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Fragile Bargains: Civil Conflict and Power-sharing in Africa. Scott Gates and Kaare Strøm. Fragile Bargains: Civil Conflict and Power-sharing in Africa. Scott Gates Center for the Study of Civil War, PRIO and Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) and Kaare Strøm

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Fragile Bargains:

Civil Conflict and Power-sharing in Africa

Scott Gates and


Fragile bargains civil conflict and power sharing in africa
Fragile Bargains:Civil Conflict and Power-sharing in Africa

Scott Gates

Center for the Study of Civil War, PRIO and

Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU)


Kaare Strøm

University of California, San Diego and

Center for the Study of Civil War, PRIO

The challenge of postconflict institutional design
The Challenge of Postconflict Institutional Design

  • Good Governance & Sustainable Civil Peace

    • Good governance – effective and fair provision of public goods and services

    • Credible commitments to uphold conflict resolution agreements

Power sharing as a postconflict institutional solution
Power Sharing as a Postconflict Institutional Solution

  • Involve all potential spoilers in government decision-making

  • Give all parties a stake in cooperation and provide mutual guarantees of security and basic interests

    • Reduces the threat of conflict

The logic of power sharing
The Logic of Power Sharing

  • Focus on ex postcertainty and fairness

    • Fair division of the political pie

    • Counters perceptions of bias and exclusion

    • Entice warring parties to cease fighting

Is power sharing democratic
Is Power-sharingDemocratic?

  • Przeworski’s (1991) conception of democracy:

    • ex ante uncertainty and

    • ex ante openness of democratic contestation

  • Strøm (1992) adds

    • procedural performance sensitivity

  • Ex post guarantees run counter to all three characteristics of democracy

Essence of power sharing

  • Ex postfairness over

  • Ex ante uncertainty and

  • Procedural Performance Sensitivity

  • Importance of fairness in post-conflict environments

Expanding the notion of power sharing
Expanding the Notion of Power Sharing

  • Inclusive Power sharing – mandate inclusion

  • Dispersed Power sharing – mandate constraints

Inclusive power sharing arrangements
Inclusive Power-sharing Arrangements

  • Grand (cabinet) coalitions

  • Inclusive executive or advisory councils, such as electoral commissions

  • Mutual veto arrangements

  • Proportional or broadly inclusive rules for civil service and other administrative appointments

  • Reserved executive offices for particular parties or social groups

  • Proportional representation (PR) electoral systems, especially closed-list

Dispersed power sharing arrangements
Dispersed Power-sharing Arrangements

  • Autonomous sub-national levels of government

  • Independent institutions that ban partisan representation (e.g. Judicial appointments)

  • Non-partisan electoral commissions

  • Restrict civil servants from membership in political parties

  • Separation of religious communities and the state

  • Electoral systems featuring primary elections, personal preference votes, or transferable votes

Problems with power sharing
Problems with Power Sharing

  • Spoilers

  • Rigidity

  • Transaction costs

  • Inclusion squeezes out civil society

Power sharing and ex post fairness
Power-sharing and Ex Post Fairness

  • Spoiler Problems

    • Military leaders – credible outside option

    • Splinter groups

    • Incumbents unwilling to leave office

Problems with dispersed power sharing
Problems with Dispersed Power Sharing

  • Implementation

    • Trust issues

    • Weak civil society

      • need to work to foster and develop indigenous NGOs

Power sharing in sub saharan africa
Power-sharing in Sub-SaharanAfrica

  • Problems of patrimonial societies

  • Perceptions of procedural bias and exclusion

  • Role of civil society