Managing Democracy : A Review of SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections

"This is a review of major regional initiatives for best election practices in the SADC region with special focus on the SADC election principles. The paper provides some analytical insights into a deeper understanding of the significance and meaning of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections adopted during the annual summit of the heads of state and government in Mauritius in August 2004. We have provided the conceptual and contextual backdrop to the emergence of these principles and guidelines. On the conceptual plane, we have argued that democracy in the region by far transcends the mere holding of periodic elections and there is need therefore to avoid the pitfalls of the fallacy of electoralism. In terms of the contextual framework, we noted the progress that the SADC region has made thus far in respect of political transition from authoritarianism towards multiparty democracy. It is worth noting that while wide-ranging, this transformative process has been more glaring in respect of the holding of regular multiparty elections."