Editor: Denis Kadima
Managing Editor:Heather Acott
Contributors:Hamilton Sipho Simelane, Ransford Edward Van Gyampo, Emmanuel Graham, Eric Yobo,
Guy Cyrille Tapoko, Tendai Joseph Chari, Sadiki Koko, Théophile Yuma Kalulu, Lenka Homolkova, Fred Sekindi, Mbuzeni Johnson Mathenjwa
Key terms:monarchy, electoral process, evolution, democracy, indigenisation,
reform, constitution, autocratic rule, traditionalists,Ghana, National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), defeat, democracy, elections, democratic consolidation,election observation, sovereignty, legitimacy,electoral violence, transnationalisation, Burundi, Great Lakes region,Constitution of Republic of Uganda 1995, electoral offences, presidential elections, presidential electoral laws, presidential electoral petition, Supreme Court,election, deposit, democracy, vote, constitutionalism
Hamilton Sipho Simelane is Professor in the History Department, University of Zululand, Kwadlangezwa
ABSTRACT: The subject of the election process has been analysed by different scholars in different historical periods. On the African continent this subject gained prominence after the Second World War when most African countries gained independence from colonial powers. This interest is because of the assumption that both electoral processes and elections are indicators of a transition to democracy and of its consolidation. Evidence indicates that electoral processes in different countries have evolved over time either as a reflection of a positive
transition to democracy, or because leaders manipulate the process in order to pursue their own political agendas. This article analyses the evolution of the Swazi electoral process from the time of British colonial rule. The article argues that the Swazi electoral process has evolved over the past fifty years through manipulation by King Sobhuza II and later his son King Mswati III in order to retain their control and dominance over the Swazi population. It shows that as a result of such manipulation, the Swazi electoral process has undermined the transition to democracy in the country.
Ransford Edward Van Gyampo is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department, University of Ghana and also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Governance Unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana
Emmanuel Graham is a graduate assistant at the Department of Political Science, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada,
Eric Yobo is a PhD candidate at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), School of Public Service and Governance, Ghana
ABSTRACT: Ghana is now seen as a thriving African democracy after having gone through seven presidential and parliamentary elections, resulting in three overturns of political power in 2001, 2009 and 2017. The 2016 election was another crossroad for Ghana’s maturing democracy. In this election, the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). The margin of defeat suffered by the ruling NDC was puzzling and unprecedented. Using voter behaviour as a theoretical taxonomy, this paper attempts to explain the monumental defeat of the NDC in the 2016 general election. It poses the question: what factors led to this defeat and why was there such a monumental difference of over one million votes? The paper argues that firstly, the defeat was due to regime fatigue anchored in the two-term regime cycle of change and voting based on party identification.
Secondly, the defeat was monumental because of poor economic performance; corruption on the part of some government ministers and attempts to shield them; unpopular last minute decisions; the gross display of arrogance by some
ministers of state and party officials; a more appealing campaign message of hope from the main opposition party; poor branding and communication of NDC’s campaign promises and ideas; abuse of incumbency; voter apathy on the part of ruling party supporters and the general call for change across the world. The study concludes by offering some useful recommendations.
Guy Cyrille Tapoko is the Acting Head, Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, in the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union, Addis Ababa
ABSTRACT: The fundamental question of whether international election observation strengthens or weakens state sovereignty in African states is examined in this article, using a three-branched hypothesis. Firstly, that the presence of international election observers in the host state does not violate state sovereignty. Secondly, that international election observation enhances democratic legitimacy in the state concerned. Thirdly, that with the
advent of the right to intervene in international law, international election observation is a tool used to reinforce the legitimate sovereignty of the state. Many researchers argue that international election observation has been used to infringe state sovereignty, especially in post-conflict states. This paper presents a different view by offering a general analysis of the African continent, demonstrating that international election observation
makes an invaluable contribution to restoring and reinforcing legitimate state sovereignty.
Tendai Joseph Chari is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
ABSTRACT: Elections are one of the key benchmarks for assessing the international perception of a nation’s democratic credentials. However, the credibility of elections is increasingly being tied to questions of whether or not they are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Where violence exists as part of the menu of manipulation the press becomes a crucial tool for shaping public perceptions about electoral legitimacy or lack thereof. This study employed a Foucauldian discursive approach to the analysis of election violence in two state-owned newspapers, namely The Herald and The Sunday Mail, and three privately-owned newspapers, namely The Zimbabwe Independent, The
Financial Gazette, and the Daily News. Empirical data were drawn from a corpus of news stories published during the 2000 parliamentary and the 2002 presidential elections. The article argues that press construction of
election violence was marked by competing discourses reflecting political and ideological bifurcation and this gave way to anti-democratic discursive strategies which could engender political intolerance among the citizenry.
Sadiki Koko est Chercheur Associé au sein du Département de Science Politique et des Relations Internationales, Faculté des Sciences Humaines, à l’Université de Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud). Il est détenteur d’un doctorat en science politique de la même université
Théophile Yuma Kalulu est Professeur Associé au sein du Département des Sciences Politiques et Administratives à l’Université de Kisangani (RDC). Il est détenteur d’un doctorat en sciences politiques et administratives de la même université
ABSTRACT: Scholars have documented a correlation between different transnational factors and players, and a changing dynamics of civil war leading to the spillover of conflict from one country to another. The effects of diffusion and escalation are the primary causes of the transnationalisation of war. This paper considers
whether electoral violence is also prone to these effects and therefore to the transnationalisation phenomenon. Electoral violence carries certain features that distinguish it from general political violence. It relates specifically to electoral events, with motives and timing being the determining factors. Firstly, the article
demonstrates that electoral violence prevailed over political violence in the first phases of the 2015 internal conflict in Burundi. Secondly, it shows that there is a potential transnationalisation of electoral violence in the Great Lakes region. This is due to similar regional characteristics and goals of the incumbents, the similar nature of state institutions, and regional linkages among like-minded political groups.
Dr. Fred Sekindi is a lecturer in International Public Law and International Human Rights at Nkumba University and a consultant tutor with the African Prisons Project in Uganda
ABSTRACT: This article analyses the constitutional and domestic legal framework under which the president of Uganda has been elected since 1995. The focus is on the three Supreme Court decisions in the adjudication of presidential electoral
disputes in 2001, 2006 and in 2016. It argues that presidential electoral laws are deficient in their capacity to facilitate fair political contestation. This is because they were not adequately constructed to address electoral
malpractices pertaining to Uganda, and they have been interpreted to favour the incumbent.
Mbuzeni Mathenjwa is an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and Associate Professor of Law, Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law, University of South Africa, Pretoria
ABSTRACT: After their independence most African countries adopted constitutions that enshrine democracy and the right to vote and stand for public office. These political rights are important tools for ensuring democracy as they enable citizens to participate in both constituting and having a say in their own government.
Despite entrenching these rights in their constitutions, many African countries went further and adopted laws requiring citizens who wish to participate in elections to pay an election deposit fee. Given the fact that most developing countries in Africa experience fairly widespread poverty, many potential candidates may not be able to afford the election deposit fee. Accordingly, the election deposit fee may well hinder the cause of democracy by excluding citizens from exercising their political rights. This paper discusses the effect of an election
deposit fee on democracy in developing countries in Africa. The discussion is limited to selected countries in the Southern African Development Community.