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Freedom in Africa 2012


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 6 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 6 5 Not 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 3 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
South Sudan 6 5 Not 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 2011 through 31 December 2011.
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
Côte d'Ivoire's political rights rating improved from 7 to 6 due to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara's assumption of office after a reasonably credible 2010 presidential election and the forcible removal of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to accept his electoral defeat.
Djibouti received a downward trend arrow due to harassment and intimidation of opposition parties that resulted in President Ismail Omar Guelleh winning a third term in office, a crackdown on anti-government protesters, and a ban on public demonstrations.
Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the government's increased use of anti-terrorism legislation to target political opponents and a decision by the parliament's lower house to include a leading opposition movement in its list of terrorist organizations.
The Gambia's political rights rating declined from 5 to 6 and its status from Partly Free to Not Free due to President Yayha Jammeh's severe suppression of the opposition, media, and civil society in the run-up to the November presidential election, which was boycotted by ECOWAS monitors because the electoral and political environment was not conducive to free or fair polls.
Malawi received a downward trend arrow due to the government's violent suppression of public protests, intimidation of journalists, and threats to academic freedom.
Niger's political rights rating improved from 5 to 3 due to the holding of successful presidential, legislative, and local elections following the 2010 ouster of former president Mamadou Tandja and a subsequent period of military rule. The country was also designated as an electoral democracy in this survey.
Sudan received a downward trend arrow due to a surge in arrests of opposition political activists and leaders, the banning of a leading political party, the violent response to public demonstrations in Khartoum and other cities, and a crackdown on the activities of journalists.
Uganda received a downward trend arrow due to the poor conduct of the February national elections, the government's violent response to protests over corruption and inflation, and a crackdown on journalists.

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