n African Security Review - Whose justice? Contextualising Angola's reintegration process : essay

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Over the past decade, international efforts to end protracted conflict in Africa have directed large streams of funds towards the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants in rural areas. While designed as an integrated approach, the emphasis tends to lie on short time frames of transition through centrally managed programmes that narrowly target 'the demobilised'. Despite the good intentions of these programmes, there are a number of questions that need to be answered, particularly how the beneficiaries perceive them. This essay tries to answer some of these questions by analysing Caluquembe, a district in central Angola where villagers were subjected to violence on an everyday basis, and where since the war ended in 2002 hundreds of former UNITA soldiers and their families were reintegrated. The essay argues that the ongoing 'normalisation' efforts of reintegrating displaced people and demobilised soldiers are facing a number of challenges due to the narrow targeting of benefits, the lack of involvement of local government, the absence of any form of national reconciliation, and the emphasis on economic reintegration in an environment of extreme poverty and social exclusion. The essay also draws a number of lessons that could benefit reintegration efforts in the Great Lakes Region, particularly for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

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