UN visits KZN to strengthen electoral democracy in Africa

by Benice BurgerAugust 3, 2017

Delegates from 24 African countries, who are representatives of the United Nations’ electoral management body, have paid a visit to KwaZulu-Natal to strengthen electoral democracy in Africa.

The main purpose was to interact with members of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature which has had to deal with political tensions. KwaZulu-Natal has achieved political stability, despite many years of political strife, before the first democratic elections. Some legislature members were part of the peace efforts in those years.

Deputy Speaker Meshack Hadebe says: “We go and address communities to say we are behind the peace process where the national president of the IFP says put down your arms, the leaders of the ANC say the same things; we also go to the hotpot areas before anybody died.”

The delegates have just completed, Unisa’s intensive four-week academic programme, the management of democratic elections in Africa. It’s aimed at strengthening democratic electoral systems in Africa.

The continent is plagued by the absence of political succession through the ballot box and the weakness of institutions which manage elections. Most African states battle with the lack of resources to hold elections.

Liberian delegate Michael Clarke says: “We have our presidential elections this year and our challenge is finances. The United Nations in its peace keeping mission managed to finance elections in 2015 and 2011; our majors’ challenge is getting finances going.”

In strengthening its own democratic electoral system South Africa has established partnerships with role-players.   Observer missions have also supported the delivery of democratic elections.

Source: http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/9e4c52004218eb838852dc66f9b1a2e0/UN-visits-KwaZulu-Natal-to-strengthen-electoral-democracy-in-Africa-20170802

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Benice Burger