TOPICS: Indigenous Peacekeeping, TRAC, Volunteer Vigilantism, Political Discourse, Refugee Crisis, Suicide Terrorism
Christian Chereji and Ciprian Sandu
ARTICLES in Issue 20 – July 2017:
Africa: ‘Intractable’ Conflicts and the Imperative of the Indigenous Idea of Peacebuilding
Chidi M. AMAECHI
The post-Cold War political situation, more than it did in the other parts of the world, aggravated the existing sectional interests and led to the proliferation of civil conflicts in Africa. The efforts of the international community towards the attainment of peace in the continent has not yielded much and hence the advocacies for the evolvement of alternative peacebuilding models. Moving beyond the prevalent suggestions for the active involvement of local actors, this research intends to identify the flaws inherent in the modern international peacebuilding mechanisms and to recommend the active involvement of the African Indigenous ideas of the concept. The rationale for such an advocacy is that societies differ in their cultural worldviews and, since each conflict tends to possess unique characteristics, it becomes expedient to identify those indigenous ideas of peacebuilding that could complement the existing formal structures in resolving the seemly intractable conflicts in Africa, especially within culturally homogenous entities.
Peacebuilding, Africa, Intractable Conflicts, African Ideas, Conflict Resolution.
South Africa and Rwanda: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Peacebuilding, Religious and Local African Authorities in conflict situations
Emmanuel Lohkoko AWOH & Walter Gam NKWI
This paper explores the character of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) in South Africa and the gacaca courts in Rwanda in a bid to understand how indigenous values emphasised within some of the different indigenous African cultures like Ubuntu (a quality that includes the essential human virtues – compassion and humanity) in South Africa accounted for the success of these institutions in these countries. What seems to be invariably missing in the other experiments of TRC across the continent is the lack of cultural considerations in their construct which this article argues that it accounted for their failure. While post-conflict reconciliation remains relevant, as communities move from war to peace and from repression to democracy and vice versa by healing relationships and social structures, many of the experiences with TRC, especially in non-Western contexts have ended up not being able to promote peace through genuine social repairs. In cases like Liberia and Ivory Coast, among many others, these institutions have been criticised as sidelining indigenous cultural values to yield the desired transformative effect. While much has been documented about the relative strengths of tribunals and TRCs, one area that has received little attention is the religious and cultural relevance of these institutions. There seems to be inadequate space created for cultural and religious traditions within these liberal mechanisms of peace building. While relying solely on secondary data in the conduct of this research, we argue that the present peace approaches in Africa have not adequately considered the cultural factors of the continent in their formation. Even within the advent of modernity and globalisation, traditional systems and their values could still be negotiated within the new status quo ante without losing its value. Their strength resides in the fact that they are not created solely by laws, but are generated by the respective communities.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRAC), Conflict, Peace Building, African Authorities.
Nigeria: Volunteer Vigilantism and Counter-Insurgency in the North-East
Okoli Al CHUKWUMA
The ambience of unconventional violence orchestrated by Boko Haram insurgents in North-East Nigeria has occasioned precarious civil and humanitarian atmosphere in that area. The exigency of the situation has necessitated an equally unconventional civil security response, as exemplified in the involvement of volunteer vigilantes in counter-insurgency operations of the state. Relying on a synthesis of primary and secondary research, based respectively on field interviews/discussions and library/desk sources, the paper evaluates the role of volunteer vigilantes in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in North-East Nigeria. The paper posits that the outcome of this emergency approach to security has been largely inconsistent and seemingly contradictory: while the vigilantes have been effective in degrading the strongholds of the insurgents through localized reconnaissance and counter-offensives in collaboration with the military, they have also contributed to intensifying the insurgency by engendering selective reprisals attacks by the insurgents on communities that are associated with the vigilante forces. Coupled with their manifest negative attitude to human rights, as well as their seeming potential for disintegration into amorphous armed militias in the aftermath of the counter-insurgency operations, the paper submits that the involvement of volunteer vigilantes in counter-insurgency is a dicey strategic option given the fragile security regime in Nigeria wherein the practice is liable to counter-productive and abusive outcomes.
Boko Haram, counter-insurgency, North-East Nigeria, volunteer, vigilante, vigilantism.
Romania: From Institutional to Personal Political Conflict. Mainstream Political Discourse on the Eve of the Refugee Crisis
Ioan HOSU & Mihnea S. STOICA
The article sheds light on the political conflict triggered in Romania by the refugee crisis.
In spite of Romania not being amongst the preferred destinations of the refugees, its voice within the European debate was by no means marginal. Nor was the topic peripheral in the discourse of Romanian mainstream political parties, which – surprisingly enough – sometimes had staggering opposite views on the issue. Our study taps into the communication patterns of both the media and the politicians representing mainstream political parties, as we aim to understand the political conflict on the issue. Our analysis suggests that political actors did not always respect their ideological views and that their attitudes on the quota system proposed by the European Commission were strategically
linked to an agenda not directly related to the refugee crisis.
Political communication, institutional conflict, refugee crisis, populism, immigration.
Terrorism: A Reflection on the Dynamics of Contemporary Suicide Terrorism
Mediel HOVE & Vincent CHENZI
Suicide terrorism has evaded understanding and the war on terror is failing in its attempt to counter and even control it. This article argues that suicide terrorism is largely caused by indoctrination and, therefore, the key to understand and defeat it is through weakening and even conquering indoctrination carried out by terror organizations. It further asserts that although other factors such as finance, weapons, religion, political environment, structured organization, infrastructure and sponsors contribute to suicide operations, they are not central. To this end, efforts to counter suicide terrorism should focus on ending radicalisation and/or indoctrination of individuals and communities.
Suicide terrorism, indoctrination, terrorist, religion, Islamic State, Social media