify voters’ education ahead of the October 10, 2020, Ondo governorship election.

The centre during a roundtable meeting organised for Civil Society Organisations in Ondo State on Thursday, August 27, 2020, on the 2020 off-cycle governorship election in Ondo State said voter education is key to getting election process right in a democracy.

Highlighting challenges witnessed in the just concluded Local Government election which are capable of undermining the credibility of the governorship poll, the CSOs described the level of voters’ apathy in the state as the bane of the electoral process.

At the meeting, the CSOs observed that the high level of violence during the LGA election has created a tense environment ahead of the governorship poll.

The CSOs said while the LG elections recorded low voter turnout, poor participation by marginalized groups, as well as the destruction and defacing of campaign billboards in various parts of the state, the polls were characterized by anomalies including the use of thugs to disrupt the electoral process, and use of arms by the party faithful.

In a communique released on Thursday, August 27, the organisations also said that the Ondo LG election further exposed the lopsided structure in Nigeria’s electoral process as security operatives saddled with the responsibility to protect the people were found intimidating the electorates.

“Every participant, stakeholders and political actors came to the poll with different agenda and this majorly led to the spike in violence,” the communique said.

Participants at the meeting noted that most of the polling units there were no result sheets while findings in places like Ifedore showed that election observers we were asked to leave the vicinity and results were fraudulently written in these areas with the supervision of security operatives.

The communique said: “These anomalies hold serious implications for the conduct and outcome of free, fair and credible elections in Ondo State, come October 10.”

“There is a growing fear of stockpiling of arms ahead of the election, there have been cases of rival partisan camps openly displaying arms or engaging in exchange of gunfire just to show that they also have access to firearms – a means of pressing opponents. Most times they do this in the presence of Police officers who serve as aides to the political actors,” the communique added.

Addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19 pandemic, the CSOs observed that the awareness on the policy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on conducting an election amid the outbreak is low.

The organisations warned that: “INEC has failed to actively engage the CSOs on plans for the Ondo election especially with the new guidelines released on the conduct of the election in a COVID-19 pandemic situation.”

It also said that the electoral body has failed to be proactive in engaging the people on the guidelines and conduct of elections amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This gap was very much on display during the recently concluded LGA elections, which witnessed people participating without adherence to laid down guidelines; most voters were not aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect or change the conduct of an election in the off-season election,” the communique read.

Making its recommendations, the CSOs called on INEC to conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment to identify areas with high risks of security challenges, intensify voters’ education to reduce voter apathy, ensure that all sensitive and insensitive materials arrive the polling unit on time and sensitize its own staff while ridding the commission of the bad eggs.

The organisation also called on INEC to take responsibility of ensuring that the welfare of its ad-hoc staff is taking care of, take into consideration, challenges that have been presented due to COVID-19 pandemic especially making greater efforts to protect the elderly people and the vulnerable ones among videos.

Also, all contents – videos, messages, banners, flyers – produced for citizens enlightenment should be translated to Nigeria’s local languages for easy assimilation by the citizenry and the needed support for the people with disability and the aged-people be put in place to allow for equity and balance.

“CSOs must continue to advocate for peaceful, fair, and credible elections. Not just in gatherings as these, we must continually advocate in our homes, churches, market places, irrespective of the timing,” the communique said.

In addition, political parties should be sensitized to realize that the responsibility for voter education is not exclusively for INEC and CSOs as they must ensure all party agents and members of political parties on their roles at the polling units, collation centres.

To ensure women participation in the election, security operatives should work more to protect women who are actively participating in the election, there should be strong advocacy for women supporting women during the election or in politics generally.

“Women already in the position of power should mentor other women and encourage participation in politics and work towards forming their own political parties to end the negative narratives of tagging them as prostitutes or wayward for participating in politics,” the communique said.

The CSOs that participated in the meeting include Ondo state Development Forum, EyeMax Care Foundation, Centre for Environment and Community Development, Knowledge and Care Providers, Kids&Teens Resource Centre, Melville Women Initiative, Star Ruby Initiative and Human Development, Gender Equality and the Girl Child Development Foundation, Beacon for Hope and Action of Life, Community Development and Adherence Support Initiatives, Young Shall Grow Educational Initiative, Oloki Memorial Foundation and A-One Readers Education Foundation.

Others are Girls 2 Women Research and Development Foundation, Excel Mankind Wellbeing Initiative, Women Advancement and Development Initiative, Life and Peace Development Organization, Upline Centre For Development, Healthy Mother and Child Foundation, St Joavics Foundation, Handicapped Education Foundation and Global Assistance For Better Day Organization.

DOWNLOAD COMMUNIQUE HERE

De-escalate Growing Tension Ahead of Edo Election – CDD Tells Politicians

By Press Release, UncategorizedNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on politicians in Nigeria to de-escalate the tension building up ahead of the September 19, 2020, Edo state governorship election.

Highlighting some of the early warning signs which portend grave danger for the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process and its outcomes, the CDD stressed that some activities exhibited by political actors in the state seek to undermine the election.

The CDD cautioned that if not urgently addressed, these challenges would compromise the elections and taint the sanctity of the vote.

In its pre-election briefing paper titled: New Allegiances, Familiar Faces A Preview of Edo’s 2020 Gubernatorial Election, the CDD observed that since the start of the Edo governorship election campaign, there has been rampant defacing or outright destruction of campaign billboards by supporters of rival partisan camps in the state.

The report said the trend, as documented by CDD observers on the ground, show that in the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), campaign billboards belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) are targeted and defaced and vice versa.

CDD observers also reported that foot soldiers of politicians across the state, especially in rural communities, have engaged in the exchange of verbal abuses, hate songs and chants, capable of provoking violent confrontation at a localised level.

Calling for adoption of issue-based campaigns, the CDD said the dearth of engaging conversations, which will enable citizens, know the candidate and party with the best governance ideas had undermined the very essence of the electoral process. 

It also warned against the near-exclusive focus by candidates and key party figures on hauling personal insults has led to the rise of hate speech, fake news, and wanton destruction of campaign materials in the build-up to election day. 

While the Centre’s observations and interactions have suggested that there is a stockpiling of small arms and light weapons in the state, CDD said asides the July 25, 2020, violence which erupted at the King Square in Benin, there have been several minor skirmishes and near-violent incidents especially when rival party supporters are on campaign processions. In one campaign rally in Okpella town in Etsako East Local Government Area, an open display of arms was documented.

Top on the list of threats outlined in the report is the compliance challenges posed as a result of the disregard for Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention protocols outlined in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) policy on conducting elections in the context of the pandemic. 

The CDD strongly condemns the attitude of political actors in Edo State, whose haphazard adherence to pandemic prevention guidelines was putting the lives of common citizens at risk. 

“Close observation of recent campaign rallies by both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State showed the parties disregarding precautionary measures for COVID-19 prevention. 

CDD observers noted that while some campaign rallies in Benin City, which were televised to a national audience, observed protocols such as the wearing of face masks and the observance of social distancing, political rallies in small towns and rural areas have largely ignored these requirements,” the report said.

Berating two major political parties – APC and PDP – in the state for their selective adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the Centre said their activities are suggestive of the notion that the  lives and electoral objectives of politicians are more important than the health and well being of the citizen voters. 

CDD also considering these potential complications of the political parties’ action said there is a need for INEC to immediately start a strategic and effective solution to implementing its policy during the election.

“For instance, if a voter shows up at a polling unit without a face mask, how should ad-hoc staff respond to the situation without disrupting the elections?” the report queries.

“There is also a need to train INEC ad-hoc staff to enable them to understand what is required of them in the context of COVID-19 prevention on election day,” it added.

CDD notified of the dangers inherent in the fact that politicians and their supporters do not wear face masks or maintain physical distancing during rallies, a situation which it stressed would cast doubts on the existence of coronavirus among voters. 

This situation, the Centre inferred would likely expose ordinary citizens participating in the political process to the risk of contracting the deadly virus, especially because nationally, Edo State currently occupies the fourth position in terms of the number of COVID-19 infections. 

The report equally apprised INEC that it would have a difficult time implementing its COVID-19 protocol on the election day. 

The Centre tasked INEC to intensify its efforts in the area of training of ad-hoc staff to understand the new measures for COVID-19 prevention, and how to implement those measures at the polling unit level.

All election stakeholders were encouraged to conduct voter education programmes that communicate procedures for conducting the polls during the COVID 19 to voters.

Subsequently, complaints about alleged misuse of incumbency powers were also documented in the report; the CDD report expressed worries that the struggle over the control of the Edo State House of Assembly could further heighten tension in the state with the consequence of voter apathy. 

Having diagnosed the threats to the election, the CDD concluded that if elections were truly about service to the people, political actors would eschew the impunity, hate speech and mudslinging, which have characterised the build-up to the Edo election. 

CDD in its recommendations therefore urged political parties and their candidates to focus the conversation in the remaining period of the campaign on development and governance issues. 

It also called for the enforcement of provisions of the Electoral Act to prosecute political actors seeking to undermine the election.

On the spread of fake news, CDD urged INEC, political parties, the media, CSOs and community groups to engage the electorate in conversations which will highlight the problem of disinformation.

The initiative, CDD said must educate voters on how to identify and discountenance fake news, misinformation and disinformation; it equally called for dissemination of peace messages to reduce the tension and build voter confidence in the electoral process.

Signed

Idayat Hassan

Director

Engage in issue-based campaigns, not violent activities – CDD to politicians

By Blog, Press ReleaseNo Comments

Ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged political parties to engage in issue-based campaigns.

The Centre also urged the political parties to shun activities which may potentially incite violence among members and opponents alike.

In a communique released by the CDD on Friday, August 7, 2020, after a civil society organisations (CSOs) roundtable on the 2020 off-cycle governorship election in Benin, Edo state, the Centre said all political parties should agree to sign a peace treaty ahead of the polls.

The roundtable organised to examine the unfolding political events characterising the election also created a platform for civil society actors to interface with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its preparedness in the lead up to the election. 

Urging politicians to comply with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of elections in Nigeria, CDD said there should be a deviation from character assassinations and an increased focus on engagement and development of the state.

The Centre also urged security agencies (particularly the Police) to hold perpetrators of the ongoing pre-election violence accountable as a necessary condition to encourage participation in the election.

The Police were also tasked to prioritise intelligence gathering and commit to mop up the Small arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) currently circulating in the state, and resist political influence. 

According to the CDD, security agencies should be wary of allowing the undue interference of political actors in the management of security situation and make necessary arrests in cases of organised violence stemming from political parties.

In addition, the electoral body was urged to implement a robust voter education programmes to promote the participation of voters at the polls, strengthen its engagement with CSOs in planning and implementing voter education programmes, as well as creating avenues for CSO actors to support the conduct of a credible election.

CDD also called on INEC to communicate frequently and in a sustained manner, with relevant stakeholders (including traditional rulers, CSOs, political parties, etc.) on any matter relating to the preparations for the forthcoming election.

INEC was also asked to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health and security agencies to enforce compliance to the commission’s Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

“Strict measures should be put in place to ensure full compliance of voters, ad-hoc staff and other actors in the election. These include the use of PPE materials, social distancing, infrared thermometers, and the provision of on-site health officials to inspect persons who display any symptoms of COVID-19,” the communique said.

Also, it added that there is be a strict implementation of INEC Framework on Access And Participation Of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

CSOs participating in election observation were urged to facilitate the signing of a peace treaty by political parties and their candidates ahead of the governorship election, observe the strict implementation of the peace pact if signed by the candidate and support the INEC in its voter education programmes to enlighten eligible voters on participating in the elections, and to dissuade individuals against election violence.

The CSOs were also called on to demand accountability from INEC, especially in the face of continued problems around the conduct of elections and prioritise civic education that focuses on mandate protection.

Traditional and religious leaders were advised to desist from making political statements or from publicly expressing support for any political parties and their candidates. 

“Such public statements could deepen the tensions that already characterise the election,” the communique added.

Organisations represented at the meeting include the Community-based Initiatives for a Brighter Tomorrow (CIBT), Solomon Sheperd Foundation (SSF), Willi Johnson Foundation (WJF), Association of Professionals for Family Health, Empowerment and Community Development (APFFHECOD), Unique Love for PWDI and Josemaria Escrivia Foundation (JOSEF).

Others are Edo Civil Society Organization (EDOCSO), Wise Sisters Charity Organisation, Initiative for Girls and Women Empowerment, Kairos Youth Empowerment Initiative, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC Benin), Indomitable Youths Organisation (IYO), SOTHAWACA, Take a Cue Development Initiatives, Youth Empowerment Project, African Women Empowerment Guild (AWEG), Lift Above Poverty (LAPO), National Council for Islamic Affairs (NCIA),  Conference of NON Governmental Organisations (CONGOs), amongst others.

DOWNLOAD FULL COMMUNIQUE HERE

Kogi State: Post-Election Analysis of Disinformation

By Blog, PublicaitonsNo Comments

The Kogi state off-cycle elections were conducted on 16th November 2019. Twenty-four political parties participated in the election, but there were three frontrunners: Musa Wada of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Yahaya Bello of All People’s Congress (APC), and Natasha Akpoti of Social Democratic Party (SDP). Given the trend of disinformation in previous elections held in the country, the Centre for Democracy and Development
(CDD) chose to intervene in two ways:

  1. CDD conducted disinformation mapping, aimed at identifying key actors and mechanisms of action in Kogi’s disinformation ecosystem;
  2. This mapping informed a stated-based fact-checking structure that sought to identify and counter disinformation spread before, during and right after the election. Our methodology for disinformation mapping involved a combination of a desk review of reports on political and electoral trends and in-person unstructured interviews. Disinformation mapping revealed that false narratives were spread by actors called “Data Boys”
    and “Shekpe Boys” who operate in online and offline spaces.
  3. The primary mechanism of action was tailoring messages to exploit ethnic cleavages in Kogi as they largely coincide with partisan divides. The tension between the two major ethnic groups, Igala and Ebira,
    was exploited the most. These messages leverage confirmation bias to entrench polarization; their efficacy is enhanced by high levels of poverty and illiteracy in Kogi state. Our pre-election report details specific sources of disinformation.

DOWNLOAD FULL ANALYSIS HERE

Sorting Fact From Fiction : Nigeria's 2019 Election

By Blog, Nigeria Election 2019, PublicationsNo Comments

Nigeria 2019 Election Fact-File

The Centre for Democracy and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) for the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections, represented the first attempt in Nigeria at running a rigorous fact-checking process before, during and after the electoral process of both presidential and gubernatorial elections. CDD’s specific mandate was to provide a filter and check on viral stories, that were demonstrably false. Or to confirm, with sources and justification, if certain events were true or with fact (s). To do this CDD worked in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute and the Premium Times. However, there is scope for greater collaboration with other like-minded institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the future. Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File

Methodology: Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File

Our methodology to achieve ‘Nigeria’s 2019 election fact-file’ during the elections, was a highly focused version of our usual fact-checking process. A small team of seven individuals each had individualised functions. We had two spotters who monitored the online space, including Facebook groups, Twitter accounts and WhatsApp groups. The groups we monitored had already previously been tagged in our ever-expanding database as sources of disinformation, through research and online mapping efforts that will be described further below. The spotters would then forward news stories that were popular (for example over a hundred shares on Twitter) to the fact-checkers.
This ensured that we highlighted and countered stories that were significant and prevented us from popularising false information [without fact (s)] that may not have reached a wide audience until our fact-check. The process for checking the validity of a story during the elections was facilitated by our nationwide-wide network of election observers² in each of Nigeria’s 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This meant that our fact-checkers could reach out to an observer in any state to confirm a story. Once the validity of a story was verified, the fact-check itself would be written and sent to our designer to be turned into an infographic. This infographic was published on Twitter³ with all the relevant hashtags to ensure better reach and visibility (Methodology employed for Nigeria 2019 election fact file).

Spotters vs Fact Checkers for Nigeria 2019 Election

Monitoring the online landscape is not just relevant for fact checking, but allowed our research team to collect examples of hateful, inflammatory or false content; find groups that were spreading it; and track trending topics and disinformation campaigns online. Groups and accounts that we initially found led us to more, which if significant were added to our list online sources to be observed in future. In our online monitoring, we were able to identify three key content types that we subsequently focused on:

  1. Election logistic
  2. Election-related violence videos
  3. Conspiracy theories

Images or videos were analysed using tools such as reverse-image search to verify their origins and see if the content had appeared elsewhere. The fact checking process for a single story could take up to one hour and involved detecting a trending story – sometimes shared on private WhatsApp groups⁴, reaching out to our observers in the field and then designing and publishing the fact-check. Our standard format was in the form of an infographic that clearly showed the material being fact-checked, whether it be a picture, or a headline or a tweet. We chose infographics because the format allows us to convey information in an easily consumable form. Our tracking showed that our infographics had on average, 20 interactions on Twitter. In looking for sources of fake news, we were able to map the partisan nature of the online landscape. (Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File)
Download: Sorting Fact from Fiction.
Take a Library Tour
 

Sorting Fact From Fiction

By Blog, Nigeria Election 2019, PublicationsNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) for the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections represented the first attempt in Nigeria at running a rigorous fact-checking process before, during and after the electoral process of both presidential and gubernatorial elections. CDD’s specific mandate was to provide a filter and check on viral stories that were demonstrably false. Or to confirm, with sources and justification, if certain events were true. To do this CDD worked in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute and the Premium Times. However, there is scope for greater collaboration with other like-minded institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the future.
Monitoring the online landscape is not just relevant for fact-checking, but allowed our research team to collect examples of hateful, inflammatory or false content; find groups that were spreading it; and track trending topics and disinformation campaigns online. Groups and accounts that we initially found led us to more, which if significant were added to our list online sources to be observed in future. In our online monitoring, we were able to identify three key content types that we subsequently focused on:

  1. Election logistic
  2. Election-related violence videos
  3. Conspiracy theories

Images or videos were analysed using tools such as reverse-image search to verify their origins and see if the content had appeared elsewhere. The factchecking process for a single story could take up to one hour and involved detecting a trending story – sometimes shared on private WhatsApp groups⁴, reaching out to our observers in the field and then designing and publishing the fact-check. Our standard format was in the form of an infographic that clearly showed the material being fact-checked, whether it be a picture, or a headline or a tweet. We chose infographics because the format allows us to convey information in an easily consumable form. Our tracking showed that our infographics had on average, 20 interactions on Twitter. In looking for sources of fake news, we were able to map the partisan nature of the online landscape
Download: Sorting Fact from Fiction.

[rt_animated_link_style animated_link_style=”two” animated_link_anchor=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cddwestafrica.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F07%2FSORTING-FACT-FROM-FICTION.pdf|title:Sorting%20Fact%20from%20Fiction||” animation=”swing” extra_class=”link” extra_id=” Sorting Fact from Fiction“]

How Women Fared In The 2019 Elections

By Nigeria Election 2019No Comments

 

 

Nigeria’s population is estimated to be 200,923,640. Women form 49.4% of this figure, with a total of 99,180,412.

However, female political representation in the 2019 elections was negligible relative to the approximately half of the population they constitute. 2,970 women were on the electoral ballot, representing only 11.36% of nominated candidates.

From the initial 62 elected at the 2019 poll, women gained additional numbers from court judgement and bye-election conducted. A total of 70
women are now in elective positions, a meagre 4.71% of elected officials. This figure represents a decline from the 2015-19 period, where women formed 5.65% of elected officials.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT