Democratic consolidation and electoral violence: an analysis of Kogi State, Nigeria and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 1994-2017.
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Since the introduction of electoral democracy in South Africa in 1994 after the demise of apartheid, and Nigeria in 1999 following years of military interregnum, democracy has been threatened by many factors, among which election violence is one of them. However, elections in Kogi State, Nigeria and KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa have been plagued by political intrigue, manipulation, violence and destruction. Although tireless efforts are being made to consolidate democracy in Nigeria and South Africa, election violence appears to be impeding this effort. This study "Democratic Consolidation and Electoral Violence: An Analysis of Kogi State, Nigeria and KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa 1994-2017" sought to understand the extent to which election violence undermines democratic consolidation. The study adopted a qualitative research approach using case studies. A structured interview and focus group discussion (FGD) was used to gather data from ten locations- five each from Kogi State and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively. Twenty people were interviewed for this study, among whom the participants included politicians and electorates. In addition, three focus group discussions were conducted in equal proportions: two in KwaZulu-Natal and one was carried out in Kogi State. Thematic and descriptive analyses were both used in aiding to the analysis of the data from this study. Results obtained from the study revealed that election violence undermines the consolidation of democracy in Kogi State and KwaZulu-Natal. Also identified is that election violence affects the pace and space of democratic consolidation in Nigeria and South Africa. Similarly, election violence does not only affect the credibility of elections but is also responsible for the quality of leadership and governance in Nigeria and South Africa. Adding to this constraint is the incorporation of Africa into the international capitalist world through colonialism which is why conflict and electoral violence in Africa cannot be divorced from the current relations with the international system, especially the capitalist west. The study further discovered that most of the politicians in Nigeria and South Africa lack the required qualifications, both political and educational qualifications, and the competence to rule, which best explains the irrational behaviour among the political elite. The study then recommends that election violence must be addressed; the current relations with the West would need to be reviewed and that all politicians must be properly educated headlong if Nigeria and the Republic of South Africa want to make inroads into democratic consolidation.