Category: Working Papers
Location: Lusaka
Year: 2018

Review

FOREWORD BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Prevention and management of violent conflicts is a persistent challenge in the Great Lakes Region despite existing regional and international instruments. One important instrument is the Pact on Security, Stability, and Development in the Great Lakes Region signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on 15th December 2006. Through the Pact, the Heads of States declared their “collective determination to transform the Great Lakes Region into a space of sustainable peace and security for States and peoples, political and social stability, shared growth and development, a space of cooperation based on the strategies and policies of convergence within the framework of a common destiny which we are determined to build, in line with the aspirations of our peoples, (...).” Furthermore, it has been observed that in many countries in the Region elections are characterised by contestation of results and in some instances violence, while they are considered widely as a critical tool for peacebuilding and post conflict reconstruction.

In the search for innovative approaches and perspectives to effectively address challenges of violent conflicts and their impact, development community and other stakeholders around the world are more and more focusing their efforts on building capacity of citizens, communities and States to enable them to be more resilient in preventing and managing shocks of various disasters, either linked to political crises, climate change or environment. The concept of resilience seems to have great potential if implemented in a strategic manner because it intends to build on the existing capacity at local and national levels since communities and States can build their future more sustainably if their efforts are based on lessons learnt from past and recent history.

In this context, the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance, the Think Tank of the ICGLR, whose mandate, inter alia, is to conduct evidence based research to inform policy making processes in the Region has since 2015 teamed up with two other Think Tanks, the Nairobi Consulting House (TCH) and the IGAD Early Warning Mechanism (Addis Ababa) to develop and implement the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Hub with the generous support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. As the Centre leads the programme on “Elections” for the Consortium, it has undertaken a study on “Addressing challenges of peacebuilding, resilience and peaceful elections in conflict affected countries” in order to identify lessons learned and policy recommendations to be shared with key stakeholders.

The case study on the Republic of South Sudan took place in July and August 2017, about seven years after gaining independence from Sudan on 9th July 2011. The civil war in the post-independence period has derailed the hopes of a new State in terms of security, stability and development. This study provides a better understanding of the root causes of conflicts in the country as well as strengths and weaknesses of key stakeholders, including regional, pan-African and international actors, in the management of the various political crises that the country has experienced. It also draws lessons learned from the electoral processes and experiences (of 2010 and 2011 when the country was still part of the Republic of Sudan) with a view to identifying conditions and factors that can ensure future fair, free, and transparent elections. Finally, it shares experiences on shock handling and identifies strategies that work well to strengthen capacities of State in resilience building.

What is evident from the Report is that electing a leader through elections cannot in itself lead to peace. It is also true that signing a peace deal does not guarantee an end to conflict unless it is effectively implemented. This Report concludes with a set of policy options both short and mid-long terms that can help rebuild the young nation of South Sudan. We hope the experiences and lessons learnt as well as recommendations proposed in this Report will enhance strategies for peacebuilding and resilience in South Sudan and the Great Lakes Region as a whole.

Frank Okuthe-Oyugi, PhD
Executive Director
ICGLR Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre
Lusaka – Zambia
March 2018

 

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To be an authoritative and autonomous Think Tank that catalyses reforms and promotes best practices on complex governance issues in the Great Lakes Region.

Our Mission

To reinforce the capacities of social and political institutions of ICGLR Member States in the areas of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education.

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