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Freedom in Africa 2008
Source - "Freedom in the World 2008", published by Freedom House.


Table of African Countries*
Comparative Measures of Freedom
(Countries highlighted in yellow are designated as "Electoral Democracies" by Freedom House)
 up or down indicates a change in Political Rights, Civil Liberties, or Status since the last survey. In the Table, click on the number preceding the arrow for an explanation of the rating and/or status change in the selected country. A rating of 1 represents the most free and 7 the least free rating.
 Trend Arrows indicate general positive or negative trends since the previous survey that are not necessarily reflected in the raw points and do not warrant a ratings change.
Trend Country Political Rights Civil Liberties Status
Angola 6 5 Not Free
Benin 2 2 Free
Botswana 2 2 Free
Burkina Faso 5 3 Partly Free
Burundi 4 5 Partly Free
Cameroon 6 6 Not Free
Cape Verde 1 1 Free
Central African Rep. 5 5 Partly Free
Chad 7 6 Not Free
Comoros 4 4 Partly Free
Congo-Brazzaville 6 5 Not Free
Congo-Kinshasa 5 6 Not Free
Côte d'Ivoire 7 5 Not Free
Djibouti 5 5 Partly Free
Equatorial Guinea 7 6 Not Free
Eritrea 7 6 Not Free
Ethiopia 5 5 Partly Free
Gabon 6 4 Partly Free
The Gambia 5 4 Partly Free
Ghana 1 2 Free
Guinea 6 5 Not Free
Guinea-Bissau 4 4 Partly Free
Kenya 4 3 Partly Free
Lesotho 2 3 Free
Liberia 3 4 Partly Free
Madagascar 4 3 Partly Free
Malawi 4 4 Partly Free
Mali 2 3 Free
Mauritania 4 4 Partly Free
Mauritius 1 2 Free
Mozambique 3 3 Partly Free
Namibia 2 2 Free
Niger 3 4 Partly Free
Nigeria 4 4 Partly Free
Rwanda 6 5 Not Free
São Tomé & Príncipe 2 2 Free
Senegal 2 3 Free
Seychelles 3 3 Partly Free
Sierra Leone 3 3 Partly Free
Somalia 7 7 Not Free
Somaliland 4 4 Partly Free
South Africa 2 2 Free
Sudan 7 7 Not Free
Swaziland 7 5 Not Free
Tanzania 4 3 Partly Free
Togo 5 5 Partly Free
Uganda 5 4 Partly Free
Zambia 3 4 Partly Free
Zimbabwe 7 6 Not Free
*The ratings in this table reflect global events from 1 January 2007 through 31 December 2007.
Criteria for designation as an Electoral Democracy
1. A competitive, multiparty political system.
2. Universal adult suffrage for all citizens (with exceptions for restrictions that states may legitimately place on citizens as sanctions for criminal offenses).
3. Regularly contested elections conducted in conditions of ballot secrecy, reasonable ballot security, and the absence of massive voter fraud that yields results that are unrepresentative of the public will.
4. Significant public access of major political parties to the electorate through the media and through generally open political campaigning.
Status and Ratings Changes, Trend Arrow Explanations
Cameroon received a downward trend arrow to reflect the consolidation of the Biya regime and significant irregularities in the 2007 elections.
The Central African Republic's Civil Liberties rating declined from 4 to 5 due to the extent to which the deteriorating security situation significantly inhibited freedom of association and the work of humanitarian agencies, particularly in the conflict-afflicted areas of the northeast and northwest.
Chad's Political Rights rating declined from 6 to 7 due to increased corruption relating to a lack of transparency in the management of oil revenues, amidst increasing violence and instability.
Comoros' Political Rights rating declined from 3 to 4 as a result of the illegitimate reelection of the president of Anjouan Island.
Congo-Brazzaville received a downward trend arrow due to the government's refusal to create an independent electoral commission and persistent weaknesses in the electoral framework that effectively prohibit the Congolese from changing their leaders through the ballot box.
Congo-Kinshasa received a downward trend arrow for the forced exile of the main opposition leader, which betrayed President Kabila's intolerance for political opposition.
Côte d'Ivoire's Civil Liberties rating improved from 6 to 5 due to the signing of the Ouagadougou peace accords, including the peaceful, albeit delayed, initiation of the identification process and the opening of the border between the north and south.
Guinea-Bissau received a downward trend arrow to reflect the erosion of the rule of law, political accountability, and media freedom due to the infiltration of the administration and military by international drug cartels.
Kenya's Political Rights rating declined from 3 to 4 due to significant irregularities in the December presidential election vote-counting process, which ultimately benefited incumbent president Kibaki.
Lesotho received a downward trend arrow due to harassment of the media in the run-up to snap elections and security forces’ suppression of demonstrations during a post-election government-imposed curfew.
Madagascar received a downward trend arrow due to the accretion of presidential powers resulting from the consolidation of the Ravolamanana-oriented economic oligarchy.
Malawi's Civil Liberties rating declined from 3 to 4 due to government harassment of the judiciary.
Mali's Civil Liberties rating declined from 2 to 3 due to the government’s efforts to restrict media freedoms and rising levels of political insecurity and violence associated with the insurgency in the north.
Mauritania's Political Rights rating improved from 5 to 4 due to the election of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in March 2007, which was deemed free and fair by observers. Mauritania was also designated an electoral democracy in this survey.
Mozambique's Civil Liberties rating improved from a 4 to a 3 due to an opening of the media environment primarily as a result of the successful prosecution of the murderers of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso and the subsequent decline in self-censorship on the part of members of the press.
Niger's Civil Liberties rating declined from 3 to 4 due to the government's efforts to restrict media coverage of the insurgency in the north, limitations on open debate, and the general climate of instability and violence associated with the northern insurgency.
Nigeria received a downward trend arrow due to national elections that international and domestic observers judged to be extremely flawed.
Rwanda received an upward trend arrow due to reform permitting parties to organize at the local level.
Sierra Leone's Political Rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to the relatively peaceful holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections despite the absence of UN or other international troops, the peaceful transfer of power to the opposition, and the independent and thorough job done by the National Electoral Commission.
Somalia received a downward trend arrow as a result of increased restrictions on media freedoms, an upsurge in corruption, and the return of widespread chaos and violence following the removal of the Islamic Courts Union in early 2007.
Togo's Political Rights rating improved from 6 to 5 and status from Not Free to Partly Free due to the success of the 2007 legislative elections, including the ability of the country’s opposition parties to demonstrate and campaign without interference, and the subsequent installation of those elected into office.

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