Malawi: DPP aspirant pledges support for youths

By Martha Chikoti

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspirant for Lilongwe City South West has pledged to support women and youths once elected as a Member of Parliament for the constituency.

The aspirant, Scholastica Chidyaonga, said this at a rally on Sunday held at Sese Ground in the constituency.

She said she wants to change the lives of women by introducing small scale businesses so that they can be independent.

“I know that that our children here walk a long distance to go to school due to shortage of schools and this will be my first thing to bring once elected and not forgetting a Health Centre to curb the problems of inadequate of health facilities,”

Chidyaonga explained.She then urged people who gathered at the place to elect her as legislator and DPP leader Peter Mutharika as president so that the party should continue developing this country.

On Saturday, the party also conducted a rally at Chinsapo at Chisomo Ground aimed at encouraging people to vote for the party come May 21.

Speaking at the occasion, Lilongwe City West aspirant Aggrey Masi said that under the leadership of Democratic Progressive Party he has managed to bring developmental projects such as electricity, tarmac roads and concrete bridges and urged people to re-elect him.

Source Malawi24

South Africa: Will the youth turn up to vote? Let’s not be over-optimistic

By GUGU NONJINGE

In less than two months South Africa will be holding its fifth democratic elections and political parties have hit the ground running with campaigns, hoping to strengthen their voter base.

As generational replacement occurs and younger potential voters enter the system in growing numbers, political parties will ramp up their charm offensives to woo this demographic in the run up to the country’s 5th general elections on May, the 8th.

As the 2019 general elections approach, it is no surprise that the political engagement of the youth has come into emphasis amongst political parties and the media.

Regardless of how they will vote, it is critical for the country’s democratic wellbeing that they become part of the voting public. Young people make up a substantial proportion of the voting age population, which means that their vote can potentially shape the society within they pursue their aspirations.

In light of this, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last year embarked on an extensive campaign to stimulate democratic political participation amongst young people, by launching a digital communication and education campaign which utilises the catch phrase “Xsê” – a play on the Afrikaans phrase “ek sê” meaning “I say”. This campaign primarily served as a vehicle to encourage young people to register and vote in the upcoming general elections.

The campaign seems to have been successful. According to the IEC, over 81% of the new registrations recorded at the final registration weekend in January were under the age of 30. To encourage further voter registration amongst youth, the IEC intensified its registration drives at university campuses and other higher learning institutions.

Although the Commission can be satisfied with the overall registration level, recent research cautions against over optimism about the actual turnout of young people on election day.

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer Survey for South Africa, which was conducted in 2018, show that more than half (53%) of South Africans say they do not feel close to any political party. The comparable figure for the previous round of the survey, which was conducted in 2015, was 23%. When disaggregated by age, the data for the 2018 survey further shows that more than half (59%) of these respondents are below the age of 35.

Youth turnout is not guaranteed and should not be gauged from mere registration numbers. As political parties proceed with launching their manifestos, they must be prepared to innovate in their attempts to address key youth concerns. One such key concern, is the question of skyrocketing youth unemployment. Those who fail to present convincing solutions to this scourge, will also fail to attract the attention of this key demographic.

Other equally pressing issues that affect them include, the state of the country’s public education system, poor delivery of basic services, and crumbling or non-existent infrastructure.

Their turnout at the polls on the 8th of May, should, however, not be seen as a gauge of their interest or apathy.

Most young South Africans acknowledge the importance of voting as a means to bring about the change they want to see. However, they also seek to be made part of the solution. As a country we need to reach common ground with an agreement that any discussions about the future of South Africa needs to include its largest population segment.

This involves their inclusion in leadership positions in areas that directly affect them. Fostering youth leadership primarily requires creating a space for the youth to live up to their full potential and this is what political parties and government should now set out to accomplish leading up to the elections. Failing to draw on this important constituency, will come at the price of prosperity and advancement of the country.

* Gugu Nonjinge is a Project Leader at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Source Voices360

Nigerian Democracy’s Uncertain Future

By Udo Jude Ilo

Last month, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a 76-year-old former military general, won his second term in an election marred by low voter turnout, legal controversy, and violence—which left at least 50 people dead. The outcome of the process was not merely a travesty for Nigeria; it was a warning sign to advocates of democracy and open society everywhere.

Just hours before polls were scheduled to open, the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission postponed the vote by a week. By then, thousands of registered voters had made long journeys to their home districts to cast their ballots and literally could not afford to wait idle for another week. Threats of violence by Islamist extremists, logistical breakdowns, and deliberate intimidation of voters played a role in the low turnout of voters across the country. Worrying cases of intimidation of officials of the election management body added to a pattern of orchestrated attempts at undermining key democracy institutions.

When Muhammadu Buhari won his first election in 2015, he became Nigeria’s first political leader to succeed an incumbent via the ballot box. This was a milestone for multiparty democracy in Africa. The recent election, on the other hand, represents a setback for Nigeria—and for Africa as a whole. Indeed, there is reason to fear that if the decline in standards is not urgently addressed, it could be the beginning of a progressive decline in the quality of elections throughout the region.

In the face of these challenges, civil society groups throughout the country still worked diligently on behalf of Nigerian democracy, partnering with institutions focused on the nuts and bolts of the electoral process. They also developed a so-called threshold document to outline a set of conditions that electoral institutions, political parties, and security agencies must fulfill to give credibility to the electoral process. Despite these laudable efforts, however, there is no denying that, by the standards of an open society, the election was a failure.

What lessons can civil society groups, in Nigeria and beyond, draw from this experience? How can civil society organizations broaden their constituencies and bring leaders from business, labor, and organized religion into campaigns for credible elections? With more than one-third of the world’s population set to vote in elections this year, these are not abstract questions.

First, there must be a comprehensive audit and review of what happened in the 2019 elections. This process must be independent and driven by the Nigerian people (in close collaboration with international experts). It is imperative to identify what went wrong with the electoral process and to examine the influences in Nigerian political society that makes electoral malpractices acceptable.

Second, Nigeria’s government should establish an electoral offenses commission which is empowered to hold accountable those that committed offences during the election process. To be sure, given the government’s obvious interest in avoiding scrutiny, the international community should join with those in Nigeria who are calling for such a commission. The international community should consider sanctioning individuals guilty of inciting electoral violence, as well as applying political pressure to the Nigerian government if it continues to reject accountability.

Along the same lines, and because no real democracy can exist without the rule of law, domestic and international pro-democracy groups should closely monitor President Buhari’s policies with regard to Nigeria’s judicial system, which many observers fear is being compromised by those who want to shield the election results from scrutiny.

Finally, civil society groups in Nigeria must resist the temptation to retreat into apathy and cynicism. We must not forget that serious and systemic change is a long-term process, and that the fruits of today’s efforts may take years to fully ripen. Initiatives focused on bringing more Nigerians—especially young Nigerians—into the political process should be encouraged. The Not Too Young to Run campaign, for example, which was launched by a coalition of youth organizations and successfully lowered Nigeria’s age limit for seeking office, is a crucial investment in changing the dynamic between Nigeria’s citizens and those elected to serve them.

Civil society must work to ensure close collaboration amongst its ranks and consistency in its values. This will help it sustain the respect and trust of the citizens, and it will make mobilization easier in the future. While international organizations and domestic civil society groups have an enormous role to play, ultimately, the country’s political landscape can only be reconfigured by a popular movement of Nigerian voters demanding reform. That is the promise of democracy—in Nigeria, and around the world.

Source Open Society Foundation

Ghana: ‘Stop using zongo youth to cause mayhem’

By Hafsa Obeng

The Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM) has called on politicians to desist from using zongo youth to cause mayhem in the country.

Dr Sheikh Amin Bonsu, the National Chairman of the GMM, urged the youth, especially Muslim youth, to name and shame any politician, groups or individuals who made an attempt to use them for such acts.

“Per Islamic teachings and human wisdom, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be used for such acts. However, if Muslim youths fail to dissociate themselves from such acts, we will have no option than to come together to pressurise them to do so,” he said.

Sheikh Dr Bonsu said this at a press conference, organised by the GMM in Accra, to condemn some wrongs in the society and recommend ways to deal with them.

He condemned the recent attack on the New Times Corporation journalists encouraged them to be bold and prudent in their discharge of their duties.

“The law must deal drastically with anyone who attacks or tries to take away the independence of journalists who are important tools for promoting socio-economic development.”

The Chairman appealed to all nations to avoid violence, terrorism, racism, extremism, murder and all sorts of hate crimes.

Dr Sheikh Bonsu called on security agencies, especially the Ghana Police Service, to be circumspect in the discharge of their duties and to avoid extreme use of force on innocent citizens.

“We also appeal to all Ghanaians to be law abiding and appreciate the work of the Security Agencies, especially the Ghana Police Service, who are always with us on our daily routines,” he said.

On the GMM’s developmental projects, Dr Sheikh Bonsu called on government, politicians, and all Muslims to support its fund raising activities for the construction of a College of Education at Kukuom and similar projects in other regions.

The Ghana Muslim Mission is a non-political association of Muslims aimed at promoting the development agenda of the government and generally contributing to socioeconomic development.

It has over 120 schools nationwide as well as hospitals, technical and vocational training centres.

Source GNA

Nigeria: Yoruba youths react to Adeleke’s victory

By Wale Odunsi

The Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (YCYW) has hailed the declaration of Sen. Adejola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the Sept. 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun State.

NAN quoted President of the youth group, Aremo Hassan, as describing the judgment of the tribunal as a ” true reflection of justice.”

“With sublime heart of joy, we heartily felicitate with His Excellency, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Governor of Osun State, the good people of Osun State, Yoruba Land and Nigeria as a whole, on the special winning today 22nd March,2019 at the Osun State Election Tribunal”, he said in a statement.

“This is indeed a true reflection of justice and will of the people. We salute the courage and tenacity of the Adeleke Family to have stood their ground in the face of monumental adversaries and political intimidation, our own Ominira Osun came into reality.

“We want to use this medium to remind His Excellency that this is not the time for Jamboree but real work of progress must commence in earnest in Osun State as promised during campaigns and that assured us on behalf of the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide,” he said.

Hassan, a legal practitioner said that the group advocated 26 per cent education budgetary allocation.

He also urged Adeleke to focus on economic growth of Osun State as the emerging economic hub of the nation, adding that the group remained steadfast as partners in progress on the quest to salvage the state.

NAN reports that the three-member panel said during its ruling that the rerun election that held on Sept. 27, 2018, was illegal.

The tribunal, therefore, deducted the votes scored by the APC candidate,
Gboyega Oyetola, in the rerun after declaring the rerun illegal.

The tribunal said Adeleke won the election at the first ballot on Sept. 22 and the rerun that INEC devised to reach a final conclusion a week later was illegal.

“The declaration of Oyetola is null and void,” the tribunal ruled in a majority decision with one member dissenting.

Source Daily Post

Adams Urged Nigerian Youths to Support Davido #Defendyourvote

NIGERIA YOUTHS SHOULD SUPPORT DAVIDO #Defendyourvote.jpg
Taribo Echikamadu Adams is a Nigerian who lives in South Korea

By Azugbene Solomon

Taribo Echikamadu Adams is from Rivers State, Nigeria, but based in South Korea.

Adams in a chat with All Africa Youths Platform (AAYP) via their Instagram account @allafricayouthsplatform, Adam’s @edtadam told AAYP to help him pass a message to his fellow Nigerian youths to support Davido’s hashtag advice #DefendYourVote

This is what he said… “My name is Adams, I live in Daejeon, South Korea, am from Rivers State, Nigeria.

“It’s my dream that Africa becomes all that we are meant to be and as her citizens, promote any trust and hope that our leaders are able to effectively and efficiently care out the duties of we they are voted for; not creating tension and bad leadership for the good of her citizens and the younger generation.

“Hence as a Nigerian youth, I wish to promote my support to the guidance of one of Nigerians greatest artist @davidoofficial to encourage and ensure that Nigeria youths elect a leader in the forthcoming elections by the grace and mercies of God.
God bless Africa and God bless Nigeria.” Adams said.

The Presidential elections was postponed by the INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu from the initial date 16th February to 23rd of February 2019.

Source AAYP

Your Right to Vote – All Africa Youths Platform to Nigerian Youths


By Azugbene Solomon


One of the most critical ways that individuals can influence governmental decision-making is through voting.


Voting is a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue. Voting generally takes place in the context of a large-scale national or regional election, however, local and small-scale community elections can be just as critical to individual participation in government.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 21 states:

  • Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Your Rights is at Stake
Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is the key international guarantee of voting rights and free elections, but its provisions are strongly related to other articles, specifically Article 2 (see below). The ICCPR also includes guarantees of freedom of expression (Article 19), assembly (Article 21), association (Article 22), and non-discrimination (Article

AFRICAN UNION (Formerly Organization of African Unity)
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981)
Article 13(1) of the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides that every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in their government.

Protection and Service Agencies
Free and fair elections play a critical role in ensuring voting rights. International and regional governmental groups, along with non-governmental organizations, work around the world to observe and monitor human rights related to elections processes. Several international and regional documents have outlined international standards for elections.

According to the United Nations committee, Article 25’s mandates should be considered in light of the following:

  • Protecting the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote and to be elected.
  • The right of peoples to self-determination.
  • Protecting the rights of every citizen.
  • Any restrictions on voting should be based on objective and reasonable criteria
  • The constitution and other laws should establish the allocation of powers and the means by which individual citizensexercise the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs.
  • Political participation is supported by ensuring freedom of expression, assembly and association.
  • The right to vote in elections and referenda must be established by law.
  • Positive measures should be taken by the government to overcome specific difficulties, such as illiteracy, language barriers, poverty, or impediments to freedom of movement that prevent persons entitled to vote from exercising their rights effectively.
  • Persons entitled to vote have a free choice of candidates.
  • Conditions relating to nomination dates, fees or deposits should be reasonable and not discriminatory.
  • Elections must be conducted fairly and freely on a periodic basis within a framework of laws guaranteeing the effective exercise of voting rights.

The United Nations helps to conducts elections and monitors activities around the world, primarily in fragile democracies of in post-war and nation-building contexts. For example, the UN and OSCE were heavily involved in election monitoring in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they provided training for election monitors and provided police support on election day. UN monitoring activities depend on the needs evident in the particular national context, but can include all of the following:

  • the pre-election preparations and campaign period
  • the electoral administration
  • the registration
  • voter education and information
  • the media
  • the vote
  • the count
  • the results and follow-up.

Reference
The Rights to Vote: University of Minnesota Human Rights Center

Sowore Urged Nigerian Youths to Drop Their Devices


Young Nigerians have been asked to go beyond social media when it comes to holding people in positions of authority accountable.


The call was made by Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), when he spoke on the ‘Holding Government Accountable’ panel at the Social Media Week which held at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He urged the youth to drop their devices and get more involved in national affairs.

Sowore, who is also the founder of the Citizen Journalism platform, Sahara Reporters, said: “I can tell you that nothing has worked as much as social media in Nigeria in terms of holding government accountable, because it is beyond their reach; it is accountability beyond borders. However, I have to say that it has its own downside to the extent that if you think social media has all the power and you don’t do what is necessary next, government starts to adjust to social media.

“So, you must move from revealing everything and holding them accountable, and for you to have the best result, you have to drop your devices and get on your feet. That was why social media was powerful in Egypt, but until the Egyptians dropped their devices, they couldn’t have the Arab Spring.”

Sowore called on young people to work hard by ensuring that they get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), vote and monitor the electoral process to ensure that there is an “Equitorial Spring” in Nigeria that will usher in a new era of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He encouraged “a new generation of Nigerians who are children of democracy”.

“They are the secret to defeating the old brigade. The thing that happened with voters is a planned thing; they know there are 22 million students who are voters, and they had to keep you out of your schools, because they know that you are the angriest Nigerians and you are about to punish them with your votes. Regardless of what they have done to you, please find your way to your polling unit and vote these guys out,” he added.

“I can tell you that nothing has worked as much as social media in Nigeria in terms of holding government accountable, because it is beyond their reach; it is accountability beyond borders. However, I have to say that it has its own downside to the extent that if you think social media has all the power and you don’t do what is necessary next, government starts to adjust to social media. So, you must move from revealing everything and holding them accountable, and for you to have the best result, you have to drop your devices and get on your feet. That was why social media was powerful in Egypt, but until the Egyptians dropped their devices, they couldn’t have the Arab Spring,” Sowore said.


Source Saharareporters


Contending Political Parties Vow to Bring Youth to Leadership Positions in Ethiopia


Contending political parties revealed that they have been exerting efforts to bring the youth to the forefront in order to engage them in high level decision-making and leadership positions.


The contending political parties, two national and one regional, are Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek) and Ethiopian National Movement as well as Arena Tigray Party.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Medrek Chairman Million Tumato said his party is working hard to encourage the youth to actively take part in the leadership of the party.

Nurturing the youth to participate directly in strategizing and meeting the political goal of the party and leading the party is crucial, he noted.

Subsequent to the efforts Medrek has been making in this respect, a certain level of achievement has been registered, according to the chairman.

Million said, “The percentage of youth and women leaders in the party has reached 20 percent. There is of course serious effort to increase the leadership of the youth since almost 70 percent of the population of Ethiopia is youth.”

According to him, democracy and development are unthinkable without the involvement of the youth and women at high level.

The political wing of the youth in the party is created to develop the political leadership and participation of the youth in particular, he pointed out.

Ethiopian National Movement Chairman, Yilkal Getnet said consolidating the involvement of the youth in leadership helps the youth to contribute creatively and utilize their talent in building democracy.

The youth should, therefore, be encouraged to take leadership positions in political parties and contribute creatively to the process of building the parties and democracy at large, he stated.

“In our party we are mainly working to bring the youth and women to leadership positions. We have an internal regulation which focuses on bringing the youth and talented individuals to leadership,” Yilkal added.

He believes that the youth are farsighted and have special talent to achieve their dreams and translate their ideas into reality.

According to Yilkal, creating opportunities for the youth to take part in the political and decision-making processes is very crucial for countries like Ethiopia which aspire to build strong and democratic country.

Arena Tigray Party Chairman, Abraha Desta said young politicians are getting the chance to get involved in high level political decision of the party.

Although the regional party Arena Tigray was established by senior politicians, the leadership is now transferred to the youth, he added.

Abraha said, “We believe that the youth should lead with new political thinking because the political thinking of the 1960s cannot bring democracy and unity. Rather it sows seeds of skepticism, distrust and animosity between political parties. We must bring new political thinking that suits the youth.”


Source ena


IEC’s new campaign resonates with young South Africans


By Palesa Dlamini


South Africa’s youth heeded the call by the Independent Electoral Committee. More than 81% of the more than 700 000 new registrations this past weekend were by people under the age of 30.

An innovative communication and education campaign was launched by the commission in an effort to appeal to young people and encourage them to register and vote in the 2019 national and provincial election. According to the IEC, more than 500 000 young South Africans registered to vote for the first time during the final registration weekend on January 26 and 27.

The campaign uses the catch phrase “Xsê”, a play on the Afrikaans phrase “Ek sê”, which means “I say”, and features young South Africans from all walks of life detailing why they believe it is important for young people to vote in the upcoming elections.

Although this was the final registration drive to take place closest to where people live, the IEC said that its offices would still be open to take applications for anyone who missed the opportunity to vote over the weekend.

“We hope young voters will make use of the short window of opportunity to still register at local IEC offices. Once the elections are proclaimed – expected during February – the voters’ roll will close for these elections,” said the IEC.

“We will be undertaking registration drives at higher learning campuses in early February to boost registrations and will continue our communication and education efforts until the last possible moment.”

With more than 22 000 voter registration stations operational nationwide the IEC said that more than 2 million voters were assisted over the weekend. KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of new registrations.

“Over the past weekend KwaZulu-Natal registered a total of 246 847 new registrations, followed by Gauteng with 236 287 and the Eastern Cape with 130 959,” said the IEC.

“Based on the latest voting age population estimates from Statistics South Africa, the current voters’ roll reflects a total registration by 74.5% of the eligible population.”

Last week City Press reported that from the 10 million-plus South Africans who were eligible to vote but had not registered, about 6.5 million were between the ages of 18 and 30 years.

However, the IEC said that after the final registration weekend on January 26 and 27 these numbers had decreased from nine million and six million respectively.

“We are pleased with the overall registration level which remains high by international standards for countries with a voluntary registration system.”

Acting provincial electoral officer for Gauteng, Thabo Masemola, told City Press that although the province had recorded the second highest number of newly registered voters, after Kwazulu-Natal, young people had come out in their numbers.

“The campaign by the IEC resonated with the youth. In Gauteng alone, about 78% of first time registered people were between the ages of 16 and 29. This was an indication that the young people of South Africa were becoming more pro-active,” he said.

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said that it was essential for the youth to exercise the power they had.

“The youth are very influential in changing the future of the country and as the DA we are aware of that. That is why we want to work hand-in-hand with the youth in order to remove barriers to employment and higher education opportunities,” he said.

EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi echoed these sentiments when he said that citizens who wanted change should take advantage of the opportunity to vote.

“We call on all young people in South Africa to come out in their numbers to vote for the EFF. Young people must take a decision that they will not leave it only to elderly and middle-aged citizens to determine political power and direction of society as it has been the case for the past 25 years,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to announce election dates, which are anticipated to take place in May.


Source News24