Double-edged sword of using technology in African elections
The digital age offers many opportunities but also threats to democracy and good governance
The digital age presents African countries with new opportunities and new threats as they face the continent’s next big challenge on the road to entrenching democracy: the holding of consistently free, fair elections that are accepted as legitimate by both voters and outsiders. With Nigeria, Malawi, SA, Senegal and Guinea among those holding elections in the first half of 2019, the use of digital technology is about to be thrown into sharp relief. Disputed election outcomes, such as those that have beleaguered Kenya, Zambia, Liberia and Zimbabwe, and widespread scepticism about the outcomes of several other elections can fuel popular disenchantment with what are often seen as superficially democratic elections where the outcome is in fact decided by elites and not the voters. Technology offers benefits and yet poses fresh challenges to elections, democracy and good governance. The first big advantage is the speeding up of vote counts, reducing the time between voting and the announc...
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