Journal of International and Global Studies


Although elections are fundamental to democratic consolidation by peacefully electing people to serve in public offices, in many cases they not only bring along ideological contestations but also interparty violent conflicts. Based on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) design, this paper presents field-based lessons on training conducted to curb interparty electoral conflict prior to August 2016 general elections held in Zambia. The study comprised 521 participants from nine political parties which contested in 2016 general elections. Party officials were purposely selected from their provincial, district and constituency level hierarchy. The study aimed at understanding causes for interparty political violence and identifying solutions to address the same. Findings show that major drivers of political violence in Zambia include a deep-rooted “tradition” of practicing politics of intimidation to gain political mileage, political players’ ignorance about electoral laws, weak law enforcement, and poverty (an element that drives the desire to earn a living from any opportunity). Unemployed youths are particularly vulnerable and are abused by the political elites to fan violence at a small fee. The study affirms the importance of action research as a useful bottom-up strategy for conflict prevention, especially in illiberal democracies in Africa.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.