Tribute to Professor Tom Lodge

tom lodge website transparent democratic governance in africa

The EISA Board Chairperson, Dr Roukaya Kasenally, the EISA Executive Director, Mr Baidessou Soukolgue, the Journal of African Elections (JAE) Editor Mr Denis Kadima, EISA staff and the JAE editorial board note with deep sadness the passing of Professor Tom Lodge on Wednesday 8 November 2023, and extend their heartfelt condolences to his family.

It is an honour to have had Professor Lodge as part of EISA’s development since its inception. During his time at the organisation, he has worn many hats – as friend, colleague, advisor, scholar, mentor and finally, board member. In whatever role we knew him, he was always kind, measured, humble, principled and deeply committed to the development of African democracies. During EISA’s formative years, he provided encouragement and advice and in 1999 spent a year as an internal advisor, directing, guiding and contributing to EISA’s South African election-based research, analysis and publications. Publications include handbooks on election regulations and laws covering South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, amongst others.

Professor Lodge’s vast knowledge and thoughtful analysis have greatly enhanced the Journal of African Elections (JAE), joining as a founding member of the editorial board at the journal’s inception in 2001. His support to the JAE as a contributor and reviewer as well as ongoing advice regarding the JAE’s policy and focus has been invaluable. Always available for consultation, he provided wise advice and encouragement to nascent scholars. His contribution to the JAE will be sorely missed.

Since joining the EISA Board of Directors in 2010 Professor Lodge played an invaluable role, contributing to EISA’s strategic vision and mission and responsiveness to the dynamic and changing election and governance environment on the African continent. His measured and thoughtful analysis was greatly appreciated by the Board Chairperson, Executive Director and staff, contributing to EISA’s relevance and enabling EISA to make a meaningful impact in its work and partnerships developed over many years. Professor Lodge’s contribution to the academic community is well documented and he was always generous in sharing this extensive knowledge with EISA.

Professor Lodge’s contribution to EISA, as well as to the global election community, is immeasurable, as was his compassion and understanding of the challenges that emerging democracies face, and how best they can be responded to. EISA has been privileged to have had the benefit of Professor Lodge’s support. Never dogmatic or condescending, Professor Tom Lodge kept to a moral compass worthy of emulation. Keeping his memory alive seems the greatest compliment colleagues and friends can make to a man who touched so many lives.