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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
  • Author: Rosette Sifa Vuninga
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: In Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), youth gangs are a relatively recent phenomenon. In the post-Mobutu Sese Seko era, crime rates in Bukavu have drastically in- creased and criminal activities have become more organized and violent. More segments of society are now involved in criminal activities, most no- tably unemployed university graduates. This paper analyzes how recent trends, particularly the increase in and changing dynamics of youth crime in Bukavu, are interpreted and perceived. It does so through two lines of argu- ment. The first is that the participation of unemployed university graduates in organized crime is strongly linked to social injustice in Bukavu. Our re- search suggests that many young people in Bukavu—already abandoned by government—feel that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been implicated in what Stephen Jackson calls the “war economy.” 1 They allege that those who have stepped in to mitigate the various consequences of state failure and war have been co-opted into a corrupt system. The second is the culture of “fending for oneself” at any cost, another consequence of a weak and ineffective state, which has led to people having less regard for the rights of others where their own well-being is involved, and has made anti-crime movements—which were often radical and uncompromising— more accommodating of criminal activity.2 The popular phrase “everyone is doing it,” captures the widespread public cynicism and increasingly permis- sive attitudes towards crime in Bukavu. To answer the central question about how people in Bukavu make sense of urban youth crimes, this paper begins by considering the situation of street youth, commonly referred to as maibobo, to illustrate the worsening state of affairs for many young people in urban Bukavu. Despite the large number of NGOs dedicated to helping them (and other vulnerable groups), many maibobo are now offering their “services” to criminal gangs in exchange for protection and others favors. Among these groups is Fin d’heures (FH), an urban gang that operates in Bukavu. This paper also explores the contro- versial relationship between FH and Jeunes Essence Force Vives (JEFV), a local anti-crime organization in Bukavu that was well-known for combating crimes committed by FH. I will then consider JEFV, itself a registered NGO, within the context of the NGO sector as a whole, and examine the reasons why NGOs have featured negatively in recent conversations about crime in Kivu. Finally, I will briefly highlight some of the local youth-led initiatives aimed at reducing youth involvement in regional violence.
  • Topic: Youth, Violence, Urban, Gangs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Gbemisola Animasawun
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper examines the implications of leadership decapitation as a counterterrorism tactic using as case studies, the killings of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the US and Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf by Nigeria. It is based on Alex S. Wilner’s method of comparing the number of attacks a group successfully carried out before and after the removal of its leader as a means of ascertaining its weakness, demise, or renewed ferocity due to the death of its leader.12 This study gives an account of the unprecedented increase in the number of Boko Haram attacks and the high level of fear and attention—both local and international—due to the high-level targets chosen by the group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. This is complemented by primary data gathered through semi-structured interviews with selected security operatives who had contact with Yusuf and his successor Abubakar Shekau. For al-Qaeda, data was collected from secondary sources only. This study begins by summarizing the origin and agenda of violent Islamism, followed by arguments for and against leadership decapitation. Next, it considers accounts of the evolution of al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, their experience of leadership decapitation, and the ferocity of both groups in the aftermath of leadership decapitation. Finally, it examines the overall implications of leadership decapitation for counterterrorism efforts in light of the post-decapitation recovery and increase in reach of both al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The two cases of leadership decapitation examined in this article are telling cases that invite closer attention to the implications of counterterrorism strategies.13
  • Topic: Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Refugee Crisis, Leadership, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Nigeria
  • Author: Vicky Karimi
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The research presented in the 2015 United Nations Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 comprehensively demonstrates the key role played at all levels by women in the operational effectiveness, success, and sustainability of peace processes and peacebuilding efforts. It recommends that mediators, facilitators, and leaders in peace operations be proactive in including women in all aspects of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. More importantly, the study found a need for the normative framework to be localized and for greater attention to be given to mapping what local communities and women actually need.1 Since 2000, the United Nations has passed several resolutions that constitute the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. These are particularly significant because they were adopted by the UN Security Council. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 prioritizes the inclusion and participation of women in all stages of decision-making in peace processes.2 Subsequent resolutions UNSCR 1820 (2008), UNSCR 1888 (2009), UNSCR 1889 (2009), UNSCR 1960 (2010), UNSCR 2106 (2013), UNSCR 2122 (2013), and UNSCR 2242 (2015) focus on various aspects of the WPS agenda, such as sexual and gender-based violence, peacekeeping, rule of law, impunity, and the role of women in countering violent extremism.3 Together, these resolutions provide a robust normative framework for the substantive participation of women in the discourse on peace and security.
  • Topic: Security, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Iris Tintswalo Nxumalo
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The ongoing civil war in South Sudan was triggered by factionalism within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), reflecting deep divisions and structural challenges within the South Sudanese elite and the state. Despite regional and international efforts at peacemaking and the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) in August 2015, there remain episodes of conflict. This brief calls for a renewed political process that seeks to address the multiple levels of conflict, true reconciliation, and cooperation through recognition of mutual interests among emerging South Sudanese elites, and between them and the people through greater inclusivity in national dialogues and governance structures.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Political structure, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Amanda Coffie
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Resettlement of refugees in third countries of asylum is considered both a protection practice and a durable solution to refugee crises, particularly in protracted refugee situations. Unlike most migrants and particularly irregular migrants, refugees receive protection from their host country, and the road towards citizenship is chartered prior to their arrival. Additionally, policies are in place to facilitate their integration into host societies. For host states located in the global North, resettlement is not just a humanitarian policy, but also includes strategic access to direct and indirect benefits other than those accruing to the resettled refugees. Such benefits may apply to other refugees, the host state, other states, or the international protection regime. Many analysts tend to overlook the strategic use of resettlement as a peacebuilding tool. Recent research findings from Africa and Central America demonstrate refugees’ capacity to contribute to peacebuilding in diverse ways including enhancement of safety and security; participation in political processes; and revitalization of economic, justice, and reconciliation systems.1 The findings also show that the ability of refugees to engage in peacebuilding is often determined by asylum policies of host states and the willingness of peacebuilding actors to engage non-state actors outside of the country where the peace is being built. This policy brief draws attention to some of the peacebuilding engagement activities of African resettled refugees in the global North. It notes that the resettlement of refugees provides host states with the opportunity to fulfill their mandates of the shared responsibility of protection and peacebuilding, without falling into the traps of imposition and interference.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugees, Citizenship, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global North
  • Author: Jimam T. Lar
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy briefing note focuses on the role of local actors1 in conflict man- agement and peacebuilding in central Nigeria, and explores two issues: the problem of intractable conflicts and the potential for local actors to play a role in policy interventions aimed at conflict management. By focusing on local actors and their impact on prospects for peacebuilding in local conflicts, it reveals the need to draw lessons and best practices from local contexts to apply to regional and national conflict management policies and peacebuild- ing processes.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Conflict, Local, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Raheemat Momodu
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy brief explores the relationship between the African Union (AU) and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), particularly the challenges of coordination, division of roles, and shared responsibilities that are important in facilitating greater synergy within this relationship for accelerated continental integration. These challenges are particularly of note given the current attempt to reform the African Union. Although the proposed reform suggests a clear division of labor between the AU and RECs, member states, and other continental institutions, more inclusive consultation and planning are required to strengthen the application of the principle of subsidiarity and shared responsibility in the project of African integration.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Integration, African Union, African Regional Economic Communities
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Godwin Onuoha
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper critically explores the nature of post-civil war peace in Nigeria since the end of the Nigeria-Biafra War in 1970. The context of this study is the recent emergence of neo-Biafran groups calling for the secession of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria from the federation, almost five decades af- ter secessionist Biafra was defeated and reabsorbed into Nigeria under the banner of national unity. Nigeria’s post-civil war nation-state peacebuilding project was framed around reconciliation, rehabilitation, and reconstruc- tion policies which shaped the nature of national citizenship, the “peace dividend,” and reintegration of the Igbo into a united Federal Republic of Nigeria. The failure of these policies has inevitably fueled lingering post- war memories. The construction of individual and collective memories of the war is intertwined with relations of power, inclusion, and exclusion. Ul- timately, while attempts at post-war reconciliation and national unity ap- peared to have eased opposing memories of the war in the public realm, group memories of “hurt,” “injustice,” and “marginalization” still flourished in the private realm—which consisted of kinship and family networks, town unions, and ethnic groups. Part of the focus of this paper is to examine the onnections between such ill feelings and the emergence of neo-Biafran groups within the country and in the diaspora that are evoking memories of, and nurturing the quest for, a “new” Biafra. As the mobilization efforts of the neo-Biafra groups gain increasing attention in Southeastern Nigeria, the problematic nature of Nigeria’s post-conflict peace, which has not com- pletely eliminated the risk of a relapse into conflict since 1970, is brought to the fore.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Nationalism, Citizenship, Memory, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jeremiah O Arowosegbe
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: One central aspect of the national question within the discourse on Nigeria concerns the conflicts and disputes historically driven by struggles over land-based resources. Examples of such conflicts include that of Ife- Modakeke in Osun State, the Jukun-Chamba conflict in the Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, the Tiv-Jukun conflict in Benue and Plateau States, and the Umuleri-Aguleri war of attrition over Otuocha land in Anambra State. Drawing on primary data generated from focus group discussions and oral interviews between October 2009 and March 2015 across locations with pronounced incidents of land-based conflicts in Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo States in southwestern Nigeria, this work examines the impact of economic considerations on ethnically motivated conflicts in the country over land from 1999 to 2015. It examines land conflicts in southwestern Nigeria—which have been occurring since the 1980s and stubbornly resurfaced in recent times—as a major economic and sociopolitical problem at the national and state levels. This study examines the following questions: How has land been connected with some of the historical conflicts across Nigeria? How has the character of the state in Nigeria affected the management of ethnically motivated land conflicts? What does this case study suggest in terms of the resolution of land-based conflicts across the country? This study argues that colonialism—through its policies and programs as well as the administrative structures and political systems put in place by the colonial state—not only changed the material conditions of populations across Nigeria by forcefully integrating them into the colonial and later global capitalist system (by compelling them to participate in colonial economic activities largely dominated by profit motive, thereby negating the autonomous development of the emergent postcolonial state), but also radically altered the complexities and directions of the land question. Hence Okwudiba Nnoli’s assertion that colonial and postcolonial societies are characterized by struggles that do not originate in local changes in the prevailing systems of class relation and material production.
  • Topic: Minorities, Ethnicity, Conflict, Land
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Using testimonies of child soldiers and amputees from Sierra Leone, accounts from survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and recollections of survivors of rape and sexual violence from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this essay explores the intersection between pain, its recollection, and post-conflict recovery in Africa. Between 1991 and 2002, unprecedented violence gripped Sierra Leone, leading to the death of an estimated 50,000 people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) set up after the civil war reported that a rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), orchestrated “indiscriminate amputations, abduction of women and children, recruitment of children as combatants, rape and sexual slavery, cannibalism, gratuitous killings, and wanton destruction of villages and towns” against ethnic groups believed to be loyal to President Joseph Saidu Momoh and the All People’s Congress (APC), the party that had ruled Sierra Leone since 1968
  • Topic: Children, Gender Based Violence , Conflict, Sexual Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The African Union (AU) has adopted the issues of peace and security and gender equality as part of its social transformation agenda on the continent. Specifically, the organization aims to promote peace, security, and stability on the continent; protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; and promote sustainable development as well as the integration of African economies.1 The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of how women’s rights in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict contexts have been mainstreamed into various mechanisms, structures, and instruments of the AU’s African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). As part of this exercise, this study conducts a critical examination of the links between APSA’s goal of promoting peace and security and the AU’s Gender Equality Architecture’s (GEA) goal of promoting and protecting the rights of women on the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jide Martyns Okeke
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) should prioritize pragmatic realism over idealist ambition in mandating and enhancing the operational effectiveness of future peace support operations (PSOs). By pragmatism, the PSC should realistically and routinely match resources with objectives, and understand the limits of PSOs as tools for conflict management. Acting on behalf of the AU, the PSC has become an important regional actor in mandating PSOs, especially high-intensity offensive operations where the United Nations (UN) is unable or unwilling to deploy. The deployment and operation of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2007 is the most vivid example of a PSC-mandated mission that has clearly transcended the boundaries of a conventional peacekeeping mission. Various assessments of PSC-mandated missions have exposed critical challenges linked to funding gaps, difficulties in assembling and mobilizing peace intervention forces, issues relating to operational command and control, and the fact that the asymmetric nature of new security threats makes extended missions almost inevitable.1 There is urgent imperative that the conduct of protracted peace enforcement operations be based on one of two models. First, that in which the AU takes the lead with a predefined and dedicated source of flexible and predictable resourcing based on shared responsibility on the part of its member states and the international community (for example, Operation Democracy in Comoros). Alternatively, the AU could authorize a mission—without necessarily leading it—with the goal of providing legitimacy for an effective regional coalition to address the security threat at hand. Examples of this latter arrangement include the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Charles Ukeje
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: With its roots in decades of crude oil production and the attendant crises of mismanagement of oil revenues, the reemergence of armed groups1 in the Niger Delta region in early 2016 marked a return to the ‘business-as-usual’ insurgency that dominated the oil region since the 1990s. In February 2016, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) claimed responsibility for attacking oil facilities owned by major international oil companies (IOCs). During the same period, the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Com- pany (NNPC) reportedly spent N4.023 billion to repair 293 pipeline breaks. These attacks disrupted oil production and forced the IOCs to declare a force majeure, reducing daily oil production from 2.2 million to between 1.6 and 1.7 per million barrels per day. These developments coincided with a na- tional fiscal crisis linked to dwindling global oil prices; from over $100/barrel to around $50/barrel. Without steady gas supplies, the already dire electricity situation nationwide was further compounded by a 2,500 megawatts drop in power generation.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Non State Actors, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Charles Ukeje, Kizito Sabala
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy briefing note examines the implications of the altercation between the United Nations (UN) and Kenya following the dismissal of the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Lieutenant General Johnson Ondieki, a Kenyan citizen. An Independent Special Investigation established by the UN blamed poor leadership and judgment for the attacks on Terrain camp—a UN facility in Juba, the capital of South Sudan—in July 2016, which led to several deaths. Although the UN promptly requested that Kenya appoint a replacement, the country considered the dismissal of its citizen unnecessarily punitive and refused.
  • Topic: United Nations, Leadership, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Isaac Olawale Albert
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: While conflict is a normal, healthy part of all communities, teaching people how to deal with conflict without resorting to violence by helping them to use new approaches to overcome barriers can be effective in bringing about progressive change.1 Educating for peace is crucial due to the normalization of violence and its influence on well-being. As a human right, students must learn about a healthy life, for everyone can be sustained without violence as a response to conflict. In peace education lessons about the sources of and responses to conflict, students analyze current problems and how they can be avoided, as well as responsibly managed. They need a vision of a peaceful future as a foundation for peacemaking and skills for constructing it.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Academia
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elias Courson
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Since the late 1990s, the oil-endowed Niger Delta region has become an almost ungovernable space. From 1999, there has been a turn to militancy, which escalated with the emergence of the Movement for 1 the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in 2005/6. Although the government was initially slow to react to the unfolding trajectory of violent conflict in the region, there was a period of relative peace in the wake of the 2009 amnesty deal, which was somewhat disrupted in February 2016 by the emergence of a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).2 Apart from the NDA, a plethora of little-known militant groups emerged in the Niger Delta between February and November 2016. Their attacks brought the oil industry and by extension, the nation’s economy to a state of near collapse. The government lost about $7 billion (N2.1 trillion) due to the activities of insurgent groups and oil pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta. Some estimates suggest that these disturbances brought down oil production from 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd), to barely 1 million bpd. The NDA’s strategic return to the oil creeks to mount sting operations on Nigeria’s petro-economy when global oil prices had fallen drastically (from a peak of $115 per barrel in mid-2014 to less than $40 per barrel in early 2016), exacerbated the country’s financial woes and contributed towards the national economic recession.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Global Recession, Militias
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Asebe Regassa Debelo
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The China-African Union (AU) peace and security partnership can be positively harnessed in support of peacebuilding processes on the continent. This policy brief urges African policymakers to look beyond the familiar narratives of Sino- African relations as “resource diplomacy.” It notes some of the challenges facing China’s engagement with peace and security issues in Africa, and considers several options for addressing them. The brief also offers recommendations to the AU and African sub-regional organizations on how to optimize the opportunities presented by China’s engagement with Africa to consolidate sustainable peace on the continent.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This brief addresses the mechanisms of the African Union (AU) for protecting and promoting women’s rights during conflict and their participation in post- conflict peacebuilding processes. These mechanisms can be found in the policy frameworks and structures of the Protocol Relating to the Establish- ment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (the PSC Pro- tocol) of 2002, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), adopted in 2003, and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) of 2004. Other mechanisms include the AU Action Plans on Gender Main- streaming in peace and security, as well as a special rapporteur on women’s rights, appointed in 1999, a special envoy on women, peace, and security, appointed in 2014, and the AU’s Five-Year (2015–2020) Gender, Peace, and Security Programme. While the AU scores high on de jure instruments designed to improve the legal framework for women’s rights and gender equality, the evidence sug- gests less progress in terms of the de facto practices directed toward their implementation. For example, the Maputo Protocol—the African Women’s Bill of Rights—whose full ratification and enforcement were envisaged by 2015 and its domestication by 2020—has not been ratified by fourteen member states,2 and two countries, Botswana and Egypt, have not even signed the in- strument. Even some of the countries that ratified it did so with reservations. Furthermore, while member states are also expected to send biennial reports on the implementation processes in their respective countries, only Malawi had complied with this provision as of December 2015. And although the protocol demands the protection of women against violence in war and in peace times, reports indicate the continued perpetration with impunity of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women in conflict-affected settings. The PSC protocol, the normative framework on which the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)4 is based, recognizes the need to protect women from violence in conflict-affected areas, but in doing so it makes them appear as mostly passive victims of war. An approach is needed that recognizes women can be perpetrators of violence as well as agents of change pro- moting peace and reconciliation. The integration of an all-encompassing organizational gender strategy to guide the AU’s work in conflict and post-conflict situations will strengthen effectiveness in conflict-affected societies with regard to the women, peace, and security (WPS) goals of participation in post-conflict governance; protec- tion from SGBV and acts of impunity; prevention of the abuse of women, girls, and children; and the promotion of gender equality. The mandate of the AU’s special envoy on WPS to “ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more in peacebuilding and in conflict resolu- tion” is both timely and relevant. Priority should be given to coordinating mechanisms for an Africa-centered gen- der, peace, and security framework and to promoting synergies among women’s organizations, national gov- ernments, and peace support operations to ensure the implementation of actions that make a difference in the lives of women in conflict-affected countries. The spe- cial envoy should also engage closely with stakeholders to ensure full domestication of the Maputo Protocol is achieved by 2020. In sum, although the AU has made some progress in establishing a gender, peace, and security framework to ensure the protection of women’s rights and promote gen- der equality in conflict and post-conflict settings, some gaps and coordination challenges continue to limit its ef- fectiveness. Gender mainstreaming mechanisms across the peace and security sector, including capacity building initiatives, need to be addressed critically to prevent the continued violation of women’s physical and bodily integ- rity in conflict-affected and post-conflict countries.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Amy Niang
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: In the often troubled politics of West Africa, Blaise Compaoré, the former president of Burkina Faso, is a quaint figure, almost of another era. Yet with all he has experienced over a quarter century of the region’s upheavals, he is also very much a man of his time, politically astute, and a fine strategist when it comes to preserving his friendships with powerful countries and leaders whose backing has provided immunity of sorts for his alleged crimes. Compaoré has always been equally keen on keeping a clean image as a peacemaker, given the intolerable association of his name and career with a bloody 1983 coup that cost the life of Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary pan-African figure. This paper is not, however, focused on Compaoré’s political career, and it is not a diatribe meant to support or amplify common critiques of his political activism or his perceived destructive practices. The popular insurgency of October 2014 that resulted in the resignation of the long-serving president gives a good measure of popular sentiment on Compaoré’s model of governance and moral ethics more emphatically than any speculative account on political rule in Burkina Faso. The aim here, rather, is to examine how, as a mediator, Compaoré builds and deploys a particular kind of “sovereignty,” informed by his capacity to tap into different registers of legitimacy, while reinterpreting the terms of mediation mandates as part of his strategies. This paper is concerned with his role in facilitating dialogue and brokering peace in the Ivorian conflict, and it specifically examines the “Compaoré system” at work in one of West Africa’s most protracted political crises. The question is whether there are ways in which a mediator can and does appropriate the mediation process by giving it a direction it might otherwise not have taken. In our case of interest—the 2002–10 military and political crisis—a consideration of Compaoré’s personal touch with regard to political and legal processes, the nature of agreements, actors’ conduct, and mediation outcomes points to different possibilities of understanding conflict management and resolution patterns in different African contexts. More important for the mediation literature, the ways of an unlikely mediator provide useful methodological and empirical resources for thinking differently about mediation as an applied science. In fact, Compaoré’s mediation career poses an analytical puzzle to perspectives commonly developed in the literature; this puzzle has to do with his counterintuitive and unconventional methods, which deserve proper engagement.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Sovereignty, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Zebulun Kreiter
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: he Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) organized a seminar on “Conflict, Peace, and Regional Economic Integration in Southern Africa: Bridging the Knowledge Gaps and Addressing the Policy Challenges.” It was held at AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone, Zambia, from October 7 to 8, 2015. The seminar was the inaugural edition of the SRO-SA Southern Africa Sem- inar Series, an informal and frank forum in which academics, policymakers, and other stakeholders have the opportunity to discuss key development is- sues that affect the region. The purpose of the seminar was to sort out issues related to the causes of conflict in Southern Africa, the scope for regional responses and implications, the role of civil society in conflict mediation, the related issues of xenophobia and migration, the interaction of gender and conflict, and the importance of governance for economic development and to elicit perspectives from other regions. Despite promising economic and political developments, the regional in- tegration agenda in Southern Africa faces a number of growing challenges. The skewed nature of economic growth has resulted in in-country and cross- border migration in the region, as people search for employment and better living conditions. Furthermore, inequities in the distribution of income and wealth have inflamed tensions and led to a surge in social and political conflict within member states.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Conflict, Peace, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Southern Africa
  • Author: Heidi Hudson
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Peacebuilding is big business in Africa and the gendering of peacebuilding even more so—if the number of workshops and funding proposals with gen- der as their focus is anything to go by. As an academic enterprise, gender and peacebuilding have equally grown in stature and scope.1 But more often than not, gender acts as a proxy for women, especially because we are con- tinuously reminded that they must be included in all peacebuilding efforts because they make up more than half of the population and war and its aftermath affect them differently. So why bother with mainstreaming gen- der if it is actually just about adding women? Practice has shown that the rhetorical commitment to gender within peacebuilding programs (hailed as positive by some) has neither changed the generally widespread gen- der-blind nature of policy and practice nor led to more than an increased mainstreaming of women’s and girls’ needs based on a very narrow inter- pretation of male-female categories.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Decolonization, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Pamela Machakanja
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Africa faces formidable challenges with regard to the relatively few women influencing decisions and policies related to peace and security. A study on women’s participation in thirty-one peace processes between 1992 and 2011 showed that of the fifteen African countries, only five had women on their ne- gotiating teams (Burundi, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, and Uganda); five had women witnesses or observers ( Liberia, Si- erra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda); two had women lead mediators (DRC and Kenya); and only one (DRC) had women signatories.1 Although UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 “reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security,”2 its full implementation remains a work in progress in Africa, as women’s participation in peace and security remains more symbolic than substantive, and their capacity to influence and engage in peace negotiations is often resisted by local cultural norms and patriarchal hierarchies.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Culture, Feminism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Aloysius Nyuymengka Ngalim
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This paper begins with a description of the conflict, mediation and post- mediation clashes, and an analysis of the mediation process. The main argument is that post-mediation clashes were a result of the exclusion of the views and interests of residents of the Bakassi peninsula. Background information on the conflict is presented to situate the paper within extant ideas on international mediation and to provide theoretical underpinning and a theoretical basis for the conclusion. This study draws data from documentary sources complemented with interviews conducted during fieldwork between January and April 2013. Documentary sources include press reports and legal documents related to the dispute as well as scholarly publications. Data was analyzed using the content analysis approach.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Imperialism, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon
  • Author: Duncan Mainye Omanga
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The exponential growth of social media use in Africa is not in doubt. The rapid rise in the use of mobile telephony, coupled with the spread of Internet-enabled gadgets, has made social media the latest catalyst of a grand transformation in Africa’s social and political complexion. This essay reveals how a local chief in Kenya has taken to using the microblogging website Twitter to radically transform the historical meeting place known as the baraza into a site of peacebuilding and community policing. In this study, the main aim is to show how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used every day in Lanet Umoja and how they punctu- ate ordinary life to build, in a subtle yet effective way, a more cohesive soci- ety at a very local level. Without exaggerating the impact and place of ICTs in building peace in Africa, I intend to show how a local actor, using local social structures and infrastructures, has attempted, with varying degrees of suc- cess, to create predictable patterns—or routine forms—of consumption and use of ICTs that, in a sense, reproduce a communication “fabric” for fighting crime, responding to emergencies, and creating a virtual vigilante. His use of an ICT also acts as an experimental form of spiritual healing. As several other scholars have argued, caution is needed in making broad claims regarding the impact of ICTs in Africa and whether they are simply refashioning existing communication structures (Nyabuga 2008; Asiedu 2012; Berger 2012; Mudhai et al 2011). In pursuing this study, I had, therefore, to take note of three broad aspects of my research. One was the main actor (the chief), the second was his medium (Twitter; mobile telephony), and the third was his audience (residents of Lanet Umoja). Using Manuel Castells’s idea of the network and John Postill’s of concept actors or agents in a “networked community,” I attempt to show how these three components interact to reproduce the aforementioned “fabric.”
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, Police, Community
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Nkwachukwu Orji
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Despite widely held concerns about the likelihood of a destabilizing outcome, Nigeria suc- cessfully conducted its general elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015. The peaceful and positive result came to many as a surprise, considering the difficult political and secu- rity environment in which the elections were conducted. Five major obstacles had stood in the way of their going smoothly: the competing claims to the presidency by northern and southern politicians; a keenly contested campaign smeared by inflammatory messages; the grave security threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgency; allegations of politically motivated postponement of the elections; and gaps in electoral preparations. This briefing assesses Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, highlighting factors that enabled the country to avoid larger-scale violence and lessons that can be learned from its experience.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jude Cocodia
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Despite their burgeoning reputation in peacekeeping, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) are apparently finding the conflict in the Central African Repub- lic (CAR) difficult to resolve. The explanation involves, in part, the complex situation within the country, apathy on the part of national political elites, and a lack of local participation in peacemaking. Other factors are linked to poor field leadership, the composition of the peacekeeping contingent, and the nature of the mandate. The situation demands more analysis of peace operations and the political conditions under which such operations occur, with a view toward lessening human suffering, making peacekeepers accountable, and brightening the prospects for peace.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations, Conflict, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: George Omondi
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The current crisis in Burundi stems from an insistence by incumbent president Pierre Nku- runziza that he is eligible to run in the coming elections to retain his office. Despite a consti- tutional court ruling in May 2015 that upheld the president’s position, opposition parties, civil society groups, religious leaders, and a section of the ruling party—the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD)—disagree. Their view is that President Nkurunziza has served the two terms allowed him by the consti- tution and the Arusha agreement, which was signed in August 2000 to end the civil war that began in 1993. If he runs, it will be for a third term, which is unconstitutional. A recent wave of protests rallying around a movement against a third presidential term crystallized and intensified after the president made his plan official and the National Elections Commission (CENI) subsequently cleared him to run alongside other candidates. Violent repression of protestors by police and the intimidation of citizens by a militia group linked to the ruling party have led to scores of deaths and an increasing number of refugees fleeing the country. A humanitarian catastrophe looms, internally and in neighboring countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Tanzania, which are receiving refugees from Burundi. Even worse, a return to civil war, with all the costs associated with such instability, could greatly undermine efforts to attain stability in the Great Lakes Region, where several conflicts are underway in countries around Burundi, notably the DRC, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Uganda. Worst of all, militant ethnic solidarities between pro- regime groups in Burundi and a predominantly Hutu militia opposed to the Rwanda govern- ment based in the DRC could further escalate conflict in the region.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Legal Theory , Protests, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi, East Africa
  • Author: Olawake Ismail
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established in 1975 and has since evolved into a robust subregional group promoting economic integration across its members in several spheres, including commerce, transportation and telecommunications, energy and agriculture, monetary and financial policies, and peace and security.1 To fulfill objectives in these fields, ECOWAS established decision-making structures and policy development processes that include the Authority of Heads of State and Gov- ernment (AHSG); Council of Ministers (COM); a Community Court of Justice; an Executive Secretariat and Parliament; and other specialized commis- sions. The existence of these principal units notwithstanding, the ECOWAS decision-making and policy development process integrates other interven- ing variables that feed into the different channels of policy formulation and incidentally guide the trajectory along which policies emerge. This analysis focuses on ECOWAS’s nuanced (and complex) decision-making process as it relates to peace and security issues and the extent to which peace and security policy communities (including training and research institutions, academic and technical experts, and civil society activists) are engaged. The analysis is, unfortunately, limited by the absence of open source materials on the subject. While the literature on peace and security in West Africa—including the role of ECOWAS and reviews of its peace operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Côte d’Ivoire—is extensive,3 little or no research and few publications are extant on ECOWAS’s institu- tional setting and its process for developing peace and security policy. The little available information includes that contained in ECOWAS’s website and fleeting mention and reference in a few publications. This discussion relies instead on the author’s more than ten years of studying, observing, and engaging in ECOWAS activities (including participation in policy-related workshops, seminars, and conferences), knowledge of peace and security issues in West Africa, and interviews and informal discussions with serving and former ECOWAS staff and experts on West Africa’s peace and security.
  • Topic: Security, Peace, Economic Cooperation, Economic Integration
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Aili Mari Tripp
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: One of the most interesting developments in African politics since the mid- 1990s has been the increase in women's political participation. Women are becoming more politically engaged and seeking representation at all levels, from local government to legislatures and even executive office. To state the obvious, access to political power is important to groups that have historically been excluded from formal and informal politics because it means being able to have control over basic decisions affecting one's life in areas including health, education, and access to land and resources, among many others. Many women seek power to affect how justly resources are divided in society and how equitably policy decisions are made.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Corinna Jentzsch
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The analysis begins with a review of trends in financing peace operations, including the proliferation of actors; existing financing mechanisms used by the UN, the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion (NATO), and the World Bank; and the devolution of these operations to African regional organizations. Efforts of the past two decades to respond effectively to challenges to peace and security in Africa have produced vari- ous new programs and institutions, funds, and budgets and led to revisions of previous programs and financing mechanisms. This proliferation of institutions and funds has also created challenges, however, which the analysis reviews next, placing particular emphasis on three: the inadequacy of UN reforms to overcome financing constraints; the insufficiency and unpredictability of voluntary contributions; and the limited capacity of African regional organizations. All are rooted in the demand for more integrated approaches to peace operations on the one hand and the lack of coordination, duplication of structures, and waste of resources on the other.
  • Topic: NATO, United Nations, Developing World, Finance, Europe Union, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Dan Kuwali
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The political realities of post-conflict situations present hard choices in the peacebuilding and reconstruction processes. Most post-conflict societies face the dilemma of how to deal with past atrocities, especially genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Where the perpetrators are the winners of the war or elections, victors’ justice has usually been rendered against the vanquished. Yet, even where this is not the case, national judicial systems in most post-conflict societies cannot immediately handle wide- scale prosecutions for atrocities in accordance with international standards of due process, and, in cases where a political compromise has taken place, the question is usually whether to forego justice for the sake of peace. The answer is often to offer amnesty to the perpetrators of atrocities, effectively giving them impunity. This discussion will explore a victim-oriented approach toward resolving the peace and justice dilemma while promoting reconciliation and development in post-conflict settings. The starting point is the assertion that mass atrocities such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity can brook no impunity, although each conflict is sui generis, and legal concerns must be balanced with political reality in determining the appropriate reaction to past atrocities. Following the analysis is an outline of the steps that should be taken to eradicate the root causes of conflicts leading to mass atrocities in Africa.
  • Topic: Genocide, War Crimes, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa