Accepted paper:

Has the Arab Spring crossed borders? An assessment of political contestation in two African power-sharing regimes

Author:

Alexandre de Sousa Carvalho (ISCTE-IUL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will analyze forms of popular contestation and participation in two African countries that have established a power-sharing regime in response to a flawed election, revisiting the perspective of power-sharing as a contributing factor for creating a 'moratorium' on political contestation.

Paper long abstract:

During their last electoral period, Kenya and Zimbabwe have witnessed flawed elections and subsequent violent political crises being met with power-sharing agreements as central features of their respective peace processes. Power-sharing accords have risen in popularity in Africa, albeit supported by two different discourses: one as a tool for democratic engineering and advancement; another as a conflict resolution mechanism. Mainstream literature on power sharing - irrespective of its origin - has long been focused on an elite-driven top-down institutional dimension. This paper will analyze forms of popular participation and contestation in two African countries that have established a power-sharing regime in response to a flawed election. Can the recent popularity and pervasiveness of power-sharing accords in the African continent be considered a contributing factor for creating a 'moratorium' on political contestation? If so, has that participation been influenced because of or in spite of the absence of local ownership of the peace process and the undermining of vertical relationships of accountability power-sharing accords created? How has civil society engaged in the political process and how has that participation been met at the state level?

panel P092
Contestation and political change: exploring patterns across borders and regions