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“Zimbabwe is reaching a breaking point”, by Eric Manyonda and Ruth Murambadoro

by Eric Manyonda and Ruth Murambadoro, GovInn senior researcher

On the 24th of August 2016 the Zimbabwe Republic Police clashed with protesters over a planned demonstration led by a coalition of opposition parties and the civil society.

Since the birth of the citizens’ movement, #ThisFlag earlier this year, there has been an increase in sporadic outbursts of citizens demanding the government to deliver on its election promises. As such, the citizens who in spite of their political affiliations joined forces and launched a mega demonstration on the 24th of August through which they demanded the president Mr RG Mugabe to step down.
Initially the police had attempted to block the protest by rejecting the clearance application that had been made by the protesting parties in accordance with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). According to the POSA, any groups of people intending on holding a meeting are required to notify the police of the event and get permission. This according to the Act, is done to protect and prevent the gatherings from turning violent. Upon notice of the ‘Mega demo’ the police rejected the application citing lack of manpower to monitor the event. Opposition parties however sought the intervention of the high court, which acted in their favour by overturning the decision of the police. Armed with the high court ruling the opposition parties went ahead with their planned demonstration and launched the Mugabe Must Go Now campaign.

Zimbabwe Unrest 2016

To their dismay, the peaceful protestors were caught up in the crossfire as police had been deployed heavily armed to attack and disrupt the protest. The innocent protestors were forced to run for their lives while the police fired water cannons, teargas and even button sticks to disperse the crowds. The dire situation also agitated some already desperate protestors who retaliated to the police attacks by torching police vehicles, looting and launching attacks on businesses in the city, thereby escalating the violence to unprecedented levels. By Friday the violence had intensified pushing the government to increase the police force and even deployed the military, a phenomenon that last occurred in Zimbabwe during the food riots of 1998.

Though a state of emergency has not yet been declared, the military is now guarding the capital city Harare and some parts of the country are under heavy security surveillance. It appears as if Zimbabwe has reached its breaking point and the government is desperately trying to prevent the Arab Spring phenomenon.

All pictures by Eric Manyonda

“Electorates are losing faith in representative democracy” Business Day, 26.04.16

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.33.51 AM

In his latest op ed for Business Day Live GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti considers representative democracy in light of the current global political environment. Is representative democracy really a good ‘fit’ for governance of a state? Does representative democracy allow for real representation? Moreover does it assist economic development and can it allow for fruitful participation by voters in their own governance beyond merely exercising their “civic duty”? Read more here.

The eventswas co-hosted by SIWI, GovInn and the WRC

Rethinking Development Seminar: ‘The power of community: Water security in times of scarcity’

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation hosted the Rethinking Development seminar titled ‘The power of community: Water security in times of scarcity’, together with the Stockholm International Water Institute and the Water Research Commission. Mr. Rajendra Singh, The Water Man of India, presented his work on community-led initiatives to conserve water:

Rajendra Singh is a well-known water conservationist. Also known as “Water Man of India”, he won the Stockholm Water Prize in 2015. Previously, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001 for his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management. He has been instrumental in fighting slow bureaucracy and  mining lobbies and has helped villagers take charge of water management in their semi-arid areas through the use of ‘johad’, rainwater storage tanks, check dams and other time-tested as well as path-breaking techniques. He is one of the members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) under the Indian Ministry of the Environment. In 2008, The Guardian named him as one of the “50 people who could save the planet”.

Please find the pictures taken at this seminar below.

 

Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking in Austria about political alternatives to a GDP-focused world

VIDEO: Beyond GDP and political alternatives

Watch GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking about political alternatives to a GDP-focused world at an event hosted by Impulszentrum Zukunftsfähiges Wirtschaften on 9 October 2015, in Graz, Austria.

Disability statistics for inclusive development in SADC member countries

IMG_4926On July 21-22 2015, GovInn and the UNESCO-UNU Chair on Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People, in partnership with the African Disability Alliance (ADA), hosted a workshop for practitioners from statistical offices, departments of social development and non-governmental organizations from southern Africa and member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to address some challenges in and provide a platform for the SADC region to share best practices on disability statistics and the development of expertise in methodologies of measurement of populations with disability.

The workshop, under the title ‘Strengthening Capacity for Disability Measurement across Africa’, brought together Bureaus of Statistics and Departments of Labour and Social Development, and Disability Federations from eight of the 15 member states of SADC as well as international organizations including, Christoffel Blindernmission (CBM), the European Union (EU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The workshop, further, sought to benefit from ILO expertise in exploring ways in which statistics and research could enhance equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

After two days of presentations and deliberations, the participants compiled a list of recommendations that identified practical ways for improving the quality and type of data collected on persons with disabilities in the SADC region through data collection methods such as national censuses, demographic and health surveys (DHS), quarterly labour force surveys (QLFS), etc. Download the workshop report here.

“Regionalising African civil societies: Lessons, opportunities and constraints” Workshop in Uppsala, Sweden

The workshop, held in Uppsala in October 2014, gathered participants from African NGOs and researchers working on regionalisation and civil society issues. This provided a unique opportunity to engage in conversations about research and practice. During the two days, we moved from an initial emphasis on the role of civil society
in regional integration and the regionalisation of civil society itself, to questioning the idea of the region
as a territory, as a space for political action, for economic activities and for identity and belonging.
GovInn Andreas Godsäter was one of the keynote speakers at the event.

Uppsala-workshop-on-regionalising-African-civil-societies_final-report

Download the full report here

Measuring the Enabling Environment of Civil Society: A Global Capability Index

Voluntas JournalMeasuring the Enabling Environment of Civil Society: A Global Capability Index
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
April 2015, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 466-487

  • Lorenzo Fioramonti, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Olga Kononykhina, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany

 

Abstract

During the last two decades, there have been various attempts at measuring and assessing the health of civil society. Some have focused almost exclusively on ‘counting’ the nonprofit, while others have assessed the strength of nongovernmental organizations. Yet, these sectors are just a small part of a much larger environment. Moreover, they are the result of Western conceptualizations of civil society, thus not very helpful for one to understand civic participation in non-Western settings. Taking stock of these fundamental issues, this article presents the conceptual framework and methodology of a new global index to measure the ‘enabling environment’ of civil society, rather than its forms and institutional contours.

Given the inherent diversity of civil societies worldwide, which defies any attempt at developing predetermined definitions, understanding the conditions that support civic participation becomes the most important objective for those interested in promoting a strong civil society arena.

The index was launched by CIVICUS in late 2013 with the name of enabling environment index and covers over 200 countries and territories, making it the most ambitious attempt ever made at measuring civil society worldwide.

Civil Society and World Regions

Civil society and world regions

 

Civil Society and World Regions
How Citizens Are Reshaping Regional Governance in Times of Crisis

Edited by Lorenzo Fioramonti

Contributions by Chukwudi David Anyanwu; Mercedes Botto; Alan Collins; Antonio Fiori; Andréas Godsäter; Okechukwu C. Iheduru; Sunhyuk Kim; Helen E.S. Nesadurai; Marco Pinfari; Jan Aart Scholte and Andy Storey

(Lexington Books, 2015)

Supranational regionalism and regional integration have for a long time been top-down processes, led by the few and imposed on the many. The role of citizens, especially those active in civil society, has been neglected by scholars, students, and commentators of regionalism. In reaction to the prevalence of these top-down models, a “new regionalism” approach has proliferated in the past few years. This book aims to further develop such a research agenda by providing an up-to-date overview of the contribution of civil society to world regionalism, from Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This is not only relevant as a research topic; it is also of critical importance from a political standpoint. As regions across the world experience prolonged governance crises, it becomes paramount to understand the extent to which these new regional formations actually reflect the interests and needs of their people. While old regionalism was accepted as a de facto elite-driven byproduct of both the Cold War and neoliberal globalization, the twenty-first-century regionalism—if it is to survive—will need to refocus its objectives through new forms of participation and inclusion. Regions without citizens are unlikely to stand the test of time, especially in times of crises.

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS)

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS) 

Regionalism has been traditionally analyzed through a top-down lens, generally emphasizing the role of governmental elites, political parties and – to a lesser extent – business associations and epistemic communities. By contrast, civil society has received limited attention by scholars of regionalism in spite of the critical role it can play in strengthening the legitimacy of regional governance. In the past few years, NGOs, social movements, advocacy groups, trade unions and civic associations have been able to exert a growing influence on decision-making at the regional level. This role has been amplified not only by the introduction of specific policy channels and tools (e.g. the non-state actors programme at the EU level, the African Peer Review Mechanism at the AU level, etc.) but also by the desire of citizens to make their voices heard in an arena traditionally dominated by technocrats and lobbyists. The RICS project aims to bring together well-known scholars, civic activists and practitioners to discuss how civil society has contributed and can contribute to shaping regionalism in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Through a major international seminar led by members of the Research Unit for Euro-African Studies, the EU Studies Association of Southern Africa and the UNESCO Chair on Regional Integration (all based at the University of Pretoria), RICS will investigate the role of civil society in ‘building regions from below’ by providing a series of comparative studies. Particular emphasis will be placed on civic-driven responses to the current Euro-crisis and lessons that other regions can learn from these recent events.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Programme.