Speaker 1: Bolaji Aina, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 2: Gul Safullah, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Nikiema Dieudonne , Government, African Group
Speaker 4: Brian Richard O'Neill, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Mercy Nwosu Baidoo, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Kakakhel Palwasha, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Kakakhel Palwasha, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min
Social inequality and the pandemic: What can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic context about the relationship between digital inequality and social and economic inequality? Similarly, what lessons can be drawn with respect to the pandemic and Internet-related human rights? What does this suggest about policy approaches for digitalisation and digital inclusion?
Inclusion, rights and stakeholder roles and responsibilities: What are/should be the responsibilities of governments, businesses, the technical community, civil society, the academic and research sector and community-based actors with regard to digital inclusion and respect for human rights, and what is needed for them to fulfil these in an efficient and effective manner?
In many developing countries the election cycle is characterized by violence and death of citizens. Many countries have come to see the loss of lives as the price to pay for the change in regime every election cycle. In 2019 SBM Intelligence reported that 626 were killed as result of election related violence in Nigeria. The 2018 election in Pakistan saw the explosion of bombs, gun fights and assassination of candidates in consecutive attacks leading up to the election day. This included; the suicide bombing North Waziristan, the grenade attacks in Bannu and Larkana, armed attacks in Swabi district leaving 154 people dead. On the 25th of July 2018 (election day) there was a bomb blast in Quetta, an exchange of gun fire in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between two rival political groups, a grenade attack in Larkana, Sindh and another exchange of gun fire in Khanewal, Punjab. This does not take into consideration persons displaced as a result of election violence. The 2007 Kenyan presidential elections left a recorded 630,000 people displaced and 1,133 killed. Political scientist and researchers have identified possible root causes of the violence. Some researchers have posited that election violence is used as a tool strategy used by politicians to alter outcomes of the elections, some say it is a strategy to get empathy votes by putting the other party in a negative light. Whatever the case is, there is need to find solutions that would protect citizens in the exercise of their rights to franchise.
The wake of COVID has widened the inequalities gaps that exist globally, but has specifically highlighted the weaknesses in the governance structures in developing countries. This manifest itself in high rates of crimes, violent protests, looting and raiding of government warehouses and economic crises relating to COVID-19. In 2014 Nigeria came under the spotlight in the international community when 276 girls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko haram. While this incident is seen as one of the biggest failures of the Nigerian government by the international community, similar incidents have followed closely even worse than the initial one. Between December 2020 and February, 2021 a total of 633 school children have been abducted in schools, 279 school girls in Jangebe Katsina, 344 school boys in Katsina with another 42 girls abducted in Niger state and this does not reflect the increase in kidnappings of ordinary citizens on the highways or in the comfort of their homes for ransom. This clearly shows that the security situations have worsened over the years and not improved.
Growing up in developing countries as teens we looked forward to being eligible to vote as this symbolized not only coming of age, but also becoming responsible members of the society. In recent times deciding whether or not to participate in elections either as a candidate or as an electorate means accepting the risk that for one reason or the other during the election cycle chances are high that you may lose your life. For an electorate the choice to visit a polling station to cast your vote on election day means accepting the risk of violence with possibility of death consequently. This situation has reflected itself in low voter turn-out seen during the elections in these countries as old and young citizens are decline to perform their civic duties at the cost of losing their lives.
The era of digitization, growing internet access and the institutionalization of E-Systems both in the private and public sectors have created safer and more efficient alternatives to carrying out activities. Transactions that were traditionally seen as high risk and tasking, have been simplified and made secure by digitalization. For example, not long-ago merchants and traders were constantly at risk of armed robbery and possibly death just by the virtue of their occupation. But in recent times, advancement in fin-tech, virtual communication, meetings and online networking have ushered in an era of safe and efficient transactions with Zero risks to human life. In 2001 the Government of Pakistan started issuing biometric ID cards called CNIC- Computerised National Identity Cards. The government further validated the use of these ID cards as a means of identification for all purposes where identification is required. Ten years later by 2012, over 85 million cards had been issued to Pakistani citizens. Similarly, in 2011 the Nigerian government introduced Permanent Voter Registration Card (PVC) a Biometric and Photo ID and mandate its use for the elections. In the 2019 elections, over 84 million voters were registered to vote with the PVCs and of the 84 million registered only 28 million casted their votes which represent less than 40% of the registered voters. In comparison, the 2020 Nigeria big brother reality show saw more than 80 million votes casted over a period of three (3) months with over 50,000 digital auditions to fill 20 spots. Though a small sample size and limited timeline this clearly shows the potential
Does failure of the government to integrate E-voting in the voting processes constitute systemic discrimination and a denial of citizens’ right? Especially where legal frameworks and enabling environment needed for the success of these process exist. The traditional system clearly enables violence, allows for multiple voting (where one person cast votes for about 50 people), the theft of ballot boxes and election day touting (touts who make money by threatening electoral staff to swing the numbers in favor of their candidate of choice or face the possibility of death). Without a doubt the pros of piloting E-voting in developing countries outweighs the cons, the safety and the security of the populace in the exercise of the fundamental rights should be the priority of every government. The inclusion of citizens should also be promoted by the government through exploring possible platforms to achieve this. In rural communities in Pakistan e.g. the FATA areas conservative culturally practices prevent women from presenting themselves in public without the presence or approval of their male guardians. The use of e-voting would be an inclusive alternative. With technological advancement like the use of block chain technology in addition to creating electoral digital hubs with the existing Biometric cards provide conditions needed for the piloting of hybrid systems. These approaches could be piloted by the government during the local government and district elections in selected communities, creating room for learning and adjustments.
The introduction of E-voting would save lives, increase voter participation during elections and may just be the revolution developing countries need to achieve the SDGs. Marginalized groups including women, the elderly and persons living with disabilities would cast their votes for the candidates of their choice without fear of intimidation. The food for thought remains with all the potentials that the use of the E-voting system presents, why then are governments reluctant to explore or integrate this in the electoral system. Some have opined that the existing traditional system creates room for violence and threats, corruption, election rigging, election day touting, multiple voting and carting away with ballot boxes which is used by politicians and political parties to alter the outcomes of the elections in favour of their preferred candidate. The real reason could be that the introduction of E-voting would guarantee safe voting of citizens in the safety and comfort of their homes without fear of violence or threat to family members which may led to electorates voting the candidates of their choice with transparency and integrity of the elections maintained leaving narrow possibilities for altering the outcomes. Hence, transferring the power from the political elites to the ordinary citizens.
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Targets: Without a doubt the pros of piloting E-voting in developing countries outweighs the cons, the safety and the security of the citizens in the exercise of the fundamental rights should be the priority of every government. The inclusion of citizens should also be promoted by developing countries through exploring possible platforms to achieve this. In rural communities in Pakistan e.g. the FATA areas conservative culturally practices prevent women from presenting themselves in public without the presence or approval of their male guardians. With E-voting, marginalized groups including women, the elderly and persons living with disabilities would cast their votes for the candidates of their choice without fear of intimidation. The electoral body is the most important symbol of equality in any Democracy. The use of e-voting would be an inclusive alternative, creating room for transparency and the integrity of elections to be maintained hence leaving little room for manipulations and control by the political elites. This would ultimately strengthen the electoral institutions and make for truly independent electoral bodies that will in turn multiply down to other institutions and line departments
E-voting in developing countries may just be the difference between Life and death (Pakistan & Nigeria)
In many developing countries, the choice to visit a polling station to cast your vote on election day means accepting the risk of violence and consequently death as a possibility. This situation has reflected itself in low voter turn-out seen during the elections in these countries, as old and young citizens decline the performance of their civic duties at the cost of loosing their lives. The introduction of E-voting would save lives, increase voter participation during elections and may just be the revolution developing countries seek to achieve the SDGs. With the E-Voting systems Marginalized groups including women, the elderly and persons living with disabilities would cast their votes for the candidates of their choice without fear of intimidation or death.
1. Presentation of the outcomes before the Elections Commissions of Pakistan (ECP)
2. Presentations of the outcomes before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Nigeria
3. Preparation and publication of Guide to E-voting for developing countries.
I have over 5 years experience with focus on designing and facilitating dialogue sessions on governance issues. In the past year, many of these sessions have been moved online and I have had to facilitate and participate in many online sessions some for up to 8 hours a day for a 4-5 days. The format of these session depends a lot on the number of participants and how many online and offline participants there are present. This would completely affect the style of the sessions and facilitation technique.
A. The combination of a few for techniques would keep participants engaged for the duration
1. Dividing the session into 45 minutes each making 2 sessions including short bathroom breaks and icebreakers in between.
2. A combination of presentations style, Video learning, interactive discussions and individual tasks to allow me assess their participation and keep them on their feet both online and onsite will keep the sessions interactive.
B. The use of platforms like MS teams, big blue button have made online sessions interactive and can be used to engage participates during session redefining the term face to face. The inclusion of online and onsite games like online trivia, air map and finders keepers, the sun shines on, breaks the ice and makes online and onsite sessions more interesting and seamless. Also selecting speakers who have experience always makes for easy discussions. Additionally a good facilitator always knows how to steer conversations to keep people interested.
Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: - jamboard to allow for brain storming and visual discussions
- Atingi/bigbluebutton to allow for creating of customised rooms for smaller group discussions and networking