Home / Events / ISS Seminar, Pretoria: Perspectives on elections and election-related violence in Africa 2010-2011
ISS Seminar, Pretoria: Perspectives on elections and election-related violence in Africa 2010-2011
Date: 1 December 2010
Venue: ISS Conference Room, Block C, Brooklyn Court, 361 Veale Street, New Muckleneuk, (Parking in Brooklyn Mall and ABSA Court)

Presented by the African Conflict Prevention Programme

The decade of the 1990s marked a new dawn in Africa`s political history. The liberalisation of the hitherto constricted political spaces and the establishment of democratic systems in many countries changed the rules of political power and socialisation in Africa. This was the product of a confluence of external and internal forces, not least, the demise of the Cold War, which for many years had shielded Africa`s numerous despots and autocrats from any meaningful external and even internal scrutiny. Elections have been the popular form of expression of the new democratic wave on the continent. While a number of African countries have been able to establish viable and functional democratic systems, which have, for example, allowed for the peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one elected regime to another; many others however are yet to benefit from the so called democratic revolution of the 1990s.

Overall, the balance sheet of post-1990 electoral democracy in Africa has been mixed. In some countries, elections have contributed to the consolidation of viable democratic systems; but in others, they seem to have contributed to deepening existing social cleavages. Consequently elections have become a primary source of conflict, instability and insecurity, raising serious questions over the viability of electoral democracy in the continent. With an active electoral calendar in 2010 evidenced by more than 10 presidential and legislative elections on the continent, as well as several polls projected for 2011, the retrospection on electoral democracy is ever pertinent. Anticipated polls in 2011 include the self-determination referendum in South Sudan and possible presidential elections in Madagascar, Nigeria, Egypt, Uganda and Zimbabwe, to name but a few. This seminar therefore aims at taking a critical look at the state of electoral processes in Africa, and to examine the political, cultural and socio-economic contexts in which they are organised, with a view to explaining the causes of electoral violence and leadership alternation or lack thereof. It seeks to explore the promise and challenges of holding elections on the continent with a focus on 2010 and 2011.


  • 09h00-09h30: Registration
  • 09h30-09h45: Introduction: Electoral Processes in Africa, 2010-2011: An Overview Dr. Francis Ikome, Head, African Conflict Prevention Programme (ACPP), ISS, Pretoria.

    Theories and Concepts

  • 09h45-10h15: Electoral Formulae, Electoral Commissions, and Leadership Alternations in Africa Dr. Issaka K. SouaràƒÂ©, ACPP, Pretoria
  • 10h15-10h45: Election-related Violence: Issues, Challenges and Mechanisms for Prevention Dr David Zounmenou, ACPP, Pretoria & Mr Martin Ewi, International Crime in Africa Programme, ISS, Pretoria

  • 10h45-11h45: Discussions

  • 11h45-12h00: Tea & Coffee break

Case studies

  • 12h00-12h20: West Africa: Dr. David Zounmenou, ACPP, Pretoria

  • 12h20-12h40: East Africa and the Horn: Dr. Emmanuel Kisiangani, ACPP, Pretoria

  • 12h40-13h10: Southern Africa Dr. Judy Smith-HàƒÂ¶hn & Ms Dimpho Motsamai,                    ACPP, Pretoria

  • 13h10-13h30: Central and North Africa, Dr Francis Ikome, Head, ACPP, Pretoria.

  • 13h30-14h30: Discussions

  • 14h30-14h45: Conclusion & Way Forward, Dr Paul-Simon Handy, Director Research, ISS

  • 14h45: Lunch

ISS Rules:
Participants are free to use the information presented.  However, neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speakers, nor that of any other participant may be revealed without his/her express permission.

ISS Conference Room
Block C, Brooklyn Court
361 Veale Street
New Muckleneuk
(Parking in Brooklyn Mall and ABSA Court)
Ms M Maluleke
Tel: 012 346 9500
012 460 0997
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