JAE Volume 3 Number 1, June 2004

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Editors: Denis Kadima & Khabele Matlosa

Contributors: Eghosa E Osaghae, Dani W Nabudere, Shumbana Karume, Chaloka Beyani, Koki Muli, Joshua Bheki Mzizi, Abdul Rahman Lamin, Lloyd M Sachikonye, Christof Hartmann.

Key terms: Democracy, Africa, Institutional, Substantive, Traditional, Modern, Political, Systems, Contemporary, Governance, Party, Systems, SADC, Dominant Party, System, Human Rights, Mainstreaming, Gender, Public, Institution, Governance, Swazi, Monarchy, Moral, Dynamics, Democratisation, State, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Consolidation, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Constitutionalism, Challenges, Stability, Local, Comparative, Analysis, Reviews, South Africa, Democratic, Election, 1999, Annotated, Bibliography, Cape Town, Congo, Southern Africa, Security.

Making Democracy Work in Africa: From the Institutional to the Substantive

Eghosa E Osaghae

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Eghosa Osaghae is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has published extensively on the state, democratisation and governance in Africa and is presently completing a book on The Federal Solution in Africa

ABSTRACT: This paper argues that democracy can better facilitate and promote development when it is transformed from the institutional level, where it was at the time of transition, to the substantive level, where it is more likely to yield the ‘dividends of democracy' and become more relevant to the lives of ordinary citizens. This transformative process at a minimum requires the institutionalisation of participation/citizen empowerment, accountability and legitimacy. After making the point that democracy and development are mutually reinforcing, the paper examines how human rights and elections can be strengthened to serve these purposes.

Traditional and Modern Political Systems in Contemporary Governance in Africa

Oani W Nabudere

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Professor Nabudere is Executive Director, Afrika Study Centre, Uganda

ABSTRACT: This paper analyses the role of traditional and modern institutions of governance in contemporary Africa. It examines the traditional institutions in their historical setting and the way in which they negotiated with the modern political arrangements under colonialism and later during the post-independence period. Both the colonial and postcolonial authorities viewed traditional political institutions with disgust and suspicion, seeing them as backward vestiges of the past, but also as possible competitors for colonial and post-colonial political power. This uneasiness was ameliorated somewhat under the colonial system by the introduction of ‘indirect rule' and the use of ‘customary law' under ‘Native Authorities', which were used as a neo-traditional colonial policy control mechanisms. Under the post-independence political order, traditional political institutions were either banned or tolerated to the extent that they were retained only as ‘cultural' institutions. In Swaziland the neo-traditional colonial system came to dominate the modern party system and in Lesotho the traditional system existed side by side with the modern political party democracy. In Buganda and Ashanti the neotraditional systems were marginalised and banned.With the crisis of the African postcolonial states and the tendency towards presidentialism, there has been a resurgence of traditional political institutions in a number of countries. The result has been an attempt on the part of the political elite to adopt a conciliatory attitude towards them, while at the same time, using state patronage to woo them and make them part and parcel of the contemporary political party system as ‘cultural' institutions. Such is the case in South Africa, Uganda and, to some extent, Lesotho. The real question is to what extent the traditional political systems can be reconciled with the modern political party system and to what extent these institutions can help heal the wounds of ethnic divisions and conflicts on the continent.
This paperwill try to provide some theoretical and practical approaches to how cultural identities and the institutions they represent can become the basis of new forms of African state formations under the African Union.

Party Systems in the SADC Region: In Defence of the Dominant Party System

Shumbana Karume

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Shumbana Karume is a Research Fellow in the Research Department of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)

ABSTRACT: In the past ten years or so the process of democratisation in emerging democracies has continued to face numerous and persistent challenges. The most pertinent of these is the rapid movement towards one-party dominant political systems. This phenomenon has been observed by scholars who have administered a series of tests to determine the possibility of democratic consolidation. This paper makes a detailed study of the detrimental implications of dominant party systems. It also explains the distinguishing features between a de jure and a de facto dominant party system using examples from the SADC region. The paper, however, argues that although dominance is, in many instances, created by forms of coercion and electoral manipulation, there are some parameters of politics that do indeed aid dominance in democratically acceptable ways. The paper addresses five basic types of parameters, examines the ways in which they function and discusses their relevance in terms of aiding dominance democratically. The central argument maintains that certain dominant party systems can function within and respect the essential parameters of constitutional democracy. That said, a number of important political questions must be addressed about what such dominance means to the future prospects for democracy in these countries.

Governance and Human Rights in the SADC Region

Chaloka Beyani

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Dr Chaloka Beyani is Zambian and is currently Senior Lecturer in International Law and Human Rights in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics.

ABSTRACT: Central to the process of the institutionalisation of democratic governance in Southern Africa is the extent to which a human rights culture and practice are embedded within the current political landscape. There are numerous international human rights instruments to which Southern African states are party. But it is one thing to sign and ratify these international conventions and quite another to domesticate them and translate them into the living experience of the peoples of the region. This is the area in which the centrality of a parliament in inculcating a democratic culture and practice is useful. The institutionalisation and entrenchment of a culture of human rights obviously demands, among other things, that political tolerance exists and that institutions of democracy such as the parliament play their rightful role. It is essentially within the legislature that ruling and opposition parties engage closely and such engagement may provide a measure of whether or not democracy in a given country is vibrant and robust enough to ensure a human rights culture and practice. This paper teases out this complex problem and other related issues such as gender equality, the role of the youth and the place of the media and civil society, with a special focus on the Southern African experience.

The Broader Context: Mainstreaming Gender in Public Institutions of Governance and Democracy

Koki Muli

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Ms Koki Muli is the Executive Director of the Institute for Education in Democracy, Kenya, and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya

ABSTRACT: The theme of the workshop was democratic values, processes and institutions and my paper addresses gender mainstreaming, equal and effective participation of women and men in democratic processes, and the methods of ensuring genuine and effective partnership between them. The paper specifically addresses the following question: How can Government, Opposition and Parliament ensure that all their activities are characterised by gender sensitivity, full and equal participation of both women and men in the democratic process and (ensure) a genuine and effective partnership between them? Gender mainstreaming, equality, parity, equity and sensitivity are social justice concerns and for democracy and human rights to thrive it is essential that these concerns be effectively addressed. There cannot be democracy and genuine partnership between women and men if there is no equality and mutual respect founded on the above principles.

The Dominance of the Swazi Monarchy and the Moral Dynamics of Democratisation of the Swazi State

Joshua Bheki Mzizi

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Dr Joshua Bheki Mzizi is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Swaziland

ABSTRACT: The struggle for independence in Swaziland contended with two important dynamics: (i) the emerging new ideology of party politics in Africa largely patterned after the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy; (ii) the ideology of traditionalism that centred all contestation of political power on the monarchy. I observe that over the years the dominant philosophical framework in Swaziland has been that all constitutional initiatives should take due regard of the history, culture, traditions and way of life of the Swazi people. While the need to harmonise traditional sensibilities with modern principles of constitutional and international law is underscored, there is no political will to forge such harmony. In the light of the historical processes that have taken place since the 1960s I argue that the ideology of traditionalism is under threat. Kingship as an institution is also threatened as calls for genuine democratisation of the Swazi state are made both from within and from without, in the latter case by the community of nations. I conclude by suggesting that unless adjustments are made to both the traditional and the modern political structures, Swaziland will continue to be a security risk in the Southern Africa region. It is imperative, therefore, to shift tradition from being an ideology of domination to one of a shared value system in a transitory state guided by the realities of a modern democratic society.

Post-Conflict Elections, Peacebuilding and Democracy Consolidation in Sierra Leone

Abdul Rahman Lamin

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Dr Abdul Rahman Lamin is a lecturer in the Department of International Relations and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Africa's International Relations (CAIR) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

ABSTRACT: The viability of long-term peace and prospects for the consolidation of democracy in Sierra Leone is dependent on a number of internal and external factors. After two successful elections since the end of conflict in 2002, it is fair to suggest that the country is on the path of consolidating ‘democratic gains'. A third successful multiparty election, in 2007, would go a long way to affirming the notion that Sierra Leoneans are becoming comfortable with the idea of electing their representatives through competitive elections.

Zimbabwe: Constitutionalism, the Electoral System and Challenges for Governance and Stability

Lloyd M Sachikonye

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Professor Lloyd Michael Sachikonye is a researcher and lecturer in the Institute of Development Studies, University of Zimbabwe

ABSTRACT: In February 2000 Zimbabweans went to the polls to vote on a draft constitution for their country. The draft contained some important provisions for, amongst other things, the reform of the country's electoral system. The draft was rejected and a bitter general election campaign ensued in the second quarter of 2000. The general election held in June 2000 and the presidential election in March 2002 were the most violent in Zimbabwe's electoral history. These developments raise significant questions relating to constitutionalism and the electoral process in Zimbabwe. They were an admission that both constitutional and electoral reforms were imperative and, indeed, overdue. A state-appointed Constitutional Commission (CC) was set up in 1999 after a civil society-driven one, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), had been founded earlier in 1998. In particular, the political developments since 2000 have highlighted the need to address the increasing deficit in democratic governance and stability in Zimbabwe. This paper attempts to assess critically developments relating to constitutionalism and the electoral system, the links between them, and their significance for governance and stability.

Local Elections in the SADC Countries: A Comparative Analysis of Local Electoral Institutions

Christof Hartmann

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Dr Hartmann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

ABSTRACT: With the recent wave of democratisation in Sub-Saharan Africa a new interest has emerged in elected local councils. The importance of elected local governments in promoting democracy is now emphasised by both national actors and the international community. It is also increasingly underlined by research, both from the field of development theory/politics and from comparative research on democratisation processes. These broader arguments are narrowed down by concentrating on local electoral rules. This contribution presents data for all Southern African countries on the types of elected bodies at sub-national level of government, the composition of local councils, the regularity and simultaneity of local and national elections, the electoral systems and the rules governing candidature at the local level. Electoral rules are just one set of institutions that matter in local politics, and there is no doubt that other variables (such as local administration, resource allocation or capacity-building) are equally important. But the assumption is that local electoral institutions are relevant for the democratisation of both local and national politics, and thus merit closer scrutiny. The comparative study of different countries offers additional insights into similarities or specific constraints and problems that countries face in organising local elections, as well as into the institutional solutions that they eventually opt for. The paper also explores some likely consequences and impacts of these (differing) rules on the respective political processes of these countries, and subsequently highlights several issues that may be of relevance to broader arguments about the viability and consolidation of democratic politics in the region, at both local and national level.

Reviews

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South Africa's Second Democratic Election 1999: An Annotated Bibliography
Beth Strachan
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
By Marlene Burger

From Cape Town To Congo: Southern Africa Involving Security Challenges
Edited by Mwesiga Baregu and Christopher Landsberg
Lynne Rienner Publishers
By Claude Kabemba


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