Recent cross-national research provides important insights for understanding the conditions in which violence erupts during African elections. Yet, while a complete understanding of such violence requires insights into the roles played by both its perpetrators and its victims, we know far less about why certain citizens are targeted for electoral violence. Current approaches reveal little about why some citizens are more likely to be targeted than others, whether different types of voters are subjected to different forms of coercion, or what effects such violence might have on the short and long-term political engagement of its victims. In this paper, we attempt to provide answers to such questions by analyzing survey data from the Afrobarometer Rounds 4 and 5. Establishing systematic patterns in the individual-level characteristics of respondents who fear becoming victims of electoral violence, we show that violence is systematically targeted along partisan lines: fear of violence is most likely to be expressed by citizens who are opposition supporters. We also find that fear of violence is more likely to be reported by citizens who believe their votes are monitored. Moreover, we find that demographic factors such as gender and poverty appear to reflect more generalized fears of being victimized by any type of violence rather than any concerted political targeting.
Manuela Travaglianti is a lecturer in the Peace and Conflict Studies and the Global Studies program at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Burundi, Malawi, and Côte d'Ivoire, as well as on the impact of electoral violence prevention programs. At UC Berkeley she teaches classes on post-conflict peace building and global studies in Africa
and advises undergraduate senior capstones in peace and conflict studies. Prior to joining UC Berkeley she was a graduate fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation, and an undergraduate visiting scholar at Yale University. She obtained her PhD in Politics from New York University in 2014.