The internet is increasingly a space for intellectual debates; with the ability to connect with like-minded people with similar interests, one can find people who enjoy discussing literature, scientific advancements or even the lastest piece of fluff holiday reading. Increased internet and mobile penetration in Africa has provided Africans a space to challenge dominant narratives about the continent often advanced by western media, and African feminists recently had their day when #FeministWhileAfrican was trending.
In many parts of the world, geopolitics is confronted with two contending trends. On the one hand, numerous countries are engaged in a process of regional economic integration, epitomised by the more advanced model of the European Union (EU), which requires ‘internal’ borders between participating states to become more fluid to facilitate the free circulation of goods, services, capital and labour. On the other, borders are regaining momentum. Inherited from colonisation, the post-war or post-cold war status quo, the validity of these borders is now a moot point. From Ukraine to Iraq, Syria, Mali, South Sudan or Nigeria, old borders are questioned, new demarcation lines appear. In Europe, the large influx of refugees has led to very different approaches across EU member states, with some overtly questioning the Schengen agreement on border-free travel.
Introduction ‘Multiple regionalisms’ are a problem in Africa’s integration process. It refers to the existence of several sub-regional groupings whose objectives and programmes in many instances conflict, thereby complicating the processes of integration on the continent. Most countries in Africa hold membership in at least two different regional groupings (ARIA 2002). There are currently fourteen regional groupings in Africa, with eight recognized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) as the building blocks of the African Economic Community (AEC). These recognized groupings are collectively referred to as regional economic communities (RECs). They are: the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU); the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); the East African Community (EAC); the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD); the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD); and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (Tadesse 2009). The others, such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Indian Ocean Commission (OIC) exist alongside, and compete with, the recognized regional groups on the continent. The multiplicity of these sub-regional groupings has caused operational problems in the governance and administration of the African integration processes. There is, firstly, the issue of dispersal of scarce diplomatic, economic and human resources. The mostly poor member states have had to contend with making commitments to these organizations.
In many parts of the world, geopolitics are confronted with two anti-nomic trends. On the one hand, numerous countries are engaged in a process of regional economic integration, epitomised by the more advanced model of the European Union (EU), and which requires ‘internal’ borders between participating states to become more fluid to facilitate free circulation of goods, services, capital and labour. On the other, borders are regaining momentum. Inherited from colonisation, post-war or post-cold war status quo, they no longer appear intangible. From Ukraine to Iraq, Syria, Mali, South Sudan or Nigeria, old borders are questioned, new demarcation lines appear. In Europe, the large influx of refugees has led to very different approaches across EU member states, with some overtly questioning the Schengen agreement on border free travel.
One of the foundations of Ghana’s much-touted democracy is on the verge of crumbling after 12 high court judges, 22 lower court magistrates, and over 100 judicial service personnel across the country were captured on video collecting bribes, extorting money from litigants, and negotiating the release of persons standing trial in their respective courts. The West African country—governed by a single constitution since 1992, after many bouts of post-independence coup d’états and authoritarian regimes —is ranked the 7th best in overall governance in Africa in the 2014 edition of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which credited it with very high scores on safety, rule of law, and national security. The video was premiered for public viewing on September 22, 2015.[2a].
This latest revelation smacks in the face of accountable governance and is a confirmation of increasing perceptions of corruption among the judiciary, the police, and the seat of government, according to latest Afro-barometer surveys conducted by the Centre of Democratic Governance. The barometer indicators and other forms of public grievances against the judiciary have remained speculative until now. A painstaking two-year investigation by Tiger Eye PI, an Accra-based private investigative company led by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has made alarming revelations of massive corruption, secret justice-for-sale deals, and scheming of judges and judicial service personnel allegedly negotiating the release of criminals. These were contained in secret video recordings that have the potential to lead Ghana into an abyss of confusion and instability – the hallmark of many African countries.