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Volumes & issues
Volume 2016, Issue 4, 2016
Author Vasu GoundenSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 2 –2 (2016)More Less
The year 2016 will be remembered as a watershed year the world over. It presented many surprises and upstaged many political pundits. In Europe, many were shocked by the exit of Britain from the European Union – better known as Brexit. In South Africa, power changed hands in key local government structures, putting the opposition in charge of the legislative, administrative and financial capitals of the country and dislodging the long-established liberation movement and current ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC). A few years ago, this result would have been unthinkable. The year ended with what must be one of the greatest political upsets ever: the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump for the powerful position of president-elect of the United States (US). Trump will be inaugurated as the US president on 20 January 2017, in what appears to be a very divided country.
Electoral mediation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho and Kenya : a comparative perspectiveSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 3 –10 (2016)More Less
The history of elections in Africa shows that the continent has made significant strides in ensuring that regular multiparty elections replace unconventional mechanisms of seizure of political power. Increasingly, elections have become highly competitive for the political parties, and candidates fight for the apparent social and economic gains accrued from the state. Regrettably for citizens of many countries on the continent, regular elections in Africa have not translated into the anticipated dividends of democracy – which was ushered with much hope in the early 1990s. Instead, there have been cases of election-related conflicts – as witnessed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (2006 and 2011), Lesotho (1998 and 2007), Burundi (2016), Kenya (1992, 1997 and 2007), Madagascar (2007), Zimbabwe (2005 and 2008), Zambia (2015 and 2016), Côte d’Ivoire (2010), Guinea (2015) and Uganda (2016) – to mention a few. In the majority of these cases, the political elite have been accused of manipulating the electoral process in their favour. Consequently, the electoral environment in most countries has become more complex in terms of democracy and governance, amidst high demands from citizens for greater participation and accountable governance. In their continued search for alternative leaders to deliver the social and economic dividends of governance, political leaders in power have been faced with two major alternatives: constrict the democratic space by restraining dissenting political voices, or engage in policy reforms (sometimes under popular duress) in response to citizen demands.
Developing security structures in Europe : lessons learned from the African Peace and Security ArchitectureAuthor Floris van der BeekSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 11 –17 (2016)More Less
Both the African and European continents are increasingly affected by violent conflict since the start of the new millennium. The backlash of the Arab Spring intensified violent extremism in some regions of Africa, and the conflict in Ukraine worsened tensions between Russia and European countries and their allies. These developments urged policymakers at the continental level on both sides of the Mediterranean to respond, and to present new policies to counter modern challenges. In Africa, policymakers focused on the continuous implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), while their European counterparts used resources to design new structures of defence and security. Three developments have contributed to the European Union’s (EU) renewed commitment to integrate its member states’ security and defence policies. First was an eruption of violent conflict observed in the EU’s backyard, with the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in March 2014. Second, large numbers of refugees arrived in Greece in the summer of 2015, sparking political discussions on issues of culture and the integration of migrants in many of the member states. Third, against the backdrop of the first two developments, defence expenditure in the EU has declined since the end of the Cold War – from 2.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the 12 EU member states in 1990 to 1.4% for the same group of countries in 2015. Currently, there are no signs that the effect of any of these three developments on the EU will decrease. This presents an opportunity for discussions on the institutional development of peace and security structures. Addressing these challenges, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, stated that “[s]trengthening European security and defence capabilities is therefore one of [the EU’s] big projects. We are working on reinforcing all the dimensions, […] from the strategic policy framework down to the foundations.”
Author Christopher ZambakariSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 18 –25 (2016)More Less
The debate within liberal peace studies on how to build peaceful societies has produced an important body of knowledge that is informing and shaping the governance of many countries in Africa and around the world. This article critically evaluates the assumptions and values of liberal peace on statebuilding by situating it within the current debate in peace studies, and focuses particularly on one of the key assumptions in liberal peace literature: that peace is necessarily the outcome of liberal democracy, marketbased economic reforms and the formation of institutions associated with modern states. A case study from East Africa illustrates this paradigm. The main question is: What are the challenges to liberal peace in post-colonial African contexts? To interrogate the paradigm underpinning liberal peace, the article concentrates on recent statebuilding activities in South Sudan.
This article specifically pays attention to the limits of statebuilding processes, as documented in academic literature,without concerted efforts simultaneously to build the nation. Using the case of South Sudan, where liberal peace has been implemented without success, the case is made for a significant investment in nation-building activities such as addressing the legacies of conquest and violence, fostering social cohesion between communities, and strengthening ongoing dialogues within and between societies.
Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo : can stability prevail?Author Kitenge Fabrice TundaSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 26 –32 (2016)More Less
From the very beginning, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) new disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme was lauded as a key process that would bring peace and security to the eastern DRC, and sustainable stability in the African Great Lakes region. For the past two decades, the region has remained embroiled in an unending deadly conflict that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and increased the number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the proliferation of armed rebel groups has continued unabated.
Through its resolutions 20981 and 21472, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) supported the development of a comprehensive DDR and disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement (DDRRR) programme. The United Nations (UN) also called on the DRC government to uphold its commitment to the initiated security sector reform (SSR), and that the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) had to provide support and advice for the programme’s implementation.
Author Irene LimoSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 33 –41 (2016)More Less
Violence during an election cycle is an all-too-frequent phenomenon in most African countries, where it may be triggered by political or ethnic tensions, or flawed electoral processes. Post-conflict countries and countries in conflict often face extraordinary challenges with respect to development and security. More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict, with poverty rates 20% higher in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence. Elections, a hallmark of democracy and process for political transitions, have often served as triggers of violence. Electoral violence slows the consolidation of democratic norms; reduces the prospects for long-term, durable peace and stability; and undermines economic growth by limiting the purchasing power of citizens. Thus, managing election-related violence is critical in building strong governing institutions and creating durable peace.
Al Mahdi’s case before the International Criminal Court : a landmark decision in the protection of cultural and religious sitesAuthor Frédéric Foka TaffoSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 42 –49 (2016)More Less
International humanitarian law and international criminal law are usually regarded as tools with the primary aim of protecting people against gross violations of their rights. This is not false. However, these two branches of public international law, in the context of international or non-international conflicts, also protect objects, especially those that have a certain value for people who are the first victims of war. It is in this regard that on 27 September 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered a landmark decision in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi. This case appeared before the ICC following the referral to the Prosecutor of the Court in 2012 by the Government of Mali. In January 2012, a conflict of non-international character occurred in the territory of Mali. Following this, different armed groups, including Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), took control of the northern part of the country – namely Timbuktu.
Author Naila SalihuSource: Conflict Trends 2016, pp 50 –56 (2016)More Less
Civil-military relations have received extensive scholarly attention, especially during the 1960s–1980s period when coups d’état were very common in West Africa, in particular, and Africa, in general. Since the beginning of what Samuel Huntington described as the “Third Wave of Democratization” in the 1990s, there has been a relative decline in militarism in politics in the region. West African countries are currently at different stages of their democratic processes. It was envisaged that coups d’état would have become a thing of the past in the region, due to the acceptance of global and regional normative frameworks of democracy and good governance. However, democratic dividends in the region have been mixed, and some countries have witnessed a reversal to the coup phenomenon. By way of example, the most recent coups in the region occurred in Guinea (2008), Niger (2010), Mali (2012), Guinea-Bissau (2012) and Burkina Faso (2014 and 2015).