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.

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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