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  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Jon Temin, Susan Stigant
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ongoing negotiations to end the South Sudan crisis cannot simply return the country to the previous status quo. For lasting peace, the negotiating parties and mediators will need to reach beyond national political elites and those bearing arms and invite active involvement of the international community. South Sudan needs to build national cohesion and address fundamental issues of governance, democracy, and human rights. Restarting the stalled constitution-making process presents an opportunity to achieve these objectives. Following negotiations, a broad-based, inclusive, interim government that includes a degree of joint South Sudanese-international community administration and management should govern and ensure preparations for new elections.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Poverty, Power Politics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The political stalemate in Côte d'Ivoire following the November 28, 2010, presidential election continues. The majority of the international community recognizes Alassane Ouattara as the winner, but Laurent Gbagbo, the sitting president, insists he won. Financial and diplomatic sanctions imposed on the Gbagbo administration have thus far not forced Gbagbo from power. Maintaining international pressure and focus is critical to resolving the Ivorian crisis, but African states are increasingly divided on how to proceed. The power-sharing arrangement settled on by five African nations in recent elections sets a dangerous precedent. Losers with a strong militia may find it easier to use threats of violence or actual violence to retain a critical power role, thus subverting the intent of the election. African states will continue to experience violence during elections until the security sector is reformed, states refrain from holding elections while militias remain mobilized and armed, elections can be clearly and independently verified, institutions are politically independent, and policies exist to discourage the violent acquisition of power.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Post Colonialism, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria's 2011 general election received high praise for being well-managed. But post-election violence claimed 800 lives over three days in northern Nigeria and displaced 65,000 people, making the elections the most violent in Nigeria's history.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Julie Flint
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The response to the renewed war in Sudan's Nuba Mountains has been driven largely by a human rights and humanitarian crisis. The crisis will continue indefinitely without a political agreement that acknowledges the Nuba rebellion is self-sustaining and reflects a wider malaise within the new Republic of Sudan. With Sudan facing financial collapse, economic normalization must be part of negotiations with Khartoum to end the war in the Nuba Mountains and promote democratization throughout Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Human Rights, War, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Studies indicate that violence in Africa's elections affects between 19 and 25 percent of elections. In many countries where electoral violence is a risk, it tends to recur and may consequently lead to an unfavorable view of democratization. The regularity with which electoral violence occurs suggests that underlying grievances or structural characteristics may be tied to the elections and fuel the violence. Electoral violence, especially recurrent, seems indicative of more widespread systemic grievances and tensions. Tensions over land rights, employment and ethnic marginalization are three dominant characteristics of recurring electoral violence. These areas intersect and are frequently manipulated by politicians. Some recent actions taken by the government and civil society may offer insights into reversing the trends of recurring violence. These actions warrant further analysis in order to improve strategies to reduce violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Michael Bratton
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Zimbabwe's coalition government is increasingly dysfunctional, mainly due to a defeated incumbent ruler's unwillingness to surrender real executive authority to a popular opposition. The latest dispute over the president's unilateral exercise of appointment powers threatens to escalate into a constitutional crisis that seems likely to be resolved only through fresh elections. International actors can help to bring Zimbabwe's transition to a peaceful and democratic conclusion by guaranteeing power sharing, supervising elections, and maintaining targeted sanctions.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On May 20, 2010, USIP and the International Peace Institute brought together some of Chad's national, regional and international stakeholders to discuss Chad's democratization, the regional security dynamics and the management of the oil sector.Electoral reform, as called for in Chad's 2007 "August 13 Political Agreement," has been poorly implemented, endangering the credibility of the upcoming February legislative elections. Improvements in regional security prompted the Chadian government to request the departure of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which was charged with securing and providing humanitarian relief along the Chad-Central African Republic border. However, many question if Chadian forces can fill the security gap. Oil exports have significantly increased Chad's budget, with most of these gains being invested in the military. The improved regional security provides an opportunity to invest in sectors such as education, health care, and development, which have been neglected.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dorina A. Bekoe, Andrea Bartoli
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The announcement that 429,000 fraudulent or possibly foreign names were on the voters registry halted the preparations for already delayed 2009 presidential election and revived the divisive discussion of citizenship and identity in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivoirité) The stalled electoral process highlighted unresolved issues such as the failed demobilization and disarmament processes and the marginalization of civil society from the implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Peace Agreement. In April 2010, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Community of Sant'Egidio and George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution brought key leaders of Ivorian civil society and the religious community to Washington, D.C. to develop an approach for resolving the present political impasse and to actively participate in the peace process. The April meeting resulted in the Washington Appeal, which urges Ivoirians to tolerate ethnic and political diversity, reduce the tensions around elections, identify longstanding grievances, and expand the role of civil society in the peace process.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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