African Studies Reading Group, Thursday 21 November 17:00
Lady Wilson Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit
THE 2016 ZAMBIAN ELECTIONS AND THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Zambia had long been hailed as a model in the region so hopes were (naively) high that the 2016 presidential election was going to be undertaken in the true spirit of democracy – but that was not to be. This presentation describes how various actions taken by the ruling party appeared to have been copied directly from a “Dictator’s Handbook” on “how to rig an election”, just as used in other countries, including Uganda and Zimbabwe. A charade was played out, of pretending to follow international standards while at the same time, and often in plain sight, many blatant irregularities and major transgressions against accepted electoral practices occurred. There were also abuses of constitutional processes after the elections. The result was the end of the Rule of Law in Zambia.
The role of the international community before, during and after the elections is described and analysed and an attempt is made to explain why observer mission “referees” handed out the equivalent of “yellow” and even “green” cards, in stark contrast to the international commentators who produced “red cards”. It was as if they had officiated at different games.
Margaret O’Callaghan is a Canberra-based independent scholar, former Visiting Fellow at ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy and a former United Nations Population Fund representative to Zambia.
All welcome. Refreshments provided.
African Studies Reading Group, Thursday 24 October, 5 pm.
Lady Wilson Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit, ANU.
Recent studies on democratization and conflicts in Africa have largely focused on civil wars, as well as national, sub-national and local elections. Little attention has been given to conflict and violence as a result of internal processes of political parties. The dynamics of intra-party conflicts differ from those at the national or sub-national levels, and therefore should be treated as a subject in its own right. Political parties in Ghana are beset by intra-party conflict, which poses a significant threat to the democratic development of the country. Drawing on elite interviews and ethnographic observations, this presentation will argue that the struggle for power, the lack of internal democracy, ethnicity, factionalism, and patronage have contributed to intra-party conflicts and violence within Ghana’s two dominant political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP).Ernest Akuamoah is a PhD student in the School of Politics and International Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies (First Class Honours) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and a Master of Philosophy in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. His PhD project examines the impact of term limit relaxation on electoral violence.
All welcome, refreshments provided.
ANU African Studies Reading Group
Water Access and Agency: Thinking through Thresholds of Control
Standpipe in Bauchi, northern Nigeria (source: USAID.gov)
As the African continent, and the world, becomes more globally interconnected, scholars and politicians alike have come to speak in terms of “flows” of people, things, technologies, and ideas. One particularly productive material to think through such flows is water. “Water is life,” and as an essential and intrinsically social resource, its containment can both reflect and produce politics of inclusion and exclusion. Although seeping across national borders and easy to scale-up, this presentation instead returns to the politics of the everyday and experiences of local communities. Looking at two very different case studies – standpipes (potable water) in Nigeria and traditional shrines (housing sacred water) in Ghana – the presenters explore links between water access, authority and ethics. By thinking through the threshold of taps and traditional shrines, we ask who wields the power of water, and for what profit? The presenters encourage comparison and conversation about how points of water access elicit power in cases across Africa.
Adegboyega Adeniran – Fenner School of Environment, Australian National University
Kirsty Wissing – School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University
Date and time: Thursday 27 June 2019, 5pm
Location: Lady Wilson Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU (map)
Refreshments provided / All welcome