Zambia - Democracy and Political Participation

Zambia: Democracy and Political Participation provides a comprehensive review of the state of democracy and popular participation in government and public affairs in Zambia. The author, Neo Simutanyi, argues that despite the fact that Zambia has experienced unprecedented political developments – the country held six general elections, including a presidential by-election, with four peaceful presidential successions during this period – challenges remain.

Roshnee Narrandes's picture

Partnerships Manager

August 29th, 2013

Zambia: Democracy and Political Participation provides a comprehensive review of the state of democracy and popular participation in government and public affairs in Zambia. The author, Neo Simutanyi, argues that despite the fact that Zambia has experienced unprecedented political developments – the country held six general elections, including a presidential by-election, with four peaceful presidential successions during this period – challenges remain.

Zambia’s democratic deficits point to a defective constitution and electoral rules, which successive power-holders have not attempted to address and reform so as to bring the country in line with changed democratic realities and with continental norms and frameworks. Notwithstanding these challenges, an opportunity has arisen in which the making of a new Constitution, following the election of President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front (PF) in September 2011, has been put into motion.

However, the author advises that Zambia should learn from other African states that have undergone such processes but then failed to regulate the exercise of power – to the exclusion of the general populace in the reform efforts. He argues that the constitutional committee lacks proper legal backing and has no clear road-map as to when the process should end.

Policy- and law-makers, as well as civil society and the donor community, can utilise this study’s recommendations as a guide towards effecting policy shifts and reforming the management of elections, local government and administration, and towards aligning national laws with continental standards.

This report is part of a series of three major reports on Zambia published by the Africa Governance, Monitoring and Advocacy Project () and OSISA - and follows similar reports in Swaziland and .

About the author(s)

Roshnee Narrandes is the OSISA Partnerships Manager. Prior to joining OSISA in 2004 she worked at the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy on special projects. She holds a Master’s degree in Public and Development Management from the University of the Witwatersrand.

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