FIFAFRICA19: The Sessions, The Lessons, and Takeaways

By Hilda Nyakwaka |

The Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa event this year was hosted in Addis Ababa between 23rd and 26th September. This event was considered monumental because a few months prior, there were internet shutdownsand this was a testament to the progressive strides Ethiopia was making in creating an open and accessible internet for its citizens.

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‘People With Disabilities Left Out in ICT Jamboree’

By Marc Nkwame |

AS more Tanzanians join the digital world of Information Communication Technology (ICT), the majority of people living with disabilities have been left out, according to stakeholders.

It has been observed that in their quest to optimize profits, equipment suppliers, content producers and mobile communication service providers skip the needs and rights of persons with disabilities wishing to access such services.

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WIN Against Cyber Criminals? The Computer Misuse and CyberCrime Act 2018

By Lincoln Njoku |

Regular cyber-attacks and attempts carried out on both private sector and government bodies are now a real threat, one that cannot be ignored and must be proactively dealt with. Successful attacks in the recent past have brought about devastating financial and reputational impacts on the victims. Increasing use of technology, digitization of systems and growing e-commerce trends mean that the number of Kenyan citizens and organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks is high. Despite its benefits, the use of technology comes with its fair share of risks.

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Tanzania: 38 NGOs Call on States To Express Concern Over The Human Rights Situation

Press Release |

Today, DefendDefenders and 37 Tanzanian, African and international human rights organisations publish a letter calling on states to use the next session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to raise concern over Tanzania’s situation in order to prevent a further deterioration.

Since a group of 30 NGOs first wrote a letter on Tanzania, in August 2018, the space for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society, journalists, bloggers, the media, LGBTI persons, and opposition and dissenting voices has continued to shrink. The situation in Tanzania, which ranks 118th in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index this year, calls for a response at the United Nations. This can be in the form of individual (national) or joint statements by state delegations.

In the letter, the group of NGOs say: “While we do not believe that at this point, the situation calls for a [HRC] resolution, warning signs of a mounting human rights crisis exist.” We echo the statements delivered in recent months by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and call for preventative engagement with the Tanzanian government.

Read the full letter.


  1. AfricanDefenders (the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
  2. African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX)
  3. Amnesty International
  4. ARTICLE 19
  5. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  6. Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) – Ethiopia
  7. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
  8. Center for Civil Liberties – Ukraine
  9. Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale – REDHAC)
  10. The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) – South Sudan
  12. Civil Rights Defenders
  13. Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
  14. Committee to Protect Journalists
  15. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  16. DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  17. Geneva for Human Rights / Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme
  18. Human Rights Defenders Network – Sierra Leone
  19. Human Rights Watch
  20. International Commission of Jurists
  21. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  22. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)
  23. International Service for Human Rights
  24. The International Youth for Africa (IYA) – South Sudan
  25. JASS (Just Associates)
  26. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC)
  27. Ligue burundaise des droits de l’homme ITEKA – Burundi
  28. MARUAH – Singapore
  29. The Network of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations in Uganda (NoSSCOU)
  30. The Nile Centre for Human Rights (NCHR – South Sudan)
  31. Odhikar – Bangladesh
  32. The ONE Campaign
  33. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN)
  34. Reporters Without Borders
  35. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  36. Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC)
  37. West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH/WAHRDN)
  38. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

This article was first published at the website of DefendDefenders on May 13, 2019.

2019 Edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) Set To Take Place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Announcement |

On September 23-26, 2019 the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will host the sixth Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica). This landmark event convenes a spectrum of stakeholders from across the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.

This year, FIFAfrica will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where since April 2018 the new Ethiopian government has undertaken unprecedented political and economic reforms. These have included release from jail of thousands of prisoners, announcing plans to liberalise the telecom, aviation, and transportation sectors, and dropping charges against many opposition leaders, bloggers, and activists. On the internet freedom front, the new administration has restored mobile and broadband internet services that had been disrupted since 2016, and unblocked 246 websites, blogs, and news sites that had been inaccessible for over a decade. These pivotal developments serve as an avenue to advance more progressive efforts on internet governance and promotion of human rights online, not only in the country that hosts the African Union (AU) but on the continent at large.

Hosting FIFAfrica in Addis Ababa is also in keeping the stride of expanding the conversation, as well as knowledge and skills development to different parts of the continent. In its inaugural years, the Forum took place in Kampala, Uganda. Since then, FIFAfrica’s expanding footprint has seen it being hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in 2017 and in Accra, Ghana in partnership with the Media Foundation West Africa (MFWA) in 2018.

The Forum responds to rising challenges to the enjoyment of internet freedom in various countries, including arrests and intimidation of online users, internet disruptions, and a proliferation of laws and regulations that undermine the potential of digital technology to drive socio-economic and political development on the continent. FIFAfrica therefore puts internet freedom on the agenda of key actors including African policy makers, regulators, human rights defenders, law enforcement representatives, and the media, paving the way for broader work on advancing online rights in Africa and promoting the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.

Registration and call for session proposals will open later this month. For the latest on the Forum, follow @cipesaug. The event hashtags are #FIFAfrica19 and #InternetFreedomAfrica.

Does Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning have a place in Governance?

By Daniel Midega |

Learning processes are facilitated by communication, self-reflection, and dialogue. The learning objective underlying Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) is to determine failures and under performance within a system, essentially employing it as an investigatory tool to improve programme design and plan solutions.

Moreover, M&E facilitates comparative study among strategies, which could be manifested into analytical, action-oriented reports that facilitate effective decision making and efficient problem solving or prevention. Therefore, the contribution of M&E towards learning and reflection subsequently provides management teams with high quality information made available for the policy- and decision-making process.

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ToroDev Trains Journalists in Online, Gender-Sensitive and Investigative Reporting to Improve Public Service Delivery

News Update |

The One day training was conducted on 21st, March 2019 at St Joseph Inn Virika and it was facilitated by Madam Enid Ninsiima from Daily monitor Kasese and Madam Josephine Kasenda of Rwenzori Women’s Network. The main aim of the training was to build the capacity of reporters and other journalists to enable them acquire knowledge and skills in Gender-Sensitive Reporting on Improved Public Service Delivery in Health, Education, and Economic Development & Investigative Journalism in the Rwenzori Region.

Participants who attended the journalist training

The Twenty five (25) journalists were sampled from eleven (11) local Fm radio stations located in the 5 districts of the Rwenzori Sub Region and different print and electronic media (New Vision, Daily Monitor etc) attended. 90% of participants were from the radio stations and 10 % from other media.  The selection of participants was 50% Female and 50% male. The participants appreciated the training and these are some of the comments they shared

Mr. Bamanyisa Patrick leader of Rwenzori Journalist forum during the training

Investigative journalism has declined in the Rwenzori Region, so this training will orient and awaken us to deeply investigate a single topic focusing on health, education, youth livelihood program and others”. Said Mr. Bamanyisa Patrick leader of Rwenzori Journalist forum.

From this training I have learnt that one of the most important skills of a good reporter is the ability to simply, convincingly, and clearly explain what he/she wants to say. A good way to do so is by comparing with generally known information or everyday situations”. Said Kirungi Patra News editor KRC FM.

I thank ToroDev for organizing this training, it’s good that I have got knowledge regarding Investigative reporters which will help me  determine what has happened according to the existing evidence, and very often predict what is going to happen.”. Said Gerevazio Ngabirano of  Voice of Kamwenge.

Journalist in a group discussion

“The truth is that I didn’t have enough knowledge to write an investigative report I am happy to attend this training”. Said Muhumuza Willy of bridge FM

Conducting undercover research is often illegal and in some cases journalists can face criminal prosecution. As well as criminal sanctions, investigative journalists could also face civil claims if they breach personality rights or commit deception. I call upon all the journalists to love their work and enjoy it”. Said Enid Ninsiima the facilitator of the training.

Miss Enid Ninsiima sharing with the journalist

Gender sensitive reporting is important because people need to be informed about different programs that can benefit them in their own country”I call upon journalists to educate masses on gender issues”.  Said Josephine Kasenda of Rwenzori Women’s Network.

Miss Kasenda Josephine of Rwenzori Women’s Network during the meeting

ToroDev Conducted Internet Skills and e-Participation Trainings for Technical Staff in Four Pilot Districts of Rwenzori Sub-region, Western Uganda

News Update |

The orientation aimed at empowering district technical staff from Kabarole,Ntoroko,Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts with internet skills, access and usage of the MML e-Participation functionality, especially the e-Decision Making component that enables them to provide feedback on citizens’ concerns on public service delivery.

Participants in a group photo at royal cortege hotel in Kyenjojo

The two training’s were held on 12th & 14th March, 2019 one at Ataco Country Resort Fort-Portal and the other one at Tooro Royal Cortege in Kyenjojo district. The two Training’s were attended by fifty two (52) participants including District Information Officers, District Speakers, District planners, District Health Officers, Chief Administrative Officers, District Community Development Officers, Inspectors of Schools, Security Officials, District Residence Commission, District Education Officers and Media from Kabarole,Ntoroko Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts.

District Technical Staff for Kabarole and Ntoroko after the training

I appreciate ToroDev for coming up with this system; I know it will help us to gather many issues from grassroots that can help us to plan and budget well for the country. I request district officials to use this system and inform others about it.” Said Kato Saad Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole while giving opening remarks.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole while giving opening remarks.

The Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole further asked for fairness in giving accountability and called upon officials to give accountability whenever they are asked. More still he commented that it’s the duty of every duty bearer to address issues gathered through this system.

I thank ToroDev for initiating MML system, we promise to someone of the issues generated through the system to plan and advocate for improved service delivery.  This system will help us to get evidenced data which can help in making decisions”.  Said   Businge Daniel Assistant Chief  Administrative Officer  Kyenjojo.


  • MML system promoted
  • District Staff empowered with Knowledge on e- decision module.
  • Knowledge and information on the role of ICT in improving service delivery shared
  • Action Plans Set

 Key Comments from Participants

I call upon NGOS to plan with local government as one way services can be improved. Joint planning helps in proper resource allocation and reduces on resource duplicating.” Said Evelyn Koburungi Ntoroko District

As Districts local government we need to partner with potential NGO’s to address community challenges especially   challenges affecting mothers and girl child”. Said John Magoba District speaker Kyegegwa.

He further appreciated ToroDev for the initiation of MML e-participation system that reaches community people where services are not at their best. He called upon technocrats and politicians to share information and respond to issues rose from the public if services are to be improved at the lower ground levels.

ToroDev David Kugonza demonstrating MML e-participation system.

We need to join efforts to address the cancer of Poverty.  We should engage people to do development activities and I request ToroDev to create avenues where SDGs can be popularized”. Said Musinguzi Daniel District Planner Kabarole.

The planner further said to address service delivery issue the CSOs – district must join hands. I call upon ToroDev to keep the CSOs- district Forums more vibrant

MML e-participation system is a good initiative, let us use it and our work will be easy. I call upon everyone to inform others about this system, let us promote it and encourage others to use it”.   Said Abwooli Yafesi DCDO Kyenjojo district

Abwooli Yafesi DCDO Kyenjojo district During the training at Royal Cortege Hotel in Kyenjojo district.

Developing partners should not keep blaming the government but join efforts to address key service delivery issues in societies”. Said Kusemererwa Maureen DEO Ntoroko district.s

I call upon duty bearers to share information when ever citizens request for it.  Public Information should be displayed on notice boards for ease accessibility” Said Mr.Ainganiza Steven District communication Officer Kabarole

 Action plan

“ToroDev should invite key duty bearers to respond to issues raised through the system. The responsible duty bearers should be notified a week before they are hosted on radio or physical meeting. They should be given an invitation letter and a concept of what to respond on. Chief administrative officer should be copied to.” Said Ainganiza Steven district communication officer Kabarole

ToroDev should submit radio work plans to district officials on a monthly basis. This will help them to plan and prepare early before they are called on radio to respond to issues.”  Said  Kahuma Edward District Speaker Ntoroko

“I call upon all Technical staff to actively use MML system and respond to most service delivery issues raised by citizens.”  Said Tibakanya Gertrude District education officer Kyenjojo.

ToroDev  Should notify duty bearers on most urgent issues raised through the system.This can be done on a weekly basis.”   Said  Mugume Shaban District IT Officer Ntoroko

“I request all District IT and information officers to link MML e-participation system to the district  local government websites” Said  Karuhanga Charles IT officer Kyegegwa.

CIPESA Advances the Digital Rights Debate at re:publica Accra

By Simone Toussi |

The first African edition of Europe’s largest internet and digital society festival – re:publica – was held in Accra, Ghana, December 14-15, 2018 and drew in hundreds of participants to showcase and discuss how politics, the arts, innovation, and digital rights have been affected by an increasingly digitised society.

Co-organised by Impact Hub Accra, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and with the support of several partners including the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), re:publica Accra aimed to strengthen Afro-German dialogue about digital issues, and to explore the intersection between digitalisation and collaborative developmental efforts.

CIPESA hosted a Digital Rights Lounge throughout the duration of re:publica, organised workshops on civic participation and online content regulation, and also participated in sessions on the work of investigative journalists and activists, among others.

The Digital Rights Lounge

To reflect its multi-disciplinary nature, re:publica Accra featured four lounges on health, digital creation, digital rights, and hardware innovation. CIPESA hosted the Digital Rights Lounge which featured organisations sharing experiences and showcasing work related to advancing digital rights in Africa.

The lounge featured an exhibition on the state of digital rights in Africa including visuals on press freedom, the gender dynamics of internet usage, access to information, data protection and privacy, affordability, non-discrimination, and network disruptions. This was complemented by research publications and videos on the ongoing efforts to engender progressive internet policies and practices that support human rights, innovation, and development.

Also presented at re:publica were key action areas that emerged from the 2018 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), which was held in Accra, Ghana, at the end of September 2018. Since 2014, CIPESA has held this annual forum that brings together various stakeholders to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online on the continent. Previous FIFAfrica editions have been held in Uganda (2014-2016) and South Africa (2017).

Sessions held around the lounge included conversations on involving more girls in tech, privacy challengesregulating emerging technologies, hands-on skills session on steganography, and online content creation. There was also a session on the work of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), which groups 30 governments who have committed to work together to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms online.

Advancing Civic Participation through Digital Technologies

Re:publica served as a platform to also share insights on the role of technology in social accountability, civic engagement, transparency and accountability, during a session titled ‘Advancing Civic Participation through Digital Technologies’. The session explored the opportunities and gaps in responsive solutions/platforms for civic participation and for transparency and accountability. Panellists presented cases studies on technology in governance including political mobilisation through print, broadcast and online media in Kenya; public finance tracking in Nigeria; parliamentary monitoring in Ghana; creating an enabling environment for civic technology in post-conflict Somalia; and service delivery monitoring and human rights reporting through ICT in East Africa.   

The session also interrogated how the legislative landscape affects access and infrastructure, cybercrime, and access to information; and how, content regulation and taxation in the respective countries weaken the potential of technology-based initiatives to advance democratisation.

Impact of Online Content Regulation on Digital Rights in Africa

In this session, panellists discussed the online content regulation landscape in Africa with a focus on countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Burundi and Zambia which in 2018 proposed or passed laws and regulations that undermine freedom of expression and access to information online.

These controls are undermining public confidence in the use of online platforms, and could lead to self-censorship and complete withdrawal from online discourse by ordinary citizens and by vocal bloggers and other social media enthusiasts. They are also leading to arrests of some journalists and social media users, including those that express legitimate.

The session comprised digital rights experts and researchers from Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe who shared ideas on alternative approaches aimed at enhancing adoption and use of online platforms as well as content generation for advancing digital rights in Africa.

The panel noted that there was limited citizens’ consultations in coming up with the laws and regulations around internet control and online content regulation, and stressed the need for campaigns to have internet regulation that promotes individuals’ rights and livelihoods and not just the narrow interests of powerful actors such as governments and ruling party officials.

However, for such campaigns to work, it is crucial for civil society and other actors to conduct research to generate evidence to inform advocacy and decision-making; and to proactively offer alternative positions to governments rather than only offering criticism. In addition, the need to involve more actors in promoting digital rights – not least traditional human rights organisations, women’s rights organisations, and private sector actors – was emphasised. The need for digital security training and digital literary campaigns, and for increased use of tools of anonymisation and circumvention tools, was also emphasised.

With the support of the Germany international cooperation agency GIZ, CIPESA enabled the participation at re:publica of 13 individuals from 10 African countries.

How Nigeria and Uganda are Faring on the Right to Information

By Tomiwa Ilori |

Transparency and accountability in governance are key tenets of participatory democracy. To this end, Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce a right to information (RTI) law back in 1766. Finland followed in 1919, and to-date, over 100 countries across the world have enacted laws that give citizens the right to access information in the hands of government.

In Africa, 21 countries have passed Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, while 16 have proposed laws. Most countries have constitutional provisions for the right to information, pursuant to obligations under various international and regional instruments. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression. A model law on access to information for Africa was prepared by the African Commission to serve as a template and encourage more countries to adopt legislation embodying international, regional, and sub-regional standards.

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