Ahead of the 2023 general polls, the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission, Mahmood Yakubu, was sworn in for a second term nearly six months ago. Following criticisms that trailed the 2019 general elections, which Yakubu supervised, it is clear that his second term will be defined by the integrity of the country’s election system. Emmanuel Remi Aiyede unpacks what urgently needs to be fixed to achieve free and fair polls in 2023. His recommendations include strengthening the channels for the distribution and retrieval of election materials, improvement in the transparency of the collation and transmission of election results and greater use of technology, especially electronic accreditation and verification of voters.

In Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, it is estimated that over 70% of the population live in informal settlements. Many of these settlements have a history rooted in colonial policies whereby the “African native” was a temporary resident of the city and wasn’t formally allowed to live outside their working quarters. As these informal settlements grew over the years, their names – and the names of places within them – have grown to encapsulate their history. Melissa Wanjiru-Mwita reveals how residents came up with the names of the settlements and the places and roads within them. These names gave them a voice, representing the issues that they struggle with every day.

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. He was also the country’s first black head of state. Here is a selection of previously published articles:

• What’s left of the “1994 miracle

• Contradictory views about democracy

• South Africa has failed Mandela on human rights

• The flawed icon who saved a country

Wale Fatade

Commissioning Editor: Nigeria

Electoral reforms are important before Nigerians go to the polls in 2023 Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nigeria’s electoral system is still broken. Here’s a list of what’s urgent

Emmanuel Remi Aiyede, University of Ibadan

Nigeria must fix its electoral system before the next general elections in 2023

A child walks along a road in Mathare informal settlement. Alissa Everett/Getty Images

The fascinating history of how residents named their informal settlements in Nairobi

Melissa Wanjiru-Mwita, Technical University of Kenya

Residents of Nairobi's informal settlements use names as a way of voicing the issues that they struggle with every day.


Choosing Lesotho’s judges on merit should be only the start of judicial reforms

Hoolo 'Nyane, University of Limpopo

The appointment of judges has hitherto been an obscure and oftentimes clandestine affair. This has produced incompetent judges and led to claims that the judiciary is beholden to the executive.

Why Kenya’s judge recruiters are sceptical about activism on the bench

Muthomi Thiankolu, University of Nairobi

The issue of whether judges should exercise judicial activism or judicial restraint revolves around the doctrine of separation of powers and the proper remit of judicial power in a democracy.

Arts, Culture + Society

Remembering Zim Ngqawana 10 years on, a singular force in South African music

Lindelwa Dalamba, University of the Witwatersrand; Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, University of the Witwatersrand

Despite devastating setbacks like his studio being vandalised, the saxophonist and teacher believed that music can heal - part of a vision that shaped a future generation of jazz artists.

In Rwanda, genocide commemorations are infused with political and diplomatic agendas

André Guichaoua, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

A survey of the commemorations since 2014 reveals the politicking behind the writing of history and Rwanda's place in the world.

From our international editions

US-backed vaccine patent waiver: pros and cons explained

Farasat Bokhari, University of East Anglia

It's not clear whether the TRIPS agreement is what's getting in the way of vaccine supply, and waiving intellectual property rights may stifle future innovation.

TRIPS waiver: there’s more to the story than vaccine patents

Jocelyn Bosse, University of Reading; Hyo Yoon Kang, University of Kent; Siva Thambisetty, London School of Economics and Political Science

The US has backed a proposal to waive intellectual property relating to COVID measures – but global efforts need to go beyond vaccine patents.

En Français

Le dilemme gambien sur les cosmétiques dépigmentants et sa résonance avec le mouvement Black Lives Matter

Nacima Ourahmoune, Kedge Business School

Une récente décision du Parlement gambien sur la question des produits dépigmentants invite à s’interroger sur cette pratique encore très répandue en Afrique, mais aussi dans les Caraïbes et en Asie.

Le rôle grandissant des big tech dans la gouvernance environnementale

Jerome Duberry, Graduate Institute – Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement (IHEID)

Le développement de l’IA permet aux Gafam d’étendre leur influence dans la lutte pour la protection de l’environnement. En s’associant aux ONG, ils en deviennent des acteurs incontournables.


Featured events

Webinar: The Impact of COVID-19 on South Africa's Metro's

Robert Sobukwe Road, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, Western Cape, 7535, South Africa — University of the Western Cape

University of Pretoria to host first Nobel Prize Dialogue to take place in Africa - Theme: ‘The Future of Work’

Future Africa, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0083, South Africa — University of Pretoria

Annual Human Rights Lecture 2021

MS Teams, Western Cape, 7600, South Africa — Stellenbosch University

The First University of Pretoria Economics PhD Workshop

Zoom, online, Zoom, online, Gauteng, Zoom, online, South Africa — University of Pretoria

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