African Journal on Conflict Resolution

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Linkages between political parties and political violence: Some lessons from Kenya and South Africa

John Rabuogi Ahere


Political struggles and competitions are conf lictual by their very nature, and if not well managed can lead to violence. As political parties are crucial actors in political processes, it is vital to understand the roles they play in escalating or de-escalating political violence. This paper provides an analysis of political parties in Kenya and South Africa, focusing on their linkages to political violence. It concludes that political parties are indispensable actors in peacebuilding. The design and implementation of peacebuilding interventions that effectively target political violence must therefore anticipate the involvement of political parties. This applies to both case study countries, but most probably to other countries as well.

Keywords: political parties, political violence, Kenya, South Africa

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