n Journal of African Elections - Understanding election-related violence in Africa - patterns, causes, consequences and a framework for preventive action

Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



From Algeria to South Africa, passing through Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, election-related violence has imposed itself as a full component of Africa's political landscape in the past two decades. The prevalence of such violence in Africa has led to the production of abundant literature dedicated to the matter. This research seeks to contribute to the existing academic literature by focusing specifically on the patterns, causes and consequences of election-related violence on the continent. The central argument of the article is that, although the patterns, causes and consequences of election-related violence do not necessarily follow the same trends in different African countries (due to, among other factors, inter-country historical, socio-economic and political differences), there are commonalities in the types, causes and consequences of such violence on the continent. While a thorough understanding of the patterns and causes of election-related violence in Africa constitutes an important point of departure in addressing the problem, an effective prevention strategy should embrace a multi-level approach targeting all significant stakeholders in any electoral process, including the political leadership, the electoral management body, civil society organisations, the general public and external partners.

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