African sub-regional bodies in armed conflict resolution: the case of IGAD in Sudan 1994-2005
Mwilu, Leornard M
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Achieving peace through mediation and negotiation in Africa has come with many challenges. In recent years, Africa's sub regional bodies have emerged as institutions of mediations in armed conflicts on the continent; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has intervened in some countries in West Africa such as Liberia and Sierra Leone and Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa in Somalia and Sudan respectively. Increasingly, sub regional organisations have emerged as alternatives to the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) in conflict resolutions and management. There are many generalizations that have been made that make it possible for the sub regional bodies to be effective in armed conflict resolutions. One of them is that these sub regional organisations are made up of countries directly involved in a conflict and those that are not. As a result, they have the proximity and at the same time the sense of balance that allows them to specifically define the nature of the conflict. In addition, political and geographical proximity allows these organisations to realise the effects and repercussions of a given conflict and if necessary, to seek support from extra regional Sources to end the dispute. The argument of this paper is that there is no historical standard explanation as to why African regional bodies have increasingly provided panacea to conflicts. The study postulates that each region has unique dynamics, historical or otherwise, global or local that has to be explored in order to understand the recent conflict resolution success by African regional organisations such as ECOWAS in Liberia, Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Sudan. The study therefore attempted to assess the success of IGAD's interventions in the Sudan Peace Process with a view to understanding how and why it succeeded in brokering a peace deal. It has brought out Eastern Africa's political, economic and idiosyncratic dynamics that enhanced the prospects of the signing of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2005.