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Prof. James Long on Voice of America's Straight Talk Africa Discussing Investigating Former Leaders

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on August 5, 2021 - 11:15am

Prof. James Long and South African colleague Chris Maroleng discuss at length whether investigating former leaders is good for democracy in the long run, using the recent prosecution and jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma as an example.

About going after former leaders for corruption, Prof. Long:
"On the one hand, having sweeping immunity would completely undermine the concept of the rule of law. On the other hand, does the process become so political and there is over-zealous prosecution and it's used a a political weapon then law is undermined along a different dimension.

This is the problem with the issue of democracy, these prosecutions will have political dynamics, no matter what.

Depending on where a country is in terms of its democratic health and maturity...prosecutions can becomes an issue when democracy is weak and it hasn't consolidated, and can allow certain factions to take to the streets in a way that is not healthy protest but actually destabilize the fundamental institutions of governance and potentially make democracy collapse."

Please link here for the full interview. The interview with Prof. Long and Mr. Maroleng begins at 24:17.