The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world, from public health to the economy. This unprecedented situation has prompted countries to adopt extraordinary measures to protect their citizens. The pandemic is particularly calamitous for developing countries with their vulnerable economies, under-financed health systems, and weak economic and social safety nets. It is also taking its toll on democracy, with governments imposing restrictions on civil liberties and tightening their grips on power.
While it is early to determine the political and social outcomes of the pandemic, it is evident that the pandemic is not just a health and humanitarian crisis but also a challenge to constitutionalism and governance. Economic depression now and in the aftermath of the health, crisis can heighten citizen frustrations, leading to political instability. This may, however, provide a breeding ground for demands for greater democratisation.
Democracy Works Foundation will monitor what emergency measures are being imposed throughout Southern Africa, how they affect citizens and democracy, and when they will be rolled back through our Emergency Measures Monitor.
To read more about what emergency measures have been put in place and how countries in the region have responded to the Coronavirus, follow the link.