In This Review

Elections in Independent Africa
Elections in Independent Africa
Edited by Fred M. Hayward
Westview Press, 1987, 318 pp.

With all the difficulties entailed in saying anything new about electoral politics in a continent that has seemingly rejected them like an alien graft, this interesting study succeeds; it looks beyond the obvious rhetorical questions about the survival of "democracy" in Africa to probe the significance of electoral processes which have continued or reemerged at crucial junctures. Examining the most striking cases-Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Zaïre and Senegal-the authors illuminate often-ignored aspects of the interaction between mostly authoritarian regimes and their publics, including the enduring attraction of democratic traditions, the manifest though subtle responsiveness of elites to public opinion, and the use of elections by leaders to provide ritual, education, diversion and legitimation.