HRDB

Voting in Malawi got off to a chaotic start this morning due to lack of materials such as the voters’ roll, ballot papers, ink, pens, and ballot boxes.  This resulted in many polling centres opening late.  There have also been reports of rioting, burning of some polling stations and destruction of polling materials by frustrated voters.  Several polling stations had not opened by noon.  The capacity of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to manage the logistics had always been an area of concern.
 
The MEC was frantically printing the final v

Another month, another drafting deadline missed. July 31st was meant to be the day when the Technical Committee handed over its final draft of the new Zambian Constitution to the Ministry of Justice. But guess what? Nothing happened. There was no handover. And Zambians are no closer to knowing what their next constitution will look like. Or indeed whether they are ever going to get a new one.

So what happens now?

As southern Africa’s leaders lined up to congratulate President Mugabe on his unbelievably crushing victory in Zimbabwe’s elections, it seemed as if the region was once again putting pals before people – siding with aged liberation leaders rather than letting the voters choose. Zuma was very quick off the mark with his ‘profound congratulations’, while Angola’s dos Santos and Namibia’s Pohamba swiftly followed suit.

Suddenly Swaziland is in the news - from South Africa to the UK. But as per usual, it is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The latest weird and wacky story from the country concerns an apparent ban on witches flying on broomsticks above 150 metres. Cue a host of cut and pasted reports in newspapers and online sites far and wide about the quaint customs of the world's favourite crazy Kingdom.

A few months ago, Bingu wa Mutharika, called his fellow Malawians 'chickens' for having the audacity to criticise him and complain about the way he was 'governing' them. Well the chickens are certainly coming home to roost now for the craven bunch of apologists and praises-singers (sorry Cabinet members and other senior officials) who backed Bingu's personalisation of the State.

This piece provides the analytical updates of the election starting with the 27th February 2015 – the day before election. It provides the overview of the key electoral dynamics of the day and the implication for the credibility of the March 28th election.

Zambian president, Michael Sata, clearly isn’t too concerned about the campaign by civil society groups and opposition parties to have his country expelled from the Commonwealth because of his increasingly autocratic behaviour. Instead, he appears keen – as he often does – to add fuel to the fire rather than trying to douse the flames.

It is not often that the Swazi people get to say what they think about anything - let alone their King. Their elections are little more than 'selections' given the ban on political parties. And their press is not allowed to be much more than a praise-singer for the monarchy. But a Gallup poll conducted late in 2011 has at least given an idea of what Swazis think - and it won't be happy reading for the King and his clique since more than 40% of Swazis disapprove of the King's performance.

Once again, a story from Swaziland has suddenly caught the media’s attention. Hunger it seems knocks 3 percent off the country’s economy each year. It is an alarming fact – but the other statistics are far more shocking:

There has been a lot of talk in Zimbabwe recently about constitutionality and constitutionalism – about how to ensure that the country’s new Supreme Law is not co-opted and corrupted by the powers-that-be as the current constitution has been and that Zimbabweans enjoy the rule OF law not rule BY law. Nothing could have highlighted the importance of this debate as acutely as the wrongful arrest and illegal detention of renowned lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa – the day after the country’s constitutional referendum.

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