e‐Government in the Global South: machine politics as usual?
Machine politics: electoral/democratic competition and exchange of (in)tangible services for electoral support; political inerference in the bureaucracy; intermnediaries between state and clients; gatekeeping and information hoarding.
The starting point of the research is that politics shapes e-government: there are political incentives and policy outcomes in technology use, and thus technology becomes not neutral.
The fact that poor people rely on intermediaries only aggravates this problem. The expectations are that poor people need to maintain good/cordial relationships with intermediaries, and that these leverage over bureaucracy and telecentres, telecentres are being captured by intermediaries, having these the ability to hoard information and maintain monopolies (gatekeeping).
Some open research problems: no difference might arise; clientelism encompasses more than just (a set of) services; choice of location and e-gov services; telecentres are a form of extra mediation; methods: within cases over time, or between cases?; training in network analysis.
Ward Berenschot Riot politics: communal violence and state society mediation in Gujarat, India.
ICT for accountability, transparency and participation
In the last year, of all the national elections in Africa, only one was considered fair in its process: Ghana. In the meanwhile, many people have lost their right to information. Is there a field in ICT for Governance? can we narrow into ICT4 transparency? ICT4 Democracy?
The project is to use crowdsourcing tools to monitor 2011 national Ghana elections.
Do we have a theoretical framework?
Ismael Peña-López: I suggest some lines to explore: (1) Knowledge Gap Theory; (2) the debate on whether direct democracy might actually worsen democracy, because it will get people out of the system due to the high costs of being an active citizen; (3) talking to Evgeny Morozov and Ethan Zuckerman; (4) consulting data from the Freedom on the Net index and the OpenNet Initiative (ONI).
Standardization and Regulatory Challenges in the implementation of e‐Government in Ethiopia
Jorro Yigezu Balcha
The development of ICT infrastructure, literacy rate, lack of commitment from leaders, human resources, development issues, political instabilities, legal and standardization issues, etc. are mentioned as the major challenges in the implementation of e-government services. Ethiopia is no exception in this aspect.
Among others, there are dire standardization challenges: local language issue, the process itself of standardization, lack of trained manpower in the area, enforcement of the standards, coordination of major stakeholders, etc.
Regulatory challenges: Manpower issues, lack of legislatures to support the service, enforcement.
The stakeholders that are involved in the process of standardization and preparation of legal framework don’t have equal sense about the importance and urgency of the standards and legal frameworks and their approval and enforcement.