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Freedom in Africa 2010


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 3 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 3 4 Partly Free
Congo-Brazzaville 6 5 Not Free
Congo-Kinshasa 6 6 Not Free
Côte d'Ivoire 6 5 Not Free
Djibouti 5 5 Partly Free
Equatorial Guinea 7 7 Not Free
Eritrea 7 7 Not Free
Ethiopia 5 5 Partly Free
Gabon 6 5 Not Free
The Gambia 5 5 Partly Free
Ghana 1 2 Free
Guinea 7 6 Not Free
Guinea-Bissau 4 4 Partly Free
Kenya 4 4 Partly Free
Lesotho 3 3 Partly Free
Liberia 3 4 Partly Free
Madagascar 6 4 Partly Free
Malawi 3 4 Partly Free
Mali 2 3 Free
Mauritania 6 5 Not Free
Mauritius 1 2 Free
Mozambique 4 3 Partly Free
Namibia 2 2 Free
Niger 5 4 Partly Free
Nigeria 5 4 Partly Free
Rwanda 6 5 Not Free
São Tomé & Príncipe 2 2 Free
Senegal 3 3 Partly Free
Seychelles 3 3 Partly Free
Sierra Leone 3 3 Partly Free
Somalia 7 7 Not Free
Somaliland 5 5 Partly Free
South Africa 2 2 Free
Sudan 7 7 Not Free
Swaziland 7 5 Not Free
Tanzania 4 3 Partly Free
Togo 5 4 Partly Free
Uganda 5 4 Partly Free
Zambia 3 4 Partly Free
Zimbabwe 6 6 Not Free
*The ratings in this table reflect global events from 1 January 2009 through 31 December 2009.
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.
Additional Note: The presence of certain irregularities during the electoral process does not automatically disqualify a country from being designated an electoral democracy. A country cannot be an electoral democracy if significant authority for national decisions resides in the hands of an unelected power, whether a monarch or a foreign or international authority. A country is removed from the ranks of electoral democracies if its last national elections were not sufficiently free or fair, or if changes in law significantly eroded the public's opportunity for electoral choice.
Status and Ratings Changes, Trend Arrow Explanations
Botswana's political rights rating declined from 2 to 3 due to decreased transparency and accountability in the executive branch under President Seretse Khama Ian Khama's administration.
Burundi received an upward trend arrow due to the integration of the last remaining rebel group into the political process and the establishment of an independent electoral commission.
Congo-Brazzaville received a downward trend arrow due to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's increasing centralization of power and the authorities’ handling of the July 2009 presidential election and its aftermath, including their disqualification of several opposition candidates and intimidation of journalists.
Congo-Kinshasa received a downward trend arrow due to the government's continued harassment of human rights groups and an increasingly dangerous working environment for journalists.
Gabon's civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5 and its status from Partly Free to Not Free due to increased restrictions on the media in the period surrounding the presidential election as well as a crackdown on post-election protesters.
Eritrea's civil liberties rating declined from 6 to 7 due to the government’s persistent and intense repression of religious minorities, its dominance over the judiciary, and its harsh system of national service, which ties people to the state for much of their working lives.
Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the narrowing of political space in advance of the 2010 elections, the government's crackdown on the operations of nongovernmental organizations, and its use of antiterrorism legislation against political opponents.
The Gambia's civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5 due to President Yahya Jammeh's enhanced personal control over the judiciary and threats of violence against civil society organizations.
Guinea's civil liberties rating declined from 5 to 6 due to the military junta’s repressive measures, including the massacre of some 150 opposition protesters in September and the use of rape as a means of political intimidation.
Kenya's civil liberties rating declined from 3 to 4 due to the government’s failure to address abuses by the security forces, including their role in post-election violence in 2008.
Lesotho's political rights rating declined from 2 to 3 and its status from Free to Partly Free due to unresolved disputes over legislative seats from the 2008 elections and a breakdown in internationally mediated negotiations between the government and opposition.
Madagascar's political rights rating declined from 4 to 6 and its civil liberties rating from 3 to 4 due to President Andry Rajoelina’s unconstitutional rise to power, suspension of the parliament, repression of opposition protests, and limitations on press freedom, including the closure of several opposition media outlets.
Malawi's political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to a fairer and more competitive presidential election in 2009, greater electoral participation by women, and women’s subsequent representation in governing institutions.
Mozambique's political rights rating declined from 3 to 4 due to significant irregularities and a lack of transparency pertaining to the registration of candidates and the tabulation of votes in the October 2009 presidential, legislative, and provincial elections.
Niger's political rights rating declined from 3 to 5 due to President Mamadou Tandja's antidemocratic moves to extend his power, including the dissolution of the Constitutional Court and National Assembly and the holding of a referendum to eliminate term limits and postpone the next presidential election—originally due in December 2009—until 2012.
Nigeria received a downward trend arrow due to the ruling party's consolidation of power, especially through its influence over opposition appeals of 2007 election results, and government involvement in sectarian violence that led to the deaths of several hundred people.
Somaliland's civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5 due to further restrictions on press freedom and the suppression of demonstrations following the postponement of the presidential election.
Togo's civil liberties rating improved from 5 to 4 due to the launch of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses, as well as a decrease in violence throughout the country.
Zambia's civil liberties rating declined from 3 to 4 due to new legal restrictions on the activities of nongovernmental organizations.
Zimbabwe's political rights rating improved from 7 to 6 due to the formation of a national unity government, the appointment of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, and the swearing in of an opposition-led parliament.

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