RGB : Imperatives of Peace and Stability in the Great Lakes Region critically reassessed

Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) organized a High Level Policy Dialogue on GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA: Assessing the Imperatives of Peace and Stability in the Great Lakes Region at Hotel des Mille Collines, Kigali, November 6-7, 2012.

Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) organized a High Level Policy Dialogue on GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA: Assessing the Imperatives of Peace and Stability in the Great Lakes Region at Hotel des Mille Collines, Kigali, November 6-7, 2012.
 
-    The Dialogue was officially opened by the Chief Guest, the Minister of Education, Hon. Vincent Biruta, with Prof. Shyaka Anastase, the CEO Rwanda Governance Board as facilitator. The conference aimed at seeking scholarly solutions to challenges of Governance, regional security and stability. The Minister of Local Government, Hon. James Musoni officially closed the Dialogue.

Speakers and Participants at the High Level Policy Dialogue:

-    The Dialogue attracted over 100 scholars and practitioners from four continents (Africa, Europe, Asia and America) and 12 countries, including 6 member states of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Participants at the dialogue particularly came from the following nations: Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Belgium, China, USA and Rwanda, the host country.

-    Participants were invited to rethink the necessary ingredients of peace initiatives with the aim of finding workable solutions, applying the lessons learnt and avoiding mistakes of the past.

The participants deliberated on the following key areas:
 
a)    Understanding root causes of persistent conflicts and their relationship to governance;

 

b)    Assessing the effectiveness of different conflict prevention, management & resolution (CPMR) and peace  building initiatives in the region; and

 

c)    Rethinking imperatives for sustainable peace and stability and how they feed into good governance.

ROOT CAUSES OF CONFLICTS, ASSESSMENT OF PEACE BUILDING MECHANISMS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:


The dialogue deliberated and agreed on fundamental ROOT CAUSES of the conflicts in the region as follows:

 

1.    The Colonial policy of divide and rule that led to the killing of some independence heroes (in DRC, Burundi and Rwanda), at very early stages of self rule, disrupted smooth leadership transition and generated hindrances to inclusive governance;

2.    Destruction of homegrown systems of governance and military institutions by colonial powers through introduction of negative identities and ideologies  undermined state and nation building;

3.    Colonial borders as decided by the Berlin conference of 1884-1885 and the  political mismanagement which ensued thereafter constituted a threat to human security of cross border communities and to regional stability;

4.    Systematic marginalization, exclusion and denial of citizenship to some nationals by post-colonial leaders led to deep rooted conflicts;
 
5.    Prevalence and spread of negative otherness, including genocide ideology, and the subsequent negative forces have been a constant threat to sustainable peace;

6.    Persistent governance and accountability deficits in the region hinder intra and inter-state security;

ASSESSMENT OF PEACE BUILDING INTIATIVES

1.    National and regional mechanisms of conflict resolution have proven to be more effective in addressing local peace imperatives than international ones;

2.    Poor implementation of agreements between conflicting parties has proven to be a fueling factor of insecurity; 

3.    Double standards and biased reports by external actors on issues pertaining to peace and security in the region weaken conflict resolution efforts and narrow the window of opportunity for sustainable peace and stability.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1.    Commitment to good governance practices and building effective State Institutions that serve the interests of the people without segregation should be enhanced;

2.    Conflict resolution mechanisms/initiatives should be informed by, and remedies based on, clearly defined causes to avoid one-size-fits all solutions that are often imposed by the external actors;

3.    Positive exploitation of diversity and political accommodation without exclusion be maximized;

4.    In addressing conflicts in the region, solutions  and approaches based on home grown ideas should be sought and developed to tackle security and governance deficits, with international mechanisms only as support;

5.    Effective and objective political leadership be an imperative for sustainable peace and stability;

6.    Fast track regional integration and ensure protection against threats that accrue from globalization;

7.    Concerted action should be directed against negative forces operating within the region  to enforce peace and stability;

8.    Countries in the region should engage directly to negotiate and accommodate their mutual strategic interests, particularly in addressing  security challenges posed by negative forces operating from another member country in the region;

9.    Scholars in the region should reinforce networking while engaging in the knowledge production and dissemination of consumable information to peoples of the region and beyond to counter biased information;

10.    Spiritual and intellectual leaders as mentors and educators should empower youth to rationalize events and enable them resent any manipulation through frameworks such as regional governance clubs;

11.    Reinforce positive involvement of the youth, women and CSOs in various peace initiatives and exchange programs for peace building;

12.    Need for vibrant and professional media in the region capable of shaping own narrative to counter unsubstantiated reports that are often foreign-agenda driven;

13.    Nations in the region must safeguard their strategic interests in efforts to build durable peace and emphasize economic development to ensure more provision of public goods and services to the people;

14.    Establish a monitoring and evaluation process and enforcement mechanism of signed agreements for conflict resolutions to ensure their effective and successful implementation;

15.    Benchmark best practices/initiatives in some countries of the region and have them well documented for possible emulation elsewhere;

16.    It is imperative that ethnic and identity polarization of elections, political mobilization and of armed forces in the region be discouraged for  sustainability of democratic governance institutions;

17.    Reinforce mechanisms for prevention of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW);

18.    Consider holding former colonial powers legally accountable for the divisive politics that they institutionalized in the region with disastrous consequences;

19.    Accountable governance, civic participation and zero tolerance to corruption should be promoted across the region;

20.    Expertise and initiatives in peace building  developed in the region should be shared and  accorded sufficient support by International Community;

21.    ICGLR diplomacy should be reinforced as a soft power for resolving conflicts in the region;

22.    Resolutions of this Dialogue should be handed to the ICGLR and other relevant peace building stakeholders.

Done in Kigali, November 7, 2012

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