Dynamics and complexities of political conflicts and conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa: a case of South Sudan (2011-2015)
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The study focuses on the dynamics and complexities of conflicts in Africa and the effect on conflict resolution mechanisms in South Sudan. It covers the genesis of the conflict, highlighting the social, economic and political problems associated with it. It is based on the proposition that dynamic and complex conflicts inhibit the effectiveness of conflict resolution mechanisms which results in the prolongation of conflicts. Theoretically the study has its foundations in the Ripeness and Readiness theories as propounded by William I Zartman and Dean G. Pruitt respectively. The two theories are also supported by Robert D Putnam’s Two Level Game Theory which seeks to explain the effect of negotiations at the national and international levels in solving the conflict. Methodologically, the study was qualitative in nature; data collection was done using key informant interviews, open ended questionnaires and documentary search. Data was analysed using content and thematic analysis and nonprobability sampling techniques such as purposive sampling were used. Chapter 2 of the study concentrates on the historiological perspective of conflicts, the object of this being to contextualise the South Sudanese conflict. Conflicts were thus discussed from a global perspective and much attention was given to their evolution. Worth noting is the fact that prior to WWII, conflicts were mainly between states, however in the post WWII and postCold War period intrastate conflicts have dominated and these conflicts are defined by their brutality compared to interstate conflicts. Conflicts in Africa are linked to the historical period of colonisation which saw European powers dividing Africa without due consideration of African societal configurations that were in existence. The upsurge of conflicts in Africa necessitated an examination of the institutional set up and the approach employed by the AU in resolving its conflicts. Regional efforts in conflict resolution were also looked at with much emphasis being placed on IGAD. Chapter 3 interrogates the proposition of the study. The chapter analysed the dynamics and complexities of the South Sudanese conflict. It was noted that conflicts are problematic in Africa due to factors such as availability of loose weapons across the continent. It was also noted that involvement of external actors in intrastate conflicts also affects negatively the resolution of conflicts. Chapter 4 presents the major findings of the study from the collected data. Political discord, lack of accountability, longstanding misunderstanding amongst the leaders of the SPLM came out as the defining factors of the nature of the South Sudan conflict amongst other noted factors such as lack of democracy within SPLM and external involvement by regional actors. The AU’s incapacities in dealing with conflicts emerged as a major cause of the prolongation of the South Sudan conflict together with inappropriate conflict resolution mechanisms. Externally engineered solutions, lack of a standing force and lack of stakeholder inclusivity emerged amongst factors that undermined the amicable resolution of the South Sudan conflict. Chapter 5 concludes that dynamic and complex conflicts have a causal relationship to the resolution of conflicts and it also recommends that conflicts can be minimised through tolerance of divergent views and acceptance of popular opinion of the society. A research gap was noted in the effectiveness of AU in dealing with conflicts in the continent
Additional Citation InformationSibanda, M. (2015). Dynamics and complexities of political conflicts and conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa: a case of South Sudan (2011-2015) [Unpublished master thesis]. University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe
Conflict resoution Africa
Ripeness and Readiness theory