Elections and stability in SADC: the Zimbabwe case

This policy brief looks at the electoral processes in Zimbabwe as a mirror to Southern African Development Community (SADC) shortcomings with regards to entrenching democratic values. Though not the only measure of democratisation, elections remain a key component with which to measure the extent of a country’s embracing of political freedoms and citizen participation. Contention over elections in SADC must be understood in the broad historical context of an unfinished democratisation project and the political economy of democratic elections. It pits a demand for radical, far-reaching and fast-paced reforms against SADC’s measured and incremental approach. The latter emphasises the consolidation of gains (reforms taking place in member countries), no matter how marginal. For SADC, electoral processes are seen in the broader context of regional development and not as an end in themselves. It thus takes a more strategic, multitiered developmental approach to elections. However, this should not obscure institutional weakness and anti developmental, anti-democratic solidarity by member states.