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Refereed articles

Democracy and elections in Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Lessons for Africa

André Mbata Mabgu and Mpariseni Budeli write on the trajectory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which, moving from a colonial to an independent to an oppressive state before finally emerging into democracy in 2006, resembles that of many African states.

Lessons from the DRC elections for democratic consolidation and state reconstruction may therefore be considered illuminating, reflective of the post-colonial African experience with constitutionalism and democracy. The article concludes that, despite some shortcomings, the elections were particularly peaceful, thus disappointing many prophets of doom. After decades of authoritarianism and violent conflicts this is an achievement that should be celebrated across the continent and by those who assisted in the process, including the international community. The message from the DRC is also encouraging to the proponents of an African renaissance, which cannot materialise without democracy, the rule of law and development.

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