Unless African ruling elites overcome their obsession that regular elections where the winner takes all is the main measure of democracy, the orgy of violence such as that over disputed elections in Kenya will be repeated elsewhere on the continent.
Western donors, with their requirements that elections are enough to warrant aid, have helped along this limited view of democracy. Zimbabwe is staging its long-awaited presidential election this weekend, with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF so blatantly rigging the elections that the outcome risks similar violence.
Caught between its position recognising Tibet as part of China and growing pressure from pro-Western lobbies within its policy-making elites to support protests by Tibetan separatists, the Indian government is hard put to define a coherent stand on developments across its border.
Since rioting broke out in Lhasa on Mar.14, India has vacillated between expressing "distress" at the "unsettled situation and violence" in Tibet, exerting pressure on the 100,000-strong Tibetan community exiled in India to show restraint, and reassuring Beijing that its stated policy on Tibet remains unch
While the move brokered by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a coalition government under which the contending parties will share power has brought peace to Kenya, and has been widely welcomed, the initiative is not without its problems, especially in terms of governance. Antony Otieno Ong'ayo examines some of these.
While the tensions and apprehension as a result of the post-election violence in Kenya subside, focus is now placed on the newfound relationship between the antagonists during the 2007 elections.
The voter has severely punished the PML-Q's stalwarts, including a galaxy of former Ministers and Pakistan's most venal and shrewd politicians. They belong to well-entrenched "political families" with strong clan and kinship connections. They know which side of the bread is buttered and typically win all elections -- no matter on whose ticket. Their ignominious defeat clarifies the central meaning of the results.
The message for Musharraf is simple. He asked the people to vote for his supporters. They resoundingly rejected his appeal.
The vote against the ruling coalition headed by the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a puppet of Gen Pervez Musharraf, is a referendum against the establishment, including the army, and a vote for democracy.
The Pakistani people, long chided, cheated, and put down by military rulers, have emphatically affirmed their democratic sovereignty and delivered a stinging verdict against the ruling coalition headed by the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a puppet of Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Cubans, even in Miami, will admit that Fidel Castro changed their lives. Their departure to the US is testimony to some of the failings of the Cuban revolution, but while Castro remains alive, he will use his agile mind to improve the Caribbean isle's experiment in socialism.
Fidel decided to retire from almost half a century of leadership this week. I saw him last in April 1961. “The worst is over,” he told the person next to me in the hallway.
With two-thirds of the world’s poor rural poor, rural democratisation is clearly relevant and urgent, but at the same time an especially difficult--and underestimated--challenge. If democracy is to be organically rooted in any society, the struggle to “get there” must systematically be opened up to integrate rural poor citizens system-wide, taking stock of their aspirations and, more importantly, their existing efforts to gain control of decision-making affecting their lives.