Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Contradictions of Pre-election Violence: The Effects of Violence on Voter Turnout in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract:
Abstract:

Politicians often foment violence before elections to reduce competitiveness and, hence, increase their chances of winning. Given that fear and intimidation may be used to prevent voters from casting their ballots, many case studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggest that electoral violence has a suppressive effect on voter turnout. However, until now there has been no large-scale, multi-year analysis on the effect of pre-election violence on one of its primary targets, voter turnout. Looking across sub-Saharan Africa, and more specifically at Kenya, this article examines the influence of pre-election violence on voter turnout and finds, in the aggregate, no significant effect. Nevertheless, electoral violence may be used to depress turnout, to mobilize supporters, or to punish victors. It is a persistent trend in sub-Saharan Africa and one that threatens to undermine democratic development.

Résumé:

De nombreuses études de cas sur les élections africaines, ainsi que des preuves anecdotiques, suggèrent que des incidents de violence avant les élections ont un effet oppresseur sur la participation des électeurs. Ces études suggèrent que les partis au pouvoir peuvent inciter à la violence délibérément afin de réduire la compétitivité et d’empêcher les électeurs—surtout ceux susceptibles de soutenir leurs opposants, d’exprimer leur voix. Basé sur une analyse à grande échelle et sur plusieurs années d’études sur les effets de la violence préélectorale sur la participation électorale dans toute l’Afrique subsaharienne et, plus particulièrement, au Kenya, les résultats ne trouvent aucun effet signifiant dans l’ensemble des violences préélectorales. Néanmoins, il s’agit d’une tendance persistante en Afrique subsaharienne et celle qui menace de compromettre le développement démocratique.

Copyright
References
Hide All
The Africa Report. 2012. “Kenya’s Tana Delta Burning.” December 11. www.theafricareport.com.
Amnesty International. 2002. “Kenya: Fear for Safety/Impunity.” December 18. www.amnesty.org.
Article 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression. 1998. “Kenya: Post-Election Political Violence.” December. www.article19.org.
Astill James. 2002. “Violence Mars Final Day of Kenya’s Election Campaign.” The Guardian, December 26. www.theguardian.com.
Banducci Susan, and Karp J. A.. 2009. “Electoral Systems, Efficacy, and Voter Turnout.” In The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, edited by Klingemann Hans-Dieter, 109–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barkan Joel D. 1993. “Kenya: Lessons from a Flawed Election.” Journal of Democracy 4 (3): 8599.
Barkan Joel D., and Ng’ethe Njuguna. 1998. “Kenya Tries Again.” Journal of Democracy 9 (2): 3248.
Bekoe Dorina A. 2012. Voting in Fear: Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
Birch Sarah. 2010, “Perceptions of Electoral Fairness and Voter Turnout.” Comparative Political Studies 43 (12): 1601–22.
Blais Andre. 2006. “What Affects Voter Turnout?” Annual Review of Political Science 9: 111–25.
Bratton Michael. 2008. “Vote Buying and Violence in Nigerian Election Campaigns.” Electoral Studies 27: 621–32.
Burchard Stephanie. 2015. “The Resilient Voter? An Exploration of the Effects of Post-Election Violence in Kenya’s Internally Displaced Person Camps.” Journal of Refugee Studies 28 (3): 331–49.
Collier Paul, and Vicente Pedro C.. 2011. “Vote and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria.” www.pedrovicente.org.
The Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence. 2008. “The Waki Report.” www.knchr.org.
Center for Systemic Peace (CSP). 2014. “Polity IV Project, 1800–2013.” www.systemicpeace.org.
Dercon Stafan, and Gutiérrez-Romero Roxana. 2012. “Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence.” World Development 40 (4): 731–44.
Fischer Jeff. 2001–2002 “Electoral Conflict and Violence: A Strategy for Study and Prevention.” IFES White Paper. www.ifes.org.
Foeken D., and Dietz T.. 2000. “Of Ethnicity, Manipulation and Observation: The 1992 and 1997 Elections in Kenya.” In Election Observation and Democratization in Africa, edited by Abbink Jon and Hesseling Gerti, 122–49. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Freedom House. 2013. “Freedom in the World 2013.” www.freedomhouse.org.
Gelman Andrew, and Hill Jennifer. 2006. Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Geys Benny. 2006. “Explaining Voter Turnout: A Review of Aggregate-Level Research.” Electoral Studies 25 (4): 637–63.
Hafner-Burton Emile M., Hyde Susan D., and Jablonski Ryan S.. 2014. “When Do Governments Resort to Election Violence?” British Journal of Political Science 44 (1): 149–79.
Hoglund Kristine. 2009. “Electoral Violence in Conflict-Ridden Societies: Concepts, Causes, and Consequences.” Terrorism and Political Violence 21 (3): 412–27.
Human Rights Watch. 1993. “Divide and Rule: State-Sponsored Ethnic Violence in Kenya.” Africa Watch, November. www.hrw.org.
Human Rights Watch. 2002. “Playing with Fire: Weapons Proliferation, Political Violence, and Human Rights in Kenya.” May. www.hrw.org.
Human Rights Watch. 2008. “‘Bullets for Each of You’: State-Sponsored Violence since Zimbabwe’s March 29 Elections.” June. www.hrw.org.
Human Rights Watch. 2010. “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia.” March. www.hrw.org.
Human Rights Watch. 2013. “High Stakes: Political Violence and the 2013 Elections in Kenya.” February. www.hrw.org.
International Crisis Group. 2013. “Kenya’s 2013 Elections.” January. www.crisisgroup.org.
Klopp Jacki. 2005. “Kenya’s Internally Displaced: Managing Civil Conflict in Democratic Transitions.” In East Africa and the Horn: Confronting Challenges to Good Governance, edited by Bekoe Dorina A., 59–80. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.
Klopp Jacki, and Zuern Elke. 2007. “The Politics of Violence in Democratization: Lessons from Kenya and South Africa.” Comparative Politics 39 (2): 127–46.
Kuenzi Michelle, and Lambright Gina. 2011. “Who Votes in Africa? An Examination of Electoral Participation in 10 African Countries.” Party Politics 17 (6): 767–99.
Laakso Liisa. 2007. “Insights into Electoral Violence in Africa.” In Votes, Money and Violence: Political Parties and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Basedau Matthias, Erdmann Gero, and Mehler Andreas, 224–52. Scottsville: University of Kwazulu-Natal Press.
Liban Guyo. 2013. “The Kenyan Elections within a Reconciliation Framework.” Policy Brief 2. http://cohesion.or.ke.
Lindberg Staffan I. 2006. Democracy and Elections. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
National Council of Churches of Kenya. 1992. “The Cursed Arrow: A Report on Organized Violence Against Democracy in Kenya.” Nairobi: NCCK.
Ndegwa Stephen. 2003. “Kenya: Third Time Lucky?” Journal of Democracy 14 (3): 145–47.
Prunier Gérard. 2008. “Kenya: Roots of the Crisis.” Open Democracy, January 7. www.opendemocracy.net.
Stockemer Daniel, and LaMontagne Bernadette. 2013. “Bribes and Ballots: The Impact of Corruption on Voter Turnout in Democracies.” International Political Science Review 34 (1): 74–90.
Straus Scott, and Taylor Charlie. 2012. “Democratization and Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1990–2008.” In Voting in Fear: Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Bekoe Dorina A., 1538. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) . Elections and Conflict Prevention Guide. 2009. www.undp.org.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) . Electoral Security Framework: Technical Guidance Handbook for Democracy and Governance Officers. 2010. www.usaid.gov.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Best Practices in Electoral Security: A Guide for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Programming. 2013. www.usaid.gov.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 103 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 669 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th June 2017 - 22nd January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.