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Vol 48 No 10

Published 11th May 2007

Oppositionists and activists struggle to shake out the system

Africa's elections this year have been marred by fraud and violence but multiparty politics have become a fixture and parliamentarians are beginning to pressure the hitherto untouchable presidents. Also, a new spate of anti-corruption cases shows an increasingly assertive judiciary.

Last month, South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told an African Union-sponsored democracy conference in Johannesburg that elections were old news, that the key issue today was the quality of democracy. In some ways, democracy is getting stronger. Despite last month's surreal non-vote in Nigeria, electoral organisation has much improved in many countries, with South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission under Brigalia Bam setting a new standard both in technical competence and in independence from government.

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