n Conflict Trends - Prospects for democracy in Zimbabwe : what makes democracy work?

Volume 2002 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


What makes democracy work? This is a question which has occupied the minds of academics, researchers, philosophers and practitioners for decades. The answer is by no means a simple one. The building blocks of democracy - competition for political power; inclusive participation for the selection of leaders and policies; and sufficient civil and political liberties - offer only a framework upon which to develop democracy. They do not guarantee its sustainability or consolidation. Democratic principles and institutions are required in order for the democratisation process to begin and develop. However, where these institutions are weak, they may be used to perpetuate divisions (based on class, race or ethnicity) within society. For example, elections are considered a bastion for democracy. However, where a society is severely divided, these elections may be used to mobilise ethnicity. Elections may turn into a contest (and conflict) between 'us' and 'them'. In short, democracy requires a commitment, by leaders and citizens, to institutionalise its principles. Nations are also required to practice them within the political, social and economic arena. Where this commitment fails, so does the sustainability of democracy.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error