Unlocking data that can help people monitor what their governments are really up to

This article titled “Can democracy spread at the push of a button?” was written by Stephen Abbott Pugh in Kigali, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 24th February 2016 13.50 UTC

During recent elections across Africa, new technologies have been harnessed to help monitor elected officials, bolster democracies and liberate election information.

These efforts form part of a growing awareness of the value of data which, until now, has too often been locked away by governments.

Disputed results in Kenya and Burkina Faso have led to outbreaks of post-election violence in recent years. In response, the 2015 elections in Burkina Faso saw the government embrace open real-time election data while civil society groups helped reassure citizens of the veracity of the polls through transparency. Similar groups played a crucial role in last year’s lauded peaceful presidential election in Nigeria, and other countries are now looking to adopt this successful “situation room” model to allay fears of vote tampering.

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