The struggle for liberation and the fight for democracy : the impact of liberation movement governance on democratic consolidation in Zimbabwe and South Africa

Britz, Anna Christina (2011-12)

Thesis (MA )--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The issue of democratic consolidation has become an important field of study in relation to developing states, especially with regards to Southern Africa. The region’s history of liberation struggles and the emergence of liberation movements as ruling parties are vital factors to take into account when investigating democracy and, more specifically, democratic consolidation in these countries. However, there are only a few comparative studies that have looked at the effects of liberation movement governance on democracy. Therefore, in this study two case studies – Zimbabwe and South Africa – are compared in an effort to offer more insight into this topic. The focus of the study was placed on how the behavior of liberation movement governments has affected the rule of law in order to assess their impact on democratic consolidation in general. This study follows the premise of studies in political behavior that actors’ attitudes (in this case, liberation movements’ political cultures) affect their behavior or actions that in turn have an influence on democratic institutions that eventually impacts democratic stability. In order to investigate this, the two case studies were compared and discussed in terms of the following themes: firstly, the respective liberation struggles and transitions to majority rule; secondly, the political cultures that have developed within ZANU-PF and the ANC during the liberation struggles; and lastly, the effect of the two parties’ behavior – informed by the political cultures – on the rule of law, a central feature of democratic consolidation. The findings indicate that in Zimbabwe, the rule of law disintegrated and democracy faltered largely due to the behavior of ZANU-PF. In South Africa, on the other hand, the rule of law has so far been upheld and the prospects for democratic consolidation seem more positive than in the case of Zimbabwe. In the last few years, though, the ruling ANC has shown tendencies that could prove to be detrimental to the future of democracy in South Africa. The ANC and ZANU-PF have both exhibited an authoritarian political culture, a desire to capture the state, tendencies towards centralization of power and the delegitimation of opposition. However, perhaps the key explanation for the protection of the rule of law in South Africa and the disintegration thereof in Zimbabwe has less to do with the political culture than the constraining influence of the international context with a renewed focus on democracy and human rights and internal factors such as the constitution, civil society and a robust media. Furthermore, Zimbabwe experienced a watershed moment in the 2000 with the constitutional referendum which the Mugabe regime lost. With the loss of the referendum, ZANU-PF’s democratic credentials were tested and it failed. In South Africa, such a watershed moment has not happened yet – the ANC’s democratic credentials have yet to be tested like this. Therefore, the future of democracy is still uncertain even though in comparison with Zimbabwe, the prospects of democratic survival seem to be more positive. In conclusion, it is not possible to claim that liberation movement governance in general negatively affects democratic consolidation. The findings of the study indicate that this has definitely been the case in Zimbabwe, but so far not in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die kwessie van demokratiese konsolidasie het ‘n belangrike veld van studie geword in verband met ontwikkelende lande, veral met betrekking tot Suider-Afrika. Die gebied se geskiedenis van bevrydingstryde en die opkoms van vryheidsbewegings as regerende partye is belangrike faktore om in ag te neem wanneer demokrasie en, meer spesifiek, demokratiese konsolidasie ondersoek word. Tog is daar sover net ‘n paar vergelykende studies wat gekyk het na die effekte van bevrydingsbewegings se regeerkunde op demokrasie. Gevolglik, in hierdie studie is twee gevallestudies – Zimbabwe en Suid-Afrika – vergelyk in ‘n poging om meer insig te bied met betrekking tot hierdie onderwerp. Die fokus van die studie is geplaas op hoe die gedrag van regerende bevrydingsbewegings die oppergesag van die reg beïnvloed in ‘n poging om te bepaal hoe hulle demokratiese konsolidasie in die algemeen affekteer. Die studie volg die veronderstelling van studies in politieke gedrag dat akteurs se houdings (in hierdie geval die politieke kulture van die bevrydingsbewegings) beïnvloed hul gedrag of aksies wat weer ‘n invloed het op demokratiese instellings wat uiteindelik ‘n effek het op demokratiese stabiliteit. Om dit te ondersoek is die twee gevallestudies vergelyk en bespreek met betrekking tot die volgende: eerstens, die onderskeidelike vryheidstryde en oorgange tot meerderheidsregerings; tweedens, die politieke kulture wat ontwikkel het binne ZANU-PF en die ANC gedurende die vryheidstryde; en laastens, die effek van die twee partye se gedrag – geïnspireer deur die politieke kulture – op die oppergesag van die reg, ‘n sleutel kenmerk van demokratiese konsolidasie. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat die oppergesag van die reg in Zimbabwe in duie gestort het en demokrasie gefaal het grootliks as gevolg van ZANU-PF se gedrag. In Suid-Afrika, aan die anderkant, is die oppergesag van die reg sover gehandhaaf en die vooruitsigte vir demokratiese konsolidasie blyk om meer positief te wees as in die geval van Zimbabwe. Tog het die ANC oor die laaste paar jaar tendense getoon wat skadelik kan wees vir die toekoms van demokrasie in Suid-Afrika. Die ANC en ZANU-PF het beide ‘n outoritêre politieke kultuur geopenbaar, ‘n begeerte om beheer oor die staat oor te neem, tendense tot die sentralisering van mag en om opposisie te ondermyn. Alhoewel, die moontlike sleutel verklaring vir die beskerming van die oppergesag van die reg in Suid-Afrika en die disintegrering daarvan in Zimbabwe minder te doen het met die politieke kultuur as die beperkende invloed van die internasionale konteks met ‘n hernude fokus op demokrasie en menseregte en interne faktore soos die grondwet, die burgerlike samelewing en ‘n robuuste media. Verder, Zimbabwe het ‘n keerpunt beleef in 2000 met die konstitusionele referendum wat die Mugabe regime verloor het. Met die verlies van die referendum, is ZANU-PF se demokratiese getuigskrifte getoets en dit het gefaal. Suid-Afrika het nog nie so ‘n keerpunt beleef nie – die ANC se demokratiese getuigskrifte moet nog op so ‘n wyse getoets word. Daarom is die toekoms van demokrasie steeds onseker, maar in vergelyking met Zimbabwe, blyk dit dat die vooruitsigte vir demokratiese oorlewing meer positief is. Ter slotte, is dit nie moontlik om te verklaar dat bevrydingbewegings se regeerkunde demokratiese konsolidasie oor die algemeen negatief beïnvloed nie. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat dit definitief die geval in Zimbabwe is, maar sover nie in Suid-Afrika nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL:
This item appears in the following collections: