Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 October 2013
The decade from 1990 to 2000 saw a total of seventy-eight top leadership elections involving forty-three of the forty-eight sub-Saharan African countries. Of these, only twenty-one elections led to power transition from an incumbent to an opposition political party in nineteen countries. Paradoxically, even where there was such transition, authoritarian tendencies persisted. Focusing on Kenya and Zambia, this article argues and seeks to demonstrate that the limited number of transitions from an incumbent regime to an opposition party and the persistence of authoritarianism are a function of political liberalization without democratization of political institutions and rules of the political game.