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An assessment of the SADC conflict transformation capacity in the context of the recurring conflict in Lesotho 1998-2018: towards a conflict transformation model.

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With Lesotho as its case study, the aim of this dissertation is to assess the conflict transformation capacity of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) within the period 1998-2018. The study was guided by the following questions: Which dynamics have been at play in the recurrence of conflict in Lesotho? What strategic political and diplomatic efforts has the SADC implemented in its attempts to resolve the conflict? What have been the major constraints encountered by the sub-regional body in its attempts to resolve the conflict? What scholarly and policy recommendations can be proffered for a sustainable SADC sub-regional conflict transformation model? This study utilised a qualitative research approach. Data which was collected through semi structured interviews was analysed using content analysis. As its theoretic framework, this research used the conflict transformation theory which has a focus on transforming factors that tend to perpetuate conflicts and on establishing a culture of non-violence, empathy and mutual understanding in communities to give them the capacity to resolve conflicts in a manner that is effective and that guarantees sustainable and durable peace. Within the conflict transformation framework, Lederach’s pyramid places emphasis on inclusion of all levels of leadership in transformative efforts. The findings of the study are presented under relevant themes. The findings show that SADC has the capacity to transform conflicts from negative to positive and sustainable peace. However, SADC currently does not have a guiding model for its CT efforts. As such, the study recommends a conflict transformation framework centred on local ownership as opposed to an outsider mediation approach, and a multi-pronged approach towards assessing the dynamics of the conflict and in the CT process. The study holds that peace attained under such conditions would be an effective, durable and self-sustainable peace. The study contributes to the debates on the relevance and application of Conflict Transformation as a possible framework that SADC could use to address the myriad of issues in the Lesotho context.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.