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