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“The Future of Democracy in Europe and Africa”

 

 

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The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) invites you to the Rethinking Development  seminar on the topic “The Future of Democracy in Europe and Africa” Presented by Professor Leonardo Morlino.

Leonardo Morlino is Professor of Political Science and Deputy Vice Chancellor at LUISS University, Italy. He’s one of the world’s leading experts of democracy and democratization and was President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) (2009‐12). He is the author of more than 30 books and more than 200 journal essays and book chapters published in English, French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Chinese, Mongolian, and Japanese. His most recent books include Changes for Democracy (Oxford UP, 2011). He was also one of the three editors of the International Encyclopedia of Political Science (8 voll., Sage Publications, 2011), which won the Honorable Mention of Darthmouth Medal for reference publishing in all domains of knowledge. Morlino is directing a new research project on the impact of the global economic crisis on democracy.

Date: Monday, 24 October 2016
Time: 17:30‐19:30
Venue: GovInn Headquarters, Old College House, University of Pretoria Main Campus (Hatfield). Building no. 24 on the attached map.
RSVP essential: contact Neil Kasselman (neil.kasselman@governanceinnovation.org) by 20 October 2016.

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Sifting through the hype: The 2016 local elections — analysis and implications

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The Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria will be hosting a panel discussion, “Sifting through the hype: The 2016 local elections — analysis and implications” on Tuesday 13 September 2016 in the Department seminar room (21-16). Speakers include Mr Ebrahim Fakir of the Electoral Institute of South Africa and Ms Sithembile Mbete of UP Department of Political Sciences. They will be joined by the departments Ms Nompumelelo Runji. The seminar begins at 11:30 and for RSVP’s please contact wilma.martin@up.ac.za.

“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

The South African Land Observatory

Land governance and access to information

GovInn welcomes the opening of the South African Land Observatory (SALO), an initiative that promotes  evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa.

SALO offers people and organisations an accessible, open-data and open-source online hub for informed debate and interaction. The initiative makes user-friendly land-based information available to all stakeholders with the aim of creating an informed land community in South Africa, through facilitating access to data, information and networking. It is a one-stop help desk for the land community to debate the pressing questions of land ownership and land use in South Africa.

The platform, as it is seen now, is only a starting point. The website is participatory, populated through crowd-sourcing information for accuracy and updating by relevant stakeholder participants. We invite you to join the land community for debates, information exchange and networking for a participatory governance of land: Contribute here!

A pro-active process to introduce SALO to land stakeholders in South Africa and to engage with them in developing the land community will follow shortly.

SALO is supported by the Flemish Cooperation and hosted by the University of Pretoria, through the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development. A small dedicated team of researchers, data and communication specialists created it and keep it constantly updated. Learn more about the South African Land Observatory 

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.

 

“The state of Ubuntu in South Africa: driver of change or buzzword?” 23 Nov 2015

On Monday 23 November, The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, in conjunction with the Department of Political Science at the University of Pretoria, hosted a one day public discussion to position the state of Ubuntu in South Africa. The meeting was attending my many well known academic and independent thinkers on the subject of Ubuntu, and below we have short gallery.

To see the full programme click here.

 

 

John Boik

Rebooting Democracy Foreign Policy

“Rebooting Democracy” on Foreign Policy 16.03.2015

This week on Foreign Policy  Lorenzo Fioramonti, John Boik and Gary Milante discuss why our current democratic systems may be failing us and what democracy can look like in the near future:

“If forms of government can be likened to operating systems, current variants of democracy are a bit like early, primitive versions of Windows. They are neither optimally functional nor user-friendly — they are buggy, susceptible to malware, and lack desired features.

While our democratic systems have brought us far, they appear incapable of solving complex modern problems like recurring global financial crises,rising inequality, climate change, and various forms of resource depletion. Even the most established democracies are failing to deliver public goods: the U.S. Society of Civil Engineers recently issued a grade of D+ on the condition of U.S. roads, bridges, water systems, schools, and other infrastructure. Not unexpectedly, the approval rating of the U.S. Congress is at a near-historic low of 20 percent.

The versions of democracy attempted by newly democratizing nations have been even less effective. The democratic system imported by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-4, for example, was really no different from British mandate arrangements tried in the 1920s. The U.S. occupation provided an illusion of democracy, but with little functionality underneath — like a corrupted version of Windows that shows a static desktop but runs no programs. Several years later, in response to the Arab Spring, democracy transfer failed again.

The most powerful pro-democracy wave since the end of the Cold War resulted in precious little new participatory governance.

The failings were not due to a “clash of civilizations,” as Huntington famously argued. There is nothing inherent to democracy that makes it incompatible with the Arab or any other culture. Rather, the failings resulted from promotion of form over substance — replicating an image of democracy rather than a functional, inclusive, accountable decision-making system that is adapted to local needs. If democratic initiatives in the Arab world and elsewhere are to evolve and mature, it will be because expressions of democracy have markedly improved. We are suggesting that democratic systems are due for a major upgrade, and that new, more flexible versions will allow for community programming — refinement of a system by the very people who use it.”

So, what’s next for democracy? Read the full article on Foreign Policy

 

Names and democracy in Southern Africa: the tale of two presidents

GovInn Researcher Chris Nshimbi compares the democratization processes of Zambia and Malawi on his latest post for the Nordic Africa Institut of Uppsala, Sweden.

“A few days after celebrating 50 years of independence in October, Zambia relived a sad history: the death of a second incumbent president to die in office in the space of six years.

Zambia is once again appearing as a beacon of peace in a violent and conflict ridden continent. However, the proof shall be in the transition with elections to be held 90 days after the president’s demise.

There are interesting comparisons to be made with neighbouring Malawi—the story less told about the successes of the evolving democratization in southern Africa.

Southern Africa needs committed politicians and senior bureaucrats that transcend personal interests to apply the principles of democracy and seek the firm establishment of state institutions.”

Read the full article on the Nordic Africa Development Policy Forum

Partnership to Explore New Funding Sources for Innovators

leddaThe European Social Innovation Research website features the LEDDA partnership this week.

This first-of-its-kind partnership is envisioned as a global, diverse set of academic, civil society, government, business, and philanthropy groups focused on ushering a new, parallel economic system through the development and pilot trial phases.

says Georg Mildenberger in his article.

“The economic system, called the Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) framework, or synonymously, LEDDA economic direct democracy, represents a rethinking of economic purpose and money. Among other things, it uses money as a democratic voting tool, and distributes voting power by increasing and equalizing incomes. This is a local economic system designed to complement and compete with existing systems within local (city or regional) economies.

A LEDDA itself is a membership-based, community benefit association open to residents, businesses, schools, nonprofits, local governments, public services, and others that choose to participate. Each LEDDA governs its own local framework through an online direct democracy process, and all LEDDAs are networked together within a global association.

The LEDDA framework is comprehensive, including as elements a novel local electronic currency, intellectual property pool, financial system, online direct democracy governance system, socially responsible business model, and buy local program. According to Boik, who outlines the framework in his 2014 book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being, “the framework diversifies, strengthens, and infuses a local economy with democracy, and in so doing empowers residents to address local and global issues of interest.”

One key characteristic is that the LEDDA framework employs new motivations for economic decision-making. Rather than focusing attention on strict self-interest (by rewarding individuals who strive for higher corporate profits and investor returns), it focuses attention on cooperation, via a process of maximizing community well-being. A LEDDA assesses and forecasts social, economic, and environmental well-being using modern data collection and computer modeling tools. It uses the results to guide decision-making, especially in the LEDDA financial system, called the Crowd-Based Financial System (CBFS)”.

Know more about the CBFS and read the full article on the SIR website