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Can Peacebuilding Work Have a Positive Impact on Elections in African Countries?


Ever since I attended Dr. Juma’s class on Peaceful Elections this question has pondered on my mind. Does Peacebuilding actually work? Can it really have a positive impact on our Elections here in Africa. It’s common knowledge that most African elections are tainted with unfairness and violence. And that raises the question above. Can our work as Peacebuilders change the status quo? I hope we can be able to respond to the question in this article.

Peacebuilding work has the potential to have a positive impact on peaceful elections in African countries. I certainly believe that peacebuilding efforts aim to address the root causes of conflict and promote social cohesion, which can help to create an environment that is conducive to peaceful elections. But how?

Run off election coverage from UNMIL Voter | Positive Impact of Peacebuilding on Elections

1. Promoting Dialogue and Inclusivity

Through dialogue, different stakeholders i.e., political parties, religious groups, pressure groups can engage in constructive conversations aimed at resolving their differences peacefully. This often helps reduce tensions and prevent conflict during the election period. Many times peacebuilding work promotes inclusivity and encourages people from all backgrounds to participate in the electoral process. Hence we need more peacebuilders to get involved in Election Monitoring. This helps to build confidence in the people, process and reduce the likelihood of conflict.

2. Empowering Communities to build peace

Peacebuilding work, countless times, has proven to empower conflicting communities through providing them with necessary tools to promote social cohesion, dialogue and understanding between different groups. This tends to build trust between voters, Electoral Commissions, and political parties thereby preventing the escalation of tensions during elections.

3. Promotion of Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Another important aspect of peacebuilding work is the promotion of human rights and the rule of law. This can include efforts to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, promote freedom of expression and association, and ensure that electoral processes are transparent and accountable. By promoting these principles, peacebuilding efforts can help to create an environment where all people feel supported and empowered to participate in the democratic process.

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4. Educating Voters

African Leaders, often times intimidate voters especially in the rural areas. It is therefore incumbent on us Peacebuilders and peace Practitioners to encourage and educate voters about their rights and responsibilities during elections. This will likely reduce the likelihood of voter intimidation and ensure that the process is fair and transparent. The goal of educating voters is to reduce the probability of animosity and consequential violent clashes.

5. Building Bridges

Peacebuilding work aims to build bridges between different groups and promote reconciliation. Reconciliation is a process of rebuilding broken relationships by two or more conflicting parties with the goal of attaining an improved or better mutually shared future. Peacebuilders will help build bridges among Competing Political parties and ensure that all imminent conflicts are resolved in a non-violent manner.

6. Advocating for Peaceful Elections

There are so many advocates of Peaceful Elections in Africa. Often times, ruling parties tend to ignore the wishes of these Advocates. Although advocacy has limited acceptance, there are some members in governments who stand strong for peaceful elections. Thus we are hopeful. Peacebuilding organizations should work closely with government institutions, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to advocate for peaceful elections. This will most likely ensure that there is a concerted effort to promote peace during the election period.

Overall, while there is no guarantee that peacebuilding work will lead to peaceful elections, we are certain that it’ll help to create a more conducive environment for democratic processes to thrive. As Africa Peacebuilding Institute we strongly believe that through promoting dialogue, inclusion, and respect for all human rights, peacebuilding work can help to address the root causes of conflict and build a more peaceful and stable society.

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