Electoral violence undermines democratic consolidation

The electoral process in Africa’s ‘new’ democracies, the fledgling democratic re-experiments under the so-called ‘third wave’ of democratisation has, with few exceptions, been characterised by violence. Though violence has been a long-standing feature of the democratisation process in Africa, its recent manifestations have assumed an unprecedented magnitude and a changing form and character. This electoral violence has tended to put the democratisation process on the line in many African states, threatening the prospects of democratic stability and consolidation.

Examples here include violent elections in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and others where the attendant search for redress through official and unofficial responses has, altogether, been largely trapped in deepening contradictions.

One might be tempted to pose some questions like what is it about the democratisation process in Africa that makes it easily susceptible to violence? It is very important to critically engage these questions.

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