Tag Archives: Elections

How Kenya’s votes will be counted, and why transparency is so crucial

The shocking murder of Christopher Msando, which came to light this week, casts a pall over Kenya’s 8 August elections. As the acting director of information and communications technology at the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Msando had a key role in two critical aspects of the electoral process: the biometric identification of voters at polling stations; and the results management system, which aggregates votes once they’ve been counted at the polling station level.

Both of these procedures are managed through the IEBC’s Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS). Technical experts have expressed their confidence in the KIEMS, and the IEBC partially tested the system on 2 August.

While a full system test ahead of election day remains necessary, as recommended by international election observers, Msando’s death has raised broader questions about the integrity of the technical processes that underpin the election. Since a full murder investigation will not be complete before polling day, rumours will inevitably continue to circulate about the motives of the perpetrators.

There is little the IEBC can do to stop this speculation. However, in order to reassure the Kenyan electorate and political competitors, the IEBC could take further steps to demonstrate transparency.

It could release the results of the KIEMS test; it can ensure that it fully publicises and explains its decisions in the coming days; and it could share with political parties the IEBC’s contingency plans in the event the KIEMS is not fully operational on 8 August.

How the count should work

According to current plans, votes are to be counted at each of the 40,883 polling stations after voting has closed. The results will then be transmitted to constituency tallying centres in each of Kenya’s 290 constituencies via the KIEMS.

Due to a court ruling, the IEBC in Nairobi cannot modify the results from either the polling stations or constituency tallying centres. This means that a simple tabulation of the 290 constituency results will produce the national results.

Representatives from political parties stationed at polling stations and constituency tallying centres will know the results before they are transmitted to Nairobi. If they are vigilant and professional, these agents can make valuable contributions to the integrity of the count and tabulation process.

IEBC has requested that party representatives check and agree that the results entered in the KIEMS match those on the written results form, though this is not required by law or regulation.

Continue reading on African arguments

By Aly Verjee

The right to ‘eat’

Politics in many parts of Africa is often understood through a metaphor of eating – a point to which Jean-François Bayart drew our attention in his seminal 1989 publication, The State in Africa. In contrast to the social scientific discourse of corruption, the idiom of eating is more neutral and bespeaks necessity.

While eating to excess while others go hungry may be corrupt and immoral, everyone must eat to survive. This moral ambivalence is often lost on social scientific thinkers and journalists, who tend to portray “corruption” on the continent (even of the petty or distributive variety) in black-and-white, moralistic terms. Although corruption is a common source of public outrage and complaint, many Kenyans debate the issue in shades of gray, recognizing the sometimes-blurry line between graft and redistribution.

The relationship between politics and consumption is far from abstract. The run-up to the 2017 general elections in Kenya, which has coincided with the rising cost of staple foods, has literalized the “politics of the belly.” This year, inflation reached a four-year high as prices for basic commodities (including cabbage, milk, and sugar) rose precipitously. Kenyans have been particularly hard-hit by the mounting cost of maize flour, used to make Kenya’s most popular (and populist) dish: ugali. In response to spiraling prices, the government waived tariffs for imported maize and, in mid-May, introduced a subsidy on maize flour. These efforts, however, have barely eased consumer suffering.

Ugali politics has since dominated Kenya’s headlines. The opposition and ruling coalitions have blamed one another for the rising prices and flour shortages, trading accusations of negligence and malfeasance. Irregularities surrounding a recent maize import have become fodder for speculations circulating on Twitter and other social media. The Jubilee government has been accused of manufacturing the maize crisis to benefit politically connected commodity traders and using an aptly timed subsidy to win over the electorate. (In typical sardonic fashion, Gado captured these allegations in a series of recentpoliticalcartoons).

Others charge NASA politicians with politicizing the issue, fueling protests (under the hashtag #ungaRevolution) and obscuring their own responsibility for the maize shortage. While the ruling coalition undoubtedly holds the greatest share of blame for the crisis, it is worth noting that both William Ruto, the sitting deputy president, and Raila Odinga, the opposition’s presidential candidate, have been accused in the past of profiting from the illegal manipulation of the maize market.

Some observers believe that the rising cost of food may fundamentally alter long-standing voting patterns. According to these forecasts, the food crisis will prompt Kenyans to vote on “economic issues,” rather than along “tribal lines,” in the upcoming election. Such arguments rest on a false assumption that material factors are distinct from “ethnic” politics.

Economic considerations often drive people’s voting decisions, whether they cast a ballot for a politician of their ethnicity or for a member of another group. For many Kenyans, having one’s “own” in power ensures that a limited amount of wealth (whether through licit or illicit channels) will flow down to ordinary people through social relations of kinship and clientage. These lines of patronage can be essential to people’s survival and should not be readily dismissed as “holdovers” from the past or evidence of “stunted” development. Practically speaking, the reigning alternative (the neoliberal/good governance “consensus”) offers little guarantee of a greater share of the pie.

The food crisis also reveals the need to situate Kenyan politics within a broader understanding of the regional and world economy. The rising costs of food is the result of a confluence of internal and external factors: recent drought in the region, inflationary pressure caused by a strengthened US dollar and rebounding oil prices, dependence on rain-fed agriculture, and profiteering by millers, middlemen, and politicians. It reveals a citizenry prone to elite mismanagement and corruption, susceptible to shocks in the world economy, and increasingly vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change.

Continue reading on Africa is a country

By Keren Weitzbger

Why another ‘massive’ Zimbabwean opposition rally flopped

The major hope for opposition success against Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF lies in an opposition collation. But this is unlikely to be easily formed by the major parties who cannot agree on how to configure an alliance or who should lead it.

Opposition parties in Zimbabwe, led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change, held a demonstration in Harare on Wednesday last week but it was anything but “massive” or “mega” as organisers and supporters billed it to be.

The demonstration was held under the banner of the “National Election Reform Agenda”, a loose coalition of about 10 political parties seeking to force the government to reform electoral laws which they feel favour the ruling Zanu-PF.

For its own part, the MDC-T led by Tsvangirai has been boycotting by-elections arguing that it will not participate in a sham process that favours President Robert Mugabe’s party.

However, the party has indicated that it will participate in general elections to be held next year, raising questions about the current “no reforms, no elections” stance.

The stance, which is not universally agreed upon within the party, is viewed by some observers as a way to avoid embarrassing losses to Zanu-PF, the runaway winners of the 2013 elections. In that poll, Zanu-PF amassed more than two-thirds majority while Mugabe claimed 66% of the presidential vote.

Away from the ballot, the opposition has been trying to ramp up pressure on government mainly through street demonstrations and stayaways.

Wednesday’s demonstration was the first big opposition protest action of 2017, which organisers hoped would revive what appeared to be a growing momentum of opposition protests around the middle of last year.

Everything was in place: political leaders from Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti (ex-MDC secretary-general, now leader of People’s Democratic Party); Didymus Mutasa (former State Security Minister and founder of Zimbabwe People First) and leaders of a number of smaller parties.

Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement was there.

There were also civic and church leaders, including the Kariba (a border Town in the north) pastor Philip Mugadza who has predicted that Mugabe will die in October – earning himself arrest in the process in a case that is still before the courts.

But the demonstration was not well attended.

Only 200 people, mainly MDC-T supporters, gathered at an open space near the Harare Showgrounds which the opposition has dubbed “Freedom Square”.

Leaders of the smaller parties took turns to endorse Tsvangirai as the leader of a mooted coalition to contest in next year’s elections.

Joice Mujuru, former vice-president and leader of National People’s Party was conspicuous by her absence.

Mujuru’s spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, explained that the party was busy with preparations for a convention to choose leaders of her recently rebranded party.

The low subscription to the opposition rally indicates a number of things – and it has little to do with authorities’ repression or fear of reprisals often blamed on Mugabe’s government.

Simply, the opposition in Zimbabwe, bearing the face of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, is failing to inspire the people after successive losses and continued fragmentation of the movement.

Continue reading on The Daily Maverick

By Tichaona Zindoga

Credit picture: Getty images.

Electoral integrity in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria

As the head of Nigeria’s elections body, Prof Attahihu Jega is widely acknowledged to have delivered a credible election, with abiding lessons for Africa. For him, a credible election requires planning, effective organisation, focus, resilience, relative autonomy of the electoral body, as well as its impartiality and integrity.

No region of the globe has escaped the “wave of democratisation,” which hit the world from the early 1990s. While regular elections by themselves do not and cannot guarantee true democracy, they serve as one of the major barometers for measuring an effective democratic process. This is especially because elections provide the electorate with the opportunity to change a government which fails to deliver.

The UN Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security in its September 2012 Report noted that “Elections can further democracy, development, human rights, and security, or undermine them, and for this reason alone, they (elections) should command attention.”

But the Commission in the same report argued that “for elections to embody democracy, further development and promote security, they must be conducted with integrity.”

Relating this global phenomena to Africa, Prof. Attahihu Jega, who presided over Nigeria’s 2011 and 2015 presidential elections, posits that while “there is no African exceptionalism” when it comes to flawed elections, “the scale of (electoral) irregularities in Africa is immense and arguably more than in any other region of the world.”

So much has been said and written about those two highly contested presidential polls in Nigeria supervised by Jega as chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). But it suffices to say that only a few heads of electoral bodies in Africa have supervised elections where an incumbent government lost power to the opposition. So to a very large extent, Prof Jega is and will remain an authority in electoral management, especially from the African perspective.

Even before he assumed the INEC leadership from 2010-2015, the Political Science professor and former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, in Northern Nigeria, had acquitted himself creditably as leader of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) during the difficult years of military rule in the early 1990s.

In a lecture he delivered 1 March 2017 at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, UK, where he has been on sabbatical, Prof. Jega acknowledged that “poorly conducted elections have become the “norm in Africa,” with the attendant “remarkable constraints on stability, regime legitimacy and good, democratic governance”

Of the 167 countries including 43 in Africa assessed and documented in its latest report, the Democracy Index, Economist Intelligence Unit, quoted by Jega, only one African country is classified as “Fully Democratic,” while seven are “Flawed Democracies,” 14 are ranked as “Hybrid Democracies,” and 21 of the 43, “Authoritarian.”

Nonetheless, Jega underscores the significance of elections and why “increasing the scope of electoral integrity has therefore become central to the concern for democratic consolidation in Africa.”

Narrating his experience while also quoting scholars, researchers and election experts in his presentation titled: “Electoral Integrity in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria’s 2011 and 2015 General Elections,” the former INEC Chair examined the dynamics that shape the integrity of African elections; how to address challenges faced in conducting elections with integrity; and proffered some solutions on the way forward.

Continue reading on Pambazuka.org

By Paul Ejime

Credit picture: An official of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registers the finger print of a voter with biometric system at a polling station at Apapa district of Lagos, on April 11, 2015. Pius Sawa/Getty Images.

Zimbabwe: Why elections will never work

Zimbabwe is heading to elections next year, but anyone who hopes that the polls will translate into a better life for the majority of the people is deluded. Elections are merely contests for state power and never about finding the best vision and leadership for the country. With the ruling ZANU-PF party determined to remain in power, the likelihood of election-related violence in Zimbabwe is high.

Elections have long been held as a stabilising approach to political transitions in established Western democracies. They are a marker of good governance and a symbol of a country’s democratic credentials. Elections are generally held in countries with multiparty political systems and legitimise political contestation and transfers of power. It is through elections that leaders are required to gain their mandate to govern.

In Africa, elections are promoted as necessary to institutionalising political accountability and transparency. Citizens have been awakened to the power of the ballot and increasingly turn to it to hold their governments to account. Africans want an end to a long era of strongmen, one party states, and the dominant party syndrome. Zimbabweans are no different and have taken to the streets to demand regime change. They also maintain hope in the power of elections to usher in a post-ZANU-PF and post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. However, given past failures, elections are unlikely to bring about a change in government. Why then, do they continue to be promoted as a viable approach to political transitions? It is perhaps time we acknowledged that elections increase state instability, foster conflict, and safeguard regime security. It is dangerous to narrowly equate democratisation with elections and multipartism.

Elections in Southern Rhodesia 

Elections and multiparty politics are not new to Zimbabwe’s political fabric. Their lineage can be traced back to colonial, Southern Rhodesian rule. Indeed, the difficulty with democracy in Zimbabwe is not that independence failed to result in a departure from the colonial constitutional past as it continued under a new label. Neither is it a matter of identifying the so-called emergence of authoritarian regimes with ZANU-PF rule. Doing so would beg the question of what makes ZANU-PF rule any more authoritarian than colonial rule.

The nation-state’s principal function in the colonial era was to entrench the rights of a white minority through the valorisation of the rule of law and introduction of formalised legal codes. This included a written constitution awarding whites more rights than blacks; it also restricted blacks’ ability to engage in the political process. Most black people could not vote, with only those who were central to the colonial government’s regime consolidation efforts exercising limited power. Elections emerged in this context.

The multi-party system also emerged as a means of reinforcing racial hierarchies and divisions. Up until the 1950s, Rhodesia experienced a dominant party syndrome, with the Rhodesia Party returning to power with each successive election until 1962, albeit under different names. Under Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front government, a one-party state structure became deeply entrenched. Elections continued to perform the primary function of serving white minority interests. The constitution and rule of law which stemmed from it resulted in the introduction of legislation restricting and criminalising the black majority from organising itself and demonstrating against the white minority regime.

Continue reading on Pambazuka.org

By Tinashe Jakwa (@TinasheJakwa), Master of International Relations student at the University of Western Australia.

What does opposition leader Tshisekedi’s death mean for DR Congo’s road to elections?

The death of prominent opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has deprived the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of a unique political figure who was at the forefront of the fight for democracy for over three decades.

His loss is a major blow to the main opposition coalition, the Rassemblement, which he led alongside the relative newcomer, ex-Katanga Governor Moïse Katumbi. It also undermines the DRC’s faltering transition and may play into the hands of the ruling majority that has consistently sought to delay elections.

Coming just a month after the signing of a political agreement, which would have put him at the head of an important follow-up committee, his departure robs the opposition of a leader able to combine genuine street-level popularity with an ability to squeeze out political deals. As popular anger mounts, the opposition will have to work hard to rebuild a credible leadership, capable of concluding a deal with the majority.

A fragmented opposition loses its figurehead

The 84-year-old Etienne Tshisekedi launched the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) opposition party in 1982 and built a strong following in his native Kasai region and in the capital Kinshasa. He symbolised the struggle for democracy in the waning days of the President Mobutu Sese Seko regime. He also opposed President Laurent Kabila, who overthrew Mobutu in 1997, and his son Joseph Kabila, the current president.

Unable to resist the populist option, he made a strategic error when he boycotted the relatively credible 2006 elections. In 2011, he ended up coming second in a hard-fought but less credible election, and did not accept the result, proclaiming himself president in a parallel swearing in ceremony.

In more recent years, despite living abroad, he again became the symbolic figurehead of the struggle for democracy, this time over the defence of the constitution, and particularly its two-term limit for the president, and the need to organise elections on time in December 2016. They have since been delayed.

This position allowed him to improve cooperation with his fellow opposition leaders, and in June 2016 he was a driving force behind the creation of the Rassemblement, combining the forces of several parties and high-profile figures, including Moïse Katumbi and those in the “G7” (an umbrella group of opposition parties that left the ruling majority in 2016), giving the opposition renewed cohesion and strength.

When Tshisekedi returned to Kinshasa on 27 July 2016 after years of self-imposed exile, he was greeted by massive crowds, demonstrating his unique credibility and ability to get people out onto the street. These were seemingly undamaged by simultaneously being in direct and secretive talks with Kabila’s governing majority.

As president of the Rassemblement’s “governing council” (Conseil des sages), Tshisekedi provided legitimacy and political credibility to the other parties and individuals, most of whom had been part of the ruling majority or held positions in government. These actors needed Tshisekedi’s street credibility and popularity as they tried to build a more pragmatic negotiation strategy. At several moments, tension within the Rassemblement was palpable as the G7 tried to manage the unpredictability of the platform’s leader.

Continue reading on African Arguments

By Hans Hoebeke and Richard Moncrieff

Hans Hoebeke and Richard Moncrieff are respectively Senior Analyst for Congo and Central Africa Project Director of International Crisis Group, the independent conflict prevention organisation.

Credit picture: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

Elections in 2017 – can the African Union up its game?

The presidential elections that took place in Benin and Ghana in 2016 were thankfully peaceful and transparent. If it hadn’t been for the polls that led to a change of leadership in these two West African countries, last year would have been defined almost exclusively by its contested election outcomes. The African Union’s Department of Political Affairs could play a leading role in keeping this year’s elections free and fair. 

Across the continent, from Gabon to Zambia and from Chad to Uganda, incumbent presidents clung to power amid widespread accusations of fraud, manipulation of electoral processes and blanket restrictions on social media.

The list of 2017 elections published by the African Union’s (AU) Department of Political Affairs is much shorter than that of 2016, with only two presidential elections (in Rwanda and Liberia) and two general elections (Kenya and Angola) that could see the appointment of a new president. To this list should be added the election of a new president in Somalia, postponed to this month, and presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – now to be held in December 2017.

The AU sends observer missions to all these elections – there were 19 in total in 2016 – but is often accused of merely rubber-stamping the results, regardless of whether they are free or fair.

In an interview with the Institute for Security Studies’ PSC Report towards the end of last year, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Aisha Abdullahi, said that the AU has improved its system of observing elections by looking more comprehensively at a country’s political situation ahead of elections. It follows a “multi-pronged approach” that includes sending pre-election assessment missions ahead of time – and not only a day or two before the polls, she says. In that way, it can assess whether the playing field was level before voting day, which it very often isn’t.

On paper, this approach looks excellent. However, such long-term observation missions are very expensive and the AU often has to rely on donor funding to do this.

The many other factors that are also at play in the interaction between the AU and its member states mean that these missions are often of little consequence.

In Gabon, for example, AU observers made a comprehensive statement noting imbalances in media coverage of the various candidates; the lack of full participation by civil society; and a refusal by some electoral staff to allow observers to enter polling stations on voting day. This preceded the post-election crisis of August and September 2016, in which opposition leader Jean Ping challenged the victory of the incumbent Ali Bongo. The report, however, got very little attention.

On the other hand, the European Union (EU) observer mission – which said much of the same in the run-up to the polls – made sure they captured the media spotlight to promote their analysis and criticism of the process. The EU has a long history of independent election observation.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council subsequently also became involved in the post-election crisis in Gabon and requested the AU Commission to send “eminent members from high Francophone jurisdictions” to Libreville to assist its Constitutional Court in arbitrating in the election dispute. This never happened, and Ping lost his battle to have the results overturned.

In the end, and this is likely to be the case again in 2017, any strong continental action about disputed results largely depends on the political will of the regional organisation dealing with the matter.

Last year, three of the most contested elections (in Gabon, Chad and the Republic of Congo), took place in Central Africa, where the regional organisation, the Economic Community of Central African States, is hardly functioning.

Continue reading on ISS Today

By Liesl Louw-Vaudran

The market decides if we are free

Before Nana Akufo-Addo’s inauguration as Ghana’s new President, the Financial Times sent its Africa correspondent to interview him. Akufo-Addo won Ghana’s presidential elections, on  December 7, 2016, by a wide margin over incumbent John Dramani Mahama. The Financial Times report follows the typical prescription for foreign-correspondents-commenting-on-African-elections. Read it if you are bored.

With slight condescension it uses the specter of corruption to frame the country’s political legacy. It wonders-warns about how the new leader will fare in a climate of political uncertainty. It fake-commands that he “must make good” on his promises. Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) is glossed as “left-leaning” and Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a “center-right wealthy technocrat,” who is too rich to be corrupted.

The backhanded endorsement of Akufo-Addo comes not because of his skill or political courage, but because he already has enough money, which seems a willfully simplistic misunderstanding of the links between aesthetics and politics. The Financial Times’s focus on the personal characteristics and power of individuals and outdated tropes of African political fragility distract from the structural conditions of the Ghanaian state and, globally, the increasingly tenuous relationship between electoral politics and economics.

As both presidential candidates themselves pointed out, Ghanaian political-economic actors are limited in their ability to change conditions because of massive debt and the influence that foreign investors and loan-makers have over national production, consumption, and infrastructure. Even for the Financial Times, all that matters are macroeconomic indicators of fiscal stability. Understanding its ability to service debt and return on investment are the main reasons that most foreign observers are interested in Ghana.

There are substantive differences between Ghana’s two main political parties rooted in their respective histories, but to call the NDC left-leaning and the NPP center-right today distracts from the global power of free market thinking. Akufo-Addo’s NPP is the political descendant of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), which invited Kwame Nkrumah to lead the independence movement against British rule in the 1940s. The NPP follows its forebearers’ legacy with its explicit orientation towards facilitating free market capital through a decentralized state.

Nkrumah’s radical call for “Self-government Now” led to a split with the capitalist oriented UGCC that continues today. Nkrumahists wanted a centralized, socialist state; this radical position was later taken up by NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings, who led two coups d’etat in 1979 and 1983 and was later elected president in 1992 when Ghana returned to democratic rule.

But Ghana entered into a Structural Adjustment Program in 1983, when Rawlings was still a purportedly left-leaning military leader. And since then state policy under various governments has been shaped by the goals of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) which advocate trickle-down development – making the country appear as a reliable place for foreign investment and loan repayment.

Continue reading on Africa is a country

Jesse Weaver Shipley

The struggle for moral authority in Zimbabwe

One of the most remarkable protest acts in Zimbabwe in 2016 was a little-publicized act by a small group of female Christian worshippers who dressed up in sacks, and prayed and wailed for three days. It was indicative of a year replete with seemingly symbolic and performative acts of defiance against President Robert Mugabe and the ruling party ZANU-PF’s chokehold on power.

In mid-2016, preacher Evan Mawarire started a campaign that startled the regime. Mawarire posted a video on Youtube of himself, swaddled in Zimbabwe’s national flag and lamenting the country’s state of affairs. Perhaps in spite of himself, he had gone straight to the heart of the beast.

His words and actions appealed immediately to Zimbabweans’ moral sensibilities. Following Mawarire’s post, various other movements – mostly launched through social media – mustered courage and confronted the state using different tactics. Some organized saucepan-clanging marches, prayer meetings, dressed up in academic regalia and played street football or just sat, looking idle on the streets.

The actions injured the ego of a regime that prides itself in ruling over one of Africa’s most educated populations; the message of “graduates,” in particular, was unequivocal: “We are graduates today, rovha mangwana ([and]loafers tomorrow).” These actions, while seemingly eschewing direct confrontation with a notoriously brutal state machinery, effectively challenged the moral authority of the regime. The last thing the Zimbabwe regime wants to surrender to anyone, even before the national airport, is its guardianship of the post-independence moral narratives and symbols and the authority that comes with them.

After independence from British colonial rule in 1980, Robert Mugabe moved swiftly to consolidate his hold on the political and historical landscape narratives and imaginations of the country. Monuments were built to commemorate fallen war combatants and civilians of the independence war. Besides Independence Day, other days were also set aside for commemoration of the war and its heroes.

Particular care was taken in ensuring that the war narrative, national days and associated emblems, such as the national flag, were closely related to President Mugabe and the ruling party. It’s no exaggeration that Independence Day in Zimbabwe today is associated, not with a national embrace of a  nation, and the journeys Zimbabweans have travelled together, but with the ruling party’s reaffirmation of its perceived one-sided heroism, moral hegemony and authority.

Mawarire prayerful lamentation and use of the national flag on Independence Day was a radical political action indeed: A flag sans the meanings attributed to it, we are reminded by social theorist Emile Durkheim, is just but a piece of cloth, but as a societal emblem, it is imbued with a moral force that galvanizes collective sentiments and exerts moral demands on individuals in society. His action hit the regime square in the face. The national outpouring and support that followed Mawarire’s Youtube post and his subsequent persecution, became for many not only a civic duty, but also a higher moral one. For the regime, it was an extreme challenge to its moral authority and the backlash was immediate. Mawarire had to skip the country into exile.

Continue reading on Africa is a country

By Melusi Nkomo