For more than a decade the political map of Africa has been changing. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a ﬁrst wave of democratisation between 1989 and 1994. Around a hundred elections were held, in some countries for the ﬁrst time. Two-thirds of Africa’s nations had been or were still under some form of autocratic or dictatorial regime. South Africa’s democratic change in 1994 also raised the prospect of political renewal and progress.
The dynamics of those early elections were signiﬁcant because if democracy was to develop incrementally, politicians needed to engage more fully with the wider population. In political terms, polling helps promote participation and governmental legitimacy, while also contributing to the wider debate about democracy and its application.