Editor: Denis Kadima
Managing Editor: Heather Acott
Contributors: Essa Njie, Abdoulaye Saine, Albano Agostinho Troco, Dércio Tsandzana, Bethel Uzoma Ihugba, Charles Alfred, Wishes Tendayi Mututwa, Oluyinka Osunkunle, Brenda Mututwa, Robert Nyenhuis, Mattias Krönke, Stephen Chan, Tom Lodge, Ivor Sarakinsky
Key terms: dictatorship, Gambia's 2016 presidential election, opposition coalition, Yahya Jammeh, electoral governance, electoral management bodies, democratisation, southern Africa, post-conflict states, political participation, electoral observation, social networks, Mozambique, constitutional democracy, Electoral Act 2010, electoral offences, party politics, political party accountability, political marketing, social media, image-making, online politicking, Zimbabwe, South Africa, elections, electoral politics, voting behaviour, party politics, electioneering, factions, manifesto, corruption, reform
Essa Njie is a lecturer in Political Science at the University of the Gambia with specific interest in security sector reform, human rights and governance, civil society, elections and democratic consolidation in Africa
Abdoulaye Saine is a Gambian-born professor in Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and author of The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratisation in Africa: The Gambia Under AFPRC-APRC 1994-2008
ABSTRACT: The Gambia's presidential election in December 2016 marked the end of an era for Yahya Jammeh, the man who had vowed to rule the country for 'one billion years if Allah says so'. The resulting political impasse following Jammeh's rejection of the results 'in its entirety' and his refusal to step down plunged the country into political uncertainty. This paper explores the end of Jammeh's 22-year rule in Africa's smallest mainland country, focussing on the 2016 polls which he lost to former realtor, Adama Barrow. The election offers relevant lessons to students of political transitions and contemporary election discourse in Africa and provides an analysis of some of the factors that accounted for his defeat.
Albano Agostinho Troco is NRF/British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand
ABSTRACT: Democratisation is a complex process that includes crafting political institutions. These institutions reflect existing power relations at the critical juncture of their genesis, thus influencing the development of subsequent political processes. The study uses this perspective to examine the impact of electoral governance on democratisation with a focus on three southern African post-conflict states. Specifically, the paper investigates the role of electoral management bodies (EMBs) in accounting for the distinctive regime trajectories in Angola, South Africa and Mozambique. The analysis suggests that successful attempts by incumbents to redesign Election Management Bodies after the founding elections have led to the establishment of self-serving institutions of electoral governance. This has had a negative impact on the credibility of subsequent electoral processes and the nature of the emerging regimes in the countries under scrutiny.
Dércio Tsandzana is a PhD student of political science, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Pessac, and teaching fellow at Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo
ABSTRACT: This article aims to understand the political impact of social networking platforms on the general elections in Mozambique held on 15 October 2014. It focusses on how electoral observation and monitoring were carried out in Mozambique using online tools, and is based on an ongoing research project exploring young people in politics in Mozambique through the internet. It uses a qualitative approach of both interviews and digital ethnography to sketch the landscape of online electoral observation in Mozambique. The positions here are the result of abstraction and generalisation - the particular positions of individuals or groups will only ever approximate these generalised positions, which are reconstructed from the complexity of everyday situated experience. As a preliminary conclusion, we have noted that the internet allows the emergence of new perspectives in political participation in Mozambique, despite its limited access to the internet.
Dr Bethel Uzoma Ihugba is Senior Research Fellow, Legal Research Division, Legislative Support Services, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, National Assembly, Abuja
Dr Charles Alfred is Research Fellow, Department of Democratic Studies, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, National Assembly, Abuja
ABSTRACT: The paper examines the Nigerian Constitution and Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) on the role and complicity of political parties in electoral offences in Nigeria. It explores the extent to which political party activities or inactions constitute or contribute to electoral offences. The objective is to find out whether political parties are complicit in electoral offences, and whether the Electoral Act needs to be reformed to accommodate political party culpability, reduce the criminal complicity of political parties, and improve political party accountability. The paper adopts a mixed method of normative and critical analysis. Normative analysis arises from examination of doctrinal data which consist of the principles of law, provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 and other relevant laws regarding jurisprudence in democracy and constitutionalism, in order to determine their coherence and validity. Critical analysis, on the other hand, is applied to electoral and democratic principles in extant literature and policy in order to justify the necessity of reforming electoral laws. The paper finds that the Electoral Act is silent in many instances of potential political party complicity in electoral offences. However, the law could be reformed to improve political party accountability and reduce the incidence of electoral offences in Nigeria. It recommends some policy reforms and amendments to improve the effectiveness of the Electoral Act 2010.
Wishes Tendayi Mututwa, Oluyinka Osunkunle and Brenda Mututwa
ABSTRACT: This article explores changing political communication and marketing trends in Zimbabwe when presidential candidates used Facebook to reach out, largely to the youth and urban voters, during the 2018 election campaign. Recent studies have identified the power of social media as a platform on which politicians portray images that convince the electorate to vote for them. These images can be created through the photographs, video footage and texts that politicians post on their Facebook pages. The study employed a qualitative approach to establish the role played by political imagery used by contesting parties and candidates in the campaign period ahead of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe, in particular the frontrunners and larger political parties. MDC-Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa and Zanu-PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa were both serious contenders for the presidency. The analysis sheds light on the implications of image-making and modern political trends in Zimbabwe and how Facebook manages to reach out to the targeted electorate.
Robert Nyenhuis is an assistant professor, Department of Political Science, California State University, Pomona, Pomona, CA (USA)
Mattias Krönke is a PhD candidate, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
ABSTRACT: The 2019 South African elections marked the country's sixth iteration of free and fair electoral contests since its democratisation in 1994. Although the outcome gives the African National Congress (ANC) yet another five-year mandate, the party has not gone unchallenged at the polls. It registered its lowest national vote share since the transition, a major concern for the party of liberation. The most recent contest also demonstrates the resilience of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and the continued upward trajectory of its closest rival, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). In this article, we analyse available survey data on South Africans' attitudes and offer some empirical answers to account for the election results. We argue that race continues to feature prominently in electoral decision-making but it does so in ways that deviate slightly from conventional wisdom. Further, we put forth an explanation that the parties' leaders played a central role in shaping citizens' voting behaviour, especially among their own partisan supporters.
Christian John Makgala is a professor in the Department of History, University of Botswana
ABSTRACT: Written manifestos seem to be a rarity in intra-political party electioneering in Africa, and there is a view that African party electioneering is largely nonissue based, instead being personality-driven. This article observes that the phenomenon seems applicable even to Africa's supposed 'senior democracy', Botswana. Yet, the enduring, issueless factional electioneering of the long ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) resulted in a significant, albeit one-off, interregnum in 2015. In the 2014 general elections, the combined opposition had garnered 53% of the popular vote, while the BDP received just 47%. The BDP managed to hold onto power, however, due to the country's first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. This development appears to have shaken and confused the elites of the BDP and caused concern among the party's hard-line factionalists. Subsequently, Botsalo Ntuane did extremely well in the party's 2015 central committee elections. In an unprecedented move he competed for the influential position of secretary general as an independent candidate and with an actual policy manifesto. This move was outside of the traditional factional sponsorship method long-dominant within the BDP. However, the factionalists soon regrouped and acted to marginalise him and his manifesto. Ntuane consequently performed quite poorly in the later 2017 elections, which once again were fought along strict factional lines with no space for ideas or policies. This article argues that Ntuane's manifesto may have been perceived as too radical and unacceptably ambitious by the conservative party elites. This manifesto also seems to have threatened entrenched personal interests and corrupt practices within the BDP-led government. The article concludes with a note on the dynamics and results of the 2019 general elections.
Stephen Chan is Professor of World Politics at SOAS, University of London
Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies University of Limerick
Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas
Yale University Press
London & New Haven
Associate Professor, Wits School of Governance
Collette Schulz-Herzenberg & Roger Southall (eds)