This essay examines the existing variation in democratization trajectories in African states since the early 1990s. In particular, it shows that variations are tightly correlated with the quality of legislative elections. Evidence presented suggests a potential mechanism to explain the “democratization through elections” hypothesis. African states with clean legislative elections also exhibit a trend toward greater democratization. A brief presentation of the cases of Cameroon and Zambia show that legislative empowerment is key to democratization.