Management of Democratic Elections in Africa

About MDEA

Acceptance of and significant progress towards electoral democracy in Southern Africa remains tenuous. One party dominant states with largely unchecked executive power continue to exert power over all branches of government. Dominant political parties emerging from militaristic, liberation movements are entrenched through regular and, often poorly managed, elections. In this atmosphere of ‘electoral autocracy,’ elections can be de-legitimised in a multitude of ways, with electoral commissions facing the majority of blame from all sides.

By focusing on strengthening electoral management bodies and other non-executive institutions of democratic governance, the MDEA Program aims to reduce executive dominance and promote good democratic governance in the continent.

The success of this program is expected to accelerate the implementation of electoral reform measures and to build the capacity of African elections officials to engage in activities that will promote increased implementation of electoral standards and principles.


The overarching objective of the Unisa African Election Capacity Building programmeis to provide assistance to Election Management Bodies through courses on electoral management values, principles, regulatory regimes and implementation contexts which contribute to the enhancement and promotion of democratic elections in Africa.

The following are goals and were further contextually conceived, developed and implemented by Unisa:

  1. Increase the number of electoral personnel who understand the role that EMBs play in a democracy.

  2. Increase the number of electoral personnel who understand regional and international norms, constitutional and legal regimes applicable to elections and EMBs in Africa.

  3. Increase the capacity of EMBs throughout Africa that are able to manage elections effectively and who understand the central role of democratic elections to participatory electoral democracy.

  4. To further enhance continuous capacity development among the alumni of the MDEA program and other senior officials of the electoral institutions they come from.