Panel 3

Mobility, Violence and Peace Culture

Panel organisers: Victor Adetula, The Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden and Cyril Obi, APN/SSRC, USA.


Several millions of people in Africa have fled their homes as a result of war, crime, riots  and other forms of violence and ‘natural ‘disasters-induced pressures. For example, the world's most extensive humanitarian crisis is currently playing out round the Lake Chad Basin where several millions have been displaced, and dependent on food aid, with million children malnourished. While some countries are dealing with the aftermath of violent conflict, others are experiencing new conflicts, partly fueled by clashes over access to scarce environmental resources, destabilizing population movements and the availability of arms. In virtually all the sub regions, the trends and patterns are the same with respect to violent conflicts associated with cross-border movement of population. The complicity of migrant populations in the insecurity in of the host countries as well as instances of xenophobic violence have been reported in some African countries. However, while these negative trends persist, the contributions of the migrant communities to peace and development in Africa is growing as demonstrated by the initiatives of some African diaspora. These issues are for further examination in the proposed panel, which builds on research, peace practices, and policy engagements on the link between population mobility, violence and peace in Africa by some APN-SSRC grantees and NAI researchers & associates. Thus, the proposed panels provides opportunity for panelists to disseminate results of their research, development & peace practice, and policy engagements. We expect a review of existing conceptual and theoretical constructs on the relationship between population mobility, conflict and peace practices. Cases studies from countries and regions of Africa will be entertained to enable the panelist determine the influence of population mobility on vulnerability to conflict, and how population mobility can enhance peace culture. Contributions that deepen our understanding of the contexts and contents of the conflicts between the agrarian and pastoral communities whose livelihood are welcome. Other important outcomes will be contributions to recent social science theories and methodologies, extensive qualitative data on the role of the migrant communities in conflict resolution and peace building in Africa.

Accepted abstracts panel 3

1. Mobility and People: the other as Metaphor

Author: Peter Oni, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

The phenomenological appraisal of mobility and migration in Africa reveals the image of a continent oscillating between socio political, and historical/economic movement of people that is best understood through places, time and experiences. In fact, mobility and migration through their intrinsic relation relate a large-scale phenomenon to its local manifestation. Indeed, human movement is best understood when contextualized and localized. It is against this background that this paper examines the twin concepts of mobility and migration as they apply to Africa and precisely Nigeria. It sets to establish through a deconstructive analysis, that in addition to the ecological and environmental factors, human mobility, conflicts and peace initiatives in most parts of the continent are best understood through African pluralistic worldview and Howard Giles’ communication accommodation theory.

Key Words:  accommodation, Africa, communication, migration, mobility, the other

2. Climate Change, Conflicts and Migrations in the Lake Chad Area

Author: Chris M.A. Kwaja, Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibbo Adama, University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria.

If we don't take action, current trends suggest that by 2020 an estimated 60 million people could move from desertification areas of sub-Saharan Africa towards North Africa and Europe, and that worldwide, 135 million people could be placed at risk of being uprooted- Kofi Annan, 2006.

The Lake Chad area, made of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, is witnessing one of the biggest humanitarian crises that is linked to the dynamics of climate change, with conflicts and migration as the key consequences. In fact, desertification has become one of the endemic crises of high proportion that is currently affecting an estimated 100 to 200 million people globally, which threatens their lives and livelihood. The Chad Basin is faced with chronic food insecurity that is tied to shortfall in rainfall, under- production of food, increase in the prices of food at both the local and international markets, leading to rapid fluctuations in prices. The drying up of the Lake Chad, coupled with desertification as a consequence of climate change, is currently having a negative impact on communities around the Chad Basin Area, with specific reference to the disruption of agricultural production and shrinking livelihood. It is in the light of the foregoing that this paper examines the phenomenon of climate change and its linkage with migration and conflicts in the Lake Chad area. Furthermore, the paper makes some policy prescriptions with respect to how the challenges of migration and conflicts as major consequences of climate change in the Lake Chad region can be addressed.

3. Governance of Agro-pastoral Resources and Conflicts between local Farmers and Herders in Tienko, North of Côte d'Ivoire

Author: Tra Goin Lou Tina Virginie, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Increasing climate variability in the Sahel provokes an earlier arrival of transhumant pastoralists in their host areas located in further south in West Africa's coastal countries. These areas witnessed an extremely rapid growth of their population due to the introduction of perennial and cash crops. In Côte d'Ivoire, this precarious situation has deteriorated substantially due to the sociopolitical crisis that rocked the country from 2002 through 2011. As the rebellion of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) led to a retreat of the state and its administration in the area, the crisis also accelerated the transformation of institutions of natural resource management in northern Côte d'Ivoire. Indeed, the FN rebels established new rules for resource management, especially by regulating access to pastoral resources for transhumant pastoralists from the Sahel. These institutional dynamics caused a change in interactions between various actors in the governance of resources, aggravating conflicts between transhumant pastoralists and local farmers. With the signing of the Ouagadougou peace agreement in March 2007, the situation has begun to normalize. Several state structures were redeployed in the Northern part of Côte d’Ivoire. But, that led in this zone, especially in the sub-prefecture of Tienko, to the overlapping of state authorities and rebel’s authorities on the regulation of agro-pastoral areas and conflict. In the post-crisis context (after the post-electoral crisis in 2011), it became important to question the way power relations will be renegotiated between various actors.

This study aims at understanding resource-use conflicts between herders and farmers stemming from changes in the governance of agro-pastoral areas in Tienko.

4. Conflict-Migration Nexus in Ghana: A Case of Bimbilla Conflict in the Northern Region

Author: Aziz Unusah, Center for Migration Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.

The study examines the relationship between conflict and migration. Conflicts have affected several communities in recent times. People are central when conflict erupts. Several lives and properties have been lost, and others have been displaced. In order to overcome challenges conflict pose in the lives of people, some people flee to neighboring communities. Using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, a total of 220 questionnaires were administered to return and non-migrants to address the following questions; what are the main determinants of migration in Bimbilla? What are the factors that lead some people to stay even in conflict situation? What interventions have the government and stakeholders implemented to entice people to return to Bimbilla? The study reveals that target attacks/killing, deteriorated economic activities emanated from the conflict, fear of gunshots and bullets were the main reasons for migrating. More males than females were targeted because of their constant involvement in the chieftaincy affairs which serve as the root cause of the conflict. People stayed in the midst of the conflict even though circumstances of the conflict suggest they migrate. It is further argued that people doubt about challenges they may face in new destinations, the perception of not belonging to any of the conflicting factions, familial reasons such as large family size, aged relatives, and marriage prevented a section of the population from migrating. Most interventions by the government aimed at restoring peace without giving consideration to the basic needs of the affected victims. The study recommends that interventions should aim at providing the basic needs such as food and accommodation to victims of the conflict.

5. Policy as a Counter-Measure to Sexual Violence against Internally Displaced Women in Nigeria

Author: Igo Wordu, Northeastern University, Boston Massachusetts, USA.

Sexual violence against women is magnified during armed conflicts, and recent times it has become evident that these types of human rights violation are prevalent even in camps settings for Internally Displaced People (IDP). This paper looks into policy response by the Nigerian government to sexual violence against Internally Displaced Women (IDW) in IDP camps located in Borno State, Nigeria. An exploration of existing IDP-specific policies, if any, through the lenses of the African Union Kampala Convention can enable policymakers to determine the following: The effectiveness of existing policies; whether IDWs in these camps feel that they are sufficiently protected, and that they can rely on existing processes as support tools or legal recourse once they have been exposed to sexual violence. Another important variable to be considers is whether in the absence of sufficient protection for IDWs under existing policies, the feasibility of an inclusionary approach that includes a group of IDPs, camp officials, advocacy groups and humanitarian agencies in developing counter-measures to sexual violence against IDWs. The Kampala Convention is being used as a benchmark for this evaluation because it is considered by many in the international community as the blueprint for developing effective policies for the preservation of fundamental rights of IDPs.  It also ascribes roles and responsibilities to host states where displaced individuals reside. Most importantly, it emphasizes the expectations the same rights IDPs had prior to their displacement. In order to gain an insight into the formation of these policies, I intend to probe the perspectives of pertinent policymakers and implementors. From their perspective, I will like to know successes and challenges of implementing such policies, and contingency plans in improving these policies if gaps do exist. From the IDWs perspective, it is important to learn their experiences in these camps and if they feel adequately protected.

Keywords: Boko Haram, IDPs, IDWs, Displacement, Kampala Convention, Borno, Nigeria

6. Examining the Impact of Insurgency on Inter-State and Trans-Border Mobility in Nigeria's Northeast Region Since 2009

Author: Daniel Olisa Iweze, Department of History and International Studies, University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria.

Prior to Boko Haram insurgency, there was free flow or movement of people, and goods underscoring inter-state and trans-border mobility in the North-East region and the neighbouring countries of Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon. Insurgent’s attacks disrupted such flows transforming inter-state and trans-border routes into highways of terror and destruction. Insurgents’ targeted attacks at motorists, commuters, security personnel, students, traders, politicians, traditional rulers, road construction workers, and ordinary people. This made road travel to become a risky undertaking with adverse socio-economic impacts on the region and bordering countries. This paper adopts the risk society theory of Ulrich Beck in exploring the daily risks insurgent`s attacks had posed to road travel, multiple livelihoods and transport infrastructure. This paper submits that road transport infrastructure and trans-border mobility constituted one of the major targets of terrorist attacks leading the growing insecurity in Nigeria’s Northeast.

7. Combattants and Kivucians: Beyond Ethno-regional violence among Congolese immigrants of Cape Town

Author: Rosette Sifa Vinunga

This paper focuses on combattants (French for “fighters”), a  minority group from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who since 2011, have been instigating terror among fellow Congolese immigrants in western countries as well as in South Africa. The group emerged during the 2011 electoral campaign in the (DRC) during which the opposition leaders campaigned among Congolese diaspora (Godin 2013; Inaka 2016). Combattants’ violence is ethnic, regional, and to a large extent, political because they are mostly described as Lingala (and to a large extent Tshiluba and Kikongo) speakers from Kinshasa (Kinois) and who view themselves as “anti-President Kabila”.  Most of their victims are known as collabos (collaborators of the Kabila regime), mostly people from Kivu region who speak Kiswahili (also called Baswahili) and whom they consider pro-Kabila (Inaka 2016, 5-6).  While acknowledging that both the politics of the DRC and that of South Africa largely shape the everyday lives of Congolese nationals in South Africa (Inaka 2016), this study moves beyond describing combattants as just another politically mobilised group seeking to raise a collective  diasporic identity (Webner 1997). Focusing on Cape Town, it analyses the links between South African migration system that favours some Congolese ethno-regional groups (mainly those from the warzones/ the eastern region/ the Kivu) over others (non-warzone region/ the western region/ Kinshasa) and the current feuds between eastern and western Congolese.

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