TOPICS: Climate War, Human Rights, State Reconstruction, Fonship, Social Reintegration of Ex-Militant Youths, Syria
Christian Chereji and Ciprian Sandu
ARTICLES in Issue 21 – October 2017:
Nigeria: Climate War. Migratory Adaptation and Farmer-Herder Conflicts
Temitope Edward AKINYEMI & Azeez OLANIYAN
Climate change and its impacts on the physical environment have received increased attention in recent years, spurring debates on its global and local dimensions. While a common ground has been reached on its causes, manifestations and options for mitigation, its human security implications remain poorly understood. Links between climate change and social conflict is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change impacts assessment literature as priorities diverge between generalised scientific validity (pedagogy) and context-based security analysis (policy). This paper examines climate change-conflict linkages drawing upon experiences of migrant pastoralists and arable farming host communities in Nigeria. It found a strong causal linkage between exposure to impacts of climate change and growing incidence of conflict over renewable natural resources. It recommends contextualised analyses of the linkage as well as the integration of climate-related conflict into Nigeria’s security policy frameworks particularly, its climate change impact assessment and intervention strategies.
Climate change, conflict, host communities, migratory adaptation, renewable natural
Somalia: Making Human Rights Central to the State Rebuilding
Dr. Ahmed Ali M. KHAYRE
Somalia has been without any effective, central government for the last two decades. The UN Commission on Human Rights stated that “without a central administrative structure, it is not possible to lay down the foundations of a permanent program of human rights for Somalia”. On the other hand, there is a widespread consensus that, for a functioning central authority to be constituted, human rights protection should be made central to all attempts. Admittedly, it seems that the current effort to rebuild the collapsed state of Somalia is geared towards restoring a ‘minimalist’ state that can restore law and order without further thinking about the contextual circumstances and actual reasons, particularly human rights violations, which led to the collapse in the first place. This paper argues that it makes no sense rebuilding the same abusive state institutions. The argument proceeds in three stages. Firstly, it critically analyses the previous failed endeavours that tried to recreate the old order, without human rights components being implemented in the process. Secondly, it examines the role of human rights in creating a legitimate authority that can adequately protect human rights of the citizens. Finally, this paper suggests ways to embed human rights into all facets of state rebuilding.
Human Rights, Somalia, State Collapse, Humanitarian Law, Africa, Horn of Africa.
Cameroon: Fonship and Power Politics in State Formation in Bafut
Divine Fuhnwi NGWA
This work is an analysis of the strategies and methods used by a leader to wield power and maintain peace in a community prone to conflict, power and leadership crisis. The process of state formation or nation building in Africa has its own peculiarities. They differ from one community to the other depending on the practices of the people. The lifespan of the state also depends on the mechanism and strategies applied by the leader to manage conflicts encountered by his administration. In Bafut, traditional authority, governance and power politics revolve around the position of the Fon. He is at the head of a centralised polity made up of people from diverse origins speaking different languages. These people were brought together through conquest and assimilation by the ancestors of the Fon who succeeded in creating a ruling dynasty over the groups of people in the area. This led to the emergence of a complex political structure whose administration under the dynasty was suffocated by power tussles. Thus, for the people to remain strong and united and for statehood to be sustained, the Fon at the head of the dynasty had to adopt some political mechanisms and strategies to contain pressure from his opponents or detractors as well as maintain the various groups under his control. In fact, he is said to command the instrument of conflict management, resolution and mediation in his community. Through books, memoirs, thesis and interviews, we concluded that conflict is a characteristic of power politics and no system is free from it given the ‘omnipresence’ of ambitious detractors. Thus, the ability the Fon to hold Bafut together under his control makes the fondom a perfect example of unity in diversity and master of the politics of peaceful coexistence.
Fonship, Power Politics, State Formation, Bafut, Cameroon.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Societal Reintegration of Ex-Militant Youths
Jude Kenechi ONYIMA
This is a study of how militant youths in Sub-Saharan African conflict areas reintegrated into civilian life after they were granted Amnesty. Specifically, the study explored what reintegration means to different segments of the society and how the amnesty programs fit these descriptions, the extent to which the ex-militants are reintegrated into civilian life socially, economically and politically, the contextual factors that make reintegration difficult and how the different forms of capital acquired by the ex-militants during and after the crisis have transformed. The area of study was the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria where sixty ex-militants and eighteen community leaders from Ijaw, Urhobo and Itshekiri ethnic groups were selected for the study. Questionnaire, interviews and focus group discussions were employed to generate the needed data. Findings revealed that the way the reintegration package was carried out fell short of what the ex-militants and the communities perceive reintegration to be. As a result, the ex-militants have not been effectively reintegrated into civilian life. Factors such as failure to address the cause and effects of the conflict, alienation of the communities in the amnesty program and inability to find substitutes for the ex-militants hindered effective reintegration. Meanwhile, the different forms of capital acquired by the ex-militants have undergone some transformation much of which was used for clandestine activities. The study recommends that reintegration exercise should be based on the context that produced the conflict and that communities should be directly involved in its design and implementation.
Reintegration, Niger Delta, ex-militants, Amnesty.
Syria: Evaluation of Russo-American Zero-Sum Game in the Protracted Fratricide
This research examines the part played by the United States and Russia in the prolonged catastrophe in Syria. Syria (a strategic ally of Russia) has been enveloped by civil hostilities since 2011. Inspired by the ‘Arab Spring’ that swept through the region in 2011, what started as a fundamental challenge and strong opposition to Bashir al-Assad’s over-lordship has exploded into a full blown internal warfare, pitting government forces and their foreign allies led by Russia against a range of anti-government rebels and their overseas sponsors spearheaded by the United States. As the war rages on, the role being played by the two key external forces (US and Russia) has come under serious scrutiny. Pulling from qualitative data collected through secondary sources, this paper argues that the supremacy struggle between US and Russia has contributed in exacerbating rather than ameliorating the situation. The study recommends that there is every and urgent need for the Syrian people themselves especially the leadership to look inwards with a view to finding a lasting solution to the unrest as continued reliance on external forces will spell doom to the prospects of peace in Syria.
Arab Spring, civil hostilities, Russia, Syria, United States