Conceptualizing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Processes

Part of the Rethinking Political Violence book series (RPV)


The chapter carefully unpacks each of the DDR components, starting with disarmament, without compromising the conceptual integrity of DDR in order to apply them to the specific post-liberation war context. It offers conceptual distinctions between the current “second-generation” assumptions of DDR and the “first-generation” DDR of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa based on the five threads mentioned earlier. It argues that the current UN-World Bank-NGO driven literature on DDR in weak states does not do much justice to the complexities of post-colonial conflict transitions. The structural and organizational context, target groups and their post-conflict violence and the role of the state in the two DDR models are different, and consequently the policy premises. These four factors and the links between DDR and SSR influenced the processes and outcomes in the “first-generation” cases. In the recent DDR cases such as the DRC, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the international community, particularly the UN, has played much more profound roles than in the three post-colonial ones. External actors were more important in the weak states because of the nature of the conflicts, the weaknesses of existing authorities to conduct even-handed DDR, cheating by assorted parties and so on. In the post-colonial DDR, the structures of authority, notably violence, were more intact, and the problems of DDR were less salient in the wider scheme of nation-building priorities. The post-colonial states had more political latitude and ability to embark on home-grown DDR than the weak states operating under the thumb of quasi-imperial UN mandates.


Post-colonial Conflicts Small Arms And Light Weapons (SALW) Union For The Total Liberation Of Angola (UNITA) Integrated Disarmament Democratic Control Of Armed Forces (DCAF) 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freelance Peace and Security ResearcherJohannesburgSouth Africa

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