The Limitations of Peace Negotiations and Identity Constructs in Conflict-Prone Countries in Africa: A Focus on the Central African Republic (CAR)
With the ultimate objective of examining violence and terrorism in Africa, this chapter attempts to analyze critically the efficacy and sustainability of peace agreements and the resultant socially cohesive identities. It identifies the guiding principles of peace negotiations, revealing how political leaders and armed groups alike exploit and manipulate these systems. Enforcing peace agreements in conflict prone African countries is highlighted along with the responsibilities of external stakeholders and the motivations of political and militia leadership. The second part of the chapter offers detailed descriptions of the failure of peace negotiations in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since 2013, this has been popularly portrayed as a bifurcated conflict between Muslims and Christians. In a country beset with militias, undisciplined military forces, rebel forces and defense units, there is the persistent threat of social unrest, violence and political instability. Political leadership and militias are intertwined and loyalties shift repeatedly between the groups and the leaders. The question posed is whether the manner in which militia leadership is targeted for negotiation offers the best way in which to facilitate peace and nation building in a war-torn country? A number of peace negotiations dating from 1997 to 2015 are analyzed in this study. The findings are that a dogged universal application does necessarily render effective long-term resolutions. Governments and external stakeholders must consider the motivations, and the socio-political ramifications, of all armed groups when initiating negotiations, peace deals and power sharing. Militias do not target other armed actors but innocent civilians and regardless of the peace agreements and initiatives little has changed in the rationale of the conflict.
KeywordsPeace negotiations Central African Republic (CAR) Militias Political leadership Negotiations Peace consolidation
- Alden, C., Thakur, M., & Arnold, M. (2011). Militias and the challenges of post-conflict peace. London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
- Daley, P. (2006). Challenges to peace: Conflict resolution in the great lakes region of Africa. Third World Quarterly, 27(2), 303–319.Google Scholar
- De Zeeuw, J. (2008). From soldiers to politicians: Transforming rebel movements after civil war. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
- Debos, M. (2008). Fluid loyalties in a regional crisis: Chadian “ex-liberators” in the Central African Republic. African Affairs, 107(427), 225–241. doi: 10.1093/afraf/adn004.
- Dunn, J. P., & Tian, N. (2014). Conflict spillovers and growth in Africa. Peace Economics and Peace Science, 20(4), 539–549.Google Scholar
- Ferreira, R. (2014). South Africa’s participation in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo peace missions: A comparison. Politiea, 33(4), 4–27.Google Scholar
- Francis, D. J. (2005). Civil militia: Africa’s intractable security menace? Hants: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Isaacs-Martin, W. (2015). The motivations of warlords and the role of militias in the Central African Republic. Conflict Trends, 14, 26–33.Google Scholar
- Isaacs-Martin, W. (2016). (Re)creating political identity, (re)creating spaces: Similar enemies, different victims in the Central African Republic (CAR) conflicts. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 10(1), 25–39.Google Scholar
- Kaplan, R. (1994). The coming anarchy. The Atlantic Monthly, 273(2), 44–76.Google Scholar
- Mann, M. (2005). The dark side of democracy: Explaining ethnic cleansing. Cambridge, MA/New York: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
- Marten, K. (2012). Warlords: Strong-arm brokers in weak states. Ithaca/London: Cornell University.Google Scholar
- Mudge, Lewis & E. Le Pennec. (2013, September 18). I can still smell the dead: The forgotten human rights crisis in the Central African Republic. https:www.hrw.org/report/2013/09/18Google Scholar
- Mumford, A. (2013). Proxy warfare. Cambridge, MA/Malden: Polity.Google Scholar
- Pouligny, Beatrice. 2004. The politics and anti-politics of contemporary disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs/Les anciens combattants d’aujourd’hui désarmement, démobilisation et réinsertion. Programme for Strategic and International Security Studies. Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales Sciences Po/CNRS (CERI). Secrétariat Général de la Défense Nationale (Services du Premier Ministre, France [SGDN]).Google Scholar
- Reno, W. (1998). Warlord politics. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
- Reno, W. (1999). Warlord politics and African studies. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
- Scherrer, C. P. (2003). Ethnicity, nationalism and violence: Conflict management, human rights and multilateral regimes. Hants/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- United Nations. (1998). National Reconciliation Pact (Bangui National Reconciliation Conference). http://peacemaker.un.org/carnationalreconciliationpact98. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- United Nations. (2008a). Accord de cessez le feu et de paix entre le Gouvernement de la Republique Centrafricaine et le mouvement politique et militaire Centrafricain APRD.. http://peacemaker.un.org/carceasefireaprd2008. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- United Nations. (2008b). Accord de paix global entre le Gouvernement de la Republique Centrafricaine et les mouvements politico-militaires APRD, FDPC, UFDR.. http://peacemaker.un.org/centrafriqueaccordglobal2008. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- United Nations. (2008c). Déclaration de principe des parties aux négociations de Libreville sur la crise Centrafricaine.. http://peacemaker.un.org/cardeclarationofprinciples2013. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- United Nations. (2013). Accord politique de Libreville sur la résolution de la crise politico-sécuritaire en République Centrafricaine.. http://peacemaker.un.org/centrafriqueaccordpolitique2013. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- United Nations. (2015). Agreement between the transitional government and the armed groups on the principles of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation and of integration into the uniformed state forces of the central African Republic.. http://peacemaker.un.org/node/2742. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- Vinck, P., & Pham, P. (2010). Building peace, seeking justice: A population-based survey on attitudes about accountability and social reconstruction in the Central African Republic. Berkeley: Human Rights Centre.Google Scholar
- Weber, M. (1998). Ethnic groups. In M. W. Hughey (Ed.), New tribalisms: The resurgence of race and ethnicity (pp. 17–30). New York: New York University.Google Scholar