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An analysis of the role played by electoral stakeholders in the electoral process: a case study of Botswana and Zambia.

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Elections constitute one of the yardsticks used to determine the extent to which a country’s democracy has been consolidated. The involvement of electoral stakeholders is vital because it nurtures collaboration about the credibility of the elections. These stakeholders include civil society organizations, electoral experts, academia, religious organizations, youth, minorities and women, domestic and international observers. They fundamentally assist the electoral and participatory democracy to take root. An analysis of the role of electoral stakeholders in the elections in Zambia and Botswana is reported in this study. The overarching aim of the study was to evaluate the quality of elections in the two selected cases over the years; to ascertain the challenges faced by each of the two countries during the elections; and to determine the possible implications for the future of democracy in these countries. Underpinned by an indebt two tier theoretical approach, this study used a case study method adopted by Atkinson together with the democratic theory commonly applied in election studies. Furthermore, a mixed method research design was used to understand the perceptions of electoral stakeholders on their involvement in the Botswana and Zambia electoral processes. The findings of this study show that despite the minimal achievements that have been recorded on the management of the electoral processes, Botswana and Zambia have improved over the years. As a result, they have been labelled as shining democracies in the SADC region. The findings of this study also showed that the stakeholders’ perceptions on their involvement in Botswana and Zambia’s democracies are driven by both internal and external factors pertaining to their electoral management bodies that have the potential to affect the electoral processes as well as the level of trust in them and other institutions involved in the electoral processes. The study recommends that the legal basis of the Electoral Code of Conduct could be strengthened to widen the electoral commission powers to ensure compliance by all stakeholders.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.