Crisis of democracy in Africa

Published on Pambazuka News, by Dibussi Tande, January 13, 2011.

Post-election Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan’s referendum, public demonstrations in Tunisia and the nature of poverty in Haiti feature in this week’s round-up of the African blogosphere, by Dibussi Tande. The African Blog laments about the continued failure of the democratic process and elections in Africa:

‘We have seen elections in Zimbabwe and Kenya that have produced no winner or loser, giving these two terms their literal meaning. Laurent Gbagbo is currently trying his luck in Cote d’Ivoire, and why not? … //

The Chia Report: Julius Fondong, a former UN Civil Affairs Officer in Haiti and The Chia Report, contributor writes about the Haiti that the media never tells us about: 

‘Haiti has a major private airline company that operates 28 flights to 8 different destinations on a daily basis. I don’t know of any private indigenous company in Sub Saharan Africa with such a track record.

‘All major Haitian banks have well developed internet banking systems, unlike a country like Cameroon where none of its indigenous banks offers online banking services. Internet access in Haiti is easier and cheaper than in a country like South Africa…

‘In matters of individual and civil liberties and press freedom, Haiti is far advanced than most developing countries I know of. There are more than 500 private radio stations in Haiti. Spread nationwide, the bulk of them are in Port au Prince and some regional metropolis. All of Haiti’s 140 communes boast of an average 2 radio stations and at least one TV station, all of which are managing to stay on the air in spite of irregular electricity supply.

‘This is a mammoth achievement as compared to a country like Cameroon which accounts for less than a handful of licensed radio stations and over a dozen community radio stations that owe their existence to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and local councils, which are exempted from licenses and have pledged to air no political content. In Haiti, press censorship is virtually unknown, unlike in most France-Afrique countries where administrative censorship is still common place.

‘I know it’s difficult to think differently of yourself when everyday you’re being told or being reminded of how poor and miserable and pitiful you are. It literally dissipates your sense of pride and self-worth. So you start being apologetic about your circumstances. This is the kind of stigma most Haitian youths have had to deal with all their lives. Poverty is a social condition, no doubt, but it can also be a state of mind. In Haiti it’s both a social condition and a state of mind.’ (full text).

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