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  • Author: Alex Sivalie Mbayo
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: For several decades, since the end of civil wars in 2002, people with disabili- ties (PWDs) in Sierra Leone have faced severe constraints in exercising their rights to participate in democratic processes due to the absence of or poor implementation of enabling laws, mechanisms, and guidelines that promote and facilitate their equal participation in elections. This policy brief is based on findings from a study of the level of participa- tion of PWDs in Sierra Leone’s 2018 general elections. It concluded, among other things, that the level of PWD participation was higher compared with previous elections because of more effective awareness-raising and sensiti- zation activities targeting PWDs concerning the election process. This was reflected in PWDs’ familiarity with registration and voting processes, and the high turnout of about 72 percent in both the registration and voting pro- cesses. Additionally, PWDs’ engagement with political parties with respect to PWD-related issues in their manifestoes clearly validates this point. The high turnout of PWDs was highlighted in my interviews of National Electoral Commission (NEC) officials in all four study locations: Bo, Freetown, Ken- ema, and Makeni.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Disability, Participation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Kizito Sabala
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This briefing note examines the implications of the maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia following claims that Somalia has auctioned the oil and gas fields in the disputed territory, which are currently the subject of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) case at The Hague.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Maritime, Conflict, Borders
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Asnake Kefale
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy brief explores the prospects of deploying federalism as an instrument of peacebuilding in the context of emerging political reforms in Ethiopia. The ap- pointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in April 2018 by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) marks a watershed moment in Ethiopia’s political history. The agenda of political reform adopted by EPRDF was largely due to two interrelated factors. First, the need to overcome the ap- parent fissures and constant power struggles within the party, especially since the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012. Second, as a response to the youth-led mass anti-government protests which started in 2015, primarily in the two most populous regions of the country, Oromia and Amhara. While the ongoing reforms are generating some optimism, there are also wor- risome developments in parts of the country. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced from their homes. The causes of their displacement are inter- ethnic tensions and identity-based communal conflicts over issues such as the ownership of natural resources linked to people’s livelihoods and the location of territorial borders. Those hit hardest by internal displacement are communities living in Gedeo and West Guji in southern Ethiopia and in the border areas of the Oromia and Somali regions. There are also tensions between the Amhara and Tigray regions over the identity of Wolqait and Raya communities. Similarly, the Sidama ethnic group’s demand for regional status in southern Ethiopia has cre- ated tension in the area. Moreover, there are reports of a breakdown of law and order in parts of the Amhara and Oromia regions. A key issue in Ethiopia’s political reform is the future of federalism, in particu- lar, the strong emphasis placed on ethnicity and whether it will continue to be relevant. On the one hand, there are political forces (centrists) that see ethnic federalism as a root cause of the current crisis, while others contend that theproblems are due to non-adherence to the principles of true federalism. However, it is important to note that the federal system is crucial to Ethiopia’s stability, peace, and develop- ment. With the opening of political space, the future direc- tion of Ethiopian federalism is being hotly contested. There are political forces that aspire to remove the ethnic element from the federal system or change the system altogether from ethnic to geographic federalism. Such a course of ac- tion is fraught with danger. The reactions to the removal of the federal status of Eritrea in 1960 and the autonomy of South Sudan in 1983 demonstrate the inadvisability of re- versing regional or ethnic autonomy. In both countries, the rolling back of autonomous arrangements by central au- thorities was a key factor in the long-running conflicts that culminated in the secession of Eritrea and South Sudan, re- spectively. The government of Ethiopia (GoE) should, there- fore, consider the following policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Development, Reform, Political stability, Peace, Federalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Oluwatoyin Oluwaniyi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War shifted the focus from international wars between states to internal wars with immense consequences for unarmed civilians, such as occurred in the African countries of Angola, Burundi, Central Afri- can Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, So- malia, and Sudan, to mention a few.1 The nature of these wars makes these countries susceptible to further wars. To avoid such conflict traps, peace- building measures such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) have been introduced to pave the way for an easier transition from conflict to peace, by minimizing risks from ex-combatants as possible spoil- ers and, restoring hope and security to victims of conflict while developing their communities.2 Evidence from countries that have utilized DDR, such as Angola, DRC, So- malia, and Liberia, suggests that while disarmament and demobilization may be essential, reintegration remains the most critical component of post-conflict peace and security.3 Debate continues over the notion that while disarmament and demobilization entail short-term security opera- tions, they do not by themselves bring sustainable benefits; reintegration focuses on extensive long-term development efforts that are critical to avoiding the conflict trap and sustaining peace in the long run. Short-term security does not bring about sustainable benefits unless it is coordinated with long-term community development strategies. Reintegration address- es the economic and social transformation of both ex-combatants and the overall communities they are joining, yet the full implementation of this pro- cess is generally ignored in DDR programs in post-conflict countries. This paper focuses on the extent of implementation of the reintegration phase in the Niger Delta region’s post-conflict (usually called post-amnesty) period and its impact on peace, security, and development in the region. The Nigerian federal government embraced the post-amnesty DDR concept in June 2009 to set the pace for gradual resolution of the violence that had embroiled the region for almost a decade. During the execution of the disar- mament and demobilization phases, the Niger Delta region recorded initial progress in peace and security demonstrated by an increase in oil produc- tion from an estimated 700 barrels per day (bpd) to an estimated 2,500 bpd in early 2010. However, the implementation of the reintegration phase has raised several questions due to the region’s relapse into violence and crime. There is, therefore, a need to investigate the factors working against suc- cessful implementation of the reintegration process. A critical analysis of the process will enhance the understanding of schol- ars and policymakers alike on what constitutes sustainable reintegration and at the same time, how it may be achieved in post-conflict societies. The focus on reintegration is meant to facilitate a specific consideration of its importance as the point of intersection between short- and long-term peacebuilding processes.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Conflict, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Rose Jaji
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the under-representation of women in Zimbabwe’s public service institutions and in the security sector, despite the government’s expressed commitment to UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. While women account for 25 percent of public servants, there is no woman in the highest ranks of the security sector, particularly in the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF). Also, women’s representation in the national parliament is 35 percent, while their repre- sentation in the country’s urban and rural councils is below 20 percent.1 Women’s under-representation is reflected in their limited influence on peacebuilding in Zimba- bwe. Women who engage in peacebuilding in the public sphere face sexual harass- ment, arrest by the authorities, and censure. The marginalization of women in the public sphere is mirrored in the private sphere. Yet this is a space where attitudes are shaped and value for peace can be instilled in children and young people. The combination of gender discrimination in the public sphere and the exclusion of the private sphere from peacebuilding policies constrains women’s participation at lo- cal, national, and international levels (Björkdahl 2012; Tiessen 2015).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Feminism, Norms
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Amanda Coffie, Richard Alemdjrodo, Patience Adzande, Jocelyn Perry
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) esti- mates, nearly sixty-six million people had been forced to leave their homes and migrate as a result of conflict, political violence, ethnic and religious tensions, and natural disasters as of 2016.1 These rather high estimates contributed to the UN’s 2016 launch of the New York Declaration for Migrants and Refugees to enshrine global commitments to the challenges posed by high levels of forced displace- ment, and develop concrete plans for their resolution. This policy briefing note addresses the African Union and African govern- ments, as well as African scholars and policymakers regarding Africa’s particular position within global displacement and migration trends. It provides recommen- dations in the lead-up to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) at a special summit in Morocco in December 2018.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugees, Displacement, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Chantal Ingabire
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy briefing note addresses the challenges and opportunities for engag- ing youth in post-conflict reconciliation in Rwanda, and makes specific recom- mendations based on the findings of a research project. Coming to terms with the past after a period of extreme violence during which hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives is a major challenge for any society. One of the mecha- nisms deployed by the government of Rwanda following the 1994 Genocide was the establishment of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) in 1999 (NURC, 2016). To achieve its objectives, the NURC organized a number of platforms, namely Ingando,1 Itorero,2 seminars,3 and national sum- mits4 in which various categories of Rwandans discussed the above-mentioned issues (NURC, 2016). This policy brief draws upon the results of a 2017 qualita- tive study investigating the extent to which Rwandan youth in the western part of the country between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two years participate in reconciliation processes and what, according to them, are the factors enabling or hindering reconciliation policies and practices. Respondents of the study included youth identified through their membership of a number of civil society organizations (CSOs) and participation in government initiatives in the field of peacebuilding (mainly at the secondary school level), and those that do not take part in any club or association focusing on peacebuilding. Most of these clubs work towards fighting against genocide ideology and promoting unity and reconciliation through debates, dialogues, peer education on reconciliation as well as organization and participation in outreach activities. Respondents in this study were not yet enrolled in the national Itorero program as this program targets pre-university students, among others. The study was implemented in collaboration with Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS), a Rwandan non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes interpersonal healing and grassroots reconciliation processes.
  • Topic: Genocide, Youth, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Rwanda
  • Author: Oluwatoyin Oluwaniyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War shifted the focus from international wars between states to internal wars with immense consequences for unarmed civilians, such as occurred in the African countries of Angola, Burundi, Central Afri- can Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, So- malia, and Sudan, to mention a few.1 The nature of these wars makes these countries susceptible to further wars. To avoid such conflict traps, peace- building measures such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) have been introduced to pave the way for an easier transition from conflict to peace, by minimizing risks from ex-combatants as possible spoil- ers and, restoring hope and security to victims of conflict while developing their communities.2 Evidence from countries that have utilized DDR, such as Angola, DRC, So- malia, and Liberia, suggests that while disarmament and demobilization may be essential, reintegration remains the most critical component of post-conflict peace and security.3 Debate continues over the notion that while disarmament and demobilization entail short-term security opera- tions, they do not by themselves bring sustainable benefits; reintegration focuses on extensive long-term development efforts that are critical to avoiding the conflict trap and sustaining peace in the long run. Short-term security does not bring about sustainable benefits unless it is coordinated with long-term community development strategies. Reintegration address- es the economic and social transformation of both ex-combatants and the overall communities they are joining, yet the full implementation of this pro- cess is generally ignored in DDR programs in post-conflict countries. This paper focuses on the extent of implementation of the reintegration phase in the Niger Delta region’s post-conflict (usually called post-amnesty) period and its impact on peace, security, and development in the region. The Nigerian federal government embraced the post-amnesty DDR concept in June 2009 to set the pace for gradual resolution of the violence that had embroiled the region for almost a decade. During the execution of the disar- mament and demobilization phases, the Niger Delta region recorded initial progress in peace and security demonstrated by an increase in oil produc- tion from an estimated 700 barrels per day (bpd) to an estimated 2,500 bpd in early 2010. However, the implementation of the reintegration phase has raised several questions due to the region’s relapse into violence and crime. There is, therefore, a need to investigate the factors working against suc- cessful implementation of the reintegration process. A critical analysis of the process will enhance the understanding of schol- ars and policymakers alike on what constitutes sustainable reintegration and at the same time, how it may be achieved in post-conflict societies. The focus on reintegration is meant to facilitate a specific consideration of its importance as the point of intersection between short- and long-term peacebuilding processes.
  • Topic: Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: “The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) is dead,” thundered King Mohammed VI at the twenty-eighth Annual Heads of State Summit of the African Union (AU). Its flame has faded, he added, because faith in a common interest has vanished. Unless the Maghreb follows the good example of neighbor- ing African sub-regions, the king warned, the AMU will soon cease to exist. Stalwart integrationists fear that Morocco has abandoned the Maghrebi dream altogether. The depressing truth, however, is that the King’s lament on the demise of the AMU is simply a reflection of the mood of resignation increasingly palpable in the Maghreb. Everyone knows that the AMU is an empty shell, ensnared in decades of neighborly parochial animosities, petty jealousies, and perverse rivalries. The two countries consequential enough to anchor the Maghreb remain at each other throats. Morocco and Algeria see eye-to-eye on almost nothing, and their bickering and recrimination have only gotten worse.1 Sadly, the demons of their discord seem to grad- ually possess their respective publics who intermittently hurl insults at each other in social media forums and during sports and entertainment events.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Sports, Social Media, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Morocco
  • Author: Roseanne Nijru
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This briefing note is based on exploratory research in two informal settlements in Nairobi: Mathare and Kibera. It makes recommendations for engaging health workers in peacebuilding processes in urban informal settlements in Kenya. The recommendations are based on study conclusions showing that health care sys- tems, especially community-centered primary health care services and workers, have great potential to promote peace and security in Kenya. Violent conflicts constitute a public health challenge because of their adverse effects on health, social, and economic systems, which lead to declines in population well-being. Thus, peace and health are mutually reinforcing, and development cannot take place without good health. Despite this health-peace nexus, Kenya’s National Policy for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management (2015) and National Cohesion 1 and Integration Commission (NCIC, 2008) , both formulated in a volatile political climate, have not recognized the contribution of the health system to peace- building. In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted “Health as a Bridge for Peace (HBP)” as a policy framework on the premise that the role of health care providers in promoting peace is significant for the attainment of “Health for All.”2 This study suggests that health care systems in Kenya can be part of the multifaceted peacebuilding effort in urban informal settlements that experience a range of violence—political, ethnic, extremist, resource-related, gender-based—and vicious cycles of retaliatory attacks.
  • Topic: Health, Peacekeeping, Urban, Community
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa