Does Northern Ireland Peace Process offer a Model for Resolving Conflicts in Africa?
DOES NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS OFFER A MODEL FOR RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN AFRICA?
This dissertation assesses the Northern Ireland peace process model of conflict resolution mainly delving into the merits in solving the long-standing raw without the communities. And where similar skirmishes have dominated in most states in Africa, the model’s suitability for addressing the challenge is evaluated. As highlighted in the literature review, the method may not be effective in entirety as the course and causes of the conflicts differ not only in nature but also regarding the triggering and enhancing factors. On the one end, the research focuses on various Africa countries that have had conflicts the mode of resolution employed and the challenges experienced. The literature review has indicated heightened conflicts and political or tribal wars in the recent past where thousands have succumbed and millions displaced. Some of the pointed causes of conflict in Africa include lack of respect to the rule of law, violation of human rights and political corruption. Major conflicts are also characterized by ethnic and religious disintegration however on the basis of political divides. Other factors include the legacy of colonialism where a country like Somalia has been in a continuous crisis since the government refused to accept the external borders that were ascribed. This among several other reasons is closely related to the Northern Ireland conflict where a group of people felt that they needed to be liberated. It is then that the war broke between the unionist/loyalists and the Catholic nationalist who was the minority. Nonetheless, Northern Ireland managed to settle its conflict through power-sharing. The concept has since been used in several countries as a model of conflict resolution. However, according to Remand, the concept of power-sharing has been misused and also misrepresented in Africa. This leads to the question whether the Northern Ireland peace process model offers a model for resolving conflicts in Africa.
In satisfying the research requirement, a collective quantitative and qualitative research designs matrix shall be employed. Among the merits of using these methods is the capacity to expand the research to exploring major literary works and comparing the empirical data. The research is methodically tailored towards a qualitative analysis so as to valuably analyze the existing conflict-resolution models and conclude on the best suited for Africa. In seeking an answer to the questions about culture and meaning, scholars have found experimental and quantitative methods to be insufficient on their own in explaining the phenomenon they wish to study. This calls for an expansion of the research in the field of conflict resolution to the social research that critically assesses cultural diversity and conflict among communities especially the root causes and the management systems existing.
The study will also utilize process tracing to emphasize on previous cases of a power-sharing agreement that resulted in post-election violence. Process tracing as a tool of research helps in the unfolding of certain events and situations over a particular period through putting a special focus on specific moments. The study will help to understand the causal dynamics that resulted to the choice of power-sharing in Northern Ireland and enlighten us on similar such cases in Africa and the outcome when a similar model of conflict resolution is used. Causal dynamics may prevent situations or processes which relate the observed effects to the punitive clauses. This will be achieved through focusing on the theories about power-sharing and the suggested outcomes and then analyzing the real world situation and the outcomes. The process is essential in identifying any new explanatory concepts. Process tracing will be used in analyzing two premises of power-sharing as a model of conflict resolution. These are the relationship between the model of bringing peace through power sharing and religious/ethnic division in a conflicting country and that a consociation model of power sharing can be effective in solving post conflicts that have resulted in ethnic divisions. Using the process will also be important in tracking various countries in Africa where certain decisions have led to violence.
The main sources of data in this study include the use of primary and secondary sources such as government documents, public reports, opinions, letters to the editors, analyses and summaries of books and journals. More specifically, the research will draw its attention on the Northern Ireland peace process model and conflicts in Africa and focus on the studies relevant to the topic.
This study will also utilize qualitative data analyses to analyze the Northern Ireland peace process model can offer a model of conflict resolution in African countries. Most of the data in this study are drawn from secondary sources. Hence, data reduction is used to analyze data through summarizing and paraphrasing the relevant data under a wider account. The research will also employ data displays which will bring the information collected to conclude the question at hand. Therefore, by doing this, the study will analyze various conflicts and the model used to resolve the conflict and bring peace. The study will also conclude on whether power-sharing relied upon to solve the conflict in Africa. Conclusion drawing will be based on the displayed data and data reduction. This through linking the existing theories, observing the patterns and building explanation from logic and evidence provided. A narrative approach will be used as a method of data presentation. By this, the study will concentrate on constructing distinct information and theories and bringing them together to understand the real world situations. A detailed analysis of various occurrences will be done to facilitate understanding of the current situation in Africa and to determine theories and historical events that should be embraced and those that are not worth.
The data will be collected from the secondary sources that are already available. It will not be possible to visit all the countries that have had conflicts and incorporated the method of power-sharing to know if it was effective. The non-probability sample method will be used. A non-probability sampling method is one which has the probability of each sample selected from the entire population as unknown. The study will focus on qualitative facts of perception of power sharing in Africa, and the theories expressed since quantities data is limited and hence not sufficient.
Analysis of Research Findings
Previous studies have shown that it is important to understand the context of power sharing. According to Sisk, power sharing is a set of principles that is practiced by an institution to allow all groups to participate in decision making off common issues. The incentives used to address those that are vulnerable must be understood to prevent the emergence of conflict renewal. The study found out that most conflict in Africa emerges from inequality, exclusion where some ethnic groups feel that they have been excluded from governance, and underdevelopment. Similarly, the elections have often resulted in violence. This is because despite the countries claim of supporting democracy, the care less to know if the representation is effective. Rwanda and South Africa are among African countries that have faced genocide and apartheid respectively that emerged from economic inequalities and deep-rooted ethnic rivalries. South Africa resolved their conflict through power-sharing while the same model did not work for Rwanda. This is because the transition of democracy in any country relies on its ability to ease conflicts. The consociation design of the Interim Constitution provided South Africa provided favorable conditions for power sharing as the leaders were willing to accommodate. These factors were missing in Rwanda which led to violence. The 2007 general election in Kenya resulted in post-election violence which left thousand of people dead and thousand displacements. The conflict was largely divided between two ethnic groups, the Kikuyus and Luos. The violence led to formation of a grand coalition government between President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odoinga became the prime minister. Most studies agree that institutional designs are crucial in mitigating conflicts. Most also are in agreement with Lijphart that the majority is undemocratic and dangerous. Countries that use this rule have resulted in misrepresentation of the minority in power. The minority are likely to get agitated which may result in violence. The majority are also likely to ignore the needs of the minority participants. Sudan has encountered series is brutal civil wars under dictatorship rule since it gained its independence in 1956. The country has been under the military officers for most of its history. Bashir’s rule was found to be the most brutal as Bashir uses military forces to deal with those who opposed him. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement. Bashir the leader of SPLA/M became the president while John Garang who fought for a united country became the vice president. However, studies show that power-sharing does not result in long-term resolution of conflicts. Sudan still faces political, ethnic, and even religious oppression. Lijphart’s consociational arrangements are based on building a consensus in decision making. The study found this method to be effective as it ensured that the majority do not take control and hence mitigating conflicts. The study also found out that it was more complex to solve conflicts through power-sharing especially where an armed force was involved. Concessions are difficult, and the armed force is unwilling to lay down arms unless they feel that their interests will be protected by the new institution. This was also evident in Northern Ireland where the IRA retained their weapons until 2005 which was much later after the power-sharing agreement had been signed.
The study agrees with that of Rothchild and Roeder that power-sharing can be effective in countries that have favourable conditions. In countries where there is a rival ethnic divide, this method may not be as effective. If the parties lack the will to accommodate each other, then other peace resolution strategies may need to be incorporated. For power-sharing to take effect, the community must be willing and also the leadership must be strong and influential.
Akinyele, R.T. “Power Sharing And Conflict Management In Africa: Nigeria, Sudan And Rwanda.” Africa Development 25, no. 3 (2000).
Gillespie, Gordon. The A To Z Of The Northern Ireland Conflict. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
Gilligan, Michael J. “Making War And Building Peace And Sustainable Peace: Power And Democracy After Civil Wars.” Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 01 (2007).
Gordon, April A, and Donald L Gordon. Understanding Contemporary Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007.
Kaminsky, Elijah Ben-Zion, and Arend Lijphart. “Democracy In Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration.” The Western Political Quarterly 33, no. 3 (1980): 433.
Mattingly, Daniel. “The Perils Of Power-Sharing: How Representative Institutions Can Weaken The Rule Of Law And Property Protections.” SSRN Electronic Journal (2014).
Roeder, Philip G, and Donald S Rothchild. Sustainable Peace. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005.
Terre Blanche, M. “Non-Violent Conflict Resolution And Peace Building In South Africa.” African Safety Promotion: A Journal of Injury and Violence Prevention 3, no. 1 (2008).
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