African Journal on Conflict Resolution - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Volume 16, Issue 2, 2016
Source: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 7 –9 (2016)More Less
Recently, I was startled when realising that most of the forewords I have written thus far were mainly reader-oriented. That prompted me to write an author-oriented one, for a change. More than that, it made me realise that it is indeed an editor's responsibility to share some important thoughts with prospective authors. Apologies, therefore, for having neglected this duty.
Efficacy of top-down approaches to post-conflict social coexistence and community building : experiences from ZimbabweAuthor Manase Kudzai ChiwesheSource: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 11 –34 (2016)More Less
This paper provides an assessment of the work done by the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) in post-2008 Zimbabwe. ONHRI was employed by the Zimbabwean government (precisely as Government of National Unity) to ensure national healing and integration. The efficacy of top-down approaches to social cohesion in post-conflict contexts is questioned. The paper outlines how political expediency, mistrust and polarisation debilitated the work of ONHRI. There was little consultation done in creating ONHRI, especially with communities affected by political violence. Academics, civil society, smaller political parties and private entities were left out of the process of creating social cohesion mechanisms. For the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the Organ was a concession on their part to the demands of the MDC and this led to problems in implementing its mandate. What transpired became a political cat and mouse game in which actors at the national level frustrated the process of uncovering the truth and the promotion of healing. ONHRI's work has to be understood within a context of political competition in the Government of National Unity (GNU) in which self-interest overtook the mandate of the Organ. The paper therefore argues that Zimbabwe lost an opportunity to entrench grassroots social cohesion and healing processes.
'There's no thing as a whole story' : storytelling and the healing of sexual violence survivors among women and girls in Acholiland, northern UgandaAuthor 'Seun BamideleSource: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 35 –56 (2016)More Less
Storytelling has become an acceptable intervention tool among transitional justice promoters and peace-builders because of its cathartic nature and ability to help society in transition to come to terms with a traumatic past. It has played a significant role in the area of truth finding and accountability and has been widely used in several countries in the last decade. In this article the focus is on Acholi women and girls in Acholiland, northern Uganda, who have suffered most severely from the impact of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony. Their stories of trauma in the face of terror have not been properly acknowledged. This paper examines the role of storytelling in the healing of sexual violence survivors. It argues that constructive storytelling projects can provide an avenue for survivors of sexual violence to acknowledge trauma and attain healing, and counter the violent narrative of the group. Finally, the paper proposes a platform for a community initiative storytelling project.
Competing orders and conflicts at the margins of the State : inter-group conflicts along the Ethiopia-Kenya borderAuthor Asebe Regassa DebeloSource: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 57 –83 (2016)More Less
In this paper, the interplay between various competing orders among three ethnic groups on the margins of the Ethiopian state that have overlapping presence along the Ethiopia-Kenya border is analysed. The paper probes into complex and intertwined causes of inter-group conflicts by going beyond the commonly asserted resource scarcity and ethnicity assumptions, arguing that any attempt to establish sustainable peace becomes futile without assessing inter-group conflict within a context including historical, environmental, political, economic, cultural and institutional dimensions. The paper also conceptualises the state as an active player in inter-group relations, as it plays a fundamental role in instigating and/or resolving conflicts based on its political, economic and strategic interests. Taking the case of inter-group conflicts among three groups inhabiting border areas along southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya, and by employing actor-oriented perspectives, the paper argues that the involvement of competing interests and claims on the side of the Ethiopian state, local communities and individuals, both in the instigation of conflicts and peacebuilding processes further complicates the situation. It concludes that inter-group conflict and attempts at peacebuilding in the region are to a large extent influenced by national political dynamics, changes in traditional institutions and cross-border relations.
Indigenous institutions as an alternative conflict resolution mechanism in eastern Ethiopia : the case of the Ittu Oromo and Issa Somali clansAuthor Zigale Tamir TenawSource: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 85 –109 (2016)More Less
The study was conducted in eastern Ethiopia where the Somali and Oromo ethnic groups live. The main purpose was to examine the roles and challenges of the indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms practised as an alternative to modern methods among the Ittu Oromo and Issa Somali clans. The study employed a qualitative research approach under which key informant interviews, focus group discussions, observations and informal discussions were conducted. Key informants and focus group discussants were selected purposively. It was found that territorial expansion, resource competition and cattle raiding were considered as the main causes of violent conflict in the area. Boundary disputes between the two regions have been associated not only with the accessibility of resources, but also with issues of identity. According to the participants, the indigenous institutions can play a major role in preventing and resolving intra-ethnic conflicts. There are cases of government support for indigenous institution leaders, especially where there is proximity between such leaders and the current political system. Government intervention in the indigenous systems can also result, however, in the weakening of customary institutions in the area. The absence of a single common binding indigenous institution that governs inter-ethnic conflict in the area is another challenge for indigenous systems of conflict resolution. Indigenous institutions can deal effectively with many conflicts caused by the above mentioned factors, but since they also have certain limitations, serious thought should be given to the option of appropriately integrating modern and indigenous institutions.
Source: African Journal on Conflict Resolution 16, pp 111 –115 (2016)More Less
Previous ACCORD publications on peace agreements have now been followed up by this one, which may be regarded as most relevant and most revealing. For everyone and every organisation committed to conflict resolution, this topic is obviously of great and constant importance. Of special concern to all of us, however, is the prevalent phenomenon that between peace agreements on paper and peace agreements implemented in real life there can be disappointing differences. And that is exactly what this book is about. In the introduction and the conclusion it is emphasised that the volume is focused 'on two specific questions: Why did the particular peace agreements under study fail or succeed? And to what extent do peace agreements contribute to the durability or fragility of peace?' (p. 2, cf. p. 284).