Leaders of Africa

Leaders Voices with Prof. Kealeboga Maphunye, WIPHOLD-Brigalia Bam Chair at UNISA (Part 1)

Prof. Maphunye discusses the contributions that election observation can make, as well as present shortcomings in observation missions.

Professor Kealeboga Maphunye (LinkedIn) is the inaugural WIPHOLD-Brigalia Bam Chair in Electoral Democracy in Africa at the University of South Africa (UNISA). The Leaders of Africa Project represented by Peter Penar recently spoke to Prof. Maphunye.

In part one of the interview, Prof. Maphunye explains that he came to work on elections when he joined South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The HSRC was undertaking research on public perceptions about satisfaction with elections and representation in democratic South Africa. This compelled Prof. Maphunye to apply his interest in public administration and bureaucratic politics to a burgeoning research agenda in election management.

Beyond academic pursuits, Prof. Maphunye has contributed directly to election assistance and support for election management. He has consistently worked with election observation missions to do more than complete a simple checklist or merely engage in “electoral tourism.” Yet, challenges facing robust election observation persist.

As a close observer of election management, Prof. Maphunye suggests that best practices of election management are disseminating, including the implementation of technologies in elections. However, worst practices also threaten to hurt gains. Prof. Maphunye mentions controls on the internet and communication and election-related violence as troubling trends in some African countries.

Podcast version (also on Acast and your favorite podcast app):

Videocast version (also on YouTube):


  1. The Leaders of Africa Project is independent and non-partisan. The unedited views expressed in Leaders Voices are not those expressed by the Leaders of Africa Project. All opinions and experiences expressed are solely that of the thought leader.
  2. Use of any of the information gained from the video or this post must be cited: Leaders of Africa Project. “Leaders Voices with Prof. Kealeboga Maphunye.” Online video clip. www.leadersofafrica.org. Leaders of Africa Project, 6 July 2017.

About Prof. Kealeboga J. Maphunye

  • Inaugural WIPHOLD-Brigalia Bam Chair in Electoral Democracy in Africa at the University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • Bridges the gap between academic research in election management and election assistance in practice
  • Participated in direct election support in many African countries
  • Involved in the Management of Democratic Elections in Africa (MDEA) program at UNISA

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