"Elections form a key component of democratic governance. Democracy denotes a political system that, among other things, allows citizens to freely choose their government over time through credible, legitimate and acceptable elections; a system which accords them adequate participation in national affairs and a system in which the national affairs are run in a transparent and accountable manner. Democracy as a concept rests upon the consideration that a political leadership in a country must be chosen through an electon governed by fair rules under which social groups and political forces may compete on equal terms. Research has shown that HIV and AIDS may have adverse effects on democracy in Southern Africa. Electoral systems, voter participation, electoral management and administration and political institutions are among the areas of democratisation most affected by HIV/AIDS. ... Chapter one introduces the topic, the research questions to be answered by the research and the research methodology. It also contains a brief literature survey of the research on this topic so far. Chapter two sets out the legal framweork, it gives an analysis of states obligations to ensure political participation based on international and regional standards. The rights of HIV/AIDS infected and affected persons to participate in government and the meaning of [the] right to vote is discussed. The application of the international law obligations to promote and fulfill [uman rights] are discussed and the question 'Do governments have a duty to set up special mechanisms to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the electoral context?' is answered. Chapter three is an examination of the relationship between HIV/AIDS and political participation. A brief overview of current electoral statistics and statistics of the trend of the HIV/AIDS pandemic are given. The chapter examines the possible reasons for lack of participation by HIV/AIDS infected and affected persons. Chapter four is a critical analysis of some responses that can be adopted to address the situation. It focuses on mechanical and structural reforms to the electoral process: amending electoral laws and policies to include postal, proxy and other special voting mechanisms; providing for specific legal obligations, for example to have mobile registration and polling stations, to ensure that there is a polling station within a specific distance so that people do not have to walk far and stand in long queues in order to vote. The failure to meet such obligations must have specific legal consequences. Chapter five suggests a more controversial reform of lowering the voting age to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on democracy and children. Chapter six [includes the] conclusion and recommendations." -- Introduction.
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2005.
Prepared under the supervision of Dr. Naz K. Modirzadeh at the Department of Law, American University in Cairo, Egypt