"There is an old Yoruba proverb which states, 'Not even God is wise enough...' Often proper interpretation of data, such that is available, is jettisoned in favour of the sound-bite effect. The need to eschew such simplistic notions and embrace more holistic understandings of African conflicts is essential if we are to effectively eradicate, or at least minimise, the conflicts afflicting our continent."
"Conflict Trends has matured with the first full edition of 'Conflict Watch' and 'Renaissance Barometer' where we chart the developments across the continent for the last quarter. Drawn from thousands of source documents including established news sources, published research and our own sources, we hope that these analyses will serve to give one of the most comprehensive overviews of what is happening in the conflict and reconstruction fields for the continent."
"The 1990s have proved to be exciting and challenging times. Far-reaching developments in technology and phenomenal changes in the global political and economic environment have brought with them new challenges, many not foreseen at the turn of the decade. It is in this context that we launch our magazine. We hope to give the interested observer deeper insight into the many challenges that confront us in Africa. To the many other Africans who share this drama with us, we hope to provide a balanced and objective understanding of our challenges and our numerous yet unrecorded successes at meeting these challenges."
When the Kivus sneeze, Kinshasa catches a cold
By Joyce Muraya and John Ahere
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2014
The current instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can be traced back to late former President Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule during the late 1980s. The country’s economic depression was exacerbated by the end of the Cold War in 1991, leading to disengagement with the international economic and political system. The DRC has been the source of numerous conflicts over many years. The 1990s saw the country’s peace and security degenerate further, creating challenges that continue to preoccupy the world today. In recent times, the epicentre of the violence in the DRC has been North and South Kivu (the Kivus). The dynamics in the two provinces are complex, causing the Great Lakes region to be characterised by huge human security challenges. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the linkage between the conflicts in the Kivus and persistent periodic instability in the DRC. It delves into and critiques post-crisis recovery efforts implemented in the country since the end of the Second Congo War. The paper concludes that, among other strategies, resolving the various conflicts in the DRC depends on understanding the causes of specific clashes, such as those in the Kivus, as this can contribute to the uncovering of sustainable solutions to armed confrontation. The paper offers proposals which, if implemented, could contribute to moving the Kivus, and by extension the DRC, beyond intractability.
South Africa’s approach to the inter-party negotiations in Zimbabwe
By Lawrence Mhandara and Andrew Pooe
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2013
In the late 1990s, Zimbabwe became trapped in a ditch of multifaceted crises that were pronounced in the contest for political power between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This conflict revolved around the legitimacy of electoral processes, related institutions and the credibility of electoral outcomes. By 2007, the conflict had escalated to the extent that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and countries neighbouring Zimbabwe decided to mediate between the two parties to end the standoff, which had begun to negatively affect the entire southern Africa region. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa (1999–2008), was then mandated by SADC to facilitate dialogue between the parties. Mediation efforts led to relatively credible harmonised parliamentary and presidential elections held on 29 March 2008. These elections, however, did not come up with a clear winner, forcing the country to call for a run-off. This second round of elections, held on 27 June 2008, was tainted by allegations of electoral flaws and widespread institutionalised violence. The result was a predictable regression into the pre-29 March era, prompting SADC to mandate South Africa to facilitate negotiations for a political solution among the key political players. In the face of varying interests converging on the Zimbabwe situation, South Africa’s role became even more difficult.
An argument for including gender analysis in a new post-conflict model
By Lesley Connolly
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2012
After the 1991–2001 civil war, Sierra Leone employed a new model of transitional justice, concurrently utilising a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Special Court. Encouragingly, this process incorporated special gender considerations, by expanding the mandate of both the TRC and Special Court to address sexual violence and encourage women to come forward and testify without fear of retribution. Both these institutions have been praised for successfully fulfilling their specific mandates and for aiding the country's transition to peace. However, some parts of Sierra Leone's society were left largely untouched by the process, as evidenced by widespread discrimination and gender inequalities which still occur today. It is proposed that this is not just a fault of Sierra Leone's approach, but that it is an inherent flaw of the transitional justice process as a whole as the process is not suitable for use in addressing the root causes of conflict. For this reason, it is argued that a new mechanism of transitional justice, one which incorporates a peacebuilding process, would better address the needs of a post-conflict society. This would be done by focusing on transformation and promoting a long-term sustainable peace.
By Jannie Malan
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 3, 2011
Remarkably meaningful sayings that have emerged out of real life in Africa highlight our inherent interrelatedness as fellow human beings. In the life situations where we happen to find ourselves, there are similarities that bind us together, but also differences that tend to drive us apart. When a group of us becomes concerned about who we are, and who others are, such an 'identity' search may tempt us to think that our own group is better than other groups. Various pressures from our cultures, groups and personalities can create and strengthen feelings and habits of being against other groups. It is possible, however, to be liberated from such polarisation and to become turned towards others. The valid belongingness to one's own group can be retained and promoted, but dominating and discriminating own-groupishness should be rejected.
Understanding Somaliland - By Daniel R. Forti
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 2, 2011
This paper provides a comprehensive examination of Somaliland's unusual development and current standing as a self-declared sovereign nation. Unlike Somalia, a state devastated by a perpetual twenty-year conflict, Somaliland boasts a growing civil society along with a relatively vibrant democracy and accountability to the Rule of Law. Since 1991, the region has become a pocket of security and stability, in absence of formal recognition, by creating government and societal institutions that strongly suit the values and needs of its people.
The Case of Northern Uganda - by Dr Grace Maina
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2011
The United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 calls on all actors involved to address the special needs of women and girls during rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction. This study endeavors to analyse the reintegration experience of women and girls in post-conflict Uganda. In this country, the recruitment of combatants by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been characterised by the forcible abduction of young boys and girls, and the eventual deployment of child soldiers. The government of Uganda, in its attempt to defeat the LRA and in recognition of the fact that the LRA forcibly conscripted children to wage their cause, offered amnesties to all individuals who returned or were rescued from the LRA. This process has had consequences for the general female population of the Acholi community in northern Uganda.
Getting it Right in Southern Sudan - by Kenneth Omeje
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2010
The anticipated January 2011 independence referendum in Southern Sudan with its possibility of inaugurating a new state in Africa has engaged and excited local, regional and international attention in recent time. It is not surprising that most commentators and direct stakeholders have tended to focus more on the immediate mundane issues of whether or not the referendum should be held as scheduled; whether or not President Omar Bashir’s government is likely to honour the outcome of the referendum; who gets what in the post-referendum asset-sharing; and issues of boundary demarcation.
- Security Sector Reform in Africa
- Peacebuilding Coordination in African Countries
- Women Transforming Conﬂicts in Africa
- South Africa’s Peacekeeping Role in Burundi
- Political Leaders in Africa
- The Nativist Revolution and Development Conundrums in Zimbabwe
- The Next Gulf?
- Privatisation of Security and Military Functions and the Demise of the Modern Nation-State in Africa
- Media Graduation from Potential to Actual Power in Africa’s Conflict Resolution
- Namibia Elections and Conflict Management
- Is Botswana Advancing or Regressing in its Democracy?
- Developing the Mediation and Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development Pools of the African Union Peace and Security Department Civilian Standby Roster
- The Conflict Management Work of the Civil Affairs Division of UNMIS
- PoC Workshop Report
- AU African Standby Force Technical Rostering Workshop Report
- The Civilian Dimension of the African Standby Force
- Bottlenecks to Deployment?
- Policy Framework for the Civilian Dimension of the African Standby Force
- ASF Civilian Dimension Implementation Plan
- The Civilian Staffing, Training and Rostering (STR) Workshop Report