ACCORD Occasional Paper
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 1608-3954
Published by Sabinet Online Ltd [188 journals]
- Perpetuation of instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo : when
the Kivus sneeze, Kinshasa catches a cold
Authors: Joyce Muraya; John Ahere
Abstract: The current instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can be traced back to late former President Mobutu Sese Seko's rule during the late 1980s. The countryâ??s economic depression was exacerbated by the end of the Cold War in 1991, leading to disengagement with the international economic and political system. The DRC has been the source of numerous conflicts over many years. The 1990s saw the country's peace and security degenerate further, creating challenges that continue to preoccupy the world today. In recent times, the epicentre of the violence in the DRC has been North and South Kivu (the Kivus). The dynamics in the two provinces are complex, causing the Great Lakes region to be characterised by huge human security challenges. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the linkage between the conflicts in the Kivus and persistent periodic instability in the DRC. It delves into and critiques post-crisis recovery efforts implemented in the country since the end of the Second Congo War. The paper concludes that, among other strategies, resolving the various conflicts in the DRC depends on understanding the causes of specific clashes, such as those in the Kivus, as this can contribute to the uncovering of sustainable solutions to armed confrontation. The paper offers proposals which, if implemented, could contribute to moving the Kivus, and by extension the DRC, beyond intractability.
- Mediating a convoluted conflict : South Africa's approach to the
inter-party negotiations in Zimbabwe
Authors: Lawrence Mhandara
Abstract: In the late 1990s, Zimbabwe became trapped in a ditch of multifaceted crises that were pronounced in the contest for political power between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This conflict revolved around the legitimacy of electoral processes, related institutions and the credibility of electoral outcomes. By 2007, the conflict had escalated to the extent that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and countries neighbouring Zimbabwe decided to mediate between the two parties to end the standoff, which had begun to negatively affect the entire southern Africa region. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa (1999-2008), was then mandated by SADC to facilitate dialogue between the parties. Mediation efforts led to relatively credible harmonised parliamentary and presidential elections held on 29 March 2008. These elections, however, did not come up with a clear winner, forcing the country to call for a run-off. This second round of elections, held on 27 June 2008, was tainted by allegations of electoral flaws and widespread institutionalised violence. The result was a predictable regression into the pre-29 March era, prompting SADC to mandate South Africa to facilitate negotiations for a political solution among the key political players. In the face of varying interests converging on the Zimbabwe situation, South Africa's role became even more difficult.This paper analyses South Africa's facilitation approach to the inter-party negotiation process in Zimbabwe - from Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' to current President Jacob Zuma's assertive stance - amid competing domestic and international interests. The analysis is based on critiques of realities confronting South Africa throughout the process. The paper presents South Africa's facilitation approach as a consequence of four streams: historical experiences, South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy, African conflict resolution approaches, and a diagnosis of the dynamics of the Zimbabwean conflict.
- Justice and peacebuilding in post-conflict situations : an argument for
including gender analysis in a new post-conflict model
Authors: Lesley Connolly
Abstract: After the 1991-2001 civil war, Sierra Leone employed a new model of transitional justice, concurrently utilising a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Special Court. Encouragingly, this process incorporated special gender considerations, by expanding the mandate of both the TRC and Special Court to address sexual violence and encourage women to come forward and testify without fear of retribution. Both these institutions have been praised for successfully fulfilling their specific mandates and for aiding the country's transition to peace. However, some parts of Sierra Leone's society were left largely untouched by the process, as evidenced by widespread discrimination and gender inequalities which still occur today. It is proposed that this is not just a fault of Sierra Leone's approach, but that it is an inherent flaw of the transitional justice process as a whole as the process is not suitable for use in addressing the root causes of conflict. For this reason, it is argued that a new mechanism of transitional justice, one which incorporates a peacebuilding process, would better address the needs of a post-conflict society. This would be done by focusing on transformation and promoting a long-term sustainable peace.