Elections in Africa: Preparing a democratic playbook

Published 11 July 2017

This Discussion Paper draws on select themes that emerged from a high-level international dialogue on African elections convened by the Brenthurst Foundation in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in May 2017 at Villa la Collina, Cadenabbia, Italy, as well as additional research. The core objective of the Paper is to identify the negative trends impairing Africa’s democratic electoral progress and explain how the current malaise came about.

The first section devotes considerable attention to Africa’s dramatic transition to competitive elections after 1990 in the context of unsteady and uneven democratisation as a whole. It explores the different uses or ‘meanings’ of elections and the challenges of building institutions in the periods between them. Examined thereafter are issues which have borne heavily on the integrity of recent elections: campaign funding; use of violence and threats; technology; the advantages of incumbency; and the international dimension.

Brief pointers or recommendations are included at the end of each section. The final part of the Paper provides a glimpse into the means to tackle these negative trends – an election playbook.

Subscribe to our newsletter