Elections are supposed to function as a peaceful means for making decisions and settling political differences. But they do not always function in this way: sometimes, they trigger political violence. Especially ethnically divided societies are often thought to be prone to such dynamics. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the 2007 Kenyan elections and the 2006 and 2011 elections in Zambia. Working with these cases, it asks, first, whether the presence of ethnic diversity must lead to violence around election time. In a second step, the paper then refines this question to ask under what conditions ethnic diversity tends to lead to election violence, considering factors such as the electoral system, the numerical
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Therefore, ethnic identities are a must during the periods around national elections. In this case ethnicity becomes a social identity, the basic of people’s choices especially around election time.
However, over the years a new form of political mobilization has emerged, “ethnopopulism”(Nic Cheeseman,Miles Larmer,2013;1).
Populism is when one sides with the people and not with the elites of the society which usually have political power. Ethnopopulism does not just mean that the opposition of the incumbent sides with the people but also it means working on a specific goal, as to attract the people of the same ethnicity. For example, in Kenya the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement Odinga, played his electoral game based on his address to the people and fighting for their rights, especially the people from the same tribe.
In some cases like Kenya and Zambia, “class and ethnic identities may overlap intensifying the depth of the divide between “us” and “them””(Nick Cheeseman,Miles Larmer,2013;9). Knowing that