CIVIL SOCIETY AS RESOURCE IN MANAGING ELECTORAL DISPUTES Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on Peaceful Elections and Transition in Nigeria- A MultiTrack Diplomacy Approach March 12 to 13, 2014-Abuja-Nigeria Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director WANEP Scope of Presentation • Broad Context of the Professional Resources and Skills needed for efficient and good governance • What is Civil Society? • Elections as Integral to Good Governance • A Conceptual Framework for Conflict Transformation • The WANEP Experience • Dialogue Design and implementation of J-PERM • Follow on up commitments to peace • Lessons Learned Professional Resources and Skills STATE o Military (Security Agencies) Strong Political Parties based on values r Submitted to Civilian Au. f Liberal e Conservative Social Democrat Etc. s PRIVATE SECTOR I Sustainable, independent and diverse Good infrastructure commercial / financial Regulatory environment s o n Independent & strong CIVIL SOCIETY a Well - resourced l S K I L L S and R E S O U R C E S P Segregation of Powers Executive Judiciary Legislature Diverse interest groups What is Civil Society? – Exists in the ‘space’ between the state, the market, and the private life of families & individuals. Manifested through different forms of association that: give expression and direction to social, religious and cultural needs enable the mobilisation, articulation and pursuit of interests and aspirations of elements within society Creates social capacities and institutions to monitor & constrain arbitrary exercise of state power and, increasingly, the behaviour of private businesses. CSO therefore…. – Refers to the associations of citizens (outside their families, friends and businesses) entered into voluntarily to advance their interests, ideas and ideologies. – The term does not include profit-making organisations (the private sector) or government (the public sector). – Of particular relevance to the United Nations are mass organizations (such as organizations of peasants, women or retired people), trade unions, professional associations, social movements, indigenous people ’ s organizations, faith based organizations etc. GOOD GOVERNANCE Good governance according to Nsibambi, a former Prime Minister of Uganda is: “the exercise of politico-administrative and managerial authority and order which is legitimate, accountable, transparent, democratic, efficient and equitable in resource allocation and utilization and responsive to the critical needs of promoting human welfares and positive transformation of society. GOOD GOVERNANCE It manifest itself through benchmarks which include a constitution, pillars of the state derived from the constitution, mechanisms for checks and balances on government, efficient mechanism of delivery of services by government, security, good leadership, the rules of law, participation by the people, freedom of expression, transparency, accountability, legitimacy, devolution of power, informed citizenry, strong civil society, protection of basic human rights, regular free and fair election, good local and international relations, political stability, protection of property and life.” Concept of Governance and Elections Conflicts “Governance” means: the process of decisionmaking and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented) Governance focuses on formal and informal processes and actors involved in decisionmaking and implementation of the decisions made. How are decisions that affect the conduct of elections taken? The illustration of Senegal (2011-2012) Transformation of Protracted Social Conflicts (Miall and Azar) Context Needs ACCEPTANCE NEEDS Recognition of identity & culture CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUND e.g. colonial legacy, multiethnicity, historical social formation met un ACCESS NEEDS met e.g. political & economic participation SECURITY NEEDS Nutrition, Housing, physical security Capacity Pattern of international economic / political linkages supportiv e exploitative Actors STATE ACTORS accommodat e suppress NATURE OF CONFLICT GOVERNANCE & the STATE legitimate capacity Illegitimacy incapacity Role of MILITARY civic politicsmilitarised politics Conflict constructive COMMUNAL GROUPS confront violent rebellion destructive WANEP Experience • Election disputes are critical “questions” arising from the conduct of elections which individuals and groups would want election administrators and other relevant stake holders to answer. • Election disputes are inherent to elections; they cannot be totally eliminated even in advanced democracies, and must therefore be dealt with. • Challenging an election – its conduct and – should not be perceived as a reflection of the weakness of the political system but as a proof of its strength, vitality, and openness. • Well managed disputes strengthen the political system while poorly handled ones demonizes democracy. Linking Election Conflicts and Cycles of Conducting Elections Election is not an event but a process that unfolds in three phases: – Pre-election – Election day – Post election An election dispute can occur at any of the three phases Elections have the potential to mobilize people very quickly to react violently KAIPTC - TED 15 13 April 2015 CSO Collaborative Approaches • WANEP operates under the undergirding philosophy of collaborative approaches to Peacebuilding • In the context of elections, creating an enabling electoral environment before elections is critical • Drawing from the Ghana example, WANEP worked directly while providing expertise and resources at two levels of collaborative approaches Civic Forum Initiative • The CFI is a broad platform of CSO that includes the Trade Unions and Interfaith communities • It allows for an inclusive engagement with political parties, institutions of the state, the EC and other relevant stakeholders to ensure peaceful elections • The CFI monitors all preparations, developments and trends leading to elections CFI continued • During elections, CSO observers are deployed across the country to monitor and intervene in any development that may lead to violence • CODEO which is the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers coordinated by CDDGhana pays particular attention to the credibility and international standards of the elections Joint-Political Parties Elections Results Monitoring-J-PERM WANEP’s dialogue design /implementation: the J-PERM experience • Pre-J-PERM consultation with the political parties and other stakeholders, • Agreement for mediation • Agreement on WANEP as facilitator • Identification of stakeholders; • UNDP, WANEP, Catholic University, The National Peace Council etc. • Selection criteria of participants: WANEP negotiated for credible representation among the political parties • Consensus on venue; dates and Protocol of Commitment 20 WANEP Direct Expertise and Resources to Collaborative Platforms Electoral Dispute Indicators for Ghana 2012 Elections With the objective of Transforming the Culture of Political Violence, WANEP engaged in Building Capacity for Response This involved developing a set of 39 indicators in order to monitor and report on the Ghana 2012 electoral processes with a view to preventing/mitigating electoral and political violence thereby contributing to a peaceful election and consolidating democracy in the country. Electoral Dispute Indicators for Ghana 2012 Elections The indicators were clustered into three main sub-headings: 1) indicators on social issues, governance and election management bodies and other stakeholders; 2) indicators on media, publicity and negative statements and 3) indicators on security concerns. WANEP carried out its internal monitoring process for over two months. A stakeholder’s meeting comprising of Civil Society Actors with background and experiences in electoral disputes was organized to analyze the indicators and validate the pattern and trends of the electoral disputes. Based on the opinion of the CSOs, scenarios were generated and an action plan developed to facilitate coordinated responses. Example of an analysed indicator Indicator Analysis Options for Response Remarks Disagreement over demarcation of borders and delimitation of constituencies -Controversies surrounding the creation of 45 new constituencies. -High tendency of disagreement if ruling party wins in majority of newly created 45 constituencies -Protest of results in the new constituencies -Provocative reactions upon proclamation of results -Alert local police command to control the protest -Engage the candidates and leadership to talk to their supporters to avoid use of violence -Engage local opinion leaders -Explore joint party election result monitoring mechanism Once through active engagement and dialogue, parties understood that the constitution informed the delimitation of constituenci es the level of tolerance WANEP Mediation Role at J-PERM All five major political parties accepted to be part of the project Agreement: Facilitated by WANEP, a Protocol of Commitments was developed and signed by the political parties and endorsed by the Electoral Commission and National Peace Council of Ghana Political parties committing to peaceful elections at the siging of the MoU Operationalization of J-PERM After Protocol of Commitment developed and signed, two Platforms were established; 1)for monitoring election results and 2) for mediation of discrepancies that are disputed. A software was developed that could allow each party to enter polling station results for all contesting parties. This made it possible for discrepancies to appear on the consolidated election monitoring screen. These figures were then referred to platform two for mediation facilitated by WANEP. Operationalization of J-PERM The Protocol of Commitments defines the ground rules that guided the process of mediation of election dispute results under platform II of the J-PERM project. The protocols are the outcomes of discussions amongst political parties and the ownership of these protocols is with the political parties. In submitting to these protocols, the political parties undertake to commit themselves to mediation of election results disputes in an atmosphere of tolerance, respect for one another and maintaining the principle of non violence while contributing to peaceful elections in Ghana’s elections 2012. Expanding mediation capacities In order to link response to alerts, committees of eminent persons were trained by WANEP in August 2012 from each of the 10 regions of Ghana. These eminent persons received information generated from the monitoring process and intervened through dialogue and mediation in their respective communities. WANEP’s role at Track one Mediation Under the auspices of the National Peace Council, WANEP provided mediation support to the NPC at track one level between the political parties and electoral commission at a critical moment just before the declaration of results on 9th December 2012 when tensions were begin to rise. The main opposition party was contesting the declaration of results from some constituencies. Rather than delay the proclamation of results which could have created new challenges, mediation efforts led by the NPC with WANEP resource inputs allowed the EC to state its position and proceed to declare the results while encouraging the law courts for the resolution of any dispute that any party may wish to bring to the courts. Supreme Court Verdict • From January to August 2013, the Supreme Court of Ghana heard the election petition of the main opposition party and proceeded to make a definite ruling • Ghana throughout the period was gripped in anxiety and fear exacerbated by reckless and unguarded political statements and speeches of politicians from the ruling and opposition party. • The efforts to ensure peaceful elections continued with a monitoring and response to sustain peace • . • Lessons Learned Establishing a national infrastructure for peace is critical as a preventive mechanism to deploy efforts of mediating and promoting peace especially during contested elections while sustaining a culture of conflict prevention Africa needs the space to engage in its own initiatives and efforts of peacebuilding. Partners of Africa outside the continent should be sensitive to this. CSOs with expertise and professionalism add value to sustain and build peace THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION!