Seeking knowledge on the impact of AIDS on democracy and governance in Africa has been at the core of social science for the past decade. Most of the empirical work in this field has tended to interrogate the socioeconomic implications of AIDS, however, presumably due to the availability of data. It is therefore barely five years since any serious attempts were made to unravel the political dynamics of the AIDS pandemic in Africa. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates, between 33.4-46 million people worldwide are living with HIV (UNAIDS 2006). Sixty-three per cent of the cases (25.4 million) are in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS/WHO global reports 2004; 2006). HIV prevalence in Africa ranges from 0.7-9 per cent in countries such as Senegal in West Africa; one per cent in the North Africa region; to between 15-30 per cent in adult populations in most of Southern Africa – the region most affected by the epidemic (CHGA 2005; UNAIDS/WHO 2005). Because the trends in mortality suggest that the relatively younger, and

certainly the skilled and semi-skilled segment of the labour force are bearing the brunt of AIDS, these scenarios in turn have begun to generate a new wave of academic inquiry regarding the future of Africa’s democracies: the unprecedented attrition of AIDS amongst the skilled labour force could possibly have severe effects on productivity, service delivery and subsequently citizen confidence in elected government if electioneering promises remained unfulfilled (Youde 2001; Mattes 2003: IDASA /HEARD/DARU Report 2002). The loss of elected leaders and professionals running political institutions such as parliament, political parties, electoral systems, electoral management bodies, judicial systems, finance ministries among others, was expected to undermine the mechanics of decision-making, institutional sustainability and effectiveness (Chirambo and Caesar 2003). Schonteich (2003) assumed that the higher incidences of orphaning would also increase crime and contribute to policing headaches in countries such as South Africa. In addition, it was posited that a disgruntled and largely unhealthy citizenry would likely rebel against the state, or withdraw from political life – a general weakening of social cohesion in the long term was envisaged (Mattes 2003).