Essays

Essays present critical analysis and debate on a pressing issue in African peacebuilding.

Special Issue: Westgate Mall Attack | December 4, 2013

Westgate, Counterterrorism, and Good Governance in Africa

The September 21 Al-Shabaab attack was a significant blow to the difficult process of state building on the continent, producing a sort of fear that prompts advocates of good governance to give states a blank check in the so-called ‘war on terror.’  People in Somalia and other countries touched by Somalia’s instability should, above all else, rededicate themselves to the fight for good governance and try to recapture the respect for human rights (including those of terrorists), as well as the commitment to the rule of law (including when dealing with terrorists) that such attacks tempt us to cast aside.

Photo credit to Flickr user ciat. Photo taken on June 28, 2012 by Neil Palmer. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciat/7489595422/
A farmer in Geita District, Lake Zone, Tanzania.
Special Issue: Westgate Mall Attack | December 4, 2013

Responding to the Westgate Attack: Enforcing the Rule of Law

Following the Westgate Mall attack in September, a range of proposals have been put forth about what Kenya needs to do in order to protect itself and prevent such a tragedy from happening again. However, the panic and fear arising from the Westgate attack may lead to draconian measures that are neither legal nor effective and in direct contradiction to the Kenyan constitution. This piece argues that terrorism cannot be effectively controlled without reforms that are both principled and legal.

Man leads workshop on Human Rights for children. Photo credit to Albert González Farran of UNAMID via Flikr Creative Commons.
Man leads workshop on human rights for children.
Special Issue: Westgate Mall Attack | December 4, 2013

The “Somali Question” and Ghosts of Past Security Dialogues in Africa

The Westgate mall attack in Kenya–one of the most recent indicators of the continuing rise in the use of terror by a network of insurrectionary groups in Africa and globally–compels us to reflect on extant approaches to national and regional security. The challenge that confronts Kenya (and indeed the rest of the continent and elsewhere) is whether it can conceive the security of Somalia and Somalis as an integral part of the security of the Kenyan state and people, as well as the neighboring region.

Photo credit to Flickr user albanyassociates.  Photo taken on June 12, 2013 by Stuart Price of AU-UN IST. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/albanyassociates/8385572633/
Ugandan soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) walking inside Mogadishu National Stadium.
Mediation & Reconciliation | November 12, 2013

Mapping Reconciliation Processes in Africa: A Project Set to Fail or A Possible Gateway to Further Research?

Reconciliation has become an important term in the national discourse, particularly within Africa. Yet what reconciliation actually refers to, how it should be implemented, and how to assess its level of effectiveness remains a challenge for many States. This piece explores the creation of a database to map reconciliation processes across the African continent, questioning whether such a project would be destined to fail, or a gateway to further research.

Photo credit to Flickr user unamid. Photo taken on August 21, 2012 by Albert González Farran. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unamid-photo/7836994082/
Reconciliation efforts between tribes in Mellit. Photo credit to Albert González Farran of UNAMID via Flikr Creative Commons
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