An Evaluation of the Challenges in the Management of Electoral Conflicts in Zambia
A Case Study of Lusaka Conflict Management Committees
Keywords: Electoral Conflicts, Elections, Management
AbstractCurrent studies on elections show that electoral conflicts are a common global phenomenon. Violence is one form of electoral conflict. Zambia has seen a rise and intense electoral violence in the recent past. This is despite the formation of Conflict Management Committees (CMCs) to deal with electoral violence. This article is an evaluation of the management of electoral conflicts in Zambia by the CMCs. The objectives of this study were to determine how the Lusaka CMCs manage electoral conflicts; to assess the capacity of the Lusaka CMCs in the management of electoral conflicts; to establish strategies of improving the performance of the CMCs in the management of electoral conflicts. This study employed a qualitative descriptive research design. A purposive sampling technique was used which targeted twelve key electoral stakeholders. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and observations. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. The strategy used by CMCs in Zambia to resolve electoral conflicts was mediation. There was a Lack of a legal framework in the management of conflict and in the enforcement of the Electoral Act. To this effect, the study established strategies of improving the performance of CMCs which are: introducing electoral fast track courts, increasing educational awareness activities on electoral conflict, increasing access to CMCs and importantly, strengthen the legal mandate. Based on the findings, the study recommends to ECZ to attach a legal framework to the mandate of the CMCs and to make wider consultations on the best way to resolve electoral conflicts. There is need in future to assess the measures individual political parties have put in place to address electoral violence.
Research Papers (General)