Political and Civil Liberties Plummet in Sub Saharan Africa

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 23, 2014

Political liberties and civil rights have fallen in sub Saharan Africa, with the largest decreases in freedoms of expression and association, according to a report issued by Freedom House. The report also notes that there has been a growth in authoritarian rule for the eighth year around the world.

“For the eight consecutive year, we have recorded declines in freedoms around the world, and in the past year’s findings we have discovered 54 countries that have registered declines compared to 40 countries that have recorded gains,” said David Kramer, Freedom House’s Executive Director.

The report, Freedoms in the World 2014, which monitors global political rights and civil liberties, says sub Saharan Africa continued to be the world’s most volatile region last year.

“In 2013, the world’s reflection on the accomplishments of Nelson Mandela highlighted the failings of current African leaders,” states the report.

Political leadership and poor governance produced ongoing conflicts along ethnic lines in South Sudan and the Central African Republic in 2013.

Some positive changes in several countries including Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Togo, and Zimbabwe, came as a result of elections, though the elections were often flawed or overshadowed by erosion on other issues.

Several African countries received downgrades for 2013 due to organized hostility against vulnerable minorities and crackdowns on political dissent and civic activism, says the report.

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