Democratic Governance

Democratic Governance

Celebrating Whispers 15 Years On: How Satire Can Further Civic Discourse

This year, 2018, marks 15 years since the death of Wahome Mutahi (1954 – 2003), who was one of Kenya’s most prolific fiction writers, as well as a playwright, columnist, political satirist, pundit and public opinion leader. He was popularly known as Whispers after the name of the column he wrote for The Daily Nation from 1982 to 2003, offering a satirical view of the trials and tribulations of Kenyan life. According to George Ogola in The Idiom of Age in a Popular Kenyan Newspaper Serial, at a time when the state had all but monopolized public sites of expression in the country, Whispers kept the Kenyan popular media porous, opening up spaces for the discussion of social and political issues that could otherwise only be ‘whispered’. It became the most visible site of social, cultural and political expression for the last two decades at a time when freedom to such expression was highly constrained by the state.

Extra-Judicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Kenya: Balancing the Respect for Human Rights and Maintaining National Security

The Annual All Kenyan Moot Court Competition was held on the 23rd and 24th March 2018 at the Kenyatta University School of Law, supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation with 200 students participating from 12 different universities across the country.  This year’s theme was: “Striking the Balance between Respect for Human Rights and Maintaining National Security.

While Kenya signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), it has not ratified the Convention, and consequently the existing legal framework falls short of international human right standards, and is thus unable to comprehensively deal with the problem

Dossier: For Democracy

Democracy must be fought for, revitalized, and renewed. Institutions, like the Heinrich Böll Foundation, have been struggling against a significant headwind for some time now, as the authoritarian developing state has gained massive momentum. With the publication “For democracy” and this online-dossier, we analyze the state of democracy worldwide as well as the possibilities of democracy assistance. At the same time, we provide insights into the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s political work for democracy. Concrete examples and regional analyses present a vivid account of our engagement. We take stock and examine the challenges that will face us in the future.

The Return of Repression

Governments around the world are taking draconian steps to suppress civil-society organizations, with measures ranging from restrictive laws and bureaucratic burdens to smear campaigns, censorship, and outright repression by intelligence agencies or police. Whatever the means, governments are striving to interfere with the work of political, social, and environmental activists to an extent not seen since before communism collapsed in Europe a quarter-century ago.

Cartoonists Gado and Zunar, recipients of the 2016 Cartooning for Peace Prize

In order to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May, the Cartooning for Peace Swiss Foundation and the City of Geneva present the 2016 International Editorial Cartoons Prize awarded by the Honorary President of the Swiss Foundation, Mr. Kofi Annan, to the Kenyan caricaturist, Gado and the Malaysian cartoonist, Zunar.

Our Publications on democratic Governance

Perspectives #03/2017: The (Un-) Making of Icons in Africa

Which African leaders qualify as an icon? Perhaps this is always a controversial question, but it was much easier to answer, say, 25 years ago, when the public memories of Pan-Africanist champions such as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere were still fresh, Nelson Mandela had just walked out of prison, and Robert Mugabe was a widely respected leader.

Dossier: For Democracy

The present publication “For Democracy” outlines and analyzes the state of democracy worldwide as well as the possibilities of democracy assistance.

Perspectives #02/2016: Laughing Out Loud - The Politics of Satire in Africa

When you write about Africa, make sure to always include sad and starving characters, advises Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana in his famously ironic essay “How to write about Africa”, which takes aim at Western prejudices. In the same way that everyday laughter has been excluded from all-too-familiar depictions of the continent, African humour and satire as a form of social and political engagement remains underexplored.

Somaliland Press Freedom: Opportunities and Challenges

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Media plays a key part in the democratisation process in Somaliland, vital in efforts to improve all branches of the state and its democratic performance. This publication of papers presented at a 2013 conference on Press Freedom explores the opportunities and challenges of Somaliland's media development.

Events

The Ocean Atlas illustrates the important role played by the ocean and its ecosystems – not only for people living on the coasts but for all of us. It aims to give a current insight of the state and the threat of the seas, that are our livelihoods.

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Perspectives #01/2018: The Quest for Political Accountability: Change Agents, Openings and Dead Ends

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Since the third wave of democratisation swept through the continent in the 1990s, the majority of African states have replaced military dictatorships and one-party-dominant systems with more democratic forms of governance. Today, 61 percent of sub-Saharan countries are “free” or “partly free” according to Freedom House’s 2018 survey – although this is down from a high of 71 percent in 2008.

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