The role of all Africa conference of churches (aacc) in international conflict management: A case of south Sudan
This research is aimed at finding out the role of AACC in Conflict management in South Sudan. The country drifted back into conflict in December 2013 when there was fallout between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riel Machar. Peace deals have been made and broken because they do not address the root causes of conflict which are largely identity-based. Such conflict requires transformation which religious organisations have good resources to deal with. The study was based on the following objectives: First, to analyze the impact of conflict to the churches South Sudan; Second, to evaluate the peace building strategies of the AACC in South Sudan conflict; and finally to examine the key challenges and opportunities facing AACC in its intervention in Sudan conflicts. The study was based on the theoretical framework of “conflict transformation.” The researcher placed AACC at a vantage point to bring this transformation. The literature review confirmed the importance of religious organisations in conflict management. It however, revealed the most highlighted incidence of AACC involvement in conflict management in Sudan was in 1972 when it facilitated the signing of the peace agreement. The research used mixed approach to research utilising both primary and secondary sources. Questionnaires were used to collect data from church leaders in Juba, South Sudan. AACC reports and the discussions with the AACC secretariat also provided useful data to this research. The study found out that, the impact of AACC in influencing churches to participate in the conflict has decreased since the peace agreement of 1972. Though challenges to churches' participation in the peace process exist, the research identified myriad of opportunities that AACC can harness to improve churches’ participation in the peace process. The study recommends that for AACC to remain relevant in conflict management in South Sudan, it must ensure that churches in this country remain united in purpose. Secondly, it must seek ways to enshrine the Christian principles of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation in the conflict management in order to bring about conflict transformation and ensure long lasting peace. Finally, the study recommends further study on (a) the reasons for AACC decline in influencing conflict management process in South Sudan and (b) ways of furthering collaboration between religious organizations and other international actors in conflict management.