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Freedom in Africa 2011


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 5 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 7 6 Not Free
Djibouti 6 5 Not Free
Equatorial Guinea 7 7 Not Free
Eritrea 7 7 Not Free
Ethiopia 6 6 Not Free
Gabon 6 5 Not Free
The Gambia 5 5 Partly Free
Ghana 1 2 Free
Guinea 5 5 Partly Free
Guinea-Bissau 4 4 Partly Free
Kenya 4 3 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 4 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 4 5 Partly Free
South Africa 2 2 Free
Sudan 7 7 Not Free
Swaziland 7 5 Not Free
Tanzania 3 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 2010 through 31 December 2010.
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
Burundi's political rights rating declined from 4 to 5 due to arrests and intimidation by the government and ruling party during local, parliamentary, and presidential election campaigns.
Côte d’Ivoire's political rights rating declined from 6 to 7 and its civil liberties rating declined from 5 to 6 due to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to step down or recognize the November 2010 electoral victory of opposition presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara, as well as political violence that stemmed from the post-election standoff, including state security forces' targeting of ethnic minority groups that supported Ouattara.
Djibouti's political rights rating declined from 5 to 6 and its status from Partly Free to Not Free due to constitutional changes that will allow President Ismael Omar Guelleh to run for a third term in office.
Ethiopia's political rights rating declined from 5 to 6, its civil liberties rating from 5 to 6, and its status from Partly Free to Not Free due to national elections that were thoroughly tainted by intimidation of opposition supporters and candidates as well as a clampdown on independent media and nongovernmental organizations.
Guinea's political rights rating improved from 7 to 5, its civil liberties rating from 6 to 5, and its status from Not Free to Partly Free due to a transition from military to civilian rule, credible presidential elections held in November 2010, and heightened observance of freedoms of expression and association.
Guinea-Bissau received a downward trend arrow due to the military's interference in the country’s politics and the civilian president’s increasingly apparent willingness to acquiesce to its demands.
Kenya's civil liberties rating improved from 4 to 3 due to the reduced threat of ethnic and political violence demonstrated by a peaceful constitutional referendum held in August 2010.
Madagascar received a downward trend arrow due to de facto president Andry Rajoelina's attempt to unilaterally impose an electoral process in violation of internationally mediated agreements with the main opposition parties.
Nigeria's political rights rating improved from 5 to 4 due to increasing efforts at electoral reform, greater opposition leverage to demand transparent elections, and the emergence of a diverse slate of presidential candidates within the ruling People's Democratic Party.
Rwanda received a downward trend arrow due to a severe crackdown on opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society activists in the run-up to a deeply flawed August 2010 presidential election.
Somaliland's political rights rating improved from 5 to 4 due to the successful conduct of a long-delayed presidential election and the peaceful transfer of power from the incumbent president to his leading rival.
Tanzania's political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to the more open and competitive nature of national elections held in October 2010. The country was also designated as an electoral democracy in this survey.
Swaziland received a downward trend arrow due to a major crackdown on oppositionist and pro-democracy groups before and during organized demonstrations in September 2010.
Zambia received a downward trend arrow due to political violence against the opposition and civil society groups, as well as the judiciary's failure to demonstrate substantial independence in key decisions throughout the year.

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