Democratization unfolds in three logical phases: 'democratic opening' which is marked by the collapse of an authoritarian regime; 'democratic transition' which is usually associated with the conduct of a credible election, and; 'democratic consolidation' evidenced by the entrenchment of democratic ethos of fairly permanent basis. The provocative and innovative papers in this book present Africa as a continent caught in seemingly perpetual 'democratic transition'; it is a continent lacking in strong capacity to consolidate democratic governance. Departing remarkably from the synchronic analyses of the past, the publication adopts a diachronic approach in reviewing the factors responsible for this problem and the efforts being made to deal with the disturbing situations. In particular, the book interrogates the adversarial and non-adversarial strategies for managing the problems associated with democratic transitions in the continent. These well treated issues take us to the heart of a major factor in contemporary Africa's underdevelopment. A key lesson from the publication is that as long as Africa fails to arrive at actionable strategies for managing its election disputes, it would continue to be a battle ground for domestic and international conflict entrepreneurs. Suggestions are made on how to improve the situation. This makes the book to be of significant academic and policy interest. Students of peace and conflict studies, political science, history, sociology and development workers would find the book to be extremely useful. -- Isaac Olawale Albert, director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria and board chairman, Society for Peace Studies and Practice
The democratization process which bolstered a culture of periodic elections has also fostered election-related violent conflicts. As democratic transitions gained currency in the new millennium, orderly transitions through the ballot boxes began replacing military coups but deaths and destructions came in the wake of elections in many countries. Inspired by decades-long pro-democracy movements across Africa that culminated in the Arab Spring of 2010-2011, and motivated by the desire to find long-term solutions to election-related violent conflicts in the continent, this book explores the terrain of democratization, elections, and conflict management. It raises and answers many questions, such as: What are the root causes of election-related conflicts? How free, fair, and credible are elections in many African countries? What institutional mechanisms are available for ballot and voter security and for mandate protection? What has been the role of civil society organizations in conflict prevention and management? What are the responsibilities of the international community, especially regional organizations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), in conflict resolution? What indigenous mechanisms for conflict management have been identified that may be proactively engaged?