Socioeconomic Recovery

It’s yet another day for me to sincerely appreciate your committed following of my blogs. Today I’m going to take you through an aspect of peace building that is known as socioeconomic recovery .

In just 100 days,one of the biggest ordeals happened in Africa. The infamous Rwandan genocide took place. I understand that it’s quit awkward for me to make you remember that about 800000 people died during this genocide. Most of the people who died were Tustis who were being slaughtered by Hutu militias.

25 years later, Kigali ,Rwanda is being referred to as one of the cleanest cities in Africa, not forgetting, the 1st country in Africa to ban plastic use. This therefore is a result of several years of peace building and we can again talk of a positive Rwanda. Remember, Rwanda again is featuring in economic papers as the fastest growing economy.

Post conflict necessitates for building of a socio economic environment that encompasses a number of factors such the constitution of physical infrastructure,livelihood and employment generation. These entail post conflict reconstruction. Rwanda has had programs established in place to ensure people move away from the idea of genocide. Amongst these activities is the community service the Rwandese provide of cleaning the city once in a week.

Aspects of peace building

‘A rasta man is a peaceful man’ . A very common phrase among the rastafari but what’s this peace,what are the foundations ? What’s the nature of the peace ? Is rastafari speaking of peace of mind ?

Allow me take you through the aspect of peace building . Enjoy the blog.

In regard to the stated topic, we have two major areas to look into ; Governance programming and socioeconomic recovery. Today we will however bank our little adventure on governance programming.

When looking at aspects of peace-building ,you will realize that the peace building notion objectives go hand in hand with state building. However the two aspects are not synonymous just that they converge in aim which is strengthen relationship between state and society.

You can never overlook the advantages of a functional government in any state. In areas where we have experienced conflict, restoration of a government is always very crucial for the objective of peace building. I am a Luhya by tribe and I’ll try to portray the mode of local governance in my community. Normally, we have a counsel of elders who discuss very important matters regarding the community, they also solve disputes and lead the community in very important ceremonies and rituals. We have another part of this community who serve as the arm of the counsel of elders,’makuru’ they are always tasked with surveillance of the community and they always pick up individuals and sermon them before the counsel of elders . However, rarely though,we’ve had cases where the makuru have been disbanded hence making the whole process of village government sabotaged. In such scenarios, as a young boy, I would witness a lot of land disputes that would end in a neighbor taking on a panga to the fellow neighbor.

Ultimately, the aim of governance programming is to shape society’s capacity to manage conflicting interests peacefully. The aim is facilitated through a range of donor activities including drafting constitutions ,the electoral process ,development of inclusion institutions, public sector reforms, justice sector reforms and anti corruption initiatives.

Now back to my afore mentioned context. We are at a stage where the conflict has escalated to a point where the two good neighbors are even willing to chop each others head. Luckily, a third party intervenes and brings halt to the violence. The two neighbors go back to their houses each a frustrated and angry person. The information letter gets to the counsel of elders. This therefore calls for a rapid establishment of new ‘makuru’ otherwise the whole community will be in chaos. The process of getting the ‘makuru’ is such that the majority persons of the community must be in approval of the person for legitimacy purposes. Soon ,the village leadership system is back on board and the once disputing neighbors are called to a sitting. After long sessions of discussion, reforms are made and the issue under dispute,land boundaries made very clear. In the end ,we have very good neighbors living under the terms of the reforms.

Government reforms cannot be viewed as technocratic exercises . Thus,in order to be effective, reforms require public support. In the modern world, you will realize that after we’ve experienced a conflict, they are always elections conducted post-conflict. This is mainly to ensure legitimization of the new power,instigation of democratization and moving of conflict from military battle grounds to political arena.

Under governance programming, we seek to achieve a number of aspects which include,

  • Participation and inclusion
  • Combatting corruption
  • Rule of law and justice reforms
  • Elections, electoral systems and political institutions

With this, we shall pause our adventure on aspects of peace building here as we wait to continue with socio economic reconstruction aspect in our next blog.

Understanding violent conflicts

Welcome back to my blog and today is just a brand new day for us to jiggle our minds a little beat. What do you think is the nature of conflict ? Worry not because I got you. First,we will have to understand that conflict is context specific. Conflict can be said to result from the following factors ;

  • Political and institutional factors
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Resource and environmental factors.

I know at some point you must have interacted with any kind of conflict. Did you actually pose to ponder what was the factor behind that conflict ?

Now we shall start looking at political factor . In your day to day activities you must have experienced violence. Did you ever stop to the ponder the factor behind that violence? Political factor has been an instigator of most violent conflicts in Africa. In cases where there are weak and fragile states, it’s very easy for a violent conflict to arise since the state is unable to curb such and that the groups that want to achieve their interests can easily take advantage of the weak government. Strong governments will rarely experience violent conflicts. For instance mature democracies will resolve differing ideologies by listening to the divergent ideologies through democratic inclusion.

On the other hand,stark autocracies have been able to repress violence and manage conflict through force.

Did you know that a state has a framework of rules that dictates state society relations, distribution of resources, and responsibilities in organized state. This is called socio contract. As a citizen of Kenya, I’m so much interested to know how my country spends the revenue. Irregardless of the origin, whether the revenue is from taxes or natural resources. If the mode of expenditure is satisfactory, I feel safe and and secure.

In cases where corruption is rampant ,there are adverse effects that are witnessed. There is lose of faith in the government, corruption exacerbates wealth inequalities, leads to social grievances, discourages foreign and domestic investors. You might be asking yourself, how is this impacting on conflict and violence. Remember, lose of faith in government may result in mobilization to eject the ruling government. The corrupt government may resolve to violence with the aim of prolonging the term of power in order to create more room for corruption benefits.

It’s in the human nature to always have a sense of belonging or rather to have a certain identity. It’s this nature that yielded into a notion we call identity politics. We need to understand the role of identity in conflict. Attending to a peace building and post conflict reconstruction, I learned that the primordialist argue that ethnic, religious or cultural identity are directly related to conflict whereas instrumentalist argue that identity is only constracted and exploited as an instrument of mobilization for conflict.

Don’t you insinuate that you’ve not been pulled to a certain identity by a certain leader in order to demand for whatever it could be at that particular time? If you’re a teacher ,maybe the identity as a teachers union to fight for increment of salaries. In the same spirit, a certain group that might feel alienated and discriminated will use a identity as strength to demand for what they feel should be theirs. Identity politics can be used by both dominant and marginalized groups to address discontent and exclusion.

At one point,when was very new in the great city of Nairobi, I encountered quite a number of Maasai people some with livestock and others with kiosk business. These individuals did their daily duties and when night came,they served as guards at several shops and companies since they lacked a place to sleep. They couldn’t afford the housing expenses of Nairobi hence the fore mentioned task served as a redemption. Why wouldn’t they go back to the village to avoid this magnitude of suffering ? I could ask myself that question several times,but then I later came to find out that my the virtue of Maasai being among the minor groups in the state, they have become victims of inequalities. There’s limited access to electricity, schools are very scarce hence difficult to access education the roads are poorly constructed and hence the city seemed to be paradise despite all these struggles. During election time, I hear them mobilize themselves to speak in one voice, and at least support someone who will help bring change to their people. This mobilization is however not motivated by the extent of the inequality but for the nature of the inequality. That they are from a certain ethnic group which is not being given national recognition. After a number of years, I can bear witness that the group mobilization has kind of worked for this group.

An image of children in Narok . A common land for Maasai people

Reconciliation

Reconciliation. Many would argue that it is what comes next after forgiving and forgetting. It is a hard thing yes but all the same necessary for continuity of life. Of the many types of reconciliation I am more inclined to restorative justice maybe cause I see the African perspective of it in a white dominated lenses of objective.

The ICC well I would write many books for and against the argument of its biasness and still debate because it has no end. How the united states of America is keen on getting the speck out of their brother’s eye and ignoring the log in there eyes bothers me . It is the proverbial of asking a hyena to guard the sheep. In Africa for example they first discovered us, lol because we were still existing, introduced the concept of a white God and black Satan not forgetting the forgive and forget before our lands and people are auctioned. So just bear with me if restorative is my way of understanding because it worked for my ancestors it will certainly work for me or us. May be even most of all our conflicts did originate here from these people but we should forget but how can we forget while they still look for many ways of reopening our wounds? How do I forget while most of the MAU MAU fighters still claim compensation? Terrorist they were branded funny how they weren’t terrorist yet they forced us out of our homes and worse even to another continent.

I was for the idea that old is gold so I would have loved to see elders of the white descent and the elders from our side settle these historical injustices. ‘Uncivilized’ is what they called us before they even documented our history. Learning should be a two way traffic yet here nothing was worth learning from Africa. I am proud of Northern Uganda choosing Mato_Oput system of Justice over the ICC just as I am sure some ancestors rejoiced somewhere.