Democracy in southern Africa: moving beyond a difficult legacy
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The peace dividend in southern Africa may serve to underpin NEPAD's bid for economic growth and development. However, it is by no means so clear that the region is embarked upon an unambiguous progression towards the consolidation of democracy. Indeed, there are deeply worrying indications that the democratic wave which broke upon the region's shores in the 1990s is now moving into reverse. Most particularly, it can be argued that a developing crisis of democracy in southern Africa is characterized by first, an increasingly explicit clash between an authoritarian culture of national liberation and participatory democracy; and second, by a closely related model of state owner which even if obscured under democratic garb, entrenches elites and promotes highly unequal patterns of accumulation and anti-development. It is therefore necessary to move forward to a more advanced conception of democracy which links liberal democratic rights to conditions which combine increased political participation with greater social and economic equality.