Search

You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Publishing Institution United States Institute of Peace Remove constraint Publishing Institution: United States Institute of Peace Political Geography Africa Remove constraint Political Geography: Africa Topic Democratization Remove constraint Topic: Democratization
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Judith Vorrath
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite recent elections in Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda and upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Great Lakes region shows worrying trends toward electoral authoritarianism and political fragmentation, with new divisions that intensify the potential for confrontation. A shrinking political space and a tight grip on the state by the ruling elites and their parties are signs of authoritarianism in the region—a cause of concern since armed conflict in all four countries has been strongly linked to a history of exclusion under autocratic regimes. New divisions beyond previous alignments in armed conflicts also have occurred and already led to serious confrontations, flight, and at times violence. An increasing political fragmentation has become visible, and splits embroil intraparty conflicts in the political landscape instead of resolving them. The two trends—electoral authoritarianism and political fragmentation—are mutually reinforcing within and across the countries of the region and risk jeopardizing economic and social progress in Uganda and Rwanda as well as an emerging vibrant civil society in Burundi and the DRC. In light of the history of conflict and autocratic regimes in the region, these trends have to be a serious concern for local and international actors. The preference for stable leadership, economic performance, and security considerations regardless of political conduct has been a fatal miscalculation before in the Great Lakes region. Rather, acting early and using pressure constructively, the international community should do what it can to support a more open and less fragmented political sphere in the Great Lakes countries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Political Economy, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Burundi
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Largely unnoticed outside the region, the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have begun the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)–mandated process of popular consultation, which permits Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to either adopt the CPA as the final settlement between the two states and the Government of Sudan (GoS) or renegotiate the CPA to remedy any shortcomings and reach a final settlement. The first phase of the popular consultation process involves civic education campaigns to inform the two states' populations of the contents of the CPA and the issues at stake. The second phase is the consultations themselves, which are to be conducted by a commission in each state. The results of the consultations will be reported to the state assemblies and inform the positions taken by the states during negotiations with the central government. A successful popular consultation could begin to transform Sudanese politics by realigning political interests from political parties to the states and could provide a test case for new governance structures between the center and the states. A neglected or mismanaged process could destabilize not just Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but all of Sudan. The international community can contribute to a successful process through financial assistance, monitoring and reporting, promoting reconciliation within the population, and engaging directly with Khartoum and Juba to smooth negotiations. It might also anticipate possible procedural challenges and prepare to engage in creative and quiet diplomacy should the need arise.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Ebere Onwudiwe, Chloe Berwind-Dart
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria's 2011 polls will mark the fourth multiparty election in Nigeria and, if a power transfer occurs, only the second handover of civilian administrations since the country's return to democracy in 1999. Past election cycles have featured political assassinations, voter intimidation, intra-and interparty clashes, and communal unrest. Party primary season, the days immediately surrounding elections, and the announcement of results have been among the most violent periods in previous cycles. Although the most recent elections in 2007 derived some benefit from local conflict management capacity, they were roundly criticized for being neither free nor fair. The 2011 elections could mark a turning point in the consolidation of Nigeria's democracy, but they could also provoke worsening ethnosectarian clashes and contribute to the continuing scourge of zero-sum politics. President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died in May 2010, kept his 2007 inauguration promise to create an Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) but failed to adopt key recommendations that the committee made. His successor, President Goodluck Jonathan, appointed a widely respected professor, Attahiru Jega, to head the Independent National Electoral Commission, inspiring hope that electoral processes will improve in 2011. The issue of “zoning,” the political elite's power-sharing agreement, has taken center stage in the current election cycle and will drive significant conflict if the debate around it devolves into outright hostilities. his unusual election cycle, local and international organizations and Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) must redouble their efforts both to prevent and resolve conflicts and to promote conflict sensitivity. The near term requires an increasingly important role for the judiciary in combating electoral fraud, and the longer term requires the creation of the ERC–recommended Electoral Offenses Commission, which would specialize in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. Local agencies and respected community leaders must remain proactive and creative in violence-prevention programming, irrespective of international funding. Established local organizations with preexisting networks are best situated to perform early-warning and conflict management functions. High voter turnout and citizen monitoring are vital for ensuring that the 2011 elections in Nigeria are credible and civil.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Lahra Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Assistant professor at Georgetown University, where she teaches courses on African politics, civil society and democracy in Africa, and peace and conflict in East Africa. The pardon and release of thirty-eight political detainees, mostly from the leadership of the main opposition party, may give impetus to political negotiations in Ethiopia after more than two years' crisis and stalemate. Contentious and previously unresolved national issues, such as land and economic development; the institutional and constitutional structure of the Ethiopian state; and the best way to ensure equality of ethnic and religious communities, were brought to the fore during the past election cycle. However, after the election, much- needed national dialogue on these matters ended. It must be reinvigorated now that the political opposition's leaders have been freed. Citizen discontent has grown with the caretaker administration in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa and repressive local administrations. Elections for city and local government must be held. Further delays will undermine any democratic progress. The current Parliament includes members of several opposition political parties, though not the leaders who were imprisoned. Both the ruling party and the main opposition parties should make as many visible and meaningful concessions as possible to their political opponents. Ethiopia's military intervention in Somalia in December 2006, its ongoing military presence in that conflict, and its unchanged, tense border stalemate with Eritrea have contributed to growing violence in the Horn of Africa and stymied domestic democratization.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, East Africa
  • Author: Jibrin Ibrahim
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Nigeria 2007 will mark the first time a third consecutive presidential election will take place and the first time one elected leader will succeed another. Many observers fear, however, that the upcoming elections, like so many previous ones, will be marred by electoral fraud and rigging. Because of the country 's history of electoral fraud, elections often have been associated with political tension, crisis, and even violence. The road map for the 2007 elections appears to be in jeopardy. The National Assembly has not reviewed the constitution to give real autonomy to the electoral commission. In addition, preparations such as registration of voters and issuance of voter identity cards still have not been completed. The major political parties are intensifying internal wrangling and elimination of rivals. The president and vice president are exchanging acrimonious allegations of corruption, further raising political tension in the country. Interethnic and regional tensions and conflicts also are increasing. Southern politicians are exerting pressure to retain power, while northern politicians insist that a long-standing pact says power should revert to their region. Over the past fifteen years, political tension has risen significantly in the petroleum-rich Niger Delta. Insurgency has spread and ethnic and youth militias have emerged. The state has lost the capacity to exercise authority effectively. The international community has played a major role in Nigerian elections since 1999, especially in monitoring activities. It is important that this help include effective monitoring of the whole election process. While the integrity of the elections can be protected effectively only by a vigilant citizenry, the international community has an important supporting role. In May 2006 the National Assembly threw out constitutional reform proposals designed to allow President Olusegun Obasanjo a third term in office. As soon as he began his second term in 2003, it was evident that plans were afoot to prolong his rule beyond the constitutionally determined tenure. The fact that he was stopped in his tracks gives hope that Nigerians will continue to struggle for democracy. A new consciousness is rising in the country that people must organize to defend their franchise. If a plan for a programmed failure of the 2007 elections does exist, chances are that Nigerians will combat it and try to salvage the elections. Observers are waiting to see if they can succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Robert Pringle
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the 1991 uprising, which saw the ouster of the country's long-standing military dictator and ushered in a democratically elected government, Mali has achieved a record of democratization that is among the best in Africa. This process has been driven by multiple factors. External observers often point to broader Africa-wide change and a remarkable constellation of “founding fathers” who demonstrated vision and self-sacrifice following the change of government. But if you ask Malians why their country has successfully democratized, most of them will respond by stressing Mali's heritage of tolerance and decentralized government, dating back more than a millennium to the Ghana Empire and its two successor states. For Malians, democratization combined with decentralization is a homecoming rather than a venture into uncharted waters. But they recognize that the country's democratization process continues to be a difficult one, inevitably laced with controversy. Although satisfaction levels remain generally high, there is a near-universal desire for more rapid progress toward improved quality of life. This unease suggests the possibility that despite their legendary patience, Malians may eventually lose hope and faith in democracy unless economic growth accelerates.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana