news analysis advocacy
tips on searching
   the web  


AfricaFocus Bulletins with Material on Politics and Human Rights - 2005

Select another time period: All Years | 2003-2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

Nov 17, 2005  Tunisia: Free Expression Protest
    Tunisia, which is currently hosting the World Summit on the Information Society, is one of the most advanced African countries in provision of information infrastructure. But it also systematically represses internal dissent and blocks access to websites critical of the government. As the summit opened this week, Tunisian human rights activists were on hunger strike and international activists were protesting the government's refusal to allow freedom of expression.

Nov 13, 2005  Nigeria: Delta Oil & Human Rights
    Ten years after the execution of human rights campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues by the Nigerian government, the issues of human rights and environmental devastation in the oil-producing Niger Delta remain unresolved. Despite the return to civilian rule in 1999 and pledges by oil companies to implement voluntary corporate responsibility standards, new reports by Environmental Rights Action and Amnesty International document only limited action to correct abuses and deliver benefits to the residents of the oil-producing areas.

Oct 10, 2005  Liberia: Elections Necessary, Not Enough
    With frontrunners including soccer star George Weah and experienced international official and banker Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberians are set to choose among 22 candidates for president as well as new legislators. "This country has to finish with war," a shopkeeper in Monrovia told a New York Times reporter as the election approached. Despite hopes for a new start, however, both Liberians and international observers are well aware that much more is needed beyond elections.

Jul 28, 2005  Zimbabwe: Housing Tsunami Continues
    Despite a devastatingly critical report by UN-HABITAT Director Anna Tibaijuka, the government of Zimbabwe is continuing its drive to destroy "illegal" housing and shops that is estimated to have made at least 700,000 people homeless in the last two months. Zimbabweans, rejecting the government's term Operation Murambatsvina ("Clean Out Garbage") compare the assault on the country's poor to a "tsunami."

Jul 13, 2005  Africa: G8 Reaction, Perspectives
    "Outside of British officialdom," writes Sanjay Suri of Inter Press Service from the Gleneagles summit, "celebrations of increased G8 aid for Africa were confined mostly to a population of two - rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono." Non-governmental groups in the Make Poverty History campaign, in contrast, were generally skeptical.

Jun 18, 2005  Ethiopia: On the Edge
    Despite the announced release of 336 detainees in Ethiopia on June 17, and renewed agreement by opposition and government parties to await the results of investigations of election fraud, tension continues high both in the capital and in many other areas of the country. Critics charge that the international community is downplaying government repression because of the strategic importance of the country.

May 30, 2005  Ethiopia: Election Reports, Commentary
    Provisional results from the national election board show a majority for the ruling party in Ethiopia's May 15 parliamentary election, but also significant gains for opposition groups, particularly in the capital Addis Ababa. Initial reports from observers had highlighted the high turnout (over 90%) and the relative calm of election day. However, opposition parties are also claiming victory, with many charges of fraud yet to be investigated. Critics have charged the international community with turning a blind eye to intimidation and fraud by the government.

Apr 30, 2005  Africa: Security Council Expansion
    Debate is heating up on expansion of the United Nations Security Council to 24 members. Under one of two options proposed by a highlevel panel on UN reform in December and by Secretary General Kofi Annan last month, there would be six new permanent seats, two for Africa. The proposals are to be discussed this year, but disputes over details mean that further delays are very likely.

Apr 18, 2005  Zimbabwe: Election Fraud Report
    A new report from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe, released on April 12, has presented detailed evidence of bias and outright fraud in the March 31 elections. In particular, the report details allegations of ballot-stuffing sufficient to change election results in at least 20 constituencies. This would shift the balance of directly elected seats from 78-41 in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF to 61-58 in favor of the MDC.

Mar 2, 2005  Zimbabwe: Solidarity Newsletter
    "The Zimbabwean elections of 2000 and 2002 deepened the political crisis, rather than contributing to a progressive resolution. Since 2002 democratic space has been further eroded. What Zimbabwe needs now is not another gravely flawed election but a SADC-facilitated negotiated transition towards democracy." - Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference, South Africa, February 24-25, 2005

Feb 28, 2005  Togo: Peer Pressure Plus
    Less than a day after the African Union imposed sanctions demanding a return to constitutional legality in Togo, Faure Gnassingbe stepped down from the presidential post he had assumed after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema three weeks ago. Virtually unanimous condemnation was followed by sanctions from Togo's West African neighbors and from the continent-wide organization. This sent the unmistakable message, in the words of one commentator's headline, that there would be "no business as usual for Baby Eyadema."

Feb 11, 2005  Kenya: Corruption Fight Stalling
    The resignation of respected anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo from the Kenyan government has touched off new political furor that seems certain to escalate in coming weeks. In its two years in office, President Mwai Kibabi's government has initiated numerous anti-corruption investigations. But there is widespread skepticism that it has the will to deal with high-level corruption within its own ranks.

Jan 26, 2005  Nigeria: Human Rights Report Released
    The long-awaited report of the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission, completed in May 2002 after two years of public hearings, has now been made public, not by the Nigerian government but by civil society organizations. In December 2004, given the Supreme Court rulingt that the panel's original mandate was unconstitutional, the government said it was not planning to publish the wide-ranging report, which is popularly known as the Oputa report after the name of the panel's chairman, retired Chief Justice Chukwudifu A. Oputa.

Jan 12, 2005  Africa: Beyond the Ballot
    Whatever policies are needed to address Africa's crises, it is increasingly clear to donors, civil society, and politicians alike that capable states are essential for implementing those policies. The current catch-phrase "good governance" has many possible meanings in practice. How to achieve it is even more debatable. But there is wide agreement that free and fair elections are just the beginning.