Election posters in Sierra Leone. Photo: Mats Utas.

Elections as do-or-die-affairs

NAI researcher Eldridge Adolfo answers two questions on new NAI Policy Note “Electoral Violence in Africa” (öppnas i nytt fönster).  

Why are we talking about “election violence” in Africa when democratic elections are supposed to be peaceful?
The main reasons revolve around democracy not being fully exercised throughout the country so that its benefits reach down to the ordinary woman and man. Things like corruption, poverty, unemployment, ethnic and other social divisions in society are also played on by politicians. Political power may also be very closely tied to economic survival for candidates and communities which can make elections a do-or-die-affair for them.

What are the things the national and international actors can do to prevent election violence?
Firstly, political reforms need to be accompanied with broad-based socio-economic and development reforms for ordinary people as well as the elite. Secondly, the electoral systems need to be more inclusive and electoral institutions need to be independent and effective.

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