Measuring Democracy and Human Rights in Southern Africa

Measuring Democracy and Human Rights in Southern Africa

Measuring Democracy and Human Rights in Southern Africa

Measuring Democracy and Human Rights in Southern Africa


Are there ways and means of measuring democracy and "good governance"? The con-tributions to this Discussion Paper present attempts to do this by means of surveys on democratic attitudes in Mozambique and Namibia respectively, as well as by exploring the degree of commitment to and violation of human rights in a comparative perspective in Namibia and South Africa. They illustrate attitudes by offering empirical evidence of the preferences and views of local people, as well as by examining the track record of a human rights culture. In doing so, by going beyond a level of theoretical analysis, they offer concrete evidence of attitudes prevalent among both individuals and state agencies in societies of Southern Africa.


The Nordic Africa Institute has during 2001 established a research network on “Liberation and Democracy in Southern Africa” (LiDeSA). It brought together a wide range of scholars from the Southern African region for an initial Workshop in Cape Town/South Africa in December 2001. This “Indaba” was organised jointly with the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) at the University of Cape Town and served as a brainstorming event for further topical focus within the research network.

The three papers presented and discussed in the comparative session on regional aspects in Southern Africa are compiled in this Discussion Paper in revised versions. They reflect upon different but related topical issues of measuring the degree of democratic attitudes among people in societies in transition in Mozambique and Namibia. The two empirical surveys have been compiled as concrete evidence for existing views and opinions on democracy related issues. The third overview concentrates on a comparative assessment of the human rights culture in Namibia and South Africa since the formal democratisation of the political system.

I wish to thank both the CCR and in particular Guy Lamb and Letitia Manter as well as the individual contributors to this volume for their support and co-operation.

Henning Melber

Uppsala, June 2002 . . .

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