TOPICS: Mediation, Negotiation, New Media, Consent Theory of Power, Nomadic Migrancy and Rural Violence
Christian Chereji and Ciprian Sandu
ARTICLES in Issue 25 – October 2018:
Mano River Basin: An Evaluation of Negotiation and Mediation Techniques
Olugbemiga Samuel AFOLABI & Harrison Adewale IDOWU
This paper interrogates the negotiation and mediation techniques that was used following aggression, violence and social disruptions in Mano River basin, particularly against the recent return to democracy in the region. While peace has largely been restored, the scattered but continuing incidence of aggression, violence and social disruptions in the Basin has raised questions about the viability of negotiation and mediation techniques. The success or failure of these techniques has effect on the sustainability of State, individual and social structures in the region. Therefore, the paper argues that enough attention has not been paid to the ethical, moral and historical dimensions of the problem of negotiation and mediation, especially the role of traditional institutions and civil society agencies as critical components in conflict resolution. Given this, the paper draws attention to some of the gaps and challenges embedded in ‘imported’ negotiation and mediation techniques that leverage the certification of conflicts in Africa as being “ethnic and racial”. Using secondary data and drawing on personal experiences in the Mano River Basin (MRB) countries in West Africa, the paper also raises critical questions about the relationship between negotiation and mediation techniques and conflict resolution and the lessons learned so far. It also suggests ways of addressing those aspects of negotiation and mediation techniques deficits as a basis for suggesting options that will likely reduce recourse to conflicts, encourage dialogue and inclusive participation, as well as increase the chances for peace in the region and Africa.
Negotiation, Mediation, Mano River, West Africa.
USA: The Role of New Media in the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ Conflict
The impact of new media on polarization and of social media on populist messaging is as poorly understood as it is widely debated every time that a violent incident occurs. The 2017 Unite the Right rally from Charlottesville has turned into violent conflict through everyday individuals transforming into fighters. Our goal was to find out why, by doing a conflict analysis of the events. The literature review as well as the events leading up to the rally have shown that new media has a polarization-intensification effect on the conflict parties, independent from partisan politics or media bias. To study this phenomenon deeper and to find out how it led to violence, we employed Randall Collins’ escalation model. Then in the second part, we focused the research on social media and its role in the events, with the help of Bernard Mayer’s triangle of conflict and root cause model. Our findings were that new media-exacerbated polarization and social media were the primary tools for instigation and escalation, which transformed the conflict from potential to actualized. While the first fostered the element of group solidarity, the second provided resource for mobilization. We consider this research valuable in the field of conflict studies insofar as this type of conflict analysis is an important tool to detangle the invisible inter-connected strings that characterize modern conflicts. Interdisciplinary exploration is recommended in the future, with the benefit of gaining a holistic perspective that is more faithful to the dynamic nature of reality.
social media, Charlottesville, polarization, populism, conflict
Congo: Nonviolent Struggle in the DRC. Making Sense of the Consent Theory of Power
Jean-Marie Kasonga MBOMBO
The history of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is awash with resistance against systemic exploitation of the country’s huge mineral resources by foreign powers, coupled with repression of local population by subsequent regimes. This paper seeks to address the question as to why public withdrawal of consent does not necessarily cause the change of political power in line with the aspirations of the vast majority of citizens. The case study adopts an argumentative approach based on secondary data. The study reveals that the consent of the suffering masses is meaningless as far as regime change is concerned. In other words the survival of repressive regimes is contingent upon the submission of a co opted few around the seat of power, the cooperation of hired agents of violence and the support of powerful multinationals that have vested interests in the status quo. In the light of Agency theory, it is argued that the success of nonviolent struggle against unpopular regimes depends on the astuteness of unarmed demonstrators to reach out to the agents of legitimate violence with an olive branch so as to not only bridge the distance between them but also turn them into partners for change. As a way forward, the study recommended a broad understanding of the concept of Civil-Military Relations that goes beyond elite framing.
Power, Consent, Repression, DRC, Agents of violence, Shirk, Regime change
Nigeria: Nomadic Migrancy and Rural Violence
Al Chukwuma OKOLI & Nsemba Edward LENSHIE
Nomadism has been an age-long mode of pastoralism. Over the centuries, the practice has thrived amidst certain socio-ecological dialectics which has influenced its essence, including conflict and insecurity, climate change, urbanization, as well as changing patterns of land-use systems. Embedded in the practice of nomadism is the phenomenon of transhumant migration whereby pastoralists undertake a seasonally amenable geo spatial sojourn in search of pasturable fields, resulting to both trans-local and trans national migration. This pattern of migration has become a veritable source of security and livelihood threats in some parts of Africa in the contemporary times. This study explores the nexus between nomadic migrancy and rural violence in northern Nigeria against the backdrop of the degenerating complexion of nomadism in that context over the recent years. By means of a descriptive analysis, predicated on secondary sources and anchored on the ‘ungoverned spaces’ thesis, the study sets forth to establish how nomadic migrancy has accentuated and/or complicated the incidence of rural violence in the focal area. The study posits that non-regulation of nomadic migration and pastoralism by the Nigerian government has provided an opportunity for the perpetuation of violent crimes, such as rural banditry and herdsmen militancy in the focal area. The study makes a case for a pragmatic securitization of Nigeria’s border and immigration governance systems as the way forward.
Migration, migrancy, nomadic migrancy, Northern Nigeria, rural violence, ungoverned spaces.