Track One Conflict Management in Cross-border Pastoral Conflicts: A case study of the Pokot-Karimojong
The search for sustainable peace among the cross-border pastoral communities who have for a long time engaged in armed cattle rustling has eluded practitioners and policymakers alike and still obtains as a major challenge to peace and security. This is more so in view of the fact that these conflicts especially in the Horn conflict system are complex, compounded by non-conventional features such as trans-nationalization, their commercialization, and the accompanying proliferation of actors as well as weapons leading to their intensification and escalation in scale and violence. Scholars of pastoral conflicts biased to the conflict research paradigm situate the ensuing violence in the context of a legitimate struggle for remedying oppressive structures that prevents people from achieving their full potentials. They see conflicts as organized to attempt to change the distribution of welfare and argue that violence is the cause of the difference between actual and potential human mental and somatic realizations and is built into the structures resulting in unequal life chances. A proliferation of state and non-state actors has variously applied different approaches and strategies in an attempt to cease hostilities or enable peaceful co-existence among the conflict parties, albeit with little success. Key among these is track one; the official, state-sponsored conflict management approach. This study argues for a principal role by track one actors towards conquest of these challenges to found sustainable peace. Track one conflict management responses, whose mainstay is power and deterrence have so far been ineffective and actors have been accused of lacking adequate focus on other critical imperatives necessary for nurturing sustainable peace. Track one aim for immediate results such as cessation of violence, with explicit possibility of use of power, including military force. Actors have employ strategies such as disarmament, arming of vigilante groups and border surveillance. They have occasionally imposed their will over the pastoral communities, introducing policies that are based on misinformed and unfounded notions that fail to respond to the needs of the people. These approaches are not acquiescent to conflicts with fundamental differences or root causes especially in protracted conflicts over non-negotiable needs.
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