4 Accounting Myths Busted

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accounting firms in Midrand

So many times I am out at a restaurant, store, or outing and someone in my family or group of friends says “You’re the accountant, how much is this?” and wants me to calculate something in my head. I am going to let you all in on a little secret… I am not a mathematician, I am an accountant. If my calculator is not near, don’t ask me to calculate anything.

1. Accounting is about math.

This could not be further than the truth. Yes, you use math, but so does an engineer, salesman, marketing person, lawn man, hair stylist, etc. If you want to get paid, you will have to calculate the amount you are owed, the change if paid in cash, your commission percentage, etc. Accountants use math similarly. Accounting is accounting for assets, liabilities, income, expenses, etc… yes; however, the “meat and potatoes” of true accounting is research and storytelling. Do you enjoy putting a puzzle together? Well, in accounting, when you look through those numbers you are looking for holes to put that right piece into. You have to use those numbers to tell the owner of a business, shareholder, bank, or manager what they mean; how they can use them; and what to expect in the future. It’s analytics, not algebra.

2. Accounting is for Men only.

In every company where I have been employed or worked with, the ratio of women to men is either 50% or higher in the women’s favor. As a matter of fact, most are dominated by women. Yes, I have seen mostly men in the executive positions, but women are growing quickly in this area as well. As many companies see that women can balance family and work [most times better than you guys], they are respecting the abilities and qualifications of women in these fields. Now guys, you are not being pushed out. This is a great place for both sexes to show their potential. Just don’t expect your gender to determine your place in the accounting world.

3. Small Businesses don’t need accounting or it can just wait until it’s get to be too much for me to handle myself.

Ok, so this means that as a small business owner, you would say that you don’t need to budget, forecast financials, know about trends in your business, or know the latest, greatest tax advantages. I have clients that are as small as a one-man service business making only about 20K a year.

Every business needs an accountant watching their back, like with these accounting firms in Midrand. Now, this person or company needs to be trustworthy and competent, but you need them, all the same. A business cannot and should not be run based on whether or not there is cash in the bank at that current time. At the end of the year, how do you know whether you are going to report a loss or income to the IRS? You need to report as much loss as you can to pay as little taxes as you can or you are just cheating yourself. Many tax firms will charge you an arm and a leg if you go in with a box or in some cases, a trash bag, full of receipts and say, “Here. Please do my taxes.” They have to charge you the time they are going to allocate to thumbing through these receipts and most likely they will not take the time to be sure they put every little nickel and dime they can to losses so you pay as little as possible in taxes.

Your accountant will be following your financials the entire year and everything should be neat and clean come time to file your taxes. Also, your accountant should be able to give you monthly financials that tell you where you can improve in an area, have reports ready for possible loans, help you make financial decisions, help you make the most of recent tax advantages, and tell you if your business will trend towards lower or higher revenue in certain months based on history. This is all needed information and once my clients come into my services, they are amazed that they were ever able to run their business without my services.

4. I pay business expenses out of my own pocket. It’s really no big deal.

WRONG. If you own or operate a business, it is a business, not your spouse. You need to note when you have paid an expenses out of your own pocket. This is money that could be returned to you tax-free.

For example, I have a client that I met with recently. She owns a beauty salon. She does not have a business bank account and all expenses are paid through her own account. Now, she takes the income into that same account. Her husband is a full-time employee in another company. First, there is no way to tell if she is truly making a profit or not. Second, she is paid a salary. Her salary is taxable. If her business is breaking even, she has been paying double the taxes she should have. She was never reimbursed for her out-of-pocket expenses correctly which should have been TAX-FREE.

She should be able to at least be refunded for the expenses she has paid for out of her own pocket [tax-free] before taking a salary which is taxable. As her accountant, I have advised her to open a business bank account. At this point she will deposit revenues into this account and pay bill from here. If there is not enough cash to pay bills, she will pay them out of her own pocket but she will be sure to tell us when she does this. We record this as reimbursements that are due back to her tax-free and she will receive this money back when the company cash flow allows for this.

How To Find a Safe Online Gambling Website?

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hycasino, bonus casino, casino

There are a ton of authentic bonus casinos all over the planet. These betting destinations give close consideration to factors like standing, security, straightforwardness, among others. Then again, some casino administrators enjoy obscure business. Fortunately, there are various lawful betting locales, and you can rapidly find them.

Assuming that you are hoping to enlist on a genuine betting site such as hycasino, you are on the right page. Aside from suggesting probably the best betting destinations, we will likewise clarify a portion of the crucial highlights of genuine casinos.

Playing at a genuine betting site accompanies a few benefits. Other than approaching a wide scope of protected and quick installment strategies, you will likewise appreciate liberal bonuses and advancements with great agreements.

Moreover, this platform permits you to zero in soundly on dominating your match since you don’t engage any dread or uncertainty regarding the online casino’s standing. Prior to providing you with the rundown of some genuine betting locales where you can play genuine money games, let us investigate these betting destinations’ elements:

Permitting

Before you register on any betting site, you should check in the event that they work under a lawful license and are controlled by the proper power. The genuine best casinos as a rule pick something like one administrative power. With regards to online casinos, a few administrative bodies issue licenses. It is worth focusing on that a portion of these administrative specialists are not severe; these bodies are frequently the most ideal decision for obscure administrators. A portion of the remarkable and regarded authorizing bodies incorporate the Malta Gaming Authority, The Government of Curacao and Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.

Possession

You can likewise lessen your possibilities succumbing to obscure betting destinations by doing a personal investigation on the casino administrator. You should incline toward experienced administrators to new ones; in any case, a few new online casinos are working tenaciously to assemble a decent picture for themselves. Subsequently, you can choose to go out on a limb by enrolling on any of these platforms in the wake of thinking about the proprietorship.

Bonus

Another fundamental component that you should not ignore is the bonus and limited time offers. Genuine casinos don’t enjoy interesting bonus programs. They express their terms obviously, and their bonus terms are not rigid.

Programming

The authentic casino highlights legitimate programming suppliers. A portion of these product designers incorporate NetEnt, Microgaming, IGT, Playtech, and bunches of others. Aside from that, they offer a huge scope of energizing casino games, including video pokers, spaces, table games, and live vendor games. You ought to think about different elements while picking a legitimate online casino, including Payment Methods, client service, and security.

Which is the Best Online Gambling Software Safe Online Casino?

Constant Gaming

It was laid out in Georgia, where it began business as a product supplier in 1998. Some of RTG highlights are usability, high velocity, and alluring illustrations, among others. The product is being refreshed consistently to convey an astonishing casino experience.

Microgaming

Micrograming began business in 1994 Playtech, and it has kept on progressing hugely in the gaming business. In January 2014, it delivered a Microgaming Viper programming. All betting destinations controlled by this product highlight liberal bonuses and different advantages like an extended game assistance and autoplay. Other imperative elements of this product are system connection point and game insights.

IGT

IGT offers basically all online gaming items any player could want. Before the presence of online casinos, IGT has been related to the plan of gambling machines. IGT, otherwise called Interactive Gaming Technology, wandered into online gaming when it purchased the WagerWorks brand in 2005. The nature of IGT games is extraordinary.

End

As expressed before, the presentation of an online betting website relies on its product suppliers. We have given you the absolute best online betting programming in the gaming scene. These product suppliers offer various advantages going from all over security to top-quality games.

Aside from holding a lawful license, real online casinos accompany a few different elements, including safe installment choices, straightforwardness, energizing bonus projects, and driving programming suppliers. As an update, assuming that you are going for another betting site, you ought not neglect to think about its possession.

Are There Different Types Of Courier Services?

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nangs delivery

There are a lot of courier specialist co-ops in the market today. It very well may be a can be enormous or little organization. The vast majority of the bigger organizations are regularly utilized by organizations that direct work all around the world. Such business houses are needed to habitually send bundles from one corner of the world to the next. Then again a lot more modest courier administrations are frequently settled in huge urban areas where law offices or clinical practices courier significant records and data from one area of the city to the next. Each sort of Courier Company offers various administrations according to the prerequisite of their customers.

Among the different sorts of courier delivery presented by a courier organization not many as talked about here:

Initially, we will talk about what an International Courier administration is. As the name of the assistance proposes an International Courier administration is tied in with carry an answer for the client sitting in one piece of the globe who needs something might be a package or a significant piece of paper to be conveyed to their entryway step. It very well may be moved either via air or ocean.

The International Courier administration is further sub isolated in to various classes like the International Express in which the courier is conveyed the following day or Standard courier delivery where the package is gotten with in five to seven days.

Then, at that point, that very day express courier delivery comes. In such sort of delivery the courier is needed to be divided around the same time. Such delivery is very assist full in the event of crisis and when you with needing the courier to arrive at its objective straightaway. So next time you choose to send a gift to a companion living abroad without a second to spare don’t stress since now you realize that can be effortlessly finished with that very day express courier administration. This assistance is accessible in different camouflages like that very day courier, express courier and bicycle courier. How ever all in all, these conveyances offer the very sort of administration and that is to get your courier to its objective around the same time it is sent. This assistance is extremely helpful for legitimate firms, like nangs delivery.

Then, at that point, there is the Overnight Courier delivery. It assists you with moving earnest delivery across town. So your courier goes during the dull hours and early morning while you unwind serene in the solace of your home and the most awesome aspect of this assistance is that it certifications to get the courier to its objective before a picked time the next day.

The Standard Courier Service – If there is no time limitation for your delivery. The standard assistance is exceptionally cost proficient yet it may require 2-3 days longer than other superstar courier delivery 1-2 hour administrations.

What Is A Cybersecurity Attack?

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cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the term used to portray each of the exercises, arrangements, methodology, and instruments utilized in show to secure against unapproved admittance to the data innovation, information (counting delicate information), and touchy data that is center to the working of the cutting edge world.

Cybersecurity has become quite possibly the main regions that organizations and other association need to consider in their everyday activities, and their cybersecurity procedure making arrangements for the more extended term. The insurance of advanced resources is critical that Governments and administrative associations currently distribute cybersecurity warnings inside their purview. Bunches doing this incorporate the National Institute Of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the FBI in the USA, the UK National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), and the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA).

Cybersecurity covers numerous parts of the advanced computerized scene. It incorporates safety efforts to convey information insurance, data security, application security, network security, cloud security, endpoint gadget security, and the assurance of individuals – staff, customers, clients, and its public clients administrations.

Cybersecurity Attack Types

There are various attack vectors that cybercriminals endeavor to utilize:

Phishing – Phishing attacks target individuals to take login and other classified data by attempting to fool them into clicking pernicious connections in messages, message applications, or on the web. Phishing attacks are intended to look like real messages from confided in brands, associations, or people so the beneficiaries believe that they are getting a veritable solicitation for data. Phishing joins generally take the beneficiary to a parody site made to resemble a genuine one. On this site, they then, at that point, gather login certifications and other secret data.

Stick Phishing – Spear Phishing is a profoundly designated variation of Phishing that utilizes an imagine email or message from a significant person to deceive an individual inside the equivalent or an accomplice association. Stick phishing endeavors desire to utilize the additional legitimacy of the shipper to fool individuals into giving data they shouldn’t.

Malware – Malware is malevolent programming intended to contaminate IT frameworks and cause harm or compromise information security. Malware attacks come in many structures, for example, infections, worms, trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware, and the sky is the limit from there.

Ransomware – Ransomware is a type of malware that scrambles information on contaminated IT frameworks. It requests a payoff to get a code to unscramble the contaminated framework, typically to an unknown location utilizing Bitcoin. Large numbers of the huge cybersecurity attacks have been ransomware attacks over the most recent couple of years (WannaCry, for instance). Or then again they have taken on the appearance of ransomware attacks to conceal their genuine reason (NotPetya appears to fall into this classification – it was a state-supported disruption attack actually).

Man In The Middle Attack – A man in the center (MITM) attack happens when cybercriminals block and modify network traffic streaming between IT frameworks. The MITM attack mimics the two shippers and recipients on the organization. It means to deceive both into sending decoded information that the attacker blocks and can use for additional attacks or monetary profit.

Refusal Of Service Attack – A Denial of Service (DoS) attack means to upset an assistance being given on the organization by flooding the designated frameworks or applications with so many solicitations that the servers can’t react to them all. By doing this, real access demands can’t get to the assistance, or any reaction consumes a large chunk of the day. Most DoS attacks are disseminated and known as DDoS attacks. These utilization malware-contaminated PCs, and progressively inadequately got IoT gadgets, in Botnets to quickly send the solicitations that overpower the designated frameworks.

Botnets – Botnets are boundless gatherings of gadgets that have been compromised and captured by cybercriminals to utilize them to target IT frameworks with DDoS attacks or other attack types. Botnet is a portmanteau of the words robot and organization.

Adware – Adware is programming that shows undesirable promotions on end-client gadgets to produce income from publicists. Adware is a kind of malware. It regularly gets introduced on client gadgets in the wake of fooling individuals into clicking a connection. Adware then, at that point, shows the promotions and reproduces client snaps to dupe publicists into feeling that authentic clients are collaborating with their advertisements. They then, at that point, pay the cybercriminals for these snaps.

Crypto-Jacking – Crypto-jacking is a kind of malware that utilizes the assets of the tainted IT frameworks to ‘dig’ for digital forms of money. This takes the attacked framework’s figuring assets by running at a high burden to create pay for the distant attackers. Who bring in cash from the offer of the digital forms of money created on the contaminated framework.

Insider Threats – Not all digital dangers begin from outside sources. Information and other delicate data like login certifications can spill from inside associations. Either through malevolent action by staff, or all the more often because of a mix-up. Such an error is sending an email with a decoded connection to some unacceptable beneficiary. This sort of digital break is known as an insider danger.

Is US summit on democracy necessary?

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By  Adhere Cavince

What you need to know:

  • It is a rushed project to re-establish a Cold War structure, this time with China as the chief antagonist.
  • The US democratisation enterprise has lately come under heavy criticism following the Afghanistan disaster.

Officials in President Joe Biden’s administration are scratching their heads regarding the planned December 2021 Summit on Democracy.

According to the White House, the Summit, part of the deliverables promised by the US leader within his first year in office, is primed to fortify the spirit of democracy around the world.

Its theme may be exciting in some quarters as numerous reports indicate that the Washington idea of democracy is in decline. Yet, this is both simplistic and antagonistic.

First, it creates a two-prism world: A country is either classified as a democracy or otherwise. This view does not appreciate the complex domestic situations in different countries, including in the US, which has lately failed to reflect the hue and character of its democratic yardstick.

In essence, it is a rushed project to re-establish a Cold War structure, this time with China as the chief antagonist. In a world of complex economic interdependence and interests, a number of US allies are growing weary of this dichotomy; creating a nightmare for the organisers.

Secondly, the US democratisation enterprise has lately come under heavy criticism following the Afghanistan disaster. For two decades, Washington tried to impose foreign values on Afghans after driving away the Taliban.

Strengthening democracy

The return to Taliban rule merely days after the announcement of the US pullout and the accompanying humanitarian disaster has sent a chilling message to allies and foes alike about the folly of military adventurism under the guise of democracy promotion. The apparent lack of consultation and coordination with its allies in Afghanistan also sucked much of the leadership dividend that Washington enjoyed within Nato.

Thirdly, consolidating its domestic democratic ideals and realities could have been a more appropriate point of call for the Biden administration. According to the 2021 Chicago Council Survey on US foreign policy, 70 per cent of Americans favour strengthening democracy at home, compared to just 44 per cent who prefer the foreign enterprise.

More importantly, the poll revealed some key focus areas such as improving public education (73 per cent ); preventing the insurrection and political violence (54 per cent ); and reducing both racial (53 per cent ) and economic (50 per cent) inequality as very important in securing US global influence.

The survey indicators are, indeed reflective prevalent views around the world. The racial discrimination remains a scourge within American society. Fixing US democracy will take much effort to ensure safety, economic viability and political inclusion of minority groups living in America.

As the leader of the sole superpower, President Biden has a right and responsibility to shape and reimagine the global role of the US. However, when US domestic character is superimposed on other countries without due consideration of the prevailing circumstances, America loses its leadership potential to continue playing a constructive major power role in the world.

Mr Cavince is an international relations expert.

Why US summit must promote global development

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By  Adhere Cavince

Only a dozen African countries have been invited to the December 9-10 United States-organised Summit on Democracy. The virtual event will see representatives from more than 100 countries and regions join US President Joe Biden in a mega boot camp aimed at revamping the enterprise of democracy.

By inviting less than 25 per cent of the super majority African Union member states, the Biden Administration has stepped down its partnership tempo with Africa following a promising gesture by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after his recent three-nation maiden tour of the continent.

For decades, Africa’s relevance in US foreign policy has been confined to geopolitical considerations. During the Cold War, the US sought alliances with African leaders to keep the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from gaining influence in the continent. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Africa became America’s national security buffer zone in the internationalised war on terror.

Africa has been viewed by US leaders as a troubled space characterised by bad governance, conflict, disease and economic backwardness. That has dampened the US private sector investment spirit in Africa with foreign aid and democracy promotion becoming the major anchors of US-Africa ties. While the Biden regime has sought to rewrite the rules of engagement with Africa, the new energy should be directed at Africa’s development priorities as outlined in the continent’s socioeconomic renovation blueprint, Agenda 2063.

The African people are forging ahead with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) development programme that seeks to transform their economic standing through trade, travel and investments.

Long-term cooperation
A US-led global summit on Covid-19 pandemic would have made more sense at this time. The global health crisis has taken an economic toll on Africa with just seven per cent of its adult population inoculated against the virus. The first climate-induced famine is under way in Madagascar and the forecast for economic recovery is tempered in much of the continent. These require urgent and sustainable partnerships and the superpower should provide leadership.

To be an effective partner for Africa, the US should define a long-term cooperation model that does not rely on which political party is in the White House. The fear that President Biden’s successor will throw away the gains he is trying to consolidate in Africa, as his predecessor Donald Trump did, makes many Africans sceptical about America’s long-term commitments to the continent.

Secondly, Africans welcome international development partners without conditions. Majority of Africans want their governments to make decisions without interference from donors and lenders. Biden’s ideas, like the Build Back Better World, can only make a positive difference in Africa’s modernisation bid if it shakes away the conditionalities tag that defines US interactions with Africa.

Thirdly, Africa is ready for tangible investments in consequential areas of energy, technology, infrastructure, human capacity building and industrial value chains that can promote inclusive trade. This will provide a sustainable path to economically empower communities and reduce poverty that still holds sway over 490 million Africans.

Fourth, the US should gracefully contend with and welcome the contribution of Africa’s other development partners. On China, for instance, 63 per cent of Africans see Beijing’s economic influence in their countries as positive, according to a recent Afrobarometer survey. Framing the US-Africa relations in terms of competition with other countries is antithetical to Africans’ expectations.

A range of opportunities exist in Africa’s development space. Its energy-deficit stands at a staggering 550 Gigawatt and at least 17 new airports are needed. The irrigation infrastructure gap hinders cultivation of 155 million hectares that could significantly boost food security. By 2040, Africa will need 60,000 kilometres of road network.

The Summit should, therefore, not just be a space for expressing temporary camaraderie against threats to democracy. The delegates should discuss modalities of delivering long-term global development programmes in Africa and other developing regions.

Adhere Cavince is a scholar of international relations. 

US summit a glass house

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By Wesley Seale

As we went to the polls in South Africa, my mind was on my grandparents. Both my grandfathers died before being endowed with the right to vote.

Fortunately, both my grandmothers lived to see the day where they could participate in deciding who should govern them.

Yet many citizens across the globe continue to be denied the right to participate in elections. For example, the Brennan Centre for Justice in the US reports that more than 11% of Americans, or 21 million eligible voters, do not have government-issued photo identification and are therefore disqualified from voting.

Thirty-six states in the US, that is, the majority, have forced their citizens to obtain these government-issued IDs and often, as the centre explains, people cannot obtain these IDs because of underlying costs.

Needless to mention, frequently the people who lack these IDs or who are discriminated against when receiving them, are minorities. Estimates by the centre suggest that nearly a quarter of African-Americans do not have these IDs, compared with only 8% of white citizens.
At the same time, the millions of residents in the US territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa as well as Puerto Rico are barred, according to the US electoral college system, from voting in general elections.

While US elections always happen on a Tuesday, these are not declared public holidays and therefore workers often do not get the chance to vote. Taking this into account, it is strange that the US could criticise China for the so-called “continued erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in political participation, in Hong Kong”.

The unexpected October 21 statement continues on the trajectory of US efforts to destabilise Hong Kong. It criticises Hong Kong law for allegedly disqualifying “scores of pro-democracy councillors”, as if there are councillors who are not pro-democracy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Even more so, the Biden administration plans a “Summit for Democracy” where it hopes to lecture the world in order to defend America’s democratic values which, according to the US government, are inseparable from advancing US national interests.

The December 9 to 10 summit will not look necessarily at the challenges faced by the US and its democracy, which is clearly in jeopardy, but rather seeks to point fingers at other countries and undermine domestic democratic processes there.

Reports suggest that while most SADC countries have been invited to the summit, Zimbabwe, eSwatini and Tanzania have been left out. US Foreign Affairs officials refuse to comment on how each country was selected for invitation to the summit. We can only read a divide and rule strategy being implemented by the US.

The US would do well to pay attention to fixing its own political system before attempting to lecture the rest of the world about democracy. As the saying goes, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The US governance system has been glaringly exposed by Trumpism and the January 6 uprising.

As South Africans were going to the polls on November 1, some Americans were recalling the 256th anniversary of the passing of the Stamp Act against the American Colonies in the British parliament in 1765. This tax led to the American Revolution and the independence of the colonies.

Just as the Americans were not satisfied with being colonies, they must know that the people of the world, especially the global south, will not tolerate their continuous interference in our domestic issues. Like them, we will rise and reject American imperialism as they, and my grandparents, rejected British colonialism.

Comment sauver le Sommet pour la démocratie

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démocratie

By Rédaction Kinshasa

Une conférence qui ignorerait les différents modèles de démocratie et exclurait les pays désireux de coopérer serait un pas en arrière.

Le « Sommet pour la démocratie » virtuel se tiendra les 9 et 10 décembre, avec un sommet en personne qui suivra dans environ un an. Le Sommet, promu par le gouvernement américain, vise à galvaniser trois thèmes majeurs : la lutte contre l’autoritarisme, la lutte contre la corruption et le respect des droits humains. Et il fournira une plate-forme aux dirigeants pour prendre des engagements à la fois individuels et collectifs pour défendre la démocratie et les droits de l’homme dans le pays et à l’étranger.

Les pays du monde entier sont confrontés à une liste de défis qui se sont étendus bien au-delà des trois thèmes du Sommet. Cela inclut les inégalités, la participation civique, la désinformation, la protection des systèmes électoraux, le financement illicite, les technologies émergentes, les grandes entreprises et le populisme transnational. En outre, le sommet des pays partageant les mêmes idées lancerait un appel à l’action pour la formation d’une nouvelle alliance fondée sur des principes et un engagement à établir une vision commune pour l’avenir d’Internet.

Mais le Sommet pourrait s’avérer être une autre bonne idée mal exécutée. Une autre conférence pour la rhétorique de la démocratie dénuée de sens serait un pas en arrière. À l’autre extrémité du spectre, une « Alliance des démocraties » rigide pourrait exclure de manière contre-productive des pays qui ne s’inscrivent pas dans un modèle de démocratie préconçu.

Il n’y a pas de modèle standard unique de société, de système économique et encore moins de démocratie. Mais comme une construction historique basée sur les conditions, les circonstances et les caractéristiques de chaque peuple et nation. Le monopole de la définition de la démocratie au profit de certains pays et l’incitation à la confrontation idéologique sur la ligne de « démocratie contre l’autoritarisme » est à l’opposé de la démocratie et contre-productif pour promouvoir la coopération internationale si nécessaire en période de crise climatique, d’augmentation du niveau d’inégalité, la pandémie de Covid-19 et l’accès inégal aux vaccins entre pays en développement et pays développés.

La protection de la démocratie nécessite plus qu’une simple réforme nationale ou la démonstration que, comme le président des États-Unis, Joe Biden, aime à le dire, « que la démocratie peut toujours être efficace ». Cela nécessite une coopération accrue entre les pays dotés de différentes structures de gouvernance politique autour de la planète.

Le Sommet lui-même devrait être considéré comme le début d’un processus de candidature plutôt que comme constituant d’un nouveau groupe. La variété et la richesse des démocraties dans le monde – qui fondent toutes leur légitimité – créent une opportunité qui peut être exploitée.

Le Sommet devrait donner le ton avec une réflexion introspective sur la démocratie américaine et sur les domaines d’une éventuelle coopération internationale. Cela encouragerait les autres à emboîter le pas. Tout pays qui refuserait d’admettre des problèmes semblerait absurde et s’exclurait des avantages de l’adhésion.

Democracy is not an exclusive practice of one country

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Democracy

By Allawi Ssemanda

US president Joe Biden is set to host a virtual democracy summit from December 9 to 10. Over 110 leaders from different parts of the world have been invited to attend the summit. In Africa, 17 countries have been invited to attend.

Uganda is not on the list of the 17 countries invited which has prompted discussion on social media with some claiming Uganda was left out because of alleged anti-democracy practices.

On April 16, 2021, U.S secretary of State Anthony Blinken issued a statement saying it was imposing visa restrictions on “those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda.”

While it’s right for governments to criticise undemocratic practices, the U.S is not a good ambassador to be lecturing the world about democracy. While they accuse some African countries of undermining democratic practices, facts on the ground show that Washington continuously practices the same.

Despite praising self as the “city upon a hill,” scenes characterizing developing countries during elections are the same we see during U.S presidential elections. For example, money is said to have played a major role during the 2020 U.S presidential elections. Congressional and presidential campaigns saw nearly 14 billion U.S dollars, more than double of what was spent in 2016! Also, undisclosed campaign contributions and dark money increased during the 2020 polls increased.

According to the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University, dark money groups poured in 2020 U.S elections over 750 million dollars. Such practices monetize elections which has been cited as a major setback affecting democracy in Africa.

Gallup poll released on October 8, 2020, showed that Americans’ trust in elections had reduced with only 19% of respondents saying were “very confident” about the accuracy of their presidential elections. Wall Street Journal of November 9, 2020 commentary noted that the 2020 U.S elections were a culmination of two decades of decline in Americans’ trust in the basics of building blocks for a vibrant democracy.

Arguably, it is not a surprise that November 3, 2020 polls were disputed which culminated into an open attack on the so-called beacon of democracy (capitol building attack) on 6th January 2021. German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded by saying that ‘The scenes (the U.S. Capitol building violence) we have seen are the result of lies and more lies, of division and contempt for democracy, of hatred and rabble-rousing — even from the very highest levels.’

All the above shows that democracy is not a preserve of the U. S and therefore, claiming to be champions of democracy and branding those they don’t agree with as authoritarians and “rogue regimes” as they normally do is not just hypocrisy but also insulting international intelligence.

However, this should not be interpreted that I am blind to tell the difference between liberal democracy and authoritarian regimes, I of course do and if asked, yes, I have a strong preference!

On human rights which the U.S and some other countries base to attack others branding them abusers of human rights, the U.S still is not the best to lecture the world on human rights or equality.

We have all witnessed acts of racism in the West and some analysts argue it is systematic. In his statement on the death of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, President Barack Obama lamented that “Remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of the race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’”

In June 2020, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights twice addressed the media stressing that protests which were triggered by the death of Floyd painted not just police brutality against people of colour but also raised issues of inequality and racial discrimination in the U.S’ education, health and employment sectors.

While President Biden’s democracy summit is a good initiative, one can argue that the U.S should not segregate on who attends it. Even those who they think are not democratic “enough” should not be left out. It is such summits where people meet, listen to each other, and maybe learn from each other. Possibly, the world’s biggest population – China should have been invited to share how the world should make progress towards a “functioning real democracy.” For example, while arguing that democracy is a shared value of all human beings, China proposed developing a whole-process people’s democracy. Should the world not hear how they think this will better the world and the “real” democratisation process?

We ought to know that democracy is not an exclusive practice of one country. Rather, it should be about the people ruling and the ruled in a given country. With skyrocketing monetization of politics as a study by Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University observed, like in many undemocratic countries, the 2020 U.S polls were largely influenced by money a practice that arguably makes democracy a commodity since money can influence voter’s choice.

The writer is a Research Fellow at Development Watch Centre, a Foreign Policy Think Tank, and author of Why Africa Deserves a Permanent Seat at United Nations Security Council

Quest for democracy and social equality, a mirage or reality?

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Quest for democracy

The United States President Joseph Biden is set to convene a virtual group of over 100 world leaders in early December for the first-ever ‘Summit for Democracy’. The summit comes at a time when democracy in the States has undergone a litmus test in recent times.

Among this is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that was occasioned by the murder of George Floyd in May last year, the African American was murdered during police enforcement. This tragedy was filmed by pedestrians, spread on social networks and subsequently triggered a round of protests across the world.

democracyThe incident and the aftermath of the recent US election where former president Donald Trump disputed the results with unverified accusations of election fraud, produced a strong response in American politics and social life, allowing us to understand the political and economic plight of contemporary American society.

It is not surprising therefore that the US was for the first time listed as a “backsliding democracy” in an annual report on the state of global democracy from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a Stockholm-based organization. International IDEA’s report, which looked at trends across 2020 to 2021, said that the US ‘fell victim to authoritarian tendencies’.

Law enforcement is a mirror of any democracy. With some law enforcement actions coming under close scrutiny and considered excessive by many human rights movement organizations in the United States, the same is mirrored in our Kenyan context. While in America such criticism stems from the application of the law based on race with perceived hardline on blacks, application of the law is seen based on one’s economic status here at home.

The said challenges that have faced the United States – largely seen as the model democracy present learning ground for young democracies like Kenya. They send a strong message that even with the adoption of perceived modern self-governing practices, the so called democracy is a process rather than a destination.

Much remains to be done therefore in transforming public perception on the application of the law towards making the quest for justice a service available to the majority while firm on the minority who opt to go against stipulated laws.

Commendably, the status of Africa’s democratic process is not all gloom. In its report, the International IDEA’s report noted that in most African countries, regular elections have paved the way for peaceful transfer of power and amidst the pandemic, election management bodies (EMBs) adapted to the rising health and safety challenges, showing resiliency and flexibility while ensuring that most national and/or subnational scheduled elections remained on course.

Some signs of democracy are emerging in Africa with several elections setting the pace for peaceful transfer of power. Zambia where opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema defeated incumbent Edgar Lungu in the presidential election is a classic example, Ghana is also a good case where the long term opposition leader is now the president after beating the ruling party. In Malawi the Supreme Court cancelled the election results and declared the opposition leader the winner.

The ground is now shifting which explains why many here were surprised by the storming of the US Capitol building in January and former President Donald Trump questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States without substantiating his allegations. This was followed by a series of deliberate efforts to misinform the public while undermining fundamental trust in the electoral process. Such actions caught many by surprise and soiled the image of the United States as we know it.

Kenya has one of the most progressive constitutions in Africa but implementation remains elusive. The culture of electoral violence and win at any cost is still firmly entrenched in our politics. The role of state supporting one side is also a threat. Our electoral laws need reforms to limit the use of money to buy votes and make cash handouts illegal. But besides all these, with the prevailing economic challenges exacerbated by the pandemic in the country makes it difficult to have smooth and just election outcomes.

The writer is Dr. John Musingi,
Senior Lecturer – Resource use conflicts,
University of Nairobi.