Political transition to democracy: The role of the security sector and regional economic communities in Zimbabwe and Cote d'Ivoire's democratic puzzle

Obert Hodzi

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This paper argues that the crisis of electoral democracy in Zimbabwe and Cote d'Ivoire is a result of underlying structural and institutional deficiencies within national and regional multinational institutions. It assesses the extent to which they have been ‘enablers’ or ‘spoilers’ of electoral-based transitions to democracy. Yet it avoids generalisations of the security sector's involvement in political transitions. In terms of structure, the paper is divided into four sections. Section one will briefly discuss the theoretical perspectives of the election-democracy trajectory. It argues that although elections are a major variable for democracy, unless the ‘ecology of elections’ is conducive, elections may not be an instrument of transition to democracy. The second section analyses the militarisation of politics and the role of the security sector in aiding or stalling democratisation. Section three will assess the role of regional organisations such as the Southern African Development Community, Economic Community of West African States and the African Union in electoral-based political transitions in Africa. Lastly, the paper will discuss how the security sector and multinational African institutions can aid political transitions to democracy in troubled African countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Studies Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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