“The Contribution of Constitutional Courts to the Democratic Quality of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa” 04/09/2014

Please see the below information on an informal presentation by RegNet PhD Visiting Fellow, Charlotte Heyl.  Charlotte is part of our DAAD Research Exchange Program with the GIGA Institute of African Affairs (Hamburg, Germany) led by Dr. Bjoern Dressel of the Crawford School.

The Contribution of Constitutional Courts to the Democratic Quality of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa
Date/Time:  4th September, Thursday from 3-4:15pm
Venue:  RegNet Meeting room, level 3 Coombs Extension Building

Electoral processes in Sub-Saharan Africa are prone to electoral irregularities. Reoccurring and unsanctioned irregularities shake the confidence of voters and candidates in the electoral process and can thus jeopardize the voters’ willingness to participate in elections as well as the elections’ competitiveness and legitimacy. Impartial electoral contestation adjudication can however serve as an “institutional safety-valve” (Mozaffar / Schedler 2002) that compensates short-comings earlier in the electoral process. In Francophone Africa constitutional courts are the electoral judges of presidential and legislative elections. Which role do these constitutional courts play in reality in electoral processes? How do they contribute to the democratic quality of elections? The doctoral thesis analyzes in a first step the institutional structure and performance of constitutional courts in five African electoral democracies (Benin, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal) before it examines more deeply the dynamics of electoral adjudication in Madagascar and Senegal.

Charlotte Heyl is a Political Scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg (Germany) as well as at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). She works in a research project on” Judicial Independence in New Democracies” led by Dr. Mariana Llanos. Her doctoral project deals with the role of African constitutional courts in electoral processes. She has field work experience in Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal.

Request for African Student Participants from Muuka Hlupho Dabali (Edith Cowan University)

My name is Muuka Hlupho Dabali and I am currently studying at Edith Cowan University (Western Australia). I am conducting a research project as a part of the requirements of my Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours degree and would like to recruit participants through this website.

My aim is to recruit roughly 100 participants. The study aims to better understand the role social support plays in the relationship between stress and psychological distress in African international university students. This will requirel participants to complete an online questionnaire. The findings will provide evidence of the factors that influence the levels of stress experienced by African international students in Australia.

This study seeks participants from across Australia, from as many universities or other tertiary institutions as possible to increase its generalisability. Participation is invited from African students enrolled full-time with International student status. It is anticipated that the data from the study will be used in research publications, academic presentations and made available for dissemination to lecturers, university leaders, universities, educational authorities and professional bodies. The study is being conducted by myself and being supervised by Dr Jennifer Loh of Edith Cowan University.

Participation in the study is designed to not be burdensome, taking approximately 5 to 10 minutes for completion. For ease of use and anonymity, participants are invited to complete an online questionnaire. The questionnaire can be accessed at https://ecuau.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_380aZ6xzObbAfw9.

This project invites African international students to report on a range of stress-related factors, social support perceptions and psychological outcomes. Most previous research in this area has focused on the African international student group in an American context, however, researchers have generally not sought participants from any universities and tertiary institutions across Australia. Given the findings of studies conducted in the United States of America, it is of concern to the researcher that similar findings may be evident in Australia, therefore data obtained from this study may play a key role in the delivery of more directive and specialized psychological support services for this population.

Questions about the study can be directed to
Principal Investigator: Muuka Hlupho Dabali
School of Psychology and Social Sciences
Edith Cowan University
Phone: 0415280554
Email: hdabali@our.ecu.edu.au


We regret to announce the death of Professor Samuel Kwesi Gaisie on 14th July, 2014.

Sam joined the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964 as a lecturer in Demography and Statistics.

He obtained his PhD in Demography at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra in 1973,  with his thesis topic Determinants of Population Growth in Ghana. He returned to Legon, becoming a Full Professor in 1982. From 1984 until 1993 he worked at the  University of Zambia, and from 1993 to 2001, at the Department of Demography, University of Botswana, before returning to the University of Ghana in 2002.