Vertical integration peacebuilding in transforming African conflicts : peace mechanisms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.
Zvaita, Gilbert Tinashe.
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Different parts of the African continent have been subject to conflict. Over the years, both state and non-state actors to provide lasting solutions to peace have embarked on various peacebuilding initiatives. Despite different programs, projects, and peace agreements that have been signed and established. It however, remains a challenge in most post-conflict countries to secure lasting peace. In most cases, there has been relapse of conflict within a period of 5 years after the peace accord, or within a decade of peace programs. This research approaches the African conflict problem from a theoretical standpoint, to challenge the dominance of liberal concepts of peace that remain an impasse in grounding necessary structures that may be of significant help to build sustainable peace. Vertical integration peacebuilding is engaged as a hybrid peace theory in analyzing the various peacebuilding procedures that have been applied over the years by international organizations, state actors and regional actors in the continent. DRC, Somalia and South Sudan are the relevant case studies. The main argument is not to dismiss the progress achieved so far. Rather it seeks to engage on a corrective analysis of the strategic impasses that have been sabotaging the transformation processes that can be of much significance in dealing with the conflict problems. There have been repetitive liberal/top-down/paternalistic peacebuilding approaches in the past two or more decades in Africa’s conflict countries with little or no significant changes in the transformation of peace. Therefore, vertical integration as a peacebuilding approach is engaged to expose the weaknesses of the dominant liberal peace mechanisms that guides various institutions of peace in Africa. The researcher outlines the importance of developing more local peace ownership programs and establishing a legitimate support for peacebuilding programs from below as an effective and alternative way of ushering in sustainable peacebuilding programs. Henceforth, sector security reform, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs, which are particular to peacebuilding, can therefore gain more local support if they are designed through the perspectives of the local communities.