The Role of African Regional Organizations in Post-Election Governments of National Unity

  • Alexander Noyes
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)


International and regional organizations (ROs) have recently used post-conflict power-sharing accords to defuse a broad range of conflicts around the world, with a particular concentrating in sub-Saharan Africa. ROs in Africa here also described as “RECs” have often played a central role in both the political negotiations that lead to post-election governments of national unity (GNUs) as well the subsequent monitoring of power-sharing arrangements. Despite an extensive literature on power sharing in contexts of civil war, scholars have not yet paid sufficient attention to the dynamics and outcomes of the model in lower-intensity, non-civil war cases like post-election violence. There is a particular lack of comparative work investigating the role of ROs in the creation and practice of post-election GNUs. Through an investigation of the cases of Zimbabwe, Togo, and Kenya—based on extensive elite interviews—this chapter aims to fill this gap by demonstrating that ROs play a fundamental role in post-election GNUs in Africa. The chapter explains how variations in the conflict management norms of ROs impact the design of the accord along with the internal reform dynamics and outcomes of post-election GNUs.


  1. 800 Died in Togo Election Unrest-Report. 2005. IOL, May 14, 2005. Accessed September 29, 2016.
  2. Adibe, Clement. 1997. The Liberian Conflict and the ECOWAS-UN Partnership. Third World Quarterly 18: 471–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. African Union. 2014. Back from the Brink: the 2008 Mediation Process and Reforms in Kenya. Addis Ababa: Office of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities.Google Scholar
  4. Anonymous. Interview by Author. Harare, Zimbabwe, March 2, 2015.Google Scholar
  5. Ayangafac, Chrysantus and Jakkie Cilliers. 2011. African Solutions to African Problems: Assessing the Capacity of African Peace and Security Architecture. In Rewiring Regional Security in a Fragmented World, ed. Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall, 115–147. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bekoe, Dorina. 2012. Postelection Political Agreements in Togo and Zanzibar. In Voting in Fear: Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Dorina Bekoe, 117–144. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  7. Biti, Tendai. Interview by Author. Harare, Zimbabwe, February 23, 2015.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, Stephen. 2009. Donor Responses to the 2008 Kenyan Crisis: Finally Getting it Right? Journal of Contemporary African Studies 27: 389–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheeseman, Nic, and Miles-Blessing Tendi. 2010. Power-Sharing in Comparative Perspective: The Dynamics of ‘Unity Government’ in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Journal of Modern African Studies 48: 203–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. George, Alexander, and Andrew Bennett. 2005. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hartmann, Christof. 2016. Leverage and Linkage: How Regionalism Shapes Regime Dynamics in Africa. Comparative Governance and Politics (Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft) 10: 79–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hartzell, Caroline, and Matthew Hoddie. 2007. Crafting Peace: Power-Sharing Institutions and the Negotiated Settlement of Civil Wars. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Human Rights Watch. 2011. Perpetual Fear: Impunity and Cycles of Violence in Zimbabwe. Accessed November 21, 2015.
  14. Iwilade, Akin, and Johnson Uchechukwu Agbo. 2012. ECOWAS and the Regulation of Regional Peace and Security in West Africa. Democracy and Security 8: 358–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kagwanja, Peter. Interview by author. Nairobi, Kenya, April 28, 2015.Google Scholar
  16. Kenya Election Prompts Fears of New Violence. Global Post. February 28, 2013. Accessed March 16, 2016.
  17. Khadiagala, Gilbert. 2009. Regionalism and Conflict Resolution: Lessons from the Kenyan Crisis. Journal of Contemporary African Studies 27: 431–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. LeVan, A. Carl. 2011. Power Sharing and Inclusive Politics in Africa’s Uncertain Democracies. Governance: An International Journal of Policy. Administration, and Institutions 23: 31–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mehler, Andreas. 2009. Introduction: Power-Sharing in Africa. Africa Spectrum 44: 2–10.Google Scholar
  21. Moore, David. 2010. A Decade of Disquieting Diplomacy: South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Ideology of the National Democratic Revolution 1999–2009. History Compass 8: 752–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mutsvangwa, Christopher. Interview by Author. Harare, Zimbabwe, March 4, 2015.Google Scholar
  23. Ncube, Welshman. Interview by Author. Harare, Zimbabwe, December 14, 2014.Google Scholar
  24. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo. 2011. Reconstructing the Implications of Liberation Struggle History on SADC Mediation in Zimbabwe, 92. Occasional Paper No: Southern African Institute of International Affairs.Google Scholar
  25. Noyes, Alexander. 2013. Cleaning House in Kenya’s Police Force. Foreign Policy. December 30, 2013. Accessed April 1, 2017.
  26. Noyes, Alexander, and Janette Yarwood. 2013. The AU Continental Early Warning System: From Conceptual to Operational? International Peacekeeping 20: 249–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Okonofua, Benjamin. 2015. Democratic Governance in the ‘New’ Republic of Togo. In Democratic Contestation on the Margins: Regimes in Small AfricanCountries, ed. Claire Metelits and Stephanie Matti, 85–98. Lanham: LexingtonBooks.Google Scholar
  28. Olympio, Gilchrist. Interview by Author. Lomé, Togo, June 20, 2015.Google Scholar
  29. Pierson, Paul. 2004. Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rothchild, Donald, and Philip Roeder. 2005. Power-sharing as an Impediment to Peace and Democracy. In Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy After Civil Wars, ed. Donald Rothchild and Philip Roeder, 29–50. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Seely, Jennifer. 2006. The Unexpected Presidential Election in Togo, 2005. Electoral Studies 25: 611–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thonke, Ole, and Adam Spliid. 2012. What to Expect from Regional Integration in Africa. African Security Review 21: 42–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tsvangirai, Morgan. Interview by Author. Harare, Zimbabwe, December 5, 2014.Google Scholar
  34. Vines, Alex. 2013. A Decade of African Peace and Security Architecture. International Affairs 89: 89–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Walter, Barbara. 2002. Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Wilen, Nina. 2012. Justifying Interventions in Africa: (De)Stabilizing Sovereignty in Liberia, Burundi, and the Congo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Williams, Paul D. 2011. The African Union’s Conflict Management Capabilities. Council on Foreign Relations Working Paper. Accessed March 26, 2017.
  38. ———. 2015. Regional Arrangements and the Use of Military Force. In Managing Conflict in a World Adrift, ed. Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, locations 9716-19047. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  39. Williams, Paul D., and Jurgen Haacke. 2011. Regional Approaches to Conflict Management. In Rewiring Regional Security in a Fragmented World, ed. Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Noyes
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)Washington, D.C.USA

Personalised recommendations