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.

Dangers of Splitting a Fragile Rentier State

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.

Being similar, different and coexistent

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.

A Pocket of Stability

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.

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Conflict Trends 2014/2

ACCORD Conflict Trends 2014/2

"The holistic approach to managing conflict in post- conflict environments, as reflected in the contribution of multidimensional peacekeeping operations, ensures that peace and security activities are aligned with political, governance, democratisation and socio-economic development objectives to address the larger development agenda, and thus also the root causes of conflict. The holistic approach also involves a myriad of actors in the mission (military, police and civilians), and besides the peacekeeping operation, includes state and non-state actors, both local and international – such as non-governmental organisations and the humanitarian community...

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Conflict Trends 2014/1

ACCORD Conflict Trends 2014/1

"Last year, the African Union (AU) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding as the Organisation of African Unity, at the 2013 AU Summit. Our continent’s leaders took a crucial decision that Africa and her people must write their own narratives. True to form, the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has taken the lead and written an ‘email from the future’, highlighting her vision of a united, prosperous and peaceful continent in 2063. This vision, buttressed by continent-wide economic integration, large-scale infrastructure development and an ‘African Renaissance’ in areas of education, energy, health and trade, paints an optimistic and tangible expression of our continent’s future...

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