n Africa Insight - Good governance-mediation interactions - an unexplored imperative contribution to peace and security

Volume 49 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article examines good governance-mediation nexus in peace processes and its role in leading to the creation of a peaceful society and sustainable peace. After defining the concepts of mediation, governance and good governance, and examining their interaction, the article critically assesses the African Union’s (AU’s) peace agreement for Burundi to explain that the failure of good democratic governance in the country is actually resulting from the failure of African mediators to understand the role of good governance when conducting the mediation process. The article shows that post-mediation phases in Africa are characterised by the recurrence of armed conflicts and electoral violence because of the failure to bring principles of good governance to the negotiation table. It proves that African mediators are former African leaders whose democratic good governance while in power was lacking; therefore, they are unable to understand the interaction between good governance and mediation when involved in the mediation process. Hence, deploying such leaders to conduct a mediation process is a fatal mistake amounting to burying a conflict alive. The article shows that African conflicts are intrastate in nature, and are triggered by the presence of uneven institutions that protracted bad governance and by the rebels who fight the governments, which state of affairs is exacerbated by a lack of understanding of what good governance means. The article concludes by asserting that it is vital for the deployed mediators to understand the interaction between good governance and mediation, and to teach the parties to understand the principles of good governance, and persuade them to be bound by those principles. Unless this interaction is understood and brought on-board at the negotiation table, conflicts in Africa will remain an unfinished business.

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