Election management bodies play a fundamental role in both preventing and mitigating violence. They are responsible for decisions throughout the full electoral cycle, and phased, continual engagement is needed long before and after the election day itself. By examining how these bodies have behaved in Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, and elsewhere, this book draws lessons for countering electoral violence by embracing electoral education, using technology, including the media and minority groups, and regulating the influence of money.
Historically, election related violence is common in Africa, where some leaders have maintained power for decades. As a result, instability ensues when political regimes loose elections. Technology can be used as a risk management tool to promote dialogue throughout an election, enabling people to report election related violence. There is a need for strong electoral management bodies and civil society organizations to be involved in elections, reducing corruption and promoting an open electoral process.
Congolese security forces, particularly the presidential guard, have killed and detained dozens of civilians prior to recent presidential elections and during subsequent protests against the results. The deployment of the presidential guard, however, appeared to violate Congolese law. The election has undercut the legitimacy of the government and the stability this would bring the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Free and fair elections are vital components of strategies to foster enduring stability. However, attempts to intimidate voters or manipulate elections through violence by political incumbents and challengers alike are frequent in Africa. Mechanisms to monitor campaigns, mediate emerging disputes, and coordinate institutional roles and responsibilities can foster safe and lively participation in elections and enhance respect for their results and democratic norms more generally.
Security Topics: Electoral Security