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ISSN : 2752-6011 (Print) ISSN 2752-602X (Online)
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From the outset, the editorial team would like to thank scholars who contributed articles and made the publication of this debut issue of the African Journal of Democracy and Elections Research (AJDER) possible. In most African countries democracy is primarily deepened by the holding of regular, free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. Democratic values such as popular participation, accountability and some degree of control over elected leaders or representatives are by and large entrenched in the polity. Across Africa, governments are legitimately elected while others are forced to share power through the ballot box. Elections provide acceptable means through which power is transferred and legitimised from one governing party to another. However, in some cases elections have spurred political instability and violence. Thus, electoral malpractices have not only impacted on the legitimacy of the whole electoral process but also on the way in which election outcomes are regarded by stakeholders including international and local observers, political parties, civil society and non-governmental organisations, the media and voters. AJDER has chosen an area of democracy and elections research. It seeks to share scholarly perspective around such Afri¬can issues. This will be done through publication of high quali¬ty and ethically sound scientific works and research articles. Thus, original and valid articles which present findings that add new knowledge are a priority. Therefore, in this debut publication, six articles have been provided by authors from various countries, mostly African countries. The authors not only clarified key concepts which underpin democracy and election but also present research findings relating to election issues in various countries notably Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia. Firstly, Herberg-Roth’s article argues that there is no political democracy without relational equality in society. The paper argues that given the obscene social inequalities throughout the world, the question arises whether democracy could be maintained without equality in the social sphere – or is finally reversed into oppression, just in the name of democracy. The paper also points out that we have to question Hannah Arendt’s arguments including that the American Revolution was successful because the struggle for equality was restricted to the political realm in line with the principle of numerical equality in democracy: One man, one woman, one vote. It is argued that she is right in criticizing the extension of absolute, numerical equality to the social sphere, but this does not exclude relational (proportional and reversed proportional) equality. It is concluded, that to the contrary, both must be reinvented in order to preserve democracy throughout the world. Simuziya’s article explores the causal factors for Zambia’s slide from a democracy to authoritarianism from 2015 to date. The study revealed that stifling of media freedoms, corruption, and arm-twisting of institutions have become the hallmarks of the current Patriotic Front (PF) regime. It is argued that the failure of democracy in Zambia is not only a set back to the Zambian population, but also undermines prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa at large. The study concludes that the Zambian population itself has become too passive, hence the regime’s wanton abuse of power. Hussein and Sambo’s article analyses the key drivers of party discipline and democratic political culture in Malawi`s ruling parties. The study notes that candidate-centered electoral system coupled with the existence of various constitutional devices are designed to enhance democratic practice by insulating politicians from pressures emanating from political parties and politburos. The study reveals that despite the country embracing a new constitution which guaranteed free speech, deliberative culture and people-centered mode of governance the flouring of democratic political culture in Malawi is undermined by strict party discipline in ruling parties caused by key drivers which include the political system, the lack of intra-party democracy and neopatrimonialism. It is concluded that the electoral system and the organisational structure of the party must be addressed in order to positively shape the nature of party discipline and legislative politics and enhance democratic political culture in Malawi. Shola’s article analyses the prevalence of electoral violence in the Nigerian Fourth Republic. The study reveals that electoral violence in Nigeria is caused by corrupt political elites, mutual distrust between opposition political parties, ethnic and primordial sentiments, and the impartiality of security operatives and lack of confidence in the judiciary. The study concludes that persistent electoral violence in Nigeria threatens national security and makes national integration difficult. The study recommends the institutionalization of the Electoral Peace Commission; National Political Education Agency; and Identity Reconciliation and Mediation Commission to offer political reorientation and promote democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Sani’s article explores the rise of the phenomenon of 'inconclusive' elections in the Nigerian federation. The study reveals that inconclusive elections in Nigeria seemed connected to the attempt by politicians to deceive and disenfranchise voters using violent tactics. It showed a correlation between INEC's persistent efforts to curtail outright rigging and the continuing struggle by politicians to unleash violence and other kinds of electoral manipulations at collation centres to prevent an accurate tally of votes scored by each contestant. It concludes that outright rigging to achieve a landslide is becoming difficult, especially regarding winning elections. Lastly, Tsuwa and Aliegba’s article investigates the menace of violence that always characterizes elections in Nigeria with a special focus on the 2015 general elections. The study revealed that armed gangs mobilized by political actors became great threat to the 2015 elections resulting to the shift in dates of the elections. The proliferation of SALW, poverty, insurgency, lack of synergy and compromise by security agencies, ethno-religious differences among others were also major threats which reinforced the level of insecurity in the country. The study recommends a collaborative understanding of the basic tenets of democracy, the reduction of the attractiveness of political offices and the prosecution of all political actors that engage in the mobilization and arming of militia groups.