Editor: Denis Kadima
Managing Editor: Heather Acott
Contributors: Tom Lodge, Martin Ihembe, Christopher Isike, Mercy Kathambi Kaburu, Mark Nyandoro, Dércio Tsandzana, Ransford Edward Van Gyampo, Akpeko Agbevade, Emmanuel Graham, Roger Southall, Nicola de Jager, Umaro Djau.
Key terms: South African Communist Party, white labour, black workers, elections, campaigning, local elections, advisory boards, membership, alliance, disputed primaries, justiciable, judiciary, Nigeria, constitution, Kenya, democracy, election, free and fair; credible, Zimbabwe, elections, contested, degraded, democratisation, political power, incumbents, civil society engagement, political participation, elections, youth, Mozambique, Keywords: election, petition, electoral reform; Supreme Court; judgment; letter of the law; spirit of the law.
Tom Lodge is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Limerick, Ireland, and a member of EISA's Board/p>
ABSTRACT: In South Africa the Communist Party has a one-hundred-year history of contesting elections, making it the oldest electoral campaigner in Africa. South Africa's elections were increasingly racially restrictive and segregated until 1994. Even so, from the mid-1920's the Party began to focus on the concerns of its black membership though it continued to seek support from white workers. This article explores the Party's reasons for continuing to participate in elections, and the circumstances that helped it achieve occasional victories at the polls. It also considers the effects of electoral participation on an ostensibly revolutionary movement.
Martin Ihembe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Christopher Isike is Professor of African Politics and Development, Department Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
ABSTRACT: This article explores the judicialisation of party primaries in contemporary Nigeria, which is a defining feature of the country's electoral politics. Since the inception of the Fourth Republic, the lack of internal democracy within the parties has been the source of protracted crises during nomination, and this often gravitates to the serenity of the court(s). Dominant disquisitions in legal theory contend that disputed primaries are internal party affairs; hence, they are non-justiciable. Drawing on primary and secondary data - YouTube interviews, the Constitution, the Electoral Act, judicial ruling, media reports, and personal observation - this article argues that to the extent that political parties are juridical entities, disputed primary elections are justiciable, hence a legal question to be resolved by the judiciary. To validate our argument, the article draws on Raphael's (1970) notion of universal and compulsory jurisdiction. Our enquiry reveals that the failure of the internal mechanisms of the parties to resolve disputed party primaries accounts for aggrieved aspirants' reliance on legal redress. While this approach has been questioned from a legalistic point of view, the constitutionality of seekinglegal redress has its provenance in the change of legal regime regulating party primaries, which has shaped, reshaped, and positively impacted electoral democracy in Nigeria.
Mercy Kathambi Kaburu is an assistant professor of International Relations, United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
ABSTRACT: Periodic, free, fair, and credible elections are one of the undisputed principles of liberal democracy. Kenya embraced multiparty democracy at independence in 1963 and has since used periodic elections as a means of selecting leaders to office. Focusing on Kenya's national election held on 8 August 2017, this paper evaluates the fundamental requirements for a free, fair, and credible election. To this end, the paper assesses Kenya's electoral legal framework and its application during the 2017 national elections. In addition, the paper uses primary data by Afrobarometer to explore public opinion on the performance of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), political parties, and the media towards free, fair, and credible elections. This study finds that despite some institutional challenges, Kenya's 2017 national elections were conducted under a comprehensive electoral legal framework and met the threshold of free, fair, and credible as affirmed by the citizenry through Afrobarometer's public opinion survey. The positive assessment of universally accepted electoral practice indicators by most of the people affirms that, notable challenges notwithstanding, Kenya's 2017 national elections were free, fair, and credible, thus endorsing the legitimacy and authority of elected leaders. This argument is cognisant of the election outcome as a fundamental factor in shaping public perception of freeness and fairness in the electoral process.
Mark Nyandoro is a professor of Economic History, University of Zimbabwe, and Extraordinary Professor (Research) in the School of Social Sciences, North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus), South Africa
ABSTRACT: This article investigates Zimbabwe's post-2000 elections, why they have been more hotly contested than previously, and whether they have been undemocratic. The post-2000 period marked what is arguably the most turbulent phase in the electoral history of the country since independence in 1980, and Zimbabwe's elections were de facto degraded, becoming a means of sustaining incumbents in power. The paper asserts that Zimbabwe's elections are mainly a front for hoodwinking both the electorate and observers. They are not used to provide for the free expression of the will of the people, but to endorse the incumbents rather than effectively challenge them. To this extent, they are manipulated to produce a pre-determined outcome confirming the current leaders, irrespective of their performance. Supported by empirical data from interviews and primary sources together with statistical records from electoral institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), and Afrobarometer, the article concludes that elections are mainly for show, to entrench the incumbents.
Dércio Tsandzana is a PhD candidate in Political Science, Sciences Po, Bordeaux, France
ABSTRACT: This article discusses the political participation of youth in Mozambique's electoral processes, specifically the 2019 general elections. The results were obtained through interaction (semi-structured interviews) with young members and institutional representatives from four political parties, who explained their views on youth and political participation during elections. The interviews were conducted between April and September 2021 through virtual platforms. We also carried out a detailed analysis of the manifestos of three political parties. The study finds that Mozambican political parties do not have a clear vision of young people's aspirations, since the definition of the 'youth problem' is dominated by adults. In addition, young people's issues have been generalised without considering the specific concept of what it means to be young. However, in order to maintain the social and economic benefits provided by their political parties, the same young people assume that adults continue to be an example to follow in guiding the destiny of the country.
Ransford Edward Van Gyampo is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana
Legon Akpeko Agbevade is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon Emmanuel Graham is a PhD candidate at York University, Toronto, Canada
ABSTRACT: The results of Ghana's 2012 and 2020 elections were challenged in the nation's Supreme Court. Even though the court processes in both cases did not alter the election results, they nevertheless exposed monumental flaws in the electoral processes. The flaws in the 2012 electoral processes were exposed at the Supreme Court and featured in the final judgment of the court in a manner that allowed the Electoral Commission to initiate moves towards electoral reforms. However, the challenges of the 2020 elections, though exposed at the courts, were never featured in the final judgment of the Supreme Court. This paper discusses the implications of the 2020 election petition for the future of electoral reforms in Ghana. It argues that the rigid application of the letter of the law by the Supreme Court and the relegation to the background of the thorny issues of electoral challenges in the 2020 elections, would render the quest for further electoral reforms difficult. This would then make the future of any attempt to fine-tune the electoral processes quite bleak.