Managing genocide in Africa: lessons from Rwanda for Darfur
Mpaka, Fabian T
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The state of peace and security on the African continent remains a preoccupying phenomenon, with successes and continuing challenges. Conflict management and peace building are issues which have become very topical in debates and discussions on Africa for a very long time. Conflict management refers to the outcomes of a conflict situation that must satisfy the inherent needs of all. The conflict in Darfur being one of the most violent after the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, there is a need, therefore, to find a lasting solution to such conflict. This study aimed to examine on how to manage genocide in Africa, drawing lessons from Rwanda for Darfur. The study started by observing that following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the international community repeated the vow made after the Holocaust that it would "never again" allow genocide to occur. This study aims to apply Human needs theory (HNT) and the study hopes to provide new knowledge that will be beneficial to policy makers, scholars and conflict managers as well as contributes immensely to the main stream conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanisms and the scholarly literature available. The study used secondary data sources, which were collected through books, journal, articles and periodicals and internet. The collected data was then sorted and analysed using document analysis and thematic analysis techniques, based on the emerging issues under study. The Rwandan conflict has been defined in different ways. Analysed carefully, it was clear that the relationship of the Hutus and Tutsis were nowhere as strained before the European colonists arrived. The study noted that the problem of the definition of genocide automatically calls for a delay in action. As for similarities and differences, the analysis finds that both cases demonstrate a similar character of violence, but that in Rwanda the violence was more intense, more exterminatory, and more participatory than in Darfur. When it comes to the role of main actors in Darfur and in Rwanda, the study revealed a number of players, including, United Nations, African Union, Civil Society, Governments, Non-governmental organizations, private individuals and state actors. The study concluded that Darfur may not have been in conflict now, had the international community learnt lessons from Rwanda and put systems in place to prevent further conflicts after Rwanda - the past experience in Rwanda would have been the best teacher to inform the best way forward with regard to the current situation in Darfur. The study, therefore finds that genocide is an old crime against humanity that has been given a relatively new label. History is full of examples of one group of humans exterminating another group of humans. Thus the study highly recommends a reflection on the past experience, vigilance and active involvement of the international community in conflict management efforts that affect Africa today and the world at large. In order to transform post-conflict societies, Rwanda’s path can be instructive not only in Darfur, but even to other countries, still experiencing conflict situations or emerging from conflict.
University of Nairobi