Africa Rights Talk Podcast Series

In conversation with Tendai Shepherd Mbanje

In this  episode of the Africa Rights Talk podcast, Mr. Tendai Mbanje engaged in a thought-provoking conversation addressing critical issues related to South Africa’s political landscape and democratic processes.  He noted that South Africa has witnessed declining voter registration and turnout due to disillusionment with politicians. Issues like corruption, poor service delivery, and unemployment have eroded public trust. He noted that to restore faith in the electoral process and governance, political parties must be transparent about their actions, decisions, and financial dealings, hold leaders accountable for their promises and actions, prioritise efficient service delivery to address citizens’ needs, implement robust anti-corruption measures and engage with citizens. 

Mr Mbanje emphasised the importance of attracting and mobilising  young voters. He iterated that the youth demographic plays a pivotal role in shaping South Africa’s future and that political parties should Educate young voters about their rights, the electoral process, and the impact of their vote, and develop policies that resonate with youth concerns (e.g., education, employment, climate change) and most importantly,include young leaders in decision-making bodies. On the note of balancing ambitious promises and realism of political campaigns, parties should make specific commitments rather than vague promises, back promises with evidence and feasible plans and communicate limitations and challenges honestly.

Mr Mbanje noted that the 2024 elections coincide with South Africa’s 30th anniversary of democracy, therefore making it a unique election. And that the outcome will determine if it is a maturing democracy or a regressing democracy and may influence democratic norms in other African nations. Furthermore,  he commended the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other various governmental and non-governmental institutions in combating disinformation and ensuring credible elections and highlighted  that South Africa’s elections serves as a model due to its implementation of robust fact-checking mechanisms, education of citizens about discerning reliable information, transparent communication about electoral processes and her willingness tp collaborate globally to combat disinformation.

In summary, Mr. Tendai Mbanje’s insights underscore the importance of transparent, accountable, and youth-inclusive political processes in shaping South Africa’s future and influencing democratic practices across the African continent.

Mr. Tendai Shepherd Mbanje is an accomplished scholar and advocate, and currently a Project Officer, at the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit (EIDR), Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. He has made significant contributions to African governance and electoral processes. His research focuses on the critical role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) within the African Union. Mr. Mbanje’s work sheds light on credible and legitimate electoral practices, emphasising transparency, accountability, and youth engagement. His insights resonate beyond South Africa, influencing democratic norms and practices in neighbouring African nations, and exploring strategies to combat disinformation and ensure credible electoral outcomes.

This conversation was recorded on 19 March 2024.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/MpQFogU6lns Music and news extracts: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc imitless https://stock.adobe.com/za/search/audio?k=452592386


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