Editor: Denis Kadima
Managing Editor: Heather Acott
Contributors: Batlang Seabo, Kesaobaka Molebatsi, Ernest Plange Kwofie, George M Bob-Milliar, Roukaya Kasenally, Dooshweena Awatar, Adriano Nuvunga, Dorcas Ettang, Oladapo Kayode Opasina, Mahlatse Rampedi, Raynauld D Russon
Key terms: Botswana, Dominant Party, System, Vote, Ruling Party, Parties, Plurality, System, Candidate Nomination, Ghana, Minor, Social Media, Election, Political, Engagement, 2014 General Election, Mauritius, Mozambique, Misconduct, Tension, Frelimo, Dominance, Africa, West, South, Comparison, Democracy, Nigeria, South Africa, 1993-2016, Youth, Protest, Elections, Sasolburg, voter's Roll, Reforms, South Africa
Batlang Seabo is a lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Botswana
Kesaobaka Molebatsi is a lecturer in the Department of Statistics, University of Botswana
ABSTRACT: The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has dominated other political parties in every election since independence in 1966. Debates on factors that account for the dominance of the BDP typically point to weakness of opposition parties, lack of party funding, the electoral system and advantages of incumbency enjoyed by the ruling party. Using performance-based theory, this article contributes to the debate by empirically examining if citizens' vote for the BDP is based on some selected variables. It aims to find out if Batswana's voting intentions are determined by an assessment of the economy, democracy, corruption perception, and institutional trust, among others. The study makes use of the 2014 Afrobarometer data, and logistic regression models were used to analyse the data. Therefore the main contribution of this article is the utilisation of empirical data to explain the vote for the ruling party. Theories of voting behaviour suggest that incumbent governments are likely to be voted back into office when they are perceived as performing well in the economy, are trustworthy and not corrupt. This begs the question why some incumbent governments are voted back into office despite poor performance in the economy, declining institutional trust and rising corruption. The article finds that the BDP's dominance is attributable to its good performance in governance and economic management. The data reveals that Batswana are rational voters, whose voting intentions are based on a careful assessment of the economic performance of BDP government, attitudes towards corruption level and trust in institutions. The paper also shows that even though Botswana enjoys some good international scores on governance and corruption, citizens perceive that there has been an increase in the number of leaders and organisations involved in corruption. The study has also found that trust is high but decreasing for the ruling party, and low but increasing for opposition parties.
Ernest Plange Kwofie is currently registered for his MSc at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford
George M Bob-Milliar is a senior lecturer in the Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
ABSTRACT: In theory, plurality electoral systems do not favour the development of minor parties. Scholarly analysis of minor political parties has focused on their electoral performance in national elections, and very little is known about their candidate nomination behaviour at grassroots level. Why minor parties should compete in national elections within a plurality system is a puzzle explained in this paper by an examination of candidate nomination by minor parties in Ghana's plurality system. Ghana's minor parties compete in constituencies they know they cannot win. Drawing on poll data, the paper argues that these minor parties use the candidate nomination process not to win parliamentary seats but as a strategy to make their party platforms visible in the political landscape. It reaches three conclusions on candidate nomination: that it is used by minor parties to make their presence felt in the country; that it allows the parties to give the appearance of being strong; and that it is a strategy to boost the campaign of presidential candidates.
Roukaya Kasenally is a senior adviser at the African Media Initiative (AMI) and a senior lecturer in media and political systems at the University of Mauritius
ABSTRACT: Mauritius has preferred the ballot to the bullet, earning its status as a democracy to be emulated within Africa. Elections are a regular feature of the Mauritian political landscape, and since it became independent in 1968 the small island has already held ten elections deemed to be free and fair. Another notable feature is the relatively high level of voter turnout, which has hovered at between 70% and 85% for the past ten general elections. With such an impressive scoreboard all should be fine, but unfortunately this is not the case. Over the past few years a number of gnawing democratic deficits have been noted, in particular the advent of dynastic politics, the rise of ethnopolitics and the presence of big money in politics. Elections have seen the alternation of power but unfortunately it has been with the same parties and the same leaders. In fact, across the world established politics is in crisis and Mauritius is not exempt from this state of affairs. The objective of this paper is to explore the possibility of doing politics differently through the use of new technology and social media. The paper will explore whether Mauritius has followed the trend of what is now being termed direct democracy, and the possibility for a new kind of political engagement and in the process the construction of a new political discourse.
Adriano Nuvunga is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique
ABSTRACT: The cease-fire that ended the military hostilities between government and Renamo paved the way for Mozambique's fifth general elections on 14 October 2014. Frelimo consolidated its dominant position in an election underpinned by fraud and misconduct at the polling stations. There was an imbalance of power with Frelimo enjoying better organisation and patronage networks, control of the police and media, and secrecy in the National Electoral Commission (CNE), including altering results. This imbalance is shaped partly by the system of party dominance but also by the weakness of opposition parties who failed to use existing systems. Renamo's dispute of the electoral results and its endeavour to engage in dialogue with the government as a remedy for the alleged fraud reflects the inadequacy of Mozambique's elections as the mechanism for a political settlement. This sets the agenda for the next electoral cycle which, in procedural terms, will mirror previous elections.
Dorcas Ettang is a Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences University of KwaZulu-Natal
Oladapo Kayode Opasina is Visiting Scholar, Centre for Refugee Studies York University, Toronto
ABSTRACT: 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.
Mahlatse Rampedi is a researcher at the Public Affairs Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
ABSTRACT: There is a general perception that youth are apathetic to local politics and national elections. At the same time, young people are often at the forefront of protest. Both electoral politics and protest are forms of political participation; however, the relationship between the two is under-explored. In Zamdela, young people were politicised by two events: the January 2013 protest, and the formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in mid-2014. In addition, many youth are simply conflicted by the lack of service delivery by the ruling party and the lack of viable alternatives in elections. Using qualitative data, this article traces and thematically analyses the political attitudes of youth in Zamdela between the demarcation protest of January 2013 and the May 2014 national elections. Quantitatively, the article provides practical data describing the way in which young people engaged with the 2014 national elections, given the fluctuating perspectives throughout 2013 and 2014. Against this background the article analyses the notion of youth apathy towards politics and elections, as well as Booysen's (2007) 'ballot and the brick' analysis of political engagement, protest and elections. The article demonstrates that a high proportion of young people are politically aware, participated in the protest, voted in elections, and evinced an increased likelihood of voting for parties other than the ANC.
Dr RD Russon is the Director of the Institute of Commerce and Management SA
ABSTRACT: This paper considers the implications of the Constitutional Court ruling that declared the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections unconstitutional. This ruling was because the voters' roll did not contain the addresses of voters as required by electoral legislation and it has cast a shadow on the credibility of elections in South Africa. The Constitutional Court gave the Electoral Commission until the end of June 2018 to correct this problem which affects over 10 million voters. The question that this paper discusses is whether the Electoral Commission will find a solution to this conundrum before the national general elections scheduled to take place in 2019. This is especially urgent because the Electoral Commission has already indicated its incapacity to perform this task in the face of inadequate resources. The paper also looks at the nature of the problem regarding the voters' register and the voting district within which it is premised. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem the author undertook a small survey to establish whether political parties used the addresses of voters to conduct their campaign work. The paper concludes by suggesting electoral reforms that may resolve the problem of the voters' roll and improve the overall management of elections in South Africa.