Meddlers or Mediators? African Interveners in Civil Conflicts in Eastern Africa

alt Gilbert M. Khadiagala
Edited by: Daniel Druckman and William Donohue
Published by: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2007
ISBN: 10: 900416331X 13: 978-9004163317

Reviewed by: George Ngwane, Executive Director of AFRICAphonie, a pan-African organisation focused on enhancing democracy and economic development, based in Cameroon.
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2008

Gilbert M. Khadiagala’s well-researched book sheds light on the vagary of conflict mediation through citizen-led (elder statesmen), state-centric and regionally-driven initiatives. Meddlers or Mediators focuses on five civil war case studies within the eastern region of Africa but, beyond this, is also a profile of those involved or who intend to be involved in the complex and cumbersome search for peace in conflict-prone Africa. After identifying three categories of mediators (state, elder statesmen and regional institutions), Khadiagala provides a cross-cutting description of any mediator in chapter one: “having muscle, clout and leverage”, “having both power and stature to reward or to punish the disputants for cooperative or uncooperative behaviour” and “having deeper knowledge of the conflict and proximity to the disputants”.

Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace

alt Iyob, Ruth & Khadiagala, Gilbert M
Published by: International Peace Academy. International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 2006
ISBN: 10: 1588263509 13: 978-1588263506

Reviewed by: Jannie Malan, Senior researcher, ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 8 No. 1, 2008

Writing a book – one book – on the elusive quest for peace in Sudan is a daunting and difficult task. Each of the many social groups who happen to live in this large and variegated country may of course prefer to write or read their own books and focus only on the versions of history, culture, religion, human rights and social justice that they are used to and that support their views. If individuals from one group were to read a book written from another group’s perspective or from a perspective that claims to be objective, they may be inclined to write critical comments and corrections in the margins, or reach a point where they throw down the book in disgust.

Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations

alt Edited by: Chiyuki Aoi, Cedric De Coning And Ramesh Thakur
Published by: United Nations University Press, 2007
ISBN: 10: 9280811428 13: 978-9280811421

Reviewed by: Geoff Harris, Professor of Economics and Director of the Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies programme at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2007

Things do not always turn out the way you plan, and the unexpected often happens. This book examines the unintended consequences of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) – some of which were reasonably expectable, and some of which were not.

Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations contains 11 chapters arranged in four sections, with introductory and concluding chapters by the editors. The first section reports on the unintended consequences of PKOs for women; the second and third sections examine the impact of PKOs on the host economies and troop-contributing countries respectively; and the final section considers issues of accountability and the extent to which unintended consequences can be prevented or managed. The introductory chapter notes that there were ‘three unwritten chapters’ – on Aids, corruption and the United Nation’s (UN) response to various unintended consequences.

Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat

alt Author Quett Ketumile Joni Masire
Editor Stephen R. Lewis, Jr.
Published by: Macmillan Botswana Publishing Co., 2006
ISBN: 10: 9991240489 13: 978-9991240480

Reviewed by Tor Sellstrom, Senior Advisor to ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2007

In a modest, true-to-type Botswana way, this significant insider account of an African success story quietly made its way onto the market in late 2006. It is a fascinating tale, narrated by former president Ketumile Masire and edited by Professor Stephen R. Lewis, Jr (1). As the title informs, the memoirs are of – not by – Masire, based on approximately 65 hours of recorded conversations with Lewis. In addition to students of contemporary Botswana’s domestic and foreign policies, the narrative is highly recommended to those concerned with issues of leadership (passim, but in particular pp. 83-102), political and economic governance (pp. 146-245) and conflict resolution in Africa (pp. 301-316).

Women In Parliament: Beyond Numbers (A Revised Edition)

alt Julie Ballington And Azza Karam
Foreword by: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Publisher International Institute For Democracy And Electoral Assistance (International Idea), 2005
ISBN: 10: 9189098196 13: 978-9189098190

Reviewed By: Natalia Zakharova and Nathalie Lasslop
In Conflict Trends Issue 1 of 2007

The extent of the two editors’ working experience around policy and gender issues is ‘beyond numbers’. Julie Ballington, a specialist on political participation and representation of women, headed the project on Gender and Elections at the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa prior to working for International IDEA and recently joined the Programme for the Promotion of Partnership between Men and Women at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Azza Karam, a specialist on gender and the Arab region, is now a Senior Policy Research Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and used to work at the World Conference of Religious Peace, and at the University of Belfast, before becoming the architect of IDEA’ s gender and Arab world programmes.

Making Choices for Peace: Aid Agencies in Field Diplomacy

alt Opongo, Elias
Published by: Kenya: Pauline Publications Africa, 2006
ISBN: 9966-21-145-3

Reviewed by: Raymond Aina, MSP PhD Candidate, Faculty of Theology, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 7 No. 1, 2007

Peace is a journey, starting from the interior of the persons involved, but aimed towards a re-creation of the community for the sake of justice and wellbeing after disasters. So, in (proactive) intervention during a humanitarian crisis, ‘aid delivery’ is not enough. Aid agencies need to embrace comprehensive peace-building. That is the principal thesis of Opongo in his Making Choices for Peace. So, he proposes ‘field diplomacy’, a vital tool in post-conflict peacebuilding, as integral to aid agencies’ activities.

Getting In: Mediator’s Entry into the Settlement of African Conflicts

alt Mohammed O. Maundi, I. William Zartman, Gilbert Khadiagala and Kwaku Nuamah
Published by: United States Institute of Peace, 2006
ISBN: 10: 1929223625 13: 978-1929223626

Reviewed by: Venashri Pillay, Senior Researcher at ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2007

This clearly-written and well-organised book sheds light on the previously unexplored area of mediation initiation and entry in violent and protracted African conflicts. By addressing the critical entry stage of mediation (including decisions to invite, initiate and accept such intervention), the authors have filled a significant gap in the existing mediation scholarship, which has largely focused on the mediation process and settlement outcomes.

The Right to be Nuba

alt Suleiman Musa Rahhal (ed)
Published by: The Red Sea Press, 2001
ISBN: 10: 1569021368 13: 978-1569021361

Reviewed by: George Mboya, Journalism Graduate, United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 3 No. 1, 2003

The war is the Sudan has ravaged on for 18 years with no end in sight. The book in review shows the plight of one particular community in the Sudan. If this community is being neglected now during the war then it cannot be ignored when efforts at peace are being made. The book tells the story of a people who are fighting for their right – the right to be Nuba. With or without any prior intention by the authors, the book ultimately serves as a mouthpiece for other marginalised communities whose participation in any peace effort is vital. The book brings a tribute to the Nuba and their fight against injustice. It provides a testimony to the courage of a people bent on preserving their culture and heritage, which is vitally important in any peace process.

Swiss Democracy: Possible Solutions to Conflict in Multicultural Societies

alt Wolf Linder
Published by: St. Martin’s Press Inc., New York, 1998
ISBN: 10: 0333715624 13: 978-0333715628

Reviewed by: Hussein Solomon
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2000

It is often asserted that we live in a globalising world and that our planet increasingly represents a ‘global village’. Witness the increasing prominence of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in national economies, or the rise of such regional blocs as the European Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations, or the Economic Community of West African States. In essence, globalisation is characterised by convergence at the socio-cultural, political and economic levels.

Southern Africa Post-Apartheid? The Search for Democratic Governance

alt Chris Landsberg and Shaun Mackay (eds.)
Published by: Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD),
Johannesburg, 2004.
ISBN: 1-919798-68-4

Reviewed by: Karanja Mbugua, Senior Researcher at ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 5 No. 1, 2005

The end of the Cold War ushered in the ascendancy of the neo-liberal ideology as the world’s development paradigm. Characterised as the new world order by the then US President George H.W. Bush, neo-liberalism saw the collapse of one-party states in Africa, and consequently the adoption of multi-party democracy.