Political Leaders in Africa

Presidents, Patrons or Profiteers? - by Jo-Ansie van Wyk

Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2007

It is easy to experience a sense of déjà vu when analysing political leadership in Africa. The perception is that African leaders rule failed states that have acquired tags such as “corruptocracies”, “chaosocracies” or “terrorocracies”. Perspectives on political leadership in Africa vary from the “criminalisation” of the state to political leadership as “dispensing patrimony”, the “recycling” of elites and the use of state power and resources to consolidate political and economic power. Whereas African states enjoy external sovereignty, internal sovereignty has taken on a new meaning as political leaders outside the so-called formal Westphalia arena compete for power, provide state-like services and have monopoly of and over organised violence. Against this background, some states that were once “wholesalers” of security are now mere “retailers” of security, authority, resources and power.

Perpetuation of instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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.

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Peacebuilding Coordination in African Countries

Transitioning from Conflict Case Studies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and South Sudan - by Walter Lotze, Gustavo Barros de Carvalho and Yvonne Kasumba

Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2008

This Occasional Paper, Peacebuilding Coordination in African Countries: Transitioning from Conflict, addresses some strategic, operational and tactical elements of peacebuilding experiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and South Sudan. ACCORD’s African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme carried out a study on this subject between July 2007 and February 2008. The study consisted of desktop research, field visits and interviews with peacebuilding actors, agents and stakeholders in these countries. Peacebuilding was defined as a holistic concept that encompasses simultaneous short-, medium- and long-term programmes designed to prevent disputes from escalating, to avoid a relapse into violent conflict and to consolidate sustainable peace.

Namibia Elections and Conflict Management

by Kemi Ogunsanya

Occasional Paper Series: Issue 2, 2004

In November 2004, Namibia conducted its third generation of elections at the presidential, parliamentary and regional levels, since it became independent from apartheid South Africa in 1990. After fourteen years of independence, Namibia has established tolerance for opposition politics. The South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) led by President Sam Nujoma remains the dominant party, although there exist political tensions between SWAPO and the main opposition party, Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA). The overwhelming victory of the ruling party in the presidential and parliamentary elections, amidst calls by opposition parties for a recount of votes cast, marked the end of Sam Nujoma’s 14 years Presidency since independence. Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, the former Minster of Land Affairs and Resettlement, succeeded President Sam Nujoma following his inauguration on March 21, 2005.

Mediating a convoluted conflict

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.

Media Graduation from Potential to Actual Power in Africa’s Conflict Resolution

Experience from the East and Horn of Africa - by Absalom Mutere

Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2006

The media has for a long time been recognised as a catalyst in the many intra- and inter-state conflicts that have afflicted the African continent. This paper analyses the pre-testing results of a regional media conflict transformation project that was recently carried out in East Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. The paper premises the analysis on three media theories: gatekeeping, agenda setting and socialisation.

Justice and peacebuilding in post-conflict situations

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.

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Is Botswana Advancing or Regressing in its Democracy?

by Themba Michael Sokhulu

Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2004

There is wide consensus among academics and political analysts that Botswana has been hailed as one of the “old democracies” in Africa, but that there have been reports of political wrangling in the country. Landsberg maintains that the southern African region, of which Botswana is part, is relatively more democratic when compared with the rest of the continent. It is exactly thirty-eight years into Botswana’s democracy and although Botswana has a relative enabling constitutional and legislative framework, there are signs of isolated infringements upon the constitution by the ruling party.