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Photo: “R56A9977“, by MONUSCO Photos licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Matlosa, Khabele. “Elections in Africa During Covid-19: The Tenuous Balance Between Democracy and Human Security.” The South African Journal of Political Studies 48, no. 2 (April 15, 2021): 159–73.


Conventional wisdom conceives of COVID-19 narrowly as a global health crisis requiring a medical response with a view to ensure health security. A holistic approach characterises COVID-19 as a major crisis that require a response that safeguards democracy. With the onset of COVID-19, African countries have either proceeded with elections or postponed them. Each option has come with challenges for democratisation, peace and stability. Furthermore, African countries find themselves at the horns of dilemma between promoting the right to vote (democracy) on one hand and safeguarding the right to health for citizens (human security) on the other. The stark reality is that African states have to advance both democracy and human security in tandem. Depending on contexts, failure to maintain the democracy-human security balance may bolster autocratisation in Africa.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.