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Southern Africa


The V-Dem Regional Center for Southern Africa was founded in January 2018. It aims to develop research on the causes and consequences of democratisation and multi-party politics in Southern African, which includes the following countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and South Africa. The Centre will be funded locally with some support by V-Dem Institute based at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The Centre aims to organise several activities, namely yearly academic conferences, workshops on research methodology and the use of statistical applications to determine policy/programme/project impact, and policy oriented workshops. We invite scholars, policy-makers, policy implementers, journalists, the general public and other actors in governance to contact us.


The V-Dem Regional Centre for Southern Africa will conduct research on the causes and consequences of democracy, democratisation and governance in the region, using the Varieties of Democracy dataset, and combining it with historical research and other datasets on democracy and governance. For the next five years, the centre will pursue the following research projects: 

  1. A comparative study of patterns of governance, local development, democratic and government quality in Southern African countries;
  2. Explore nature and causes of Southern African democratisation, party politics and factionalism, and regime changes within a cross-regional analysis; 
  3. Conduct opinion polls, PVTs and participate in election monitoring locally and in the region;
  4. Explore the long-run consequences of democratic institutions for human welfare, economic development, and social and political trust in Southern Africa. 
  5. Conduct research and training on environmental politics and climate justice in Southern Africa.
  6. Conduct research and training on social accountability of the use of public resources.
  7. Conduct research and training on measuring the impact public and social policies, programmes and projects.


Njekwa Mate is Head of the Centre. He is a lecturer of Public Administration at the University of Zambia, Department of Political and Administrative Studies specialising in Governance and Public Management, Administrative Law and Ethics, Democracy and Migration. He is also the V-Dem Regional Manager for Southern Africa.From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Mate served as Head/Chair in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Zambia. Mr. Mate is also the Founding Vice-President for the Zambian Society for Public Administration (ZSPA). He possesses a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a BA degree from the University of Zambia. With Phineas Bbaala, he recently published“Nowhere to Run: A Review of the Political Economy of Migration, Identity and Xenophobic Violence in Zambia”, African Human Mobility Review, Vol.2 No3, 2016.

Alex Mwamba Ng’oma is a long-time lecturer of Political Science at the University of Zambia, Department of Political and Administrative Studies. He teaches a variety of courses, at both graduate and undergraduate levels. He specialises in Democratic Political Theory as well as in Democracy and Democratisation. He possesses a wide range of qualifications in various fields. However, the highlights of his education are the three degrees that he holds in Political Science. He obtained his PhD in Political Science from the United States of America, MA degree from the Netherlands, BA degree from the University of Zambia. Dr. Ng’oma interacts regularly with the local and the international news media and functions as a political analyst on issues concerning democracy and good governance. He is also a civil society activist and has immense experience in election monitoring. Two of his latest journal publications are as follows: “Challenges of Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Implications for India’s Investment Drive, India Quarterly, 72(2), 107-119, SAGE Publication, 2016; and “Ethical and Institutional Arrangements Necessary for the Professional Administration of National Elections: Evidence from the Republic of Zambia”, Zango: Journal of Contemporary Issues, Volume 31, 2014-2015.

Phineas Bbaala is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zambia where he is also a PhD candidate in Public Administration. His PhD research is on “The Role of Public Administrative Institutions in Zambia’s Electoral Politics”. He is a governance enthusiast with many researches and scholarly publications. His recent publications include the following: ‘Emerging Questions on the Shifting Sino-African Relations: Win-Win or Win-Lose’?, Africa Development, Vol. 40, No.3, 97-120, 2015, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal; With Jotham, C. Momba,’Beyond a Free and Fair Election: The Ethnic Divide and the Rhetoric of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ in Mihyo, P.B (ed.), Election Processes Management and Election-Based Violence in Eastern and Southern Africa, Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), Ethiopia, 143-169, 2015; ‘When a Dragon Changes its Colors: Governance Implications of the New Sino-Southern African Relations’, Radical History Review, Issue No, 131, 139-145, 2018, Duke University, United States. From July 2017 to date, he is researching into ‘Electoral Conflict Management under the SADC Principles and Guidelines’ for the Trade Law Centre (TRALAC), Cape Town, South Africa. 

Clever Madimutsa is a lecturer and coordinator of postgraduate programmes in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Zambia. He holds a PhD in public administration from the University of the Western Cape. His research interests are public sector reform, labour relations and governance networks. His most recent publication is “Revisiting Trade Unions’ Response to New Public Management: A case from Zambia”, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 46, No. 3 (2017), pp. 288-307, doi: 10.1177/0091026017713230.

Lee M Habasonda is currently a lecturer of political science at the University of Zambia. He specialises in politics and international affairs. He holds a Diploma in education, a BA from the University of Zambia and an MA from SOAS, University of London. He is currently enrolled as DPhil student. His research, practice and teaching interests focus on international politics, diplomacy, security, conflict resolution, transitional justice, international human rights law and governance. He has been a civil society practitioner in Zambia since the advent of multiparty democracy in the early 1990s. He has served as the President of the Transparency International Chapter in Zambia. He is a member of the Panel of Peace Experts for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA). He is formerly the Executive Director of a Non-Governmental Organisation- the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD). Currently he is a Commissioner on both the Legal and Justice Sector Reform Commission and the Commission of enquiry on voting patterns and political violence in Zambia.  Prior to this, he served as an Electoral Officer on the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).

Aaron Wiza Siwale is a lecturer of Political Science in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Zambia. He possesses an MA in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Zambia. His research focus is in Comparative Politics and International Politics. He is interested in the stability of Political Institutions, Elections and Democratisation.

Joe Ndambwa is lecturer of Political Science in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Zambia. He holds an MA and BA in Political science from the University of Zambia. His research focusis in political theory and comparative politics and is interested in distributive justice, equality, responsibility, global justice, ethics of war and peace, climate change ethics, methodology in moral and political theory, classical and contemporary just war theory, and feminist theories. 

Evans Daka, M. A. Degree in Political Science (University of Zambia, 2013) and B.A. Degree in Political Science (University of Zambia, 2009), is a lecturer at the University of Zambia. His research interest comprises governance (elections, electoral systems and political parties, interest groups and human rights) and international relations (international organizations and diplomacy). Since 2015 he is V-Dem country coordinator for Zambia. 

Nayunda A. Wamunyima holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Zambia. His research interests include: Governance and Public Service Delivery; Human Rights; Gender and Women Empowerment as well as Political Culture and Citizen Participation. He has been a Lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies since November, 2016. He is currently working on a book chapter titled: Project Management in the Public Sector: Lessons from ZESCO’s Prepayment Metering Project.

Penzi Shikabi is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the University of Zambia in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies. He is also the V-Dem Research Assistant for the Regional Manager for Southern Africa. His research interests include governance, service delivery and public policy.

Ellison Tjirera holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Namibia (2012) and is currently a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Namibia (UNAM). He joined V-Dem as a Country Coordinator for Namibia in 2013. Tjirera has been a Research Associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) since 2009 when he co-authored Not Speaking Out: Measuring National Assembly Performance and later went on to complete research on Gender and Parliament commissioned by the government and the UNFPA. He has contributed to several IPPR briefing papers dealing with corruption-related issues in Namibia. Ellison joined the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) as a PhD Fellow in July 2013. His academic interests include urban sociology/studies, post-apartheid societies, parliamentary democracy, gender studies and governance issues.

Alfred Mangani holds a Honors Degree in Political Philosophy majoring in International Cooperation from Urbaniana University in Rome and a Master’s Degree in Political Science majoring in Governance and Local Development from University of Malawi. Currently, he is lecturing at the University of Malawi. Alfred has interest and experience in research on agriculture, climate justice, democracy, governance and development and also in political analysis at both local and international levels. He also has skills in training facilitation, project implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. He possesses additional knowledge in social development related activities, and coordination for social support networks having been involved in social, economic as well as political development related projects. Alfred has also been involved in gender related issues in male dominated societies. He has experience in Gender Based Violence Project Implementation and Evaluation.

Simona Simona is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. He holds a Master of Research Degree in Sociology and Research Methods from the University of Glasgow and a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Zambia. Simona specialises in social science research methods. His PhD research utilises Bayesian generalised linear mixed models to understand structural sources of health and healthcare disparities in sub-Saharan Africa. He is skilled in the use of several programming and software packages for Qualitative and Quantitative data analysis including SPSS, Stata, R, Python, WinBUGS, NetLogo, NVivo and Atlas.ti. He has taught research design and data analysis at the University of Zambia and the University of Glasgow. He has attended methodology courses at the University of Stellenbosch, University of Southampton and the University of Michigan in the United States of America. His methodological interests and expertise are in generalised linear models, multilevel modelling, agent-based modelling, Bayesian modelling and quantitative text analysis. Areas of substantive application include Sociology of Health and Illness, Global Health, Political Sociology and Gender Based Violence. He has co-authored papers that have appeared in the African Journal of AIDS Research, Science Journal of Public Health, BMC Women's Health and International Journal of Social Science Studies among others. 


Address: Mr.Njekwa Mate, Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Zambia, Great East Road Campus, PO Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia.