Resolving Election Related Conflicts in Africa. Role and Challenges of the National Peace Council of Ghana


Master's Thesis, 2017
149 Pages, Grade: 3.00

Excerpt

Table of Contents

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.4.1 General Objective
1.4.2 Specific Objectives
1.5 Methodology
1.5.1 Research Design
1.5.2 Research Approach and Strategy
1.5.3 Study Population
1.5.4 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques
1.5.5 Data Collection and Research Instrument
1.5.6 Method of Data Analysis
1.5.7 Data Verification
1.5.8 Ethical Consideration
1.6 Theoretical Framework
1.6.1 Conflict Cycle Theory of Election
1.6.2 Theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution
1.7 Literature Review
1.7.1 Electoral Conflicts in Africa
1.7.2 Elections and Conflicts in Ghana
1.7.3 The Youth and Elections in Ghana
1.7.4 The National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana and Conflict Resolution
1.8 Significance of the Study of Defense and International Politics
1.9 Limitations of the Study
1.10 Organization of Chapters
References

CHAPTER TWO: ELECTIONS AND CONFLICTS IN AFRICA
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Electoral System in Africa
2.3 The National Electoral Bodies and Elections
2.4 Security Forces and Elections in Africa
2.5 Ethnicity and Africa Elections
2.6 Incumbency and Electoral Conflicts in Africa
2.7 Conclusion
References

CHAPTER THREE: THE POTENTIAL CAUSES OF ELECTION-RELATED CONFLICTS GHANA
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Background of Elections in Ghana
3.3 Ethnicity and Election-Related Conflicts in Ghana
3.4 Political Parties and Election-Related Conflicts
3.5 The Youth and Election-Related Conflicts in Ghana
3.6 The Electoral Commission and Ghana Elections
3.7 The Media and Elections in Ghana
3.8 Chieftaincy and Election-Related Conflicts in Ghana
3.9 The Abuse of Incumbency in Elections
3.10 Conclusion
References

CHAPTER FOUR: THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF THE NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL IN GHANA’S ELECTIONS
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Background of the National Peace Council of Ghana
4.3 The Strategies Role of the National Peace Council (NPC) in Elections
4.3.1 Gender, Youth, and Security Mainstreaming
4.3.2 Networking, Partnerships, and Coordination
4.3.3 Public Peace Education and Research
4.3.4 The National Peace Council (NPC) and Conflict Prevention
4.3.5 The National Peace Council (NPC) and Conflict Management
4.3.6 The National Peace Council (NPC) and Conflict Resolution
4.4 Dialogue with Stakeholders
4.5 Post-Election Issues
4.6 The Role of the National Peace Council (NPC) in the 2012 Elections in Ghana
4.7 The National Peace Council: Challenges and Prospects
4.8 Conclusion
References

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary of Findings
5.2.1 Elections and Conflicts in Africa
5.2.2 Election-Related Conflicts in Ghana
5.2.3 The Role and Challenges of the National Peace Council (NPC) in Elections
5.3 Conclusions
5.4 Recommendations
5.4.1 Recommendations for Further Research
References

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDIX: INTERVIEW GUIDE

DEDICATION

To my lovely parents Mr. John Nibelli and Mrs. Esther Nibelli

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

It is a great pleasure for me to thank the people who in various ways made valuable contributions to my studies and to the process of writing this dissertation. Firstly, I give my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my supervisor Brigadier General (Dr) Emmanuel Kotia for his tremendous patience, constructive criticism, comments, directions, suggestions, guidance, advice and support shown in the progress and the completion of this work. Brigadier General (Dr) Emmanuel Kotia was very instrumental in the completion of this work. He encouraged and guided me to the completion of this work. Words are not enough to express my gratitude but to say the Almighty God bless you. Am also grateful to individuals and organizations especially the management and stuff of the National Peace Council who granted me time of interview without which the study could not have been complete. I also thank all the other lecturers of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, especially Dr Vladmir Antwi-Danso, Dr Ali Kamal-Deen, Prof. Bertha Osei-Hwedie and Dr Evans Aggrey-Darko who in numerous ways have equipped me in most aspects of my life especially with regards to my academic knowledge which has brought me this far in the successful completion of this work. I also wish to thank the administration staff of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College for the diverse ways in which they helped me. My profound thanks go to each of my course mates especially Wisdom Quarshie, Alfred Commey, Patricia Aba Odei, Yaro Kasambata, Kofi Mantey, and Annie Agyemfra for without their encouragement and support this work would have been stillborn. Finally, to my brothers and sisters, especially Cassius, Diana, Henrietta, Charlotte, Jude, Emmanuel, Augustine, Joshua, Ganeyu, Sherifa, Hamdiyya, Muniratu, and all the family of Mr Abdul Karim Haruna who have displayed a fervent wish to see me attain higher levels of education and continues to make sacrifices in this direction. I say a big thank you.

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

ADF-RDA (Burkina Faso) Alliance for Democracy and Federation – African Democratic Rally

ANC (South Africa) African National Congress

APC (Nigeria) All Progressives Congress

AU African Union

BVR (Ghana) Biometric Voter Registration (System)

CAR Central African Republic

CASA-CE (Angola) Convergence Angola Salvation-Wide Electoral Coalition

CDC (Liberia) Congress for Democratic Change

CDD Centre for Democratic Development

CDP (Burkina Faso) Congress for Democracy and Progress

CENI-DRC National Independent Electoral Commission

CND (Burkina Faso) National Council of Democracy

CNE (Angola) National Electoral Commission of Angola

CODEO Coalition of Domestic Election Observers

CORD (Kenya) Coalition for Reforms and Democracy

CSO Civil Society Organization

CSRD (Niger) Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy

CUD Coalition for Unity and Democracy

DCE District Chief Executive

DRC Democratic Republic of Congo

EC (Ghana) Election Commission

ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States

ELECAM Elections Cameroon

EMB Electoral Management Body

EPRDF Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front

EU-EOM European Union Election Observation Mission

FNLA (Angola) Angolan National Liberation Front

FPR (Rwanda) Rwandan Patriotic Front

IDEG Institute for Democratic Governance

IPU Inter-Parliamentary Union

MP Member of Parliament

MPLA (Angola) Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola

NDC (Ghana) National Democratic Congress

NEBE National Electoral Board of Ethiopia

NEC (Liberia) National Elections Commission

NEC (Liberia) National Elections Commission

NIA (Gambia) National Intelligence Agency

NPC National Peace Council

NPP (Ghana) New Patriotic Party

NUGS National Union of Ghana Students

PEV Post-Election Violence

UEDF United Ethiopian Democratic Front

UNITA (Angola) National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola

VS (Ghana) Verification System

ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front

ABSTRACT

This study examines the causes of electoral conflicts in Ghana and Africa, and the role and challenges of the National Peace Council in resolving election-related conflicts. In many African countries, both the economic and political authorities are confiscated and held in the hands of some corrupt leaders who through the use of force control the destiny of their countries. Since the adoption of multiparty systems in some African countries, most elections have been tarnished by violence and by political antagonists who continue to question not only the fairness and the transparency of elections but also the validity of the electoral systems of their countries. Ghana’s elections for some time now have become violent resulting in disputes. A typical case of this situation was the 2012 elections which ended up in the Supreme Court as a dispute. In all of these conflicts, the role of the National Peace Council cannot be over-emphasized. The Council played an important role before, during and after elections. This contributed in the peace that the Ghana experienced during and after elections. In the light of the key role of the Council played in ensuring peace before, during and after elections, there are a number of challenges that confronted the Council. This study examined the specific role played by the National Peace Council (NPC) in ensuring peace in elections. The study discussed the challenges that affected the work of the Council such as limited funding to initiate activities and inadequate staff to help carry out its functions. The methodology adopted in this study is the qualitative case study approach which enabled the study to analyze the findings by relying mostly on secondary data to make its findings. Literatures from secondary data were reviewed to answer research questions. The findings of this study confirmed that, the role played by the National Peace Council (NPC) yielded positive results in ensuring the peace of the country throughout the electoral period which other Africa countries can emulate to prevent election-related conflicts.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Elections throughout the world come with great competition with natural tendency to behave in a certain way create conflict among political parties and other stakeholders. Election processes are mostly characterized with tension throughout countries. Collective differences are highlighted by aspirants and parties in campaigns for support and political power which often create the platform for the emergence of conflict (Atuobi, 2008:11). The expression of discrepancy and disagreement normally occurs when individuals perceive the action and inaction of others as extortions to their desires and interests. Some major identified impediments to good democratic governance in Africa include corruption, abuse of term of office and incompetence of government (Adu, 2014:16). Most African countries have suffered the harsh realities of violence associated with elections in varying levels and Ghana is no exception. The December 2012 presidential and general elections in Ghana witnessed some clusters of violence across the country which created fear and panic across the country (Ibid: 16). In effect, guarantees from political party leaders and government officials about their commitment to nonviolent elections have come under serious doubt and scrutiny especially when political party faithful who engage in violent acts are left unpunished. Indeed, minor electoral violence has been reported in almost all elections conducted in Ghana since 1992 (Danso and Afful, 2012:102). To avoid an electoral conflict in Ghana, the National Peace Council (NPC) has developed mechanisms for conflict prevention, management, resolution and sustainable peace development in the country in studying elections. Electoral violence in Ghana needs to be avoided and preventing such electoral violence from occurring, is important for improving efforts to build stable and peaceful democratic political systems. The Ghana Constitution provides that elections are held every four years to elect a President and Members of Parliament (1992 Constitution of Ghana). For any elections to be credible, it must be free, fair and transparent. For elections to be fair, the electoral system must provide credible, transparent and impartial and expedite mechanisms for the adjudication of disputes (Atuobi, 2008:13). The December 2016 election was one of the most peaceful in the country. The most challenging one that has threatened the peace and nearly led to violence was the 2008 presidential election results. The result of this election was closely contested by both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) arising from the Electoral Commission’s delay in announcing the results. In response to this, supporters of NDC, the opposition party then, matched to the Electoral Commission offices protesting against the delay (Danso and Afful, 2012:102). They claimed that the delay was an attempt to manipulate the results. This made the political environment so tensed in the country. However, a similar incidence happened in the 2012 elections in which the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) claimed that the election was rigged and petitioned the Supreme Court of Ghana (Ibid: 102). Ghana has managed to escape from severe conflict situations through consistent mediation and dialogue by bodies such as the NPC, made up of eminent religious leaders; constant education by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE); and Religious Organizations (Ibid: 102). The overall reason for the study is to examine the causes of election-related violence in Africa and Ghana, and then discuss the role and challenges the National Peace Council encounters in managing, preventing and resolving potential electoral conflicts in Ghana. This will serve as a reference material for further study in the field of elections and also as a preventive mechanism for election-related conflicts in Africa and beyond.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Electoral conflicts have been experienced in many elections in Africa. These conflicts are caused by the abuse of incumbency, use of thugs to intimidate political opponents, snatching of ballot boxes, disruption of the electoral process, manifestation of violence as a result of disagreement with election results and the formation of vigilante groups by some of the political parties have all featured highly in most elections in Ghana. These electoral conflicts raised concerns of jeopardizing the country’s peace and security as witnessed in some African countries where elections triggered violence. However, despite of diversity of studies on conflicts in Africa, little has been done to study the causes of electoral conflicts in Ghana. This study discusses the potential causes of electoral conflict in Ghana and suggest ways of preventing election-related conflicts which may serve as a preventive mechanism for electoral violent in Ghana.

The youth in Ghana's politics has long been a feature of the country's political development. In contemporary Ghanaian politics, the youth continue to play diverse roles in politics, and this makes them almost indispensable, especially to the activities of political parties. To a very large extent, political and election-related violence have been perpetrated mostly by the youth. Their involvement in negative practices such as political and electoral violence indicates the need for a re-examination of the nature of their involvement in politics and specifically during elections. However, despite the diversity of study on youth and electoral violence, little work has been done on the youth and elections in Ghana. This study discusses the positive role of the youth in elections and proposals are made to prevent potential electoral conflicts in Ghana engineered by the youth.

The National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana is an independent statutory national body institution established by Act (818) of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. The main objective of the Council is to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict and to build sustainable peace in Ghana. The National Peace Council for several years has supported in sustaining peace in Ghana. Nevertheless, the challenges of the National Peace Council (NPC) in developing a mechanism for conflict prevention in Ghana has not been studied in detail, there has not been much work done concerning the invaluable role of the National Peace Council (NPC) in resolving electoral disputes to build a sustainable peace in Ghana. The National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana harmonizes and co-ordinates conflict prevention, management, resolution and build sustainable peace through net-working and co-coordinating, strengthen capacities for conflict prevention, management, resolution and sustainable peace in the country including chiefs, women, youth groups and community organizations; increase awareness on the use of non-violent strategies to prevent, manage and resolve conflict and build sustainable peace in the country.

The overall essence of this study is to discuss the potential election-related conflicts in Ghana and Africa, and discuss the role that the National Peace Council (NPC)of Ghana undertakes to resolve election-related conflicts in Ghana.

1.3 Research Questions

The research will seek to answer the following questions:

- What are the causes of election-related conflicts in Africa?
- What are the potential causes of election-related conflicts in Ghana?
- What are the roles of the National Peace Council (NPC) as in resolving electoral conflicts in Ghana?
- What are the benefits of the National Peace Council (NPC) as a model for preventing election-relate conflicts in Africa.
- What proposals can be made to prevent potential electoral conflicts in Ghana in future elections?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

1.4.1 General Objective

The main objective of this study is to examine the causes of election-related conflicts in Ghana and Africa, and discuss the role and challenges the National Peace Council (NPC) encounters in preventing, managing, and resolving election-related conflicts in Ghana.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the study are;

- To examine the causes of election-related conflicts in Africa.
- To examine the potential causes of election-related conflicts in Ghana.
- To examine the roles of the National Peace Council (NPC) as in resolving electoral conflicts in Ghana.
- To discuss the benefits of the National Peace Council (NPC) as a model for preventing election-relate conflicts in Africa
- To make proposals to help prevent potential electoral conflicts in Ghana in future elections.

1.5 Methodology

The methodology for the study would guide the conduct of the research by providing explicit rules and procedures upon which the study is conducted. It constitutes the research design, the research approach, the research strategy, the sampling design, the sampling technique, the method of data collection and research instrument, the data analysis procedure and ethical considerations.

1.5.1 Research Design

A research design is the overall plan for relating the theoretical research problem to applicable and attainable realistic research. The research design offered a plan or framework for data gathering and its enquiry. The research adopted both exploratory and explanatory research approach. The exploratory approach was suitable to the answering of the questions relating to the role and challenges of NPC in Ghana. The explanatory research approach helped to assess the effect of elections and conflict in Ghana. The main objective of the explanatory research approach was to improve the knowledge in the roles and challenges of the National Peace Council (NPC) in Ghana. The merit of the exploratory research approach to the study includes the use of secondary source of data such as published data, structured interview and case study. The demerit of the exploratory approach was, the majority of data supplied qualitative information and interpretation of the findings was judgmental. The merit of the explanatory research approach included the understanding and connections of ideas such as the causes of electoral violence in Ghana and the measures put in place by the National Peace Council in avoiding conflicts in Ghana. The demerit of the explanatory approach was the difficulty in reaching suitable conclusions on the basis of the challenges of the National Peace Council and the causes of electoral conflict which could not be proved in a high level of certainty. The overall reason why this approach is suitable was that, it assisted in exploring and explaining elections and conflicts in Ghana and helped in explaining the measures put in place by the National Peace Council in preventing electoral conflicts in Ghana by using case study, published data and structured interview.

1.5.2 Research Approach and Strategy

This study adopted the qualitative research approach. A qualitative approach was adopted to enable a comprehensive understanding of the issue under elections and conflicts in Ghana and the role of the NPC of Ghana. Since the study is exploratory in nature and seeks to determine the challenges and role of the NPC in electoral violence, the adoption of this qualitative approach helped to collect detailed and rich data based on the views and experiences of the targeted population. In addition, case study approach was also adopted for this study to help study the phenomenon as it plays out in its natural setting. In other words, the NPC, Political Parties and the Security Services play a major role in resolving and curbing electoral violence. The same principle applies to the constituencies adopted. In essence, the adoption of the case study approach enabled a holistic examination of the phenomenon and made available rich knowledge on the phenomenon under study (Saunders et al., 2007:1). These institutions are therefore typical cases that can help in answering the research questions. The relevance of the qualitative research approach was that, the directions and framework of the research can be reviewed as soon as new data and findings emerged. The merits of the qualitative approach was that, data in qualitative research in relation to elections and conflicts in Ghana depends on human experience and was more convincing and influential than data gathered through quantitative research. The demerit of the qualitative research approach was that, it was very difficult to understand situation relating to the causes of electoral violence in Ghana because most of the interviewees were not willing to give detailed explanation to the cause of electoral violence in Ghana.

1.5.3 Study Population

The target population for this study comprised officials of National Peace Council (NPC) working in the area to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management, resolution and to build sustainable peace in the country; officials of the electoral commission, political parties; security service and other opinion leaders. Bantama constituency (Ashanti region of Ghana) was selected because is the target for majority of media houses and political analysis such as Joy FM, Angel FM and Nhyera FM. Bantama is also one of the troublesome electoral spot and has a high voter population in Ghana; Nhiaeso constituency was selected based on the intense electoral competition in the constituency; Manhyia North (Buokrom) was selected based on the potential for electoral violence in the constituency; Suame and Asokwa were selected based on the high levels of electoral competition in the constituencies. The relevance of the study population to the study of elections and conflicts in Ghana was, they were typical cases and most of the vital information or data pertains were in those areas. The advantage of the selected areas was that, they helped in determining the attitude and behavior of voters in Ghana. The demerit of the selected areas was that, collecting data from all these areas took a great deal of time and much effort which made it difficult in gathering data for the study of the role and challenges of the National Peace Council of Ghana as a resolution mechanism for election-related conflicts in Africa.

1.5.4 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques

The sampling frame consisted of all staff whose functions relate to elections and conflicts in the selected constituencies. In all, staffs of political parties, National Peace Council and security services would be selected. Out of the two hundred and seventy five (275) constituencies in Ghana where elections have been held, constituency in the Ashanti region noted for electoral violence were studied. The selection of these constituencies was based on the intensity of the election conflict. Though the study covers the entire electoral areas of the selected constituencies, emphasis would be laid on electoral areas where the election conflicts are high. Out of the fifteen (15) constituencies noted for electoral violence in the Ashanti region, five (5) would be selected. Purposive non-probability sampling technique would be used for the selection of all sample sizes of the study because it seeks to get all possible cases that fit particular criteria. Purposive sampling is appropriate in this situation because it enable the selection of unique cases that allow in-depth investigations into the entire cases of elections and conflicts in Ghana. The study used purposive sampling technique in the selection of respondents because the study required knowledge of professionals, expects and practitioners in elections and election management in Ghana. The purposive sampling helped to obtain a representative sampling by using comprehensive judgment on elections and conflicts which resulted in saving time and money. The demerit of the purposive sampling was that, there were low level of reliability in the gathering of data on elections and conflicts in Ghana. However, fifty (50) participants each were randomly selected from the five selected constituencies which are Bantama, Nhiaeso, Manhyia North (Buokrom), Suame and Asokwa.

1.5.5 Data Collection and Research Instrument

The method for collecting data was interviews using a designed interview guide. This method gives respondents the opportunity to express both objective and subjective views which gave the researcher rich and detailed information. Furthermore, because the targeted group may not necessarily be literate, the interviews would allow respondents to verbally contribute their views to the subject without limitations. The interview guide will contain items based on the objectives and the research questions of the study. The other sources of information were the assembling of reports, political parties’ website, NPC website, textbooks, journals and other important documents. This work was a qualitative research and as such secondary sources of data was utilized for analysis. Completed Research works was studied for inferences. A study in strategies for preventing electoral conflicts was done by examining the measures put in place by the National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana in avoiding electoral conflicts. This aided in the arrival of appropriate conclusions and recommendations for the study. The advantages of the exploratory research approach to the study was that, it helped in understanding important roles of the National Peace Council (NPC) in maintaining peace and stability in the country which helped to explored conflict prevent resolutions mechanism for the study.

1.5.6 Method of Data Analysis

Analysis is the process of evaluating data using analytical and logical reasoning to examine each component of the data provided (Holsti 1969:1). This study analyzed the contents of the qualitative data and a thorough content analysis of documentary sources of electoral conflicts. All sections of the transliterated text were coded from interviews and compiled themes to ensure consistency and objectivity in working with text section across the interviews. In the course of analysis, the views of separate response were reconstructed into meaningful form by the process of data collections in combining similar themes and induction, finding new significant ideas evolving from the gathered data, with emphasis on the ideas shared by the respondents. The purpose of qualitative research was to understand and gain insight in elections and conflicts in Ghana and was relevant in a situation where the causes of electoral conflicts were modest. Analysis for the study was based on the data gathered from respondents and official documentation collected from the national peace council (NPC) of Ghana. A comprehensive comparative analysis of the structural cause of conflict was essential since some current writings on electoral conflicts question the significant of the root cause analyses of electoral conflicts. Data from various sources were gathered, reviewed, and analyzed to assist in the findings.

1.5.7 Data Verification

Data verification was performed to ensure that the different types of data that were collected were checked for accuracy and consistencies. It helped in the study by determining whether information were accurately translated when data was transferred from one source to the other, completed, and supported the study of electoral conflicts in Ghana. To ensure uniformity of measurement, the study used a check-list of questions for the interview which were wholly closed ended questions. These were scrutinized to ensure that they actually measured the contributions of Ghana’s electoral rules and regulations on the elections conducted from 1992 to 2016 and the challenges which were encountered. To ensure the verification of data, the same questions were asked in different ways to the same person and cross checked the data with different sources. In order that no assumptions were made, the researcher used tape recorders and note pads with which interviewee’s response were recorded in the qualitative interviews. The recorded tapes were transliterated into important data in the writing of this thesis. The information from note pads also served as important source in the writing of this study.

1.5.8 Ethical Consideration

In research, interviewees do not owe researchers any information and their participation in any research must solely be based on their own will and not forced into it. For this reason, it was important that those who decided to co-operate in the research did not suffer any ill-effects for it. The researcher conveyed in writing the purpose of the study to the interviewees. The interview guide specifically included: soliciting participants’ consent to participate, the procedures of data gathering and the voluntary nature of research participation. During the interviewing session, respondents were assured of protection of their confidentiality. In the final thesis, where statements through quotations were made, names of interviewees were only associated based on their consent. The study is however presented in such a way that it did not falsify any evidence.

1.6 Theoretical Framework

This section reviews theories that explain issues related to elections and conflicts which are important to the study. The theoretical framework played an important role in guiding the entire process of the study. The underpinning theories of the study are conflict cycle theory of election and theory of conflict and conflict resolution. The conflict cycle theory helped to understand and analyzed conflict, conflict prevention, conflict management and mitigation and the conflict resolution theory was helped to examine how competition for political power by opponents result in violent confrontations and how conflicts are resolved through peaceful methods.

1.6.1 Conflict Cycle Theory of Election

The Conflict Cycle theory sees election planning as cyclical, rather than event-driven field. Beginning with pre-electoral activities such as planning, training and registration to be followed by election-period activities such as campaigning, candidate nomination, voting, and results management to the post-election period (legal reform, reviews and strategic planning), each phase of the cycle is interdependent and requires different attention (Bardall, 2010:1). The conflict cycle has four phases namely: conflict analysis, conflict prevention, conflict management and mitigation as well as conflict resolution.

The theory clarifies that, every phase of the cycle has stakeholders who play various roles in avoiding, reducing and resolving conflict. The theory states that before tensions generate violence, stakeholders can position themselves well by studying the causes and historical patterns of such violence at the conflict analysis phase (Bardall, 2010:2). In such situation, the theory suggests that, stakeholders can use conflict mapping strategy and risk assessment methodologies to track, map and analyze data on structural tensions, social divide and points of friction throughout the country (Ibid: 2). At the phase of conflict prevention, the several significant stakeholders in the cycle are the electoral management whose duty is to find the best measures and practices to ensure integrity of an electoral process. Regarding the electoral conflict prevention, the theory explains that this phase of the cycle depend on non-governmental actors, government agencies, civil society groups, political parties and the media to educate, advocate and deliver early warning mechanisms to avoid electoral violence (Bardall, 2010 cited in Adu, 2014:28).

The conflict management and mitigation phase states that in case election prevention fails, stakeholders are asked to engage in array of management and mitigation responses. A range of cross-sectional early warning response mechanisms must be available to monitor potential risks and also track electoral and political emergence. The conflict resolution is the last phase which states that, resolving electoral conflict depends on formal and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (Bardall, 2010:2). Alternative dispute mechanisms resolve tensions by aiming on negotiated resolution of electoral disputes. Conflict cycle theory was important to this study in promoting democratic peace and avoiding electoral conflicts. Conflict cycle theory was important because, in identifying conflict-related threats, stakeholders were placed to appreciate how their actions can help avoid violence during electoral conflicts. Conflict cycle theory presents duties that the political parties, electoral management bodies, citizens, civil society organizations and the media have to play in order to avoid or resolve violence in elections (Ibid: 2)

The conflict cycle theory was very important in the study by concentrating on the role and challenges of the National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana in election-related conflicts. The conflict cycle theory helped in simplifying the understanding of elections and conflicts in Ghana in given explanations and constructing new knowledge by ratifying to theoretical assumptions. The Conflict Cycle Theory of Election helped in limiting the scope of the relevant data of elections and conflicts in Africa by focusing on electoral conflicts in Ghana and defining the specific perspective or framework that the study of elections and conflicts will take in analyzing and interpreting the gathered data. The advantages of the Conflict Cycle Theory of Election was that, it facilitated the understanding of concepts and variables conferring to given definitions and constructing new knowledge by confirming theoretical assumptions of electoral violence in Ghana. The Conflict Cycle Theory of Election connected the study to existing knowledge of elections in Africa. The Conflict Cycle Theory of Election explained the root cause of electoral violence in Africa and helped in identifying the potential causes of electoral violence in Ghana. The Conflict Cycle Theory of Election helped the study by presenting several scholars’ perspective meaning to electoral violence. The types of electoral violence were being discussed by the theory. The Conflict Cycle Theory of Election also helped this study by explaining the reasons why political players in competitive elections react to violence in Ghana and why electoral violence is high in Africa.

1.6.2 Theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution

The theory of conflict and conflict resolution framework is the theory within which the study on election and conflict is based. The assumptions of this theory are on the ideas of Lewis Coser as adopted in his Functions of Social Conflict (1956) and Stephen Stedman’s writings on why actors engage in violent conflicts which was adopted by Kotia in his book “Ghana Armed Forces in Lebanon and Liberia Peace operations” (Kotia, 2015:13). The assumption of this theory was based on how competition for political power by opponents resulted in violent confrontations. Coser defines conflict as a struggle over values or claim to status, power and resources in which the aim of the conflicting parties are not only to gain the preferred values, but to neutralize or eliminate their rivals. Coser’s definition came with a number of issues. The definition intimates the sorts of values over which parties in opposition struggle over. These values could be tangible resources such as money, food, land, and mineral resources or intangible ones like status, power, and identification among others (Ibid:14). This theory is precarious to this research because, the 2012 General election was a competition between political parties in Ghana seeking the authority of the people to attain political power which will legitimately deliberate on the winner control the distribution of resources.

The significant issue from Coser’s definition is the fact that it stressed on the destructive aspect of conflict. Thus, the competing parties in their pursuits to attain their goals try to physically harm or eradicate their opponents. This view is also important to our analysis of the elections especially the 2012 and 2008 elections of Ghana because the leaders and supporters of the two influential political parties the NDC and the NPP, each threatened havoc, and in some circumstances threatened political opponents.

Stedman had a different perspective. Stedman’s opinion was that conflict does not necessarily leads to violence. Stedman explained that, conflict should not necessarily lead to violence or the destruction of opponents; rather, it is when peaceful mechanisms for addressing competing interests fail that violence is resorted to (Stedman, 1991:22). Stedman warned that, immediately conflict turns violence, concern about security and survival occurs with the issue that caused the conflict. Stedman explained that in such situations conflict resolution necessarily becomes more difficult since it must deal with the two levels, the understanding of the conflicts and the ending of violent expression of it.

Stedman noted that as violence continue, actors tend to see opponents as a threat to their very survival and any settlement short of eliminating them would be unacceptable. Conflict therefore becomes prolonged because antagonists come to fear the consequences of settlement (Ibid: 22). This clarification of conflict is very essential in the analysis of elections and conflicts in Ghana and the role of the National Peace Council (NPC) in maintaining peace and stability in Ghana. Even though Ghana has no history of a full scale war or high intensity of conflict resulting from electoral disputes, the obvious disregard for the electoral rules and regulations of allowing the independent adjudicate, in this case the Electoral Commission to gather and pronounce electoral outcome by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) almost tipped Ghana to join the countries with record of electoral war in Africa (Danso and Afful: 102). Prior to the elections, there were accusations of corruption leveled by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and that when Ghanaians generously gave them the political power all corrupt officials would ruthlessly be dealt with (Ibid: 102). Although the opposing party the New Patriotic Party (NPP) rebutted these accusations, the threats from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were enough to ensure that they continued to be in power, partly to avert any possible witch-hunt in the event that the opponent wins political power. These situations made the stakes high to the extent that all other means including threats of violence against opponents were resorted to, if the election outcome fails to go their way as victors.

The theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution helped the study to be evaluated analytically and connected the study to existing knowledge. The advantage of the theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution to the study was that, it guided the study of elections and conflicts in Ghana by given a basis for assumptions and choice of research methods. The theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution articulated the study addressing the research questions of this study. The theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution permitted the study of elections and conflicts in Ghana to transit from describing the causes of electoral conflicts in Africa to the possible causes of electoral conflicts in Ghana. The theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution specified which key variables influence electoral violence in Ghana and highlighted the measures of resolving electoral violence. The theory of Conflict and Conflict Resolution helped the study by assisting in identifying the general potential causes of election-related conflicts in Africa and how these conflicts can be resolved. The theory fulfilled the primary purpose of the study by explaining the meaning, nature, and challenges associated with electoral conflicts.

1.7 Literature Review

This section reviews literature from books, articles and other relevant sources on topics related to the study. The literature will be reviewed on the general studies on the causes of electoral conflicts, youth in contemporary Ghanaian and the effects of electoral conflicts. This is because there are important themes in the research objectives. Reviewing literature on these themes highlight the various relating and similar views of writers and scholars on the issues understudy.

1.7.1 Electoral Conflicts in Africa

Burchard (2015) in a book “Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: Causes and Consequences” discussed the causes of electoral conflict in Africa. The author argued that, the electoral violence that wracked the country in 2007 and 2008 was, unfortunately, not an anomaly not for Kenya and not for sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of all elections held in Africa experience some form of violence or intimidation either before or after Election Day (Burchard 2015:2). The author argued that, although Kenya had been on the extreme end of the spectrum, is not the only country in Africa where intense violence routinely takes place during elections. Large-scale violence frequently accompanies elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe as well (Ibid: 2). Multiparty elections are a relatively recent phenomenon in Africa. The writer claimed that, during the post-colonial period, most African countries were ruled by various forms of dictatorship and autocracy. Coups and instability were common. Only Botswana, Mauritius, and Gambia experienced extended periods of peaceful multiparty elections (Burchard 2015:2). The author explained that, since 1990, more than 50 per cent of African elections can be characterized as violent with voters experiencing harassment, intimidation, and in some cases, death, as a direct result of the electoral process (Ibid: 3). In 2007, it was announced that Mwai Kibaki had been re-elected president of Kenya, the victor of a close and hard-fought election. Jubilation quickly turned to fear as mere minutes later protesters took to the streets in cities around the country, some armed with rocks (Ibid: 1). The author claimed that, supporters of Kibaki’s chief rival, Raila Odinga, cried foul, claiming that the election was rigged. Within hours, violence had spread as security forces clashed with scores of protesters in the capital Nairobi, as well as smaller towns such as Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa, and Molo (Ibid). Within days, the country was in chaos. Fighting continued for two months, despite repeated domestic and international pleas for a return to peace and calm (Ibid). The author claimed that, the violence ended in February 2008 once Kibaki and Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement, but not before more than 1,300 Kenyans had lost their lives, hundreds of thousands had lost their homes, and countless were injured (Ibid). The author only discussed some of the causes of electoral conflicts but did not address weak electoral system as a major reason for electoral violence in Africa. This study in chapter two discusses the weak electoral system as a major source of electoral violence in Africa. This will assist in finding ways in preventing the frequency of electoral conflicts in Africa.

Atuobi (2008), in his article “Election-Related Violence in Africa”, discussed the causes of electoral conflicts in Africa. The author argued that, electoral systems are used to translate votes cast in an election into seats or offices won by candidates. One important component of the electoral system is the electoral formula that is used to translate votes into seats and positions whether it is plurality or majority, proportional, mixed or another system (Atuobi, 2008:13). The author argued that, in the plurality system, candidates who win more votes than any other candidate in their constituency are elected (Ibid: 13). The system does not require a candidate to win a majority, but a plurality in terms of the total valid votes cast. The author explained that, the majority system requires a candidate to wins 50 percent of the total valid ballots cast. Where no candidate obtains more that 50 percent of the votes, a second round of elections is organized for the two front-runners, to enable a clear winner to emerge (Ibid: 13). The author argued that, the proportional representation system is the direct opposite of the plurality system. It allows for representation after an electoral contest in proportion to the number of votes obtained. The author claimed that, some countries use both the plurality and proportional systems, to include the interests and rights of women and minority groups (Ibid: 13). The author only discussed some of the causes of electoral conflicts in Africa but did not address issues of incumbency as a major source of electoral violence in Africa. In chapter two of this study, the issues of incumbency as a source of electoral violence in Africa is discussed. This will help to find ways in avoiding the reoccurrence of election-related conflicts and also assist in improving the strategies for reducing electoral violence in Africa.

[...]

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Details

Title
Resolving Election Related Conflicts in Africa. Role and Challenges of the National Peace Council of Ghana
Course
Msc Defence and International Politics
Grade
3.00
Author
Year
2017
Pages
149
Catalog Number
V516717
ISBN (eBook)
9783346118363
ISBN (Book)
9783346118370
Language
English
Tags
resolving, council, peace, national, challenges, role, africa, conflicts, related, election, ghana
Quote paper
Caeser Nibelli (Author), 2017, Resolving Election Related Conflicts in Africa. Role and Challenges of the National Peace Council of Ghana, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/516717

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