Of demons and angels: The “international” gaze on electoral democracy in Africa

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article reflects on the role of international election observers in African elections, following the so-called wave of democratisation at the end of the Cold War. When analysed against the role of the “international” as a geopolitical entity and the construction of the political as an epistemic heritage of the West, international observation comes across as a western gaze over the gale of democratisation sweeping through Africa. This observation is not motivated by meeting the expectations and aspirations of generations of Africans who have been waiting for and working towards freedom, but by the convergence of elite interests locally and abroad. The article therefore suggests that international observation of Africa in a neo-colonised post-colonial environment raises suspicions of imperialist designs to impose on Africa the manner in which it must organise the political arena, and the kind of democracy that it should pursue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-21
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of African Renaissance Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • African elections
  • coloniality
  • electoral democracy
  • international observation
  • neo-colonialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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