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Conflict and Peacebuilding in the African Great Lakes Region

Edited by Kenneth Omeje and Tricia Redeker Hepner

Publication Year: 2013

Driven by genocide, civil war, political instabilities, ethnic and pastoral hostilities, the African Great Lakes Region, primarily Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi, has been overwhelmingly defined by conflict. Kenneth Omeje, Tricia Redeker Hepner, and an international group of scholars, many from the Great Lakes region, focus on the interlocking conflicts and efforts toward peace in this multidisciplinary volume. These essays present a range of debates and perspectives on the history and politics of conflict, highlighting the complex internal and external sources of both persistent tension and creative peacebuilding. Taken together, the essays illustrate that no single perspective or approach can adequately capture the dynamics of conflict or offer successful strategies for sustainable peace in the region.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-9

We are pleased to acknowledge the help we received from different quarters in putting together this book project. Our first debt of gratitude goes to the British Council/ Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) of the UK government for providing the enabling research grant, without which this project would likely not...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xii

List of Foreign Terms

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pp. xiii-17

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Introduction: Conflict and Peacebuilding in the African Great Lakes Region

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pp. 1-21

The African Great Lakes region is one of marked contrasts and striking continuities. Beset by destructive conflicts, it also possesses extraordinary potential for peace and development. From biodiversity to solid minerals and human talents, this geopolitical space is endowed with abundant natural and cultural resources. Some of the...

Part I. The Great Lakes Region: Challenges of the Past and Present

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pp. 23-41

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1. Understanding the Diversity and Complexity of Conflict in the African Great Lakes Region

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pp. 25-46

Far from the influential Western-centric assumptions and international media propaganda that tend to regard African political conflicts as a resurgence of a malignant warrior spirit rooted in precolonial atavism, this chapter elucidates the diversity and complexity of the conflicts in the Great Lakes region. It places the multifaceted...

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2. The History and Politics of Regionalism and Integration in East Africa

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pp. 47-64

This chapter explores and analyzes the history and politics of regionalism and integration in East Africa. While the process of forging regionalism and integration entails the establishment of structural conformity, it is important to consider and assess the historical realities that have impacted the process. Cognizant of germane...

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3. Multipolar Politics and Regional Integration in East Africa: Opportunities and Challenges for Nonstate Actors

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pp. 65-81

This chapter explores the predicament of regionalism in East Africa with a specific focus on the challenges and opportunities faced by nonstate actors in a multipolar international system. For slightly over a hundred years, formal regionalization has been part of the East African political landscape. Regionalization commenced...

Part II. Case Studies of Conflict and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes

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pp. 83-101

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4. Historical Dynamics of the Northern Uganda Conflict: A Longitudinal Struggle for Nation Building

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pp. 85-105

The northern Uganda conflict can be characterized as part of a longitudinal struggle for nation building that both precedes and postdates the twenty-two-year civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Government of Uganda (GOU). Although military interventions and peace talks (most recently in 2006–8)...

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5. Kofi Annan’s Conflict Resolution Model and Peacebuilding in Kenya

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pp. 106-121

Kenyans went to the polls in December 2007 to elect their leaders amid rumors and fears of a possible rigging by the incumbent government. These fears were informed by three factors: First, President Kibaki appointed commissioners to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) without consulting the opposition. Second, he...

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6. Justice versus Reconciliation: The Dilemmas of Transitional Justice in Kenya

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pp. 122-140

This chapter examines the contradictions and challenges inherent in the efforts of the government of Kenya to establish criminal accountability of the masterminds of the postelection violence of 2007 and 2008. I argue that any expectation of criminal prosecution was misplaced as a result of the structural and political context that underpinned...

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7. Climate Change and Peacebuilding among Pastoralist Communities in Northeastern Uganda and Western Kenya

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pp. 141-158

The link between climate change and conflict is a continuously debated subject that has attracted a growing body of research. In the developing field of eco-conflicts, many scholars focus on assessing whether climate change increases the risk of conflict. Drawing on a wide range of literature and using the cases of the Karimojong in Uganda...

Part III. Social and Cultural Dimensions of Conflict and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes

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pp. 159-177

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8. Media Sustainability in a Postconflict Environment: Radio Broadcasting in the DR C, Burundi, and Rwanda

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pp. 161-178

This chapter interrogates the capacity of radio stations in three countries of the African Great Lakes region (Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda) to act as influential independent stakeholders in the postconflict public debate. The three countries are all former Belgian colonies and have been historically, economically, and...

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9. Youth in Transition: The Arts and Cultural Resonance in Postconflict Northern Uganda

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pp. 179-196

Three decades ago, art therapist and scholar Harriet Wadeson (1980, 3) stated, “Life, Meaning, Creativity, Art. In the largest sense, they are all one.” In a different yet contemporaneous vein, sociocultural anthropologists began ethnographically documenting and theorizing, through diverse cross-cultural case studies, that “there is nothing...

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10. Gender Issues in Reintegration: A Feminist and Rights-Based Analysis of the Experiences of Formerly Abducted Child-Mothers in Northern Uganda

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pp. 197-216

...this stu.scdy.sc seeks to contextualize the experiences of formerly abducted child-moth-ers in northern uganda within a feminist and rights-based perspective, paying par-ticular attention to those aspects that imply gendered power relations and examining the extent to which gendered injustices are inherent in the experiences of formerly abducted child-mothers (see Haralambos and Holborn 2008; Mclaughlin 2003; saul ...

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11. The “Ambivalence of the Sacred”: Christianity, Genocide, and Reconciliation in Rwanda

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pp. 217-234

Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, “the religious dimension of conflict has been the focus of increasing attention” (Ganiel and Dixon 2008, 419). To fixate only on the negative aspects of religion, however, is to overlook the quintessential “ambivalence of the sacred”...


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pp. 235-240

List of Contributors

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pp. 241-245

E-ISBN-13: 9780253008480
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253008374

Page Count: 262
Publication Year: 2013