n African Security Review - Zimbabwe's 2008 elections and their implications for Africa : feature

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Using Zimbabwe's recent harmonised elections as an example, this paper argues that instead of being the necessary or ideal democratic tools for non-violent positive political transition in most young democracies of Africa, elections can be manipulated to prevent changes to an undesirable status quo. This is most likely if some strategic state institutions perceive their deeply entrenched positions and interests to be threatened by such necessary changes. It also argues that the harmonised elections have divided the Zimbabwean society, SADC, the African Union and the United Nations. Lastly, it also argues that fl awed elections undermine prospects for democratic transition and consolidation in SADC and Africa. The SADC Principles and Guidelines are regarded as the key criteria for evaluating the harmonised elections. The paper recommends that credible democratic elections are the only viable solution to Zimbabwe's current crises.


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