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Public policy and election administration in Africa

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submitted on 2023-09-12, 05:21 and posted on 2023-09-13, 09:51 authored by Michael Amoah

Exercising public authority in Africa or implementing public policy has its own peculiar problems against a context fraught with accountability and integrity challenges writ large. The context includes the fact that heads-of-government tend to stay on well beyond their set terms when they first took office, and the longer they stay in office, the more entrenched the bureaucracy undergirding their agenda becomes. The quest for perpetuity associated with such long tenure agendas generates a propensity towards impunity, and for the bureaucracy to toe the political establishment’s line, particularly in amending constitutions or fxing elections to retain incumbents (Amoah 2019). As elections are the arena for hatching the stay-over, or a turnover, whatever the case may be, elections have become fair game for incumbents to try and bully the process and tend to be fraught with irregularities to maintain the incumbents. Hence, overturning an election result where the incumbent had won is so rare and daring that it has happened only twice in African politics, during, in the 2017 Kenyan and 2020 Malawian elections, even if the latter resulted in a change of government and the former did not. These developments signal an evolving New Pan-Africanism. The political landscape is emerging with heightened public awareness of public policy malpractice. In this era of globalism, the African Union and its sub-regional bodies are pressured to pay closer attention to bad governance across Africa.

Other Information

Published in: Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This chapter is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Public Policy - HBKU

Geographic coverage


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