Africa’s West Meets it’s South: A Comparison of Democracy in Nigeria and South Africa, 1993-2016

Democratic elections in Africa have drawn significant international interest
because of their tendencies to generate conflict and violence. Unfortunately,
this is not likely to change in the near future, especially with the prevalence of
one-party dominance, electoral malpractices, patrimonial leadership and election
violence in a number of African countries. Against this background the paper
carries out a comparative analysis of presidential elections in Nigeria and South
Africa between 1993 and 2016. It focuses specifically on their experiences with
election violence, one-party dominance, voter dynamics, and how both countries
rate against key global democratic indicators. In doing so, the underlying
research question seeks to understand how both countries differ from these
variables and what factors contribute to these differences. Using secondary
data and responses to the National Democratic Institute (NDI) indicators, the
paper argues that while both countries are key players within their respective
regions, various factors are responsible for why they differ in their experiences
with elections in particular and the democratic process in general. In carrying
out an extensive empirical review of relevant literature, this paper is a starting
point for comparing the state of democracy in two of the strongest economies on
the African continent. The paper also attempts to understand the more recent
and urgent experiences and the challenges of democracy in these two contexts.
Finally, it presents objectives and challenges for the present and the future.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: democracy, elections, Nigeria, political party, South Africa, violence
journal of african elections vol16 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa