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  • Author: Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Since early October 2017, when the Islamist militants or jihadists – identified as the Ansar al-Sunna – launched their first attacks in the villages and towns of Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, insurgency and conflict has continued to escalate, targeting civilians, public infrastructure and government buildings. Although the Government of Mozambique continues to make concerted efforts to fight and subdue the terrorist insurgency through its national defence forces, the Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique (FADM), a series of battles with the terrorist militants has resulted in widespread violence, insecurity, the death of over 2 400 people[1] and the displacement of over 500 000 civilians by the end of November 2020.[2] It has also disrupted economic activities, especially farming, thereby worsening food insecurity.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Food Security, Displacement, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Mubin Adewumi Bakare
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election on 31 October 2020 marked the fifth presidential election held in the country since the death of the “pere foundateur de la nation” (father of the nation), Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in 1993. The election was held in a tense political and volatile security atmosphere, driven by opposition protests against President Alassane Ouattara’s third-term candidacy, which was a breach of the 2016 constitution. The political contest among the political stakeholders also bordered on matters around the electoral code, the voter register, implementation of the constitutional reforms and the composition of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which opposition parties denounced as non-inclusive, unbalanced and partisan.[1] The inability of the ruling party and the opposition parties – which formed a common political front, led by Henri Konan Bédié – to reach common ground in addressing these issues led to a series of protests, which escalated into violence across the country. On the eve of the election, Bédiéand Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the two major opposition candidates, reneged their participation in the election and called on their supporters to block the election. The election result declared by the IEC proclaimed Ouattara as the winner, having amassed 94.27% of the votes cast. N’Guessan got 0.99%, Bédié was credited with 1.66% and Kouadio Konan Bertin obtained 1.99%.[2] These results, which were ratified by the Constitutional Council on 9 November 2020, as stipulated in the constitution, endorsed President Ouattara as the winner. However, N’Guessan, on behalf of the opposition parties, announced his non-recognition of Ouattara’s victory and thereby installed a National Transitional Council, with Bédié as the president.Protests by opposition parties and their supporters led to violence, which resulted in about 85 deaths recorded in localities including Yopougon, Bonoua, Mbatto, Bongouanou, Daoukro and others.
  • Topic: Elections, Election watch, Domestic Policy, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Jenny Nortvedt
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The year 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of the unanimous adoption of the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; 25 years since the World Conference on Women in Beijing; and the conclusion of the African Women’s Decade. Since 2000, the UN has adopted 10 subsequent resolutions and several strategies under the normative framework of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. On the African continent, the African Union (AU) and its member states have promoted the WPS agenda through several legal guidelines, training manuals and normative frameworks, including Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063, the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004), The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) and the AU Gender Policy (2009). Furthermore, in 2016, more than 19 AU member states adopted Resolution 1325 national action plans and, in 2018, the AU adopted the regional Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2018–2028).[2]Still, despite progress in many areas, the advancement of women’s meaningful participation in peacebuilding efforts and the promotion of gender equality in peace and security has been slow.[3] Since the adoption of Resolution 1325 and the resolutions that followed, which now constitute the WPS normative framework, a substantial body of literature has emerged. The literature has concentrated on some key thematic areas – participation, protection, prevention and gender perspectives – which, to a large degree, mirror the four main pillars in Resolution 1325. In 2018, The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Securityexamined the growing academic and policy contributions to the WPS agenda over the past two decades and highlighted remaining challenges.[4] Therefore, the recent anniversary presents an opportunity to continue on this track and to take stock of recent and ongoing empirical studies and emerging topics within the WPS agenda. This review explores (1) recent academic and policy contributions to the WPS agenda on the African continent from 2017 onwards, with a special emphasis on participation; and (2) relevant new contributions regarding emerging challenges to female participation in peacebuilding efforts. There have been several reviews regarding the operationalisation and implementation of the goals set out in Resolution 1325 by both the UN and the AU, and in academic communities – for example, the AU Commission Review; Implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Africa; the Continental Results Framework: Monitoring and Reporting on the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa (2018–2028);[5] the review Women, Peace and Security – Implementing the Maputo Protocol in Africa (2016),[6] the recent 10-year Review of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda of the AU Peace and Security Council (2020)[7] and the 2015 UN review, including the UN Global Study.[8] However, the main focus of this article is a review of the academic contributions in the past few years, to evaluate the empirical foundation for the next decade of the WPS agenda.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Peace, Participation, Equality
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Christopher Zambakari
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Imperial powers such as Rome, Persia, Japan and China have justified their conquests as a benefit to those that were conquered by virtue of bringing a superior civilisation to their world.[1] Among imperial powers, one of the most strident were the Second and Third French Republics.[2] The civilising mission – or what French historian Raoul Girardet refers to as “colonial humanism”[3] – came to define French colonial statecraft in the early 19th century crusade to improve the lives of people who France saw as backward in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. For intellectuals such as Leroy-Beaulieu, civilisation was to be spread through commerce, trade and exchanges between people, rather than through conquest.[4] By the early 1800s, the republican ideals that inspired the French Revolution were slowly abandoned for a more forceful assimilationist policy exemplified by colonial expansionist policies. According to Jules Brévié, governor-general of French West Africa from 1930 to 1936 and of French Indochina from 1936 to 1939, the most important task for the French was to bring about a cultural renaissance to the indigenous people.[5] Brévié called for a redefined mission with a focus on teaching colonised subjects to live according to “authentic African traditions”.[6] As with the British before them, French policy adapted to the local context and shifted towards a more “indirect mode of rule”,[7] casting foreign rule as the protectors of indigenous cultures. This article analyses the French imperial project in Africa, with a focus on the Federation of French West Africa (consisting of today’s Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal). It outlines differences and similarities between the French mode of direct rule and the British mode of indirect rule. To understand the methodology of rule, one must first understand the system of knowledge production that informed, shaped and guided the colonial project. A policy change occurred after the French experienced a crisis of empire, which ushered in fundamental transformations before World War I (1909 and 1912) and the interwar years between 1918 and 1939 (from “assimilation” to that of “association”). The new policy shifted the focus from antagonism towards Islam to collaboration with Islamic representatives, from civilisations to conservation, from a focus on progress to law and order, and a preoccupation with local customs while managing social and cultural differences (pluralism).[8] This article is offered as an important contribution to the political and intellectual history of the largest colonial state in Africa: the Federation of French West Africa.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Intellectual History, Colonialism, Assimilation , Customs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Mauritania, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin
  • Author: Maryline Njoroge
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Since International Youth Day was celebrated on 12 August 2020, it is a good time to take stock of the youth and their role in peacebuilding and peace processes in Africa. With the youth, peace and security agenda gaining ground in recent years, this is an opportune time for youth-focused organisations to strengthen their work on youth and peacebuilding, while contributing to the ongoing discourse. The youth, peace and security agenda is currently backed by three United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions adopted between 2015 and 2020, namely UNSC Resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020). Among other priorities, the resolutions emphasise the importance of youth as agents of change in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security;[1] reiterate the need for stakeholders to take young people’s views into account and facilitate their equal and full participation in peace and decision-making processes at all levels; and recognise the positive role young people can play in negotiating and implementing peace agreements and in preventing and resolving conflict.[2] The third resolution, adopted in July 2020, also establishes a regular biennial reporting requirement on youth, peace and security by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, which is a great step forward in mainstreaming the youth, peace and security agenda into the work of the UN – especially since youth engagement in peacebuilding and peace processes is ad hoc and intermittent. The reporting requirement will therefore provide a snapshot of ongoing processes and how engagement can be enhanced and deepened in future processes.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Youth, Peace, Participation
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ramtane Lamamra
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: To translate the vision of the 2013 Solemn Declaration into action, the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns by Year 2020 (AUMR) was adopted by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in 2016. The AUMR was to be executed by the AU Commission in collaboration with key stakeholders, including regional economic communities; economic, social and cultural communities; organs of the AU; the United Nations (UN) and civil society organisations. Speaking to this endeavour, the 33rd AU Ordinary Summit took stock of achievements and challenges encountered in implementing this flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020. It further sought to devise a more robust action plan, informed by the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the AUMR, for a peaceful and prosperous Africa. Conflicts have robbed Africa of over US$100 billion since the end of the Cold War in 1991. The continent has unfortunately witnessed some of the world’s biggest fatalities, food and humanitarian crises and the erosion of social cohesion, coupled with the total breakdown of economies and decimation of the environmental and political landscape. It is worrisome to see countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali and Libya continuing to witness persistent levels of armed conflict, and the decolonisation conflict in Western Sahara is remaining unresolved for so long. The threat posed by COVID-19 has considerably slowed the momentum of the silencing the guns agenda and has abruptly added to the existing challenges, slowing down the attainment of peace and development
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Peace, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic
  • Author: Bineta Diop
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This reality has been further exacerbated by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens the progress made over the years towards gender equality. It has also shown, as in many previous crises, that women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected, hence stressing the need for a strong women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in response to societal threats. It is from this perspective that the Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission on Women, Peace and Security virtually convened the first Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security, from 10 to 12 November 2020. The Forum brought together representatives of member states, women peacebuilders, youth peace ambassadors, women peacekeepers, women refugees, media and centres of excellence on WPS, with the aim to federate efforts to accelerate actions for peace. These actions are located in the broader agenda for peace and security in Africa and its clarion call to “silence the guns by 2020” – the guiding theme that represents the overarching aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peace, COVID-19, Equality, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: A. Sarjoh Bah
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The partnership is underpinned by the twin principles of subsidiarity and complementarity.2 Although the RECs/RMs are not uniform entities, it is well established that neither the AU nor the UN can undertake a successful peacemaking venture without the active involvement of the dominant REC/RM in a particular sub-region. For example, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) pivotal role in the mediation efforts that led to the signing of the Revitalised-Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is the most recent demonstration of this trend.3 Similar examples exist in West, Central and southern Africa, where the RECs/RMs in these sub-regions continue to serve as anchors for security and stability.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Regional Cooperation, Political stability, Conflict, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Youssef Mahmoud
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU) in 2013, African leaders solemnly declared “not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans” and “to end all wars in Africa by 2020”.1 The AU Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want,2 adopted two years later under the aspirational goal of an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens”, reaffirmed that “all guns will be silent by 2020”, meaning that Africa “shall be free from armed conflict, terrorism, extremism, intolerance and gender-based violence, which are major threats to human security, peace and development”. The AU Agenda 2063 rightly recognised that good governance, democracy, social inclusion, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law are the “necessary pre-conditions for a peaceful and conflict free continent”. The framers of this document were keenly aware – as many others are – that without addressing the pervasive, internal democratic, governance and development deficits at the root of much of the violence on the continent, sustainable peace would, at best, be elusive
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Leadership, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Forti, Priyal Singh
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The strategic partnership between the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), the two principal international organisations tasked with addressing peace and security challenges on the African continent, remains a priority for both organisations. The organisations and their member states have worked in tandem since the AU’s creation in 2002 and the subsequent establishment of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (AUPSC). During this time, the partnership has focused primarily on joint conflict resolution and crisis management efforts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Eddy Maloka
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Seven years ago, the African Union (AU) set the target of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020. We are already within the target year, but there are no signs that conflict is about to retreat completely from our continent. Instead, Africa still has battlefields in the Great Lakes region, and the menace of terrorism remains a challenge over vast swathes of land in East Africa, North Africa and West Africa. In some African countries, we have seen tempers running high in the streets, among other things due to disputes over elections and the Constitution. All these experiences, as well as ongoing flames in countries such as Libya, are a call to action to find an African solution to these African problems.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Conflict, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kumi Naidoo
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: If the global coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it is that there is no them and us. The virus does not discriminate, and nature does not negotiate. That lethal combination does not bode well for our species. Currently, all indications point to the fact that millions of people across the world will be infected and that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more will die.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ayanda Ntsaluba
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Recognition of the nexus between foreign policy and public health is not new; it has found episodic expression that tended to dissipate, only to re-emerge with time. This has been the case because traditional notions of advancing national interests through foreign policy have tended to be anchored around the fields of trade and defence, with health seen as part of so-called “low politics”. This has tended to underplay the foreign policy dimensions of health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Ebola, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Cedric De Coning
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted peace operations. In the short term, activities have been reduced to the most critical, rotations have been frozen and most staff are working remotely. Most of the missions have adapted remarkably well. However, even more changes are likely in the medium term, when the global economic recession that is expected to follow in the wake of the virus may force peace operations to contract drastically in size and scope.
  • Topic: Peace, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Patrick Wight
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Highlighting the precarious standing of any regime attempting to transition towards democracy in a multi-ethnic state that is defined by relatively weak institutions.
  • Topic: Governance, Democracy, Fragile States, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Sandy Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Examining the objective conditions that gave rise to current iterations of violence and assessing whether the policy measures and strategies adopted at the international, regional and national levels bring the continent closer to sustainable peace.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Conflict, Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Harrison Adewale Idowu
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the restriction of terrorist activities, with casualties now mostly from the Nigerian Armed Forces rather than the civilian population.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Mark Chingono
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Considering the land challenge question and its many dimensions in South Africa, it is important to adopt a holistic approach that locates the land question within the broader framework of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Land, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Zurab Elzarov
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The implementation of the Library of Peace project was a model of successful cooperation between UNAMID, the Government of Sudan (State Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth), UNICEF, civil society and the public library personnel
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Andreas Velthuizen
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: An appropriate response in situations such as the Lake Chad Basin and Rovuma Basin is to defend and promote African aspirations in a multinational response involving the AU, RECS and international partners.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Democracy, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Joseph Lansana Kormoh
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Critically examining current trends in Sierra Leone's political landscape from the point of view of ethnoregional politics and hate messages.
  • Topic: Development, Geopolitics, Discrimination, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Biruk Shewadeg
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Language is an important factor of identity formation, and given the multilingual nature of Africa, political discourse related to ethnic and nation-state issues founded on the language factor is crucial to a holistic understanding of the situation. A brief glance at divergent conceptualisations of multilingualism in sub-Saharan Africa may enrich the discussion of language, ethnicity and the nation-state nexus.
  • Topic: Culture, Ethnicity, Domestic politics, Language
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Tafadzwa Maganga
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Young people constitute the biggest proportion of the African population, and are the most affected demographic group in any country’s socio-economic and political developments. By 2019, almost 60% of Africa’s population was estimated to be under the age of 25 years, making Africa the world’s youngest continent.1 According to United Nations (UN) demographic projections, the median age in Africa in 2020 is 19.8 years.2 Almost 16 million young Africans – around 13.4% of the total labour force of 15–24-year-olds – are unemployed, more than 40% of young Africans consider their current living situation to be very bad or fairly bad, and 60% of Africans (especially youth) think that their governments are doing a very bad or fairly bad job at addressing the needs of young people.3 Young people are not represented well and are marginalised and excluded from development processes in many African countries. This pushes them to participate in demonstrations as they try to change political systems that are perceived to be incompetent and responsible for the daily suffering of people. These demonstrations have challenged institutions of power, but their influence has failed to go beyond post-protest governments and development. This article provides an overview of some of the causes and achievements of youth-led demonstrations in many parts of Africa since the Arab Spring in 2010. It also highlights several lessons from the recent developments that occurred in Sudan in 2019, where protests gave rise to a coalition government with the military and a roadmap to a civilian government through elections in three years.
  • Topic: Development, Social Movement, Youth, Demonstrations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Irene Dawa
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Many refugees in Uganda do not have the necessary identity documents to guarantee their protection, employment and so on, because most of them moved to urban cities on their own. They experience discrimination, poverty and difficulty in attaining sustainable livelihoods. Many South Sudanese and Congolese refugees have been in Uganda or years, yet still have not achieved full refugee status. Arua and the West Nile sub-region at large are in the unique position of having a number of tribes that share common heritage and ancestry across the borders of Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Most of the South Sudanese from Yei, Morobo and Kajo-Keji in the Western Equatoria region and Congolese from the north-eastern part of Ituri province (Imgbokolo and Abia) not only share the same language, but also have relatives across the border in Uganda. Therefore, in situations of conflict in South Sudan and the DRC, these family members quickly identify with each other and provide easy access to these refugees to enter Uganda. This is commonly seen among the Lugbara, Madi and Kakwa tribes who are predominant in the region. Using qualitative research methods (semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations), this article presents the challenges of urban refugees and how they have attempted to improve their lives and realise their aspirations. The article concludes by proposing options to support urban refugees.
  • Topic: Refugees, Discrimination, Urban, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Oluchi Gloria Ogbu
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This article draws from a skills-building project carried out by the Nneola Foundation for Women and Children Development, a livelihoods and peacebuilding initiative for women in Nigeria. The organisation was founded by the author to support women in developing work-related skills that aid socio-economic development. This project was a one-year (2017–2018) skills acquisition training for women that took place in Delta State, Nigeria. The Nneola Foundation partnered with a local tailoring organisation in Delta State to teach sewing skills to five unemployed married women, who were selected from a pool of applicants based on their financial needs and interest in acquiring tailoring skills. Drawing on insights from a year-long interaction with the project coordinator, this article discusses the potential and limitations of tailoring as a peacebuilding and skills-building initiative that seeks to provide women with livelihood and community engagement opportunities. Situated within Johan Galtung’s concepts of positive peace and structural violence,1 the article further demonstrates how structural violence (inequality) can be addressed through positive peacebuilding (livelihood opportunities). This was a relatively small project, and the lessons learnt are summarised and discussed, with recommendations for those considering similar projects in the future.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Entrepreneurship, Peace, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Babatunde F. Obamamoye
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Some developments in Africa during the first decade of this century ushered in a shared viewpoint within the African Union’s (AU) institutional space that one of the ways to propel sustainable peace within the African continent is through the forceful implementation of post-conflict reconstruction and development projects. This was a period when it became evident, both regionally and globally, that Africa would not achieve its desired prosperity and development unless sustainable stability was restored in a number of post-conflict states. In activating a coordinated effort to pursue a conflict-free Africa,2 AU policymakers placed priority on post-conflict peacebuilding activities.3 The first prominent action carried in this regard was the development of the AU’s Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) policy in 2006. Six years later, it became apparent to African regional actors that the visionary ideas embedded in the PCRD framework were utopian and unrealistic unless there was a clear demonstration of African self-reliance, leadership and ownership in the area of resource mobilisation for such a complex enterprise. This consensual acknowledgement invariably culminated in the launch of the African Solidarity Initiative (ASI) in 2012 as a flagship continental mechanism for mobilising resources within the African continent to build the institutional capacity of African states that were, and are, emerging from conflict.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Conflict, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Innocent Mangwiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Human rights violations continue to dominate Zimbabwe’s social and political spaces. Despite being a signatory to continental and global human rights conventions, Zimbabwe’s commitment to human rights remains questionable. As there remains a rift between the African Union (AU), some member states and the International Criminal Court (ICC), the South African government tabled a motion in parliament to withdraw from the Rome Statute in October 2019. This followed an earlier attempt in October 2016 to withdraw, one year after the then AU chairperson, Robert Mugabe, insisted that its members must not cooperate with the ICC, as it was accused of being anti-African.1 South Africa initially rejected the call for non-cooperation but, in 2015, refused to arrest Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, with the ICC’s powers of universal jurisdiction, signalling contempt of court.2 Given this context, this article contends that it will not be South Africans who will bear the consequences if the country eventually succeeds and withdraws from the ICC, but other African people living under regimes without good human rights records, such as Zimbabwe. While the dimension of South Africa’s geopolitical interests in Africa has sufficiently been analysed by Isike and Ogunnubi,3 I argue that the implications for human rights of the country’s withdrawal have not been exhausted.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Criminal Court (ICC), African Union, Human Rights Violations
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Dudziro Nhengu, Stanley Murairwa
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Electoral disputes have long played a role in directing political conflicts towards the attainment of ephemeral peace in both Zimbabwe and Lesotho – two countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement (GPA) helped to end conflict in the country, further establishing a government of national unity (GNU) with institutional mechanisms and conditions that enabled transition to a more peaceful context. A decade later, Zimbabwe is still at a crossroads, facing almost the same political and economic hardships that it did in 2008, when the GPA was signed. The current political stand-off between the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is a manifestation of the deep-seated political problems in the country, and proof that the GNU did not enable lasting solutions to Zimbabwe’s politico-economic crisis.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Governance, Elections, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho
  • Author: Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The overthrow of Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir from the presidency of Sudan by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on 11 April 2019, following several months of protests and civil uprisings by Sudanese citizens, resulted in a prolonged governance and political crisis. Al-Bashir, who was a SAF lieutenant general, came to power in June 1989, through a military coup d’état staged against Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was the then-prime minister of Sudan. Al-Bashir had been in power for almost 30 years, making him one of the longest-serving presidents on the continent. Following his ousting on 11 April 2019, internal political players and stakeholders – mainly the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and a coalition of protesters and opposition groups, led by the Alliance for Freedom and Change/Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) in Sudan – failed to speedily agree and settle on an effective transitional governance authority.
  • Topic: Governance, Social Movement, Military Intervention, Protests, Coup, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This article is an attempt to contextualise Zimbabwe’s complex history of political violence and conflict while providing an analysis of reconciliation, peacebuilding and nation-building attempts since 1980. The article contends that prospects for successful peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction in any society hinge on the development of a specific set of skills to attend to the various challenges and opportunities presented by conflict and violence. In Zimbabwe, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) represents a first major attempt in this regard. The NPRC is an attempt to resolve past violent conflicts while building local capacities to guarantee a peaceful and harmonious future for all. In Zimbabwe, while conflicts today find expression in different interconnected layers, ranging from a household level (domestic violence) to broader social-level land conflicts, the majority of conflicts remain deeply rooted in disputes over national power (politics) and socio-economic hardships. In attempting to provide analyses of the crises in Zimbabwe, this author remains aware that the crises are complex and multidimensional. Because of this limitation, this article only explores issues that have a bearing on the healing, reconciliation and nation-building process in Zimbabwe.
  • Topic: Conflict, Peace, State Building, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Biruk Shewadeg
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Investigating whether Ethiopia's political system divides rather than unites people by creating mutual suspicion and instituted ethnic dynamics.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Ethnicity, Federalism, Identity, Centralization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Clara Carvalho
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Examining the role of women’s organisations in conflict resolution in a country marked by prolonged, systemic political crises.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Women, Fragile States, Conflict, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea-Bissau
  • Author: Gashaw Ayferam Endaylalu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Prior to the advent of so-called scientific knowledge and systems, indigenous knowledge was the single-most important aspect of human development utilised by communities across the world to sustain their well-being. With the advance of technology, indigenous knowledge is often mistakenly labelled as unscientific, illogical, irrational, traditional and a development impediment.1 Such conceptions of indigenous knowledge resulted in the favouring of scientifically driven approaches, which are mainly Eurocentric, as the main solutions to the development–democracy challenges of underdeveloped nations. Indigenous knowledge is also usually viewed as valueless to sustainable development. Consequently, newly independent states in Africa, South America and Asia have followed the adoption of a “one-fits-all” approach to development. Unfortunately, the adoption of foreign-born and -grown development and democracy models without integration into indigenous development and values creates political and development uncertainties in Third World countries. Policymakers and development planners have thus failed to achieve sustainable development. A dependency syndrome of developing states on Western fabricated development models has thus emerged. Nevertheless, the last three decades have witnessed a paradigm shift from the total sidelining of indigenous knowledge to the importance of promoting, empowering and linking it to solutions. A new area of interest is indigenous natural resource management mechanisms. As mentioned previously, conservationists and policymakers downgraded indigenous resource management mechanisms. According to Zelealem and Williams:2 “[R]ecent interest by conservationists in indigenous resource management systems, however, has arisen from the failure of many other types of conservation initiatives and the search for viable and sustainable alternatives to current models for managing resource use.” In this regard, Ethiopia is very rich in indigenous knowledge systems, practice, knowledge creation (such as Qine), architecture, medicine, agriculture, cottage industry, conflict resolution, governance, natural resource management mechanisms, terracing experience (of the Konso people) and building (of houses from stone in North Shewa and Tigray). However, these indigenous knowledge systems and practices are not systematically identified, studied, documented and utilised in a manner that meets sustainable development goals and improves quality of life. The indigenous knowledge system in Ethiopia is an unseen, underutilised and neglected resource with incomparable potential for development.
  • Topic: Environment, Governance, Democracy, Indigenous, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Irene Dawa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Internet shutdowns – and especially social media disruptions – in Africa are becoming more frequent, mostly around election times and during national exams. A significant communications shutdown occurred in Cameroon in 2018 and lasted 249 days, costing the country US$38 853 122.1 In 2016, an internet shutdown in India cost US$968 080 702.2 Data shows that globally, India leads, with 70% of all known large-scale shutdowns.3 In Africa, Cameroon leads, with 249 days in 2018.4 Some of the reasons cited by governments for shutting down the internet and communications includes national security, political events and school exams. A communications shutdown entails cutting people off from the rest of the world, creating ambiguity and frustration and preventing access to information, which triggers strikes or protests that may become violent. This article examines two case studies – Kashmir and Cameroon – where recent communications shutdowns have led to violent conflict. The information for Kashmir was collected qualitatively – that is, observation and interviews were the key tools used, during a visit to Kashmir in 2019. Ten key informant interviews were conducted with different stakeholders who were affected by the crisis. The interviewees worked in local hospitals or small businesses. In the case of Cameroon, a desk review was undertaken to understand and analyse the conflict. Information was also gleaned from non-governmental organisations working in Kashmir and Cameroon. The communications shutdowns in Cameroon and Kashmir involved disrupting telephone, internet and mobile networks. These recent events in the two countries, which hampered people’s ability to communicate with each other and be informed, and which also included detention of people without trial, especially in Kashmir, violated Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reasons and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Also, Article 9 states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention,”5 and calls for the right of political prisoners to have access to justice and get fair trials, which was apparently not the case. There is a close link between conflict, human rights and the denial of rights, as they can lead to the frustration of needs related to identity, welfare, freedom and security, which are fundamental rights for survival. If rights are denied, needs are frustrated – which can lead to violent conflict as people seek ways to address their basic needs and violated rights.6 Everyone has the fundamental right to express their opinion, as indicated by the United Nations (UN): “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”7
  • Topic: Communications, Social Media, Conflict, Oppression, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, India, Asia, Kashmir, Cameroon
  • Author: Hussain Taofik Oyewo
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: There is a considerable popular feeling of exclusion and perceived sense of injustice among various units of the Nigerian federation – a situation that has led to alienation, suspicion and apprehension among various groups in the country. Over time, different groups have pursued separatist ambitions in Nigeria – some examples are Ogoni nationalism and the Boko Haram insurgency. This article focuses on Nigeria’s unresolved ethnic tensions and suspicions of domination that led to the declaration of the state of Biafra, leading to the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970, and the subsequent persistent agitation for an independent state of Biafra since the end of the war.
  • Topic: Minorities, Ethnicity, Discrimination, State Building, Secession
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Onyinye Nkechi Onwuka, Kingsley Chigozie Udegbunam
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: At the African Union’s (AU) 18th Ordinary Session in January 2012, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the heads of state and government of African countries agreed to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).1 This free trade area is outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 AU member states currently. The AfCFTA is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization,2 as it translates to a market potential for goods and services of 1.2 billion people, and an aggregate gross domestic product of about US$2.5 trillion.3 The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.4 The AfCFTA treaty, one of the flagship projects of the AU Agenda 2063 and a landmark continental agreement, is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspeople and investment. The agreement was brokered by the AU and was signed by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018.5 The agreement went into force on 30 May 2019 and entered its operational phase following the AU Summit on 7 July 2019.6 This article examines the key provisions of the AfCFTA with the aim of identifying its prospects, and the challenges that may impede the exploitation of its full potential.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Free Trade, Industrialization , African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Katherine Meyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: In 2017, the Global Terrorism Database reported 2 402 incidents of terrorism in Africa.1 Perhaps this number is not shocking when considering the extensive international media coverage over the past decade, displaying headlines detailing terrorism-related violence erupting in African countries such as Mali and Libya. Even so, this number is marginally lower than the annual tally over the past five years.2 Counterterrorism strategies by African governments, foreign powers such as France, and multilateral efforts from the African Union, among others, have contributed to the decline. However, to begin to disregard terrorism as an extreme risk on the continent would be a grave mistake. The threat must be considered not only for its intensity, but for its reach as well. Given the pervasiveness of terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel region, international scholars and practitioners have given their attention to analysing and mitigating the threats in these regions. Yet, recent terrorism-related violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Tanzania demonstrates the need to carefully consider the risk of terrorism spreading south-east. The key characteristics that have rendered many of the North African and Sahel countries vulnerable to increased terrorism also exist in southern and eastern Africa; these include poverty and unemployment/underemployment, fragile state governance and civilian grievances. Considering further the poor response to terrorism by the DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania governments, better response mechanisms for this region are needed. Based on the insufficient capacity to protect against the nascent but potentially expanding terrorism, this article argues for urgent attention to be brought to building state resilience that will successfully confront and reverse the spread of terrorism in southern and eastern Africa. This requires developing strong leaders who can make necessary socio-economic and political system changes.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Terrorism, Governance, State Building, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma, Gilbert Tinashe Zvaita
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On 8 May 2019, South Africans went to the polls to elect a government of their choice. This election was South Africa’s sixth since the country held its first democratic election in 1994. Twenty-five years later, questions are being asked about whether the ruling party has delivered on its electoral promises since its victory in the April 1994 election. These and other questions have arisen due to the country’s socio-economic challenges such as increasing youth unemployment, massive public-private sector corruption and deep-seated inequality. These challenges have resulted in renewed calls for political alternatives. This search for political alternatives is evidenced by a significant increase in the number of new political parties that have formed since 1994 – over 40 political parties contested the May 2019 election in various parts of the country. In spite of the growth in the number of political parties, the question that has not generated sufficient debate in either political and policy circles is the role of the youth in South Africa’s democracy, and in electoral processes in particular. This article reports on the findings of a socio-anthropological research study on society, politics and electoral processes in South Africa, conducted as part of an international research project titled Re-examining Elections after African Experiences.1 The article provides an analysis on what the electoral process and voting specifically means to South African youth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Democracy, Anthropology
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Frederic Foka Taffo
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Many African countries, over the past years, have suffered the effects of civil war – and, more specifically, gross human rights violations. During peace negotiations, victims of human rights abuses are generally not prioritised, as the focus on peace is seen by political actors as superseding the interests of victims and justice. However, what kind of peace can be built in total disregard of the suffering of hundreds or thousands of people? Can a democratic society and sustainable development be achieved where there is no accountability for human rights abuses? Usually, amnesties are used as an instrument of conflict settlement. The effect of these amnesties is to preclude any investigation or prosecution of perpetrators of human rights abuses committed during the conflict period. Amnesties are often an insurmountable obstacle to the victims’ right to a fair trial, and an ineffective remedy for the prejudice suffered. Amnesties can be defined as the legal measures that are used in transitional processes, often as part of peace settlements, to limit or preclude the application of criminal processes and, in some cases, civil actions against certain individuals or categories of individuals for violent actions committed in contravention of applicable human rights and international humanitarian law rules.1 From this definition, “amnesties have a long pedigree in peace negotiations and have historically been commonly used as part of peace settlements even for armed conflicts manifesting most atrocious acts.”2 Amnesties bring into confrontation two fundamental needs of all democratic societies: the need for peace and the need for justice. For example, this was the case after the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The need for peace led the new regime, with Nelson Mandela at the helm, to opt for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission rather than using the judiciary to inquire into past atrocities. As such, the aim of this article is to put forward the position of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (hereafter African Commission) on the question: are amnesties compatible or incompatible with the human rights obligations of state parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (hereafter African Charter)?
  • Topic: Civil War, Human Rights, Democracy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Yolanda Sadie
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The problem of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in Africa – meaning the interaction between humans and wildlife that results in negative effects for both humans and wildlife – poses risks to the preservation of livelihoods as well as wildlife conservation. HWC affects the food security of people, it decreases their physical and psychological well-being and increases their workload.1 In Botswana, for example, where the largest concentration of elephants on the continent can be found (estimated at 126 114 in October 2018),2 the significant number of elephants is not only putting pressure on the ecosystem, but has also led to increased HWC. The wildlife numbers pose a threat to human life, with official statistics indicating that between February 2018 and June 2019, 20 deaths by elephants and several injuries were recorded.3 Elephants encroach on communities, not only killing people but also destroying crops, thereby impoverishing the rural communities who rely on farming for their livelihood. Hidden costs in the form of diminished psychosocial well-being and disrupted social activities raise additional concerns.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Conservation, Wildlife
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana
  • Author: Brown Odigie
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa with a population of 1.8 million people,1 has been embroiled in political and institutional crises since August 2015, following the run-off presidential elections of May 2014 that produced President José Mário Vaz. The political and institutional crises had roots in certain structural factors common to most post-colonial African states: an underdeveloped economy, overdependence on foreign aid and former colonial masters, fractionalised and factionalised elites, a praetorian army serving personal interests, and general governance deficits. The case with Guinea-Bissau, however, is peculiar. It has a long history of political and institutional fragility dating back to its independence in 1974, with recurring coups and assassinations of political leaders.2 With the exemption of President Vaz, whose constitutionally mandated term of office ended on 23 June 2019, no elected president has ever completed a term of office – an indicator of the gravity of the country’s political instability. This article examines the lingering political crisis that erupted in August 2015 within the leadership cadre of the country’s governing elites, following the dismissal of Prime Minister (PM) Domingos Simões Pereira by President Vaz and the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) sustained efforts to foster peace, political stability and harmonious relationships among the country’s governing members. It concludes by noting that although ECOWAS and friends of Guinea-Bissau have a responsibility to assist the country in finding enduring solutions to its political and institutional crises, the primary responsibility rests with the country’s political and military leaders and their resolve to collectively act in the best interest of the country.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Leadership, Political stability, African Regional Economic Communities
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Guinea-Bissau
  • Author: Al-Chukwuma Okoli
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This article examines the basis of petroleum pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, against the backdrop of the high prevalence and incidences of such events in the region in recent years. Nigeria is an oil-endowed state and an example of a petro-dependent economy. Oil wealth and petroleum resources account for about 75% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.1 The petroleum sector is thus, justifiably, the mainstay of the economy. Although the petroleum sector has rightly been the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, it has paradoxically doubled as a centre for the primitive accumulation of wealth as well as a platform for petro-rentier crimes. Within this sector, petroleum rents have been the object of an opportunistic scramble by corrupt political elites and their counterparts. In effect, the significance of oil wealth in Nigeria has been contradictory: it has been a blessing as well as a curse, by generating both revenue and criminality. This seeming paradox resonates with the “resource-curse” thesis – which holds, among other things, that oil-rich nations have the tendency to squander their development prospects through the abuse or mismanagement of their oil wealth.2 Over the years, the Nigerian petroleum sector has presented many petro-rentier problems: corruption, armed criminality, violence, and so on. A critical dimension of the manifestation of the petro-rentier problem in Nigeria’s oil industry is the phenomenon of petroleum pipeline vandalism – the wilful and malicious destruction of oil and gas pipelines for economic, political or idiosyncratic reasons. Incidences of petroleum pipeline vandalism in Nigeria have spiralled over the years. By way of example, such occurrences surged from 57 incidents in 1998 to over 2 500 incidents in 2008.3 This is rather ominous, considering the primacy of the petroleum sector vis-a-vis the sustenance of the Nigerian economy. The alarming occurrence and trajectory of petroleum pipeline vandalism in Nigeria has caught the attention of scholars and policymakers. There now exist many scholarly and policy-based studies on the various aspects of this subject.4 Nonetheless, most of the insights into petroleum pipeline vandalism in Nigeria has been inadequate in proffering a rigorous interrogation of the socio-structural basis of the phenomenon. What is more, the existing works have overtly concentrated on the political economy of organised crime and violence, with disproportionate emphasis on how the factors of “greed” and “grievance” provide impetus for the crimes. Beyond refreshing the aforementioned perspectives, this article adds the variable of “need” in an attempt to proffer a more robust and comprehensive account of petroleum pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta. Thus, based on the factors of “need”, “greed” and “grievance”, this article provides a socio-structural analysis of the oil pipeline challenge. The article is a by-product of the author’s doctoral research, undertaken in 2015-2016, on oil pipeline vandalism in select communities of the Niger Delta.5 What is reported in this article derives substantively from the outcome of the study.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, Socioeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Niger
  • Author: Kabale Ignatius Mukunto
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: While senior leaders on both sides of Zambia’s political divide may communicate civilly when faced with differences, the majority of their rank and file members seldom do so. For the latter, the handling of political conflicts is synonymous with violence. The socialisation of the current cohort of political party stalwarts is devoid of peace-oriented mechanisms of dealing with political dissent. Electoral politics have continued to be characterised by skirmishes, discontent and violence, 54 years after the country’s political independence. Political players are no strangers to polarisation, and differences in ideologies or ascension to leadership positions have culminated in splinter parties. What is worrisome is the propensity for violent engagements when managing political disagreements, especially at the lower strata of the Zambian polity. There is very little effort invested in cultivating an environment that facilitates collegial contact among political party affiliates. Such an environment of contact may also promote and support mutual understanding, tolerance and a sense of coexistence. Contact and learning about other parties (outgroups) reduce preconceptions and negative assumptions that drive hostilities, antagonisms and violence within the polity. Elite interparty interactions, even if on a slighter scale, also ought to permeate all political party structures horizontally. This article therefore appraises intergroup contact in light of Zambia’s electoral politics and the emergent violence.
  • Topic: Elections, Ethnicity, Peace, Political Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Mark Chingono
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Much has been written on the politics of food aid. In the literature,1 food aid has been variously depicted as necessary to address the chronic food insecurities in poor countries; an instrument of foreign policy by donor countries; destroying local agriculture while securing markets for subsidised farmers in donor countries; entrenching the dependency syndrome; and fuelling the rampant practice by politicians of using food aid to reward supporters and punish opponents. A little known, if not more insidious, dimension of the politics of food aid is its impact on communities at the grassroots level This article focuses on the Tandi chiefdom in rural Zimbabwe and critically examines the dynamics, impacts and politics of food aid distribution at grassroots level. The article shows that the food aid distribution system is flawed and is abused by villagers, and that village politics determines who gets food. It identifies the inherent flaws and popular criticisms of the food aid distribution system. Specifically, it shows that the selection of food aid recipients is not always based on the “poorest and most vulnerable” principle as espoused by donors, but is oftentimes determined by the village politics of kinship, alliances and power. Consequently, some of the poorest and most vulnerable fail to get food aid, while some of the rich get it. Even worse still, food aid tends to exacerbate community conflict, promote laziness and entrench the dependency syndrome. The article ends by considering policy options to address some of the challenges of the food aid distribution system. Analytically, the article provides a micro-level analysis of the relationship between village politics and food aid distribution, and of the unintended consequences of free food aid. It exposes the underlying oppressive structures that produce egoistic and violent behaviour exhibited during food aid distribution. Methodologically, it is based on critical observations and interviews conducted by the author during the 2008–2009 food aid distribution in the Tandi chiefdom.
  • Topic: Politics, Food, Conflict, Rural, Local, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Opeyemi Ademola Olayiwola
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On 6 February 2019, a peace agreement was signed between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed groups that control most of the country. After two weeks of talks in Sudan, the Khartoum Agreement was agreed upon to end years of civil war in the CAR. While the agreement is seen by some as a step towards lasting peace, others are sceptical about its viability.1 Such pessimistic reactions are understandable for several reasons. First, the Khartoum Agreement is the eighth of such agreements to attempt to bring peace to the CAR since the country descended into conflict in 2013. Second, less than a month after the new peace agreement was signed, one of the 14 armed groups that signed the agreement abandoned the deal, while another armed group quit a new government designed to be the keystone to the agreement.2 The failure of such peace agreements to stabilise the CAR suggests a need to examine the role of leadership in processes of building peace. Since independence in 1960, the CAR has suffered five successful coups d’état. The 2013 coup, orchestrated by the Séléka – Séléka means “coalition” in the Sango language – occurred against the backdrop of a phantom state and a collapsed economy.3 The Séléka rebels opposed the regime of President François Bozizé. After Bozizé fled from the CAR to neighbouring Cameroon, Michel Djotodia, head of the Séléka, declared himself president of the country on 25 March 2013. Due to the perception that the Séléka was a foreign Muslim force pillaging and perpetrating deadly violence in a country with a Christian majority, the CAR sank into an unprecedented ethno-religious conflict, predominantly between the Séléka and the mostly Christian Anti-Balaka groups. As a result, the international community and regional powers increased pressure on Djotodia to step down; he yielded on 10 January 2014. Catherine Samba-Panza took the lead as interim president that same month, paving the way for the election of Faustin-Archange Touadéra as president of the CAR in March 2016.4 However, instability and violence continued, in spite of these political transitions and the measures put in place to stop the fighting, reconcile warring parties and stabilise the CAR. This article argues for a process-based leadership perspective for achieving sustainable peace in the CAR. A process-based approach to leadership, rather than one that narrowly focuses only on particular personalities or individuals in formal positions of authority, offers a potential for peaceful solutions that are the product of interaction between those administering peace and the whole of the affected society receiving peace. Process-based leadership is conceptualised as process – it opens up the possibility of finding lasting solutions to conflict, from within wider society.5 This article looks at the historical and contemporary roots of conflict in the CAR. The dilemma of peacebuilding in the CAR is then discussed, followed by leadership as a process in peacebuilding.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Leadership, Peace, Sustainability, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: Naila Salihu
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been home to the one of the oldest peacekeeping missions in the world – the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – due to many periods of instability. Since independence in 1960, the country has been embroiled in conflict. Joseph Kabila succeeded his late father, Laurent Kabila, as president, following the latter’s assassination in 2001. He ruled the country for almost 17 years, and controversially won two elections, in 2006 and 2011. His tenure expired in November 2016, necessitating presidential and legislative elections. However, in September 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced the postponement of elections, citing reasons of violence in parts of the country, as well as logistical and financial constraints. CENI also petitioned the Constitutional Court and obtained authorisation to postpone elections to compile a fresh voter register. These developments were met with widespread anger and protests over what some saw as Kabila’s refusal to relinquish power at the end of his second constitutionally mandated term. In the face of a legitimacy crisis and mounting domestic and external pressures from western powers, the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), combined presidential, legislative and provincial elections were held on 30 December 2018. The initial announcement to the elections was met with some reservations. Nonetheless, the elections took place. Contrary to widely held views of machinations by the incumbent government to cling to power, long-time opposition leader, Félix Tshisekedi, emerged as the new president of the DRC, having secured over 7 million votes, representing 38.57% of the total votes cast. The runner-up – another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, leader of the Lamuka coalition – garnered about 6.3 million votes (34.38%). The ruling coalition’s candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, came in third with over 4.3 million votes, representing 23.84% of votes cast.1 The voter turnout was 47.6%. However, Fayulu, who led the pre-election polls, filed a fraud complaint with the country’s highest court, calling for a recount of the official results. The court upheld the results. The DRC’s Catholic Church also intimated that the results gathered by its 40 000-strong monitoring team pointed to a different outcome than announced by the electoral commission.2 The disputed elections have larger consequences for the post-Kabila government. This article discusses the issues surrounding the elections and implications for stability in the post-election environment. The first section discusses the contentious issues that characterised the pre-election phase. This is followed by an analysis of developments in the post-election environment and the overall implications for stability.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Political stability, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Sandra Tombe
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The date 12 January 2019 marked four months since the government of South Sudan, under the leadership of President Salva Kiir; the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), under Riek Machar; and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, among others, signed the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018. The agreement stipulates that its implementation will be done in two stages. First, the Pre-Transitional Phase (PTP) has an eight-month time frame in which parties to the agreement, through the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC), will prepare for the implementation of the R-ARCSS. Phase Two, effectively, is the implementation phase: a three-year period of a Revitalised Transnational Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) to begin at the end of the PTP. The three-year period of the RTGoNU is then to be followed by national elections. Although Kiir released some political prisoners and detainees in accordance with the R-ARCSS shortly after its signing, there was no shortage of concerns regarding whether the agreement would hold. The R-ARCSS – an endeavour to resuscitate its predecessor of 2015, the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) – is the 12th such attempt at present to broker peace between the main opposition parties and end the conflict in the world’s newest state. If anything can be gleaned from the short South Sudanese past in relation to the conflict, it is that one has no reason to expect a significantly different outcome from the R-ARCSS. It could fall apart the way agreements that came before it did. However, times have also changed, and there is a potentially different outcome that could be expected. At this juncture, Sudan to the north and Uganda to the south are much more “invested in peace” in South Sudan. For Sudan, not only does championing peace present President Omar Al-Bashir with the opportunity to rebrand himself regionally as a peacemaker, but it also diverts from the turmoil and uncertainty he faces at home because of the tanking Sudanese economy, which recently led to the declaration of a state of emergency.2 For Uganda, brokering peace not only allows it to counter recent credible reports of its role in arms supply to the South Sudanese warring parties, but it may provide the state with an opportunity to show a “positive” side of its interventionist politics in the region – if not quite a paradigm shift in its foreign policy.3 Uganda also faces an influx of thousands of South Sudanese refugees, displaced by the violence and insecurity in their home country. For both Sudan and Uganda, the war in South Sudan comes with significant costs, including economic challenges that only worsen with time.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peace, Transition, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Ingvild Magnaes Gjelsvik
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration for members of violent extremist groups during ongoing conflict is a tricky matter. Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes are normally implemented after a peace agreement is in place. However, this does not apply to south central Somalia, as well as other conflict-ridden areas around the world today. Providing adequate security for those wanting to leave violent extremist groups is arguably a key element for success for programmes operating in such contexts. This article looks at some of the security challenges the Defector Rehabilitation Programme (DRP) for al-Shabaab members has encountered in south central Somalia. The lessons learnt presented in this article were mainly gathered through discussions and presentations made at a training held in Nairobi in November 2017 by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for programme staff in the DRP. Interviews and conversations were also carried out with staff members and partners involved in different stages of the programme, and practitioners and stakeholders working to prevent or counter violent extremism in Somalia, during field trips to south central Somalia between 2013 and 2017.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Peace, Rehabilitation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Edknowledge Mandikwaza
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Beyond offensive international diplomatic actions, court applications and protests, a national dialogue appears the best alternative to resolve Zimbabwe’s swelling socio-economic and political afflictions. The country is at a crossroads as its political and economic crises deepen. To salvage it from complete collapse, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on 22 January 2019, called on political parties, churches and civic society leaders to participate in a national dialogue. Only political parties, however, were invited to the inaugural dialogue, which commenced on 7 February 2019. Churches, on the other hand, have mooted their own national dialogue process. The dominant purpose of both dialogue initiatives, however, remains vague to ordinary citizens and to diverse stakeholders, yet the principle of inclusivity should underpin such developments. This article therefore provides insights on what constitutes a national dialogue, why it is necessary, the potential for success, challenges, and possible steps towards an inclusive process.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nationalism, Elections, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Robin Faibt
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: National interests and unilateral action hinder cooperation between the Nile riparian countries.1 While there is broad consensus that cooperation provides a solution to conflict over the Nile River, the question is how to transform the conflict towards cooperative behaviour. Mediation between the main conflict parties – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – is necessary. The mediation efforts should be based on African approaches to conflict resolution, focusing on the realisation that one’s own well-being is intrinsically linked to the well-being of others. Mediation based on such a framework could change perspectives from national interests towards cooperation, which is not merely interested in mutual gains but reflects a sense of solidarity between the conflict parties and how benefits are interconnected.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Territorial Disputes, Water, Maritime, Land
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt
  • Author: Ugwumba Egbuta
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The drive for survival and for greener pastures has continued to force millions of West African young men and women to gamble with death in attempts to cross over to Europe and other parts of the world. This quest to escape poverty, hunger, unemployment and insecurity, among other reasons, caused a major segment of Nigeria’s population to seek alternatives for better livelihood prospects for themselves and their families.1 Those seeking economic survival see irregular migration as the best alternative, given the difficulty and resources involved in migrating through regular and legitimate routes. In many instances, very few of the original number who set out on these dangerous journeys live to tell their stories. While many regularly drown in the Mediterranean Sea, many also die in the deserts, and others are sold as slaves in a modern slave market. Most of the victims of this trade are from West Africa. Many of them leave home with expectations of getting to Europe and other destinations perceived to have better economic prospects for them, but they end up in the slave merchant nets in North Africa. The victims are put in camps and sold in open markets in Libya, while the international community watches in silence. The geographical location of Libya renders it a transit route for migrants journeying to Italy and many other parts of Europe. The migration crisis in Libya and its attendant consequences was made more possible by the instability in Libya, occasioned by the October 2011 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-led war against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The fall of that regime left the country even more politically unstable, with increased security threats that are spilling over into other parts of Africa. Europe, in particular, lost a credible partner in its efforts to address or reduce irregular migration from Africa. Poor governance and institutional ruin as a fall-out of the war paved the way for the emergence of criminal syndicates, whose trade in human beings is now finally attracting some global attention. To address this, the European Union (EU) proposed setting up reception centres in Libya for African migrants while their asylum applications undergo consideration.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Slavery, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Nigeria
  • Author: Lweendo Kambela
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: There are currently a number of debates among scholars and researchers in social sciences, particularly those whose research work is on the issues of war and peace. These debates are around the notion of “new” and “old” wars, and were sparked by scholars such as Kaldor, who argued that new wars are significantly distinct from old wars in many ways. In her writing, she described new wars as “a mixture of war, organized crime and massive violations of human rights in which actors are both global and local, public and private. These wars are fought for particularistic political goals using tactics of terror and destabilization that are theoretically outlawed by the rules of modern warfare.”1 Following this argument, this article presents a similar view: that new wars are distinct from old wars. In describing old wars, Kaldor explains that they were fought by regular armed forces of states, and were financed by the respective states. To a greater extent, these wars were fought within the dictates of international humanitarian law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict (LOAC). This article advances this idea by adding terrorism as one dimension of new wars. It discusses terrorism as a phenomenon of new wars, and narrows down this discussion to modern terrorism activities perpetrated by the Boko Haram and al-Shabaab terrorist groups. Such activities are principally a manifestation of new wars on the African continent.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on 12 September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the warring parties in South Sudan, has been widely extolled and commended as a significant development signalling the dawn of peace. The peace deal is an attempt to revive the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) of 17 August 2015, which had apparently broken down as a result of the outbreak of civil war triggered by the violent confrontations that erupted on the night of 7 July 2016 in Juba. Whilst it is not very surprising that almost all South Sudanese, stakeholders to the conflict and commentators across Africa and beyond have expressed fervent hope, generous optimism and great expectations for peace and stability, given the intractability of the conflict in South Sudan, it is equally important to undertake a timely analysis of the R-ARCSS – specifically the possible and probable interplay of factors that may have implications for the success, or otherwise, of the peace agreement. The idea is always to systematically and constructively identify critical issues that may be pertinent to consider as all relevant stakeholders invest efforts towards peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes in South Sudan. This article therefore examines the R-ARCSS within the context of the South Sudanese internal and external conflict environment, and presents the key enablers and obstacles to the success of the peace agreement.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Bard Drange
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: In most cases, political solutions to armed conflicts are professed by a plethora of local, regional and international actors. In practice, however, durable political solutions – typically symbolised through peace agreements – are scarce. While peace agreements may be signed, political willingness, as well as the ability to implement them, is often in short supply. Hence, many peace agreements remain words on paper, not actions in the field. This is also the case in Africa, where many conflict areas see peace agreements being signed, violated and forgotten. This article examines the 2015 peace agreement in Mali and the case of the 2016 peace agreement in Colombia. The 2015 Bamako Agreement for Mali – despite hopes to end armed violence and provide a framework for peace – has had little impact on the ground and serves to illustrate some of the limitations of peace agreements. Does the commonly considered successful case of Colombia shed light on the struggling Malian peace process? This article suggests that the Colombian peace process does provide useful insights into the challenges in Mali. This is discussed in the context of what, with whom and when to negotiate. Following this analysis, some lessons learnt are identified, along with concluding remarks on how these two cases illustrate both the potential and limits of peace agreements.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Colombia, South America, Mali
  • Author: Reuben J.B. Lewis
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: It is now commonplace that every election in any country across Africa is a defining moment for statebuilding or a potential source of conflict – and for countries coming out of civil war, the stakes are even higher. Therefore, systems and structures must be operationalised as a catalyst to prevent or avert political violence in times of elections. In West Africa, National Elections Response Groups (NERGs) are being developed as response structures to mitigate election-related conflict, and their operationalisation is proving to be successful in a number of countries that have held elections – including, most recently, in Sierra Leone. NERGs are designed as infrastructures for peace, and serve as platforms for peaceful dialogue and shuttle diplomacy with political parties during national elections. NERGs also respond to incidences of harassment, intimidation and violence; work towards keeping communities calm and organised; and engage with all political groups to keep the peace. This article discusses the development and operationalisation of NERGs as an infrastructure for peace during recent elections in some West African countries.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Elections, Democracy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Zurab Elzarov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The protracted conflict since 2003 in Darfur, Sudan, has resulted in massive loss of human lives and assets, disrupted livelihoods and led to severe food insecurity in some areas. Some 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are registered as living in camps. For unregistered IDPs – that is, displaced people living in rural settlements and urban areas – estimates vary considerably, especially as there is no systematic registration of displacement outside of camps.1 IDPs and their host communities have limited livelihood options and often rely on unsustainable coping strategies, such as unmanaged cutting of trees and shrubs for fuelwood and charcoal production. This places an additional burden on Darfur’s fragile ecosystem and related livelihoods.2
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Darfur
  • Author: Jude Nsom Waindim
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Long before Africa was colonised, and way beyond the advent of slave trade, African societies had institutional mechanisms as well as cultural sources to uphold the values of peace, tolerance, solidarity and respect for, and of, one another. These structures were responsible for “peace education, confidence-building, peacemaking, peacebuilding, conflict monitoring, conflict prevention, conflict management, and conflict resolution”.1 If these mechanisms were effective in handling and managing conflicts among the people, it was largely because they reflected the sociopolitical orientation of the African people, addressing all the social, political and economic conflicts among a people who lived a communal way of life. Thus, it was customary as well as common currency to happen upon people sitting down informally to discuss and agree on important issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict, Peace, Tradition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Irene Dawa
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This article presents the results of a study conducted in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in the Yumbe District of Uganda between June and August 2018. It examines the conflict trends between refugees and host communities. The aim was to understand the drivers and dynamics of conflicts in the settlement. This article highlights the key findings of the study and some suggestions for conflict transformation for better relationships. The data collection process took 20 days. The methodology used for this research was based on qualitative study design. Qualitative data collection was done through focus group discussions using interview guides, direct observation, and structured and semi-structured interviews with different community-level committees, such as refugee welfare committees (RWCs) and the host population. Non-structured interviews and informal meetings were also held to collect complementary information, especially with the various stakeholders, such as local government officials, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other implementing partners. Direct observation was used to confirm conflict dynamics reported during interviews, for validity and reliability. This study was inspired by the conflict transformation theory of Lederach. According to Lederach,1 conflict is normal and dynamic within human relationships and can be seen as a catalyst for growth.
  • Topic: Refugees, Displacement, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: In 2013, Zimbabweans overwhelmingly endorsed the adoption of a new constitution through a referendum held in March 2013. The constitution was hailed by many as constituting a break from the past; thus the document represented an “aspirational nation”. The ”YES Vote” campaign drew support from across the political divide. An overwhelming 94.4 % of the electorate voted in support of the new constitution while the “No Vote” campaign fronted by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) garnered less than 5% of the national vote.1 One possible explanation for the overwhelming endorsement is that the proposed constitution touched on bi-partisan issues that the electorate saw as important in moving the country forward and breaking with the past. For example, it guaranteed freedom of speech and association, introduced presidential term limits and also proposed mechanisms to increase and enhance the visibility of women in national politics. A closer analysis of the exercise, however, reveals that constitution making was in fact cumbersome. Political party representatives involved in the processes tried hard to outsmart each other in an attempt to sway the process to either camp’s advantage. So arduous was the process that the constitution making exercise had to be briefly aborted as the main political actors, namely, Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations reached a political stalemate. Once the challenging issues had been resolved, the process continued and a new constitution was finally birthed and adopted in May 2013.
  • Topic: Politics, Democracy, Political Parties, Parliamentarism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Freedom C. Onuoha, Jide Ojo
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: “Going, going, gone!” is a refrain commonly used to herald the determination of the highest bidder of an item being sold on auction. This process of presenting items for bid, taking bids, and then selling them to the highest bidder aptly encapsulates a questionable practice that has permeated Nigeria’s recent electoral experience: vote buying. Vote buying is not fundamentally new to Nigeria’s electoral politics or only restricted to Nigeria or Africa.1 According to Matenga, however, “nearly 80% of voters from 36 African countries believe voters are bribed – either sometimes, often or always. Furthermore, 16% of voters in African countries reported being offered money or goods in exchange for their vote during the last election”. Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in May 1999, vote buying has steadily grown in scale and brazenness. Several videos and images have emerged, showing unabashed sharing of cash, food and valuable items among the electorate by politicians and parties during recent elections in Edo, Anambra, Ondo and Ekiti states. This has led to the apt description of Nigeria’s electoral politics as “cash-and-carry democracy”. If not urgently addressed, this trend portends grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy. This article therefore highlights the nature, causes and implications of vote buying for democratic governance in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Corruption, Governance, Elections, Democracy, Bribery
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Lawrence Mhandara
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Policy makers and scholarship on peacebuilding increasingly focus on reconciliation. In fact, peacebuilding efforts after violent experiences are usually accompanied by powerful calls to go the reconciliation route. Reconciliation is the mutual acceptance of the other in a peaceful relationship and the sustainability of that acceptance; accompanied by a commitment to bind relationships in accord with future interests rather than being stuck in a conflicted past. Yet reconciliation remains a profound challenge in societies that experience political violence. Zimbabwe is facing a similar situation despite a series of state-centred efforts at reconciliation. From the 1980 Policy of National Reconciliation to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), a constant pattern of inefficacy is observed. This article arises from concerns about why reconciliation in Zimbabwe is elusive. The aim of the study, then, was to devise a restorative-based intervention to build capacity for reconciliation among a small sample of adults in Harare. The primary question was: How can people affected by political violence but continuing to live together build their own capacity to promote reconciliation in the absence of effective state interventions? I conceptualised a reconciliation that would be derived from the theory of restoration as an approach that can transform relationships toward peaceful interaction. This yielded a theoretical framework that combined elements of reconciliation, restorative justice and conflict transformation theories, which was the basis for designing and analysing findings. A qualitative methodology combining interviews and focus-group discussions was utilised. Action research was the main design, in which one action cycle was utilised by the action group to implement an intervention. Action group participants’ responses offer evidence of how building capacity for reconciliation needs to be conceptualised through interventions that are participatory, collaborative and centred on the locals. The article reveals that restorative-focused dialogical conversations are useful in restoring broken relationships among political opponents. This is a viable alternative for promoting reconciliation in the absence of effective state responses.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Violence, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Ugwumba Egbuta
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has been grappling with diverse security challenges, chief among them are insurgency, election violence, kidnapping and most recently, the herder-farmer conflicts among others. The north central states of Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa and other states have experienced conflicts that led to thousands of deaths and displacements as a result of clashes between pastoralists (herders) and local farmers in several communities. In January 2018 alone, Amnesty International reports indicate that 168 people were killed as a result of herdsmen-farmer clashes.1 Struggle over grazing land and scarce resources have over the years resulted in perennial and growing violent conflicts in terms of frequency, intensity and geographic scope. Underpinning the escalation in frequency of conflicts in Nigeria is a confluence of environmental and demographic forces, especially desertification caused by climate change and population explosion. Expectedly, with the depletion of arable land for subsistence farming largely as a result of increasing urbanisation and the adverse effect of climate change, especially along the Lake Chad basin, there is increased struggle between herdsmen and farmers – leading to violent confrontations and conflicts, deaths and forced displacement, as well as the destruction of agriculture and livestock. The persistent attacks in Benue state have had a spill-over effect on the neighbouring state of Nasarawa. In January 2018, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that over 18 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in 11 camps in Nasarawa state. A major cause for the escalating intensity of the conflict is the increasing proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria. Given that host communities (including farmers) also have access to sophisticated weapons, minor disagreement or provocation often degenerates into violent clashes, resulting in widespread destruction of property and human casualties. This article interrogates the theoretical underpinnings of the conflict and analyses the trends and dynamics of the conflict. Recommendations are proffered to end the incessant herder-farmer conflicts, and by extension halt the killing and displacement of people.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Conflict, Rural, Farming
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Natasja Rupesinghe
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The Joint Force of the Group of Five of the Sahel (Force Conjointe du G5 Sahel or FC-G5S) is the latest initiative by African member states to reduce the threat of terrorism in the Sahel, a region that is often framed as an arc of instability. The FC-G5S – which includes Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad – was authorised by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) on 13 April 2017 for a 12-month period, and was later – on 20 June 2017 – welcomed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).1 It was reauthorised by the AU PSC for a 12-month period on 12 April 2018.2 This article focuses on the security pillar of the G5 Sahel, by examining the FC-G5S mandate to combat terrorism in the Sahel. After a brief background, the article provides an overview of the main jihadist protagonists in the Sahel, demonstrating that some of these groups emerge and thrive, due to distinctly local, societal problems, and should not only be viewed through the prism of terrorism. The article then examines the FC-G5S counterterrorism (CT) strategy and the conceptualisation and configuration of the force itself, and argues that currently there is a danger of advancing a security-first stabilisation strategy through relying on military-led CT operations to contain and deter the threat of terrorist groups. This approach depoliticises these groups, and risks reducing emphasis on the local, sociopolitical and economic factors that have enabled violent extremism to take root in the first place.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Craig Bailie
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: At the end of the Cold War, Huntington described the expansion and contraction of democracy through history and across the world in terms of “waves”. Referring to what he called “democracy’s third wave” (argued to have begun in the mid-1970s), he asked whether the world was “[e]arly in a long wave, or at or near the end of a short one”.1 He could only speculate, however, as to the answer to his question. Although Huntington’s analysis of democratisation is not without criticism, it remains true that at the time of his writing, a significant number of countries in the world lacked democratic regimes – that is, political systems involving competition, inclusiveness and civil liberties.2 Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, “remained personal dictatorships, military regimes, one-party systems, or some combination of these three.”3 In Africa, the opportunity and need for democratisation was therefore significant.
  • Topic: Globalization, Military Affairs, Democracy, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anusanthee Pillay
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Originally protesting the corruption and inequality produced by state structures and calling for a return to a “purer”, more Islamic way of life, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lida’awati Wal Jihad (JAS, translated as “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”) – commonly known as Boko Haram – emerged in north-east Nigeria in 2005. Over time, the protest morphed into declaring control over territory, setting off bombs including through “suicide” bombers, forced recruitment, kidnapping and violence against women and girls, including sexual violence and forced marriage.1 As with all asymmetrical2 conflicts, those profoundly affected are the civilians. This conflict has affected over 14 million people, with an estimated 20 000 killed, about 2 million displaced and over 200 000 having fled to neighbouring states and countries.3 Borno State has been the epicentre of the conflict, with the neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe severely affected. These three states host 92% of internally displaced persons (IDPs), with females accounting for 52% of the IDP population. While 10.2 million people are estimated to be in need, there are varying levels of vulnerability within the affected communities, which are frequently defined by age and sex.4 Vulnerability assessments show that female-headed households, for example, are at higher risk of sexual and physical violence, and are also more likely to experience rape, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation – engaging in survival sex with humanitarian aid workers, security forces and community members who have access to food, shelter or non-food items. This is compounded by the fact that the social fabric – including supporting mechanisms and institutions – has collapsed and is unable to provide protection to the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, women and children. In addition, abductions, particularly of women and girls, have become a trend. While many girls are ultimately returned, they face stigma and discrimination when they try to reintegrate themselves and any children born as a consequence into their communities. This leaves them severely traumatised and isolated, which has led to further negative outcomes – even, in some cases, to the extent of rejoining their abductors.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Terrorism, Local, Boko Haram, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Edknowledge Mandikwaza
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Little is known about the contribution of nhimbe, an indigenous collaborative work system, in peacebuilding – yet it has boundless potential to promote sustainable peace and community cohesion-building. Nhimbe is an indigenous traditional practice where community members come together to work towards a common goal. In the process of working together, individuals build relationships – they share experiences and develop a sense of family and community. Societal conflicts, tensions and problems are diffused, and some conflicts are resolved as people participate in nhimbes. This article proposes an indigenous conceptual model for peacebuilding using nhimbes, by reviewing how Heal Zimbabwe Trust, a community peacebuilding organisation, utilises nhimbe as a violence prevention and conflict transformation tool. The article demonstrates how nhimbe platforms promote community peace and social cohesion by empowering communities to become tolerant, mend individual and community relations and, ultimately, reconcile their past disputes.
  • Topic: Local, Peace, Community, Tradition
  • Political Geography: Africa