Mediating Election-Related Conflicts
"Beyond major conflicts in Africa over the territorial integrity of states such as Sudan and Somalia, many recent conflicts on the continent are ignited by grievances over bad governance and exclusionary political practices. In many cases, flawed or failed elections have either precipitated political disputes or aggravated simmering tensions into an outburst of conflict. For example, in the last five years, violent conflicts have ensued from the competition for political power in Africa as demonstrated by dramatic election-related crises in Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. While the magnitude of hostilities in all cases may not rise to the level of armed conflict or civil war, invariably, many lives are lost, property destroyed, societies are further polarized and democratization efforts are either stalled or reversed. In some cases, intense and long drawn-out disputes over electoral processes and outcomes raise questions about the legitimacy of the winning party and candidate through the duration of that candidate’s term of office."