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Elections as a Threat to Peace in Fledgling Democracies

The Geneva Peace Talks 

The theme for last year's Geneva peace talks was: “It’s Time For Peace!”. People from various backgrounds and especially those from war and conflict zones shared stories of violence and the destruction that comes with it. The talks looked into past peace efforts, ongoing initiatives and prospects for future peacebuilding. Peace has remained elusive in many parts of the world and extremely so in Africa. Whereas conflict can be conceived as "normal", the unpeaceful relations and violent conflicts are avoidable. It cannot be more clear to the world today that armed conflicts have increasingly become enterprises. The result is conflict entrepreneurship through which people are minting money. Unfortunately even some so called peace builders have turned "peace mercenaries." These are people who work hand in hand with conflict entrepreneurs to sustain conflicts for the simple reason that both categories are making money out of conflict situations. Going forward in my view, we need to address this matter more seriously and constructively since if we do not; things like the high level Geneva Peace Talks will remain just that ...TALKS. 

Elections and Conflict 

One of the issues extensively discussed in last year's Geneva Peace Talks is the complex notion of elections and conflict. This comes at a time when we have witnessed a wave of election related violence in Africa especially around extension of term limits as witnessed in Burundi and Burkina Faso. Even in countries like The Republic of Congo and Rwanda where "peaceful" constitution amendment referenda have been held to extend presidential terms limits have shown the fragility of elections. It is no doubt elections remain a very divisive and extremely volatile process for our fledgling democracies and an existential threat to peace and stability. The current stalemate in Zanzibar following a cancellation of the election results is just a pointer to some of the electoral related uncertainties that ultimately undermine stability even in relatively peaceful countries like Tanzania. We need a new thinking of elections and peace in Africa. Unfortunately when the African leaders meet, they never seem to be giving much attention to this issue simply because most of them are bandits who benefit from election related violence. We must ready ourselves to tell them NO. 
Elections as a Threat to Peace in Fledgling Democracies Elections as a Threat to Peace in Fledgling Democracies Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on February 05, 2016 Rating: 5

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