As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, it is timely to recall some of the individuals and initiatives that helped to prompt the end of apartheid. Professor H.W. van der Merwe, described by the media as the man "who brings South Africa's enemies together", facilitated the first clandestine meetings between the ANC in exile and supporters of the South African government, the famed 'Lusaka meetings'. These meetings were unprecedented, and prohibited within South Africa. Professor van der Merwe gathered academics including Willie Esterhuyse and Sampie Terreblanche to begin talking to the ANC in exile. This year also marks the 50thanniversary of the inception of H.W.'s academic career as a lecturer and senior lecturer at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 1963. Most of H.W.'s career, however, was synonymous with the Centre for Inter Group Studies in Cape Town, what is today the Centre for Conflict Resolution at UCT.
Within the context of heavy reliance on litigation by parties to disputes, the practicality of utilising Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods in resolving conflict in Africa was the focus of an Internal Staff Seminar held on 20 January 2014 at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes' (ACCORD) Durban offices. The seminar formed part of the introductory stages of a new partnership between ACCORD and the Centre for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) at California State University, Sacramento in the United States of America.
The latest Occasional Paper published by ACCORD analyses South Africa's facilitation approach to the inter-party negotiation process in Zimbabwe – from former President Thabo Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' to current President Jacob Zuma's assertive stance – amid competing domestic and international interests. The timely paper was published on the backdrop of 27 November 2013 claims by Mbeki that Tony Blair, former British prime minister, had been prepared to use military force to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in the early 2000s. Blair's camp strongly denied the allegations.
ACCORD has participated in the International Conference on the Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the aim of acquiring more in-depth understanding of the Rwandan experience as the ICTR prosecutorial mandate comes to an end, and to explore areas of possible research collaboration with participating institutions and organisations. The conference brought together 40 acclaimed presenters and over 60 participants with a variety of expertise in international criminal justice. It sought to probe the role of the ICTR and examine its successes, failures and challenges in a bid to evaluate the Tribunal's legacy on the eve of its closure.
Although secessionist movements in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa were common in the 1980s and 90s, only Eritrea and South Sudan managed to gain independence, in 1993 and 2011 respectively. The question still remains, however, whether these countries are on track in addressing the main peacebuilding, state building and democratic consolidation challenges that emerged in the aftermath of secession.
Anthropological and socio-historical studies of the pre-colonial African Great Lakes region have testified to long periods of political stability as well as socio-economic development under various kingdoms and chiefdoms which comprised the region. Shockingly, however, most of the recorded history of the post-colonial African Great Lakes region depicts a scenario of elusive peace, punctuated by severe political turmoil as well as a socio-economic fabric torn apart by violence. Against this background, ACCORD recently hosted an Internal Staff Seminar to unpack the origins of conflicts in the region and present strategies for resolving these.
In an effort to address the shrinking space faced by civil society in several African countries, members of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) should strengthen collaboration and cooperation within and between the four GPPAC regional networks on the continent. This and other recommendations emerged from a GPPAC International Steering Group (ISG) Meeting held in Accra, Ghana from 13 to 15 November 2013.
The various options available to a country that wishes to face and address the legacy of grave crimes perpetrated against, and at times even by, its people in efforts to acquire justice for survivors of conflict are the focus of the latest Policy & Practice Brief published by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes. With reference to the recently launched reconciliation process in South Sudan, the Brief examines the options available and the benefits of reconciliation as opposed to retributive justice.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) was recently represented in a meeting of African think tanks which aimed to discuss the way forward for the Africa Portal, an open access online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. The meeting, which was held on 11 November 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa, was hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
Although large-scale agricultural land transaction is not a new phenomenon in Africa, the global financial and food crises that simultaneously erupted in 2007/2008 triggered a renewed interest in Africa's agricultural land. Some have labelled the current trend 'land grabbing', others cautiously speak of 'large-scale land acquisitions', while the World Bank calls it 'rising global interest in farmland'. Whatever terminology is employed to characterise this phenomenon, Africa is faced with the reality that large swathes of its farmland are being sold or leased out to large-scale investors.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) recently published a Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) entitled The OAU/AU and an Africa at peace with itself: Time for serious business. Authored by ACCORD Senior Research Fellow Angela Muvumba Sellström, this brief forms part of ACCORD's contribution to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU).
- ACCORD and CAPCR to co-host 4th International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution conference in Johannesburg in July 2014
- ACCORD hosts annual GPPAC Southern Africa regional steering committee meeting
- Internal seminar examines communal conflicts in South Sudan
- ACCORD's Jannie Malan presents 'magnificent paper' at Oxford Round Table on Religion
- Report from inaugural High Level Retreat of the AU Panel of the Wise
- ACCORD hosts academic writing skills workshop for staff
- ACCORD focus on role of Nigerian youth in peacebuilding
- Internal staff seminar unpacks peace infrastructures
- ACCORD interrogates regional cooperation for elimination of LRA
- ACCORD publishes conference paper on consolidation of peace after post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire
- ACCORD hosts debate on the significance of the APRM to African governance
- ACCORD examines Liberia’s justice and security sector reform
- ACCORD hosts debate on the APRM in celebration of its 10th anniversary
- Latest Policy & Practice Brief examines Zimbabwe and Kenya’s post-peace agreement polls
- ACCORD publishes Policy & Practice Brief on political impasse in Madagascar
- ACCORD internal staff seminar explores effectiveness of non-violent action in conflict prevention
- ACCORD publishes Occasional Paper on forms of justice in post-conflict Sierra Leone
- ACCORD participates in GPPAC Asia-Africa Learning Exchange on gender-sensitive conflict analysis
- ACCORD 's Mutisi presents at prestigious ISA conference on global information age
- Dr Alejandro Bendana examines road to peace in Somalia at ACCORD seminar