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Are Africa's elections underscored by accountability and the social contract?

Show simple item record Maphunye, Kealeboga J. 2016-07-15T08:14:43Z 2016-07-15T08:14:43Z 2016-02
dc.description.abstract Do Africa’s elections enhance the social contract (relationship between ruler and subject)? Are they a pertinent yardstick for assessing public accountability and the social contract in Africa? In Africa, reference to ‘elections’ evokes mixed emotions because this technical and partly political psephological event engenders euphoria for the winners who experience immense relief, excitement, hope, and expect numerous spin-offs from their victory. But the losers confront sadness, uncertainty, embarrassment, fear, and repercussions of loss. This paper examines the relevance of Africa’s elections to the invisible contract between the sovereign and the subject. Highlighting the pathologies, dilemmas, and opportunities in Africa’s democratisation through elections, theoretically the argument rests on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s and other social contract philosophers’ ideas; especially Rousseau’s idea of the “general will”. Its argument rests on a review of the extant literature; primary and secondary data on African elections; legislation; official documents and reports; election observation; and inferences from South Africa’s 2014-2015 multi-disciplinary election dispute resolution research the author conducted with Unisa’s partner institutions in the disputed Ephraim Mogale Municipality, Limpopo. It concludes that sensitivity to the social contract can assist African leaders to account to the voters thereby improving the quality of Africa’s elections through public accountability. This paper firstly unpacks the nature of elections in Africa; secondly, it contextualises elections, accountability and the social contract in Africa; thirdly, it examines continental instruments, focusing on democratic elections and the social contract; fourthly, electoral management and the social contract are analysed; then it scrutinises the pathologies, dilemmas and opportunities pertaining to democratic elections, accountability and the social contract; followed by the conclusion. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Public accountability en
dc.subject Social contract en
dc.subject Africa en
dc.subject Psephology en
dc.subject African elections en
dc.subject Electoral democracy en
dc.subject Representative democracy en
dc.subject Electoral systems en
dc.subject Election dispute resolution en
dc.title Are Africa's elections underscored by accountability and the social contract? en
dc.type Inaugural Lecture en
dc.description.department Political Sciences en

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