Conflict in Africa

Topics: Rwanda, Rwandan Genocide, Sudan Pages: 35 (12176 words) Published: March 9, 2011
This section of the study analyses literature on conflict, conflict system, and conflict management, mediation of internal conflicts, various peace process (Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan, DRC, Uganda and Mozambique). Uganda and Mozambique will be the case studies. CONFLICT

In his book, Stagner[1] presents conflict as a situation in which two or more parties desire goals which they perceive as being obtainable by one or the other but not both. The parties mobilize energy to obtain the goals, desired object or situation and each party perceives each other as a barrier or a threat to achieving those goals. Stagner presents two significant aspects of social conflicts. First, she presents conflict as being based on perception of parties to each other. The second aspect of conflict is that parties compete against each other and strive to acquire it all. These two aspects, perception of each other as enemy and seeking domination as strategy of achieving desired goals by the parties create conflict. According to Mwagiru[2] conflict is a consequence of the incompatibility of goals of different parties about a particular thing. Conflict transcend time and space. Therefore, it is inevitable in all social systems. Conflict have both destructive and constructive consequences.[3] Management efforts should be directed towards maximizing its potential benefits and minimizing its distractive consequences.[4] Conflict is a vehicle through which personal and societal values of security, welfares, justice and development opportunities can be realized.[5] Burton[6] is against suppression of conflict as such may render society static. He encourages conflicts to be accepted as a reality than be feared or avoided. This acceptance of conflicts as an inevitable reality calls for willingness to manage conflicts.

Mwagiru[7] notes that conflict is about non negotiable needs like recognition participation and dignity.[8] He further notes that conflicts are inherently non negotiable and can only be resolved. This is because conflicts involves values and needs that cannot be traded, compromised or repressed. Here Mwagiru points out that conflicts need resolution more than settlement. Unless resolution is reached, any settled conflict will always erupt whenever a trigger occurs. Scholars reviewed here reveal that conflict is inevitable in human society. Conflict has intrinsic capacities of being constructive or destructive. Meaning, conflict can have either destructive effects or constructive effects. Conflict management efforts then should seek to maximize constructive benefits and minimize destructive effects of conflicts. CONFLICT SYSTEMS

In all the years since the end of World War II a majority of the conflicts have been fought within states.[9] Initially particular conflicts were treated as being peculiar. However, later it was realized that a conflict, however internal it may be, it has effect beyond the borders of a country. Therefore, conflict management initiatives should not concentrate only on a particular conflict but should take into account the conflict system in which such conflict belong. A conflict system comprise of a complex relationship and interactions of actors and issues within a system.[10] Conflict system[11] approach to conflict management ensures that all interested parties be they internal or external are catered for. The conflict management that does not engage all interested actors within the conflict system are unlikely to succeed or to endure. If actors who have direct interest in the conflict are not involved in its management, their interests are unlikely to be catered for. The effect of this is that such actors that are not included during the peace process can later sabotage any agreement reached. The conflict system introduces third parties whose identity is defined by the very nature of the conflict system. These third...
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