Is Electoral Politics A New Source Of Human Insecurity In Africa?

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Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences

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Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences


University of Cape Town

Violence and conflicts have characterised electoral processes in a number of African countries since the mid-1990s and created an atmosphere of insecurity. The prevalence of such violence reflected a confluence of factors, including the intensification of the competition for access to the state, perceived as a channel of accumulation. This perception raised the stakes to an unprecedented level during elections as vanquished parties went every length to stake a claim to the spoils. Other factors inducing violence included the poor organisation of elections, government interference in the work of election management bodies (EMBs), the insatiable desire of some presidents to seek third terms in contravention of constitutionally mandated two terms, and in some cases because the electoral model excluded loosing parties from parliament. It is noted further that, contrary to Afro-pessimist claims, African countries are capable of credible elections but this is conditional on adequate attention being paid to critical elements in the electoral process, which rid the process of suspicion of fraud and irregularities.