Toward a peaceful resolution of the Gambian political impasse (conclusion)

TOWARD A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE GAMBIAN POLITICAL IMPASSE (conclusion)

Introduction
With his head still up, out-going president of the Gambia, Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji, Dr, Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa, has done three major blasts. One: he has cajoled the Gambian parliament to extend his stay in office by 90 days. Two: he has made it possible; all the negotiations sessions led by prominent leaders of the continent have ended in deadlocks. Three and finally, all the posh and glossy “retirement exiles” offered to him by many a African leaders are thrown back at them.
The Odds against Jammeh
The Gambia is ethnic enclaves of the following: the Mandinka (about 41% of the population); the Wolof (15%); the Fula (19%); the Jola (10%); the Serahuli (8%); the Serer (2.5%); the Aku (0.8%) and the Manjago (1.7%). Adama Barrow, the president in-waiting is from Mandinka ethnic nationality while, Jammeh is from, Jola, although most of the critical appointments are from his minority Jola ethnic nationality, a war will not definitely favour Jammeh because he is a minority, by ethnic calculation.
Secondly, the majority ethnic group is not happy with Jammeh because he has threatened them at a campaign podium on 1st June 2016, according to Adeniyi (2017) that “In 1864, there were no Madinkas in this country. You came from Mali. I have solid evidence that the Madinkas are not from this country. I will wipe you out and nothing will come out of it. The first demonstration, they were all Madinkas. The second demonstration was by the Madinkas and two Fullas. The Fullas have joined the bad guys, welcome to hell. I urge the Madinkas to repent to Allah for your bad deeds. The Madinkas, who the hell do you think you are?” so, they, the majority ethnic group, the Madinkas, are waiting for the ECOWAS onslaught to take their pound of flesh from Jammeh.
Thirdly, with a population of 1.8 million people, The Gambian National Army (GNA) boasts of just about 2,500 officers and men comprising two infantry battalions, an engineering squadron and smaller logistics, signals and intelligence units as well as the presidential guard. Ordinarily, that is not a force that can protect Jammeh from ECOWAS offensive led by the well-drilled 19,000 men Senegalese military with support from Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia etc (Adeniyi, 2017:1).
Finally, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and other critical sectors of the International Community are against the idea of Jammeh in The Gambia as a president after 19th of January 2017. To all intents and purposes, the game is up for Jammeh by all standards. This means that, if Jammeh decides otherwise, there will be a bloodbath. We all, do not desire!
The way out for Jammeh
Oga Jammeh has got to the end of the road. The forces against his current manipulation are just too many for him to confront. Yes, he has got it easy in the past 22 years, like we use to say in Nigeria Pidgin English, “every day for the thief; one day for the owner”. At present, in The Gambia, the owner has caught the unlucky thief in the person of Jammeh, therefore, Jammeh should just negotiate his way out, as the owners of the house (democracy) have even offered him a glossy exist to enjoy himself in Morocco or Mauritania where, they have all built a place for him. Or Oga Jammeh, pick your choice from the more than 50 nations in Africa. But please do come to Nigeria. Remember what happened to your bosom friend, Mr Charles Taylor.
 And a Peaceful Resolution: Bravo to ECOWAS, et al.
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh has left the country in the wake of elections that ousted him after 22 years in power. He boarded a plane to Guinea and from there will travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea, regional group Ecowas says (BBC, 2017).
Before Jammeh, a man from the ethnic group in Gambia that boost of the highest number of healers and seers in Africa that was celebrated when he took over power 22 yrs ago, left The Gambia, below are his last words:
“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” said Jammeh, dressed in a usual white robe and looking tired.
“It was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you the Gambian people and out dear country taking into consideration my prayer that peace and security continue to reign in the Gambia.
“All those who have supported me or were against me in this period, I implore them to put the supreme interest of our nation the Gambia above all partisan interest and endeavour to work together as one nation,” he added (Channel TV, 2017).
See details of the Joint Declaration by the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the United Nations on the Political Situation of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, that encouraged Jammeh to zoomed of to exile with confidence, in: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/note-correspondents/2017-01-21/note-correspondents-joint-declaration-political-situation.
References
Adeniyi, Olusegun (January 19, 2017). The Endgame in Banjul. Thisday. Retrieved from http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/01/19/the-endgame-in-banjul/
BBC (January 22nd, 2017). Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaves The Gambia after losing election. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38706426.
Channels Television (January 21, 2017). Why I Stepped Down, Gambia’s Jammeh Explains. https://www.channelstv.com/2017/01/21/why-i-stepped-down-gambias-jammeh-explains/.
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Charles, Alfred (PhD) is of the Department of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer: Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. Reach him: twonbrass@gmail.com; 22-01-17. 
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Soon to be out. A Strategy to Address the Almagiri Question in the old Northern Region of Nigeria.

Triple actions needed to currently resolve the Biafra Question in Nigeria

TRIPLE ACTIONS NEEDED TO CURRENTLY RESOLVE THE BIAFRA QUESTION IN NIGERIA

Introduction: Historical Excursion

How time flies! The Biafra Question has actively begged for answers [for] the past 50 years now. This means that, conflicts are really living things. They grow, and hound us, if we do not resolve and transform them. No single ethnic nationality in the pre-and-post colonial pan- Nigerian projects has ever proclaimed that, it is satisfy with the pan- Nigerian work-in progress project. This explains why, there are always subsisting agitations against, real and imagined political, economic, religious, social, and even cultural non-harmful, semi-harmful and harmful marginalizations and oppressions within the geographic space now commonly known as, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nnoli, 2003 and Dike, 1956).

The Biafra Question came into very energetic reality, when some people in the old Eastern Region, needed proper redress of pains, some say pogrom, inflected on them during the preceding few months to the Nigerian Civil War (July 16th 1967 to January 15th 1970) that consumed more than two million largely innocent citizens, that died from mostly war-induced starvation and diseases. Since then, majority of the people in the current eastern part (mostly in Abia, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, and Enugu States) of the nation, including some in the south-south geo-political zone strongly believe (rightly or wrongly) that, they are not wanted in the Nigerian project.

Classification of the Biafra Conflict

Like the Niger Delta Region Question, the Biafra Question, cannot be classified as a religious or cultural conflict. The Biafra conflict can be classified as either an ethnic or identity or political conflict. It is an ethnic conflict because; a particular ethnic nationality believes that, it is being oppressed due to the fact of its peculiar particulars as an ethnic nationality within the country. The Biafra Question can be [also] classified as an identity conflict because; a particular ethnic nationality in the Nigerian State is looking for a distinct identity and protection within the comity of nationalities. It is [also] a political conflict, because “to control power [to become the president of Nigeria] at the federal level” is also a goal of most of the elites in the zone.

Biafra Question: Current Major Bone(s) of Contention

There are three key Questions “inside” the current Biafra Question at present, these are, one, why is it that an “easterner” has not be allowed by omission or commission to be the president of Nigeria after the Nigerian Civil War? Two, why are [the] easterners always killed, without proper official redress, when there is a “little” conflict in any part of the country, particularly in the old northern region? And finally, why is it that, federal government projects are scarce in the current eastern part of the country?

Besides, the above-mentioned questions, there are also numerous other [minor] issues that are continuously making the people from the eastern part of the nation to be feeling unwanted in the pan-Nigerian project.

Conclusion: Key Triple Actions Currently Needed to Resolve the Issues

The following actions below are predicated on the facts that, Nigeria as a State and as a people still vehemently need the easterners like they need all ethnic nationalities in an indivisible and prosperous nation. Therefore in the light of the above, below are our triple suggestions to amicably resolve the Biafra Question:

  • Constitutionally Backed Power Rotation Strategy: it is time to end most of the politically-motivated aggressive protestations in the country. Nothing is too big to sacrifice for the unity of the nation. To resolve the current Biafra Question, it is time to amend our constitution to give a sense of belonging, in terms of political headship of the nation, to every geo-political zone.
  • Establishment of Special Force and Court to Arrest and Prosecute any Non-Easterner that Killed an Easterner: to deny that the easterners are not always the major victims in any violent conflict in Nigeria amounts to playing the Ostrich game. It is time for the Nigerian State to set up a special force and court to arrest and prosecute anybody in any part of the country that “just” target and kill anybody from the eastern part of the country wantonly.
  • Calculative Participatory Loose Federalism:-this is a system where by, the eastern states (like every other state) in Nigeria will be given the constitutional rights to manage their own affairs; by using their natural resources and comparative advantages. However, specifically, for some years, the eastern states will still get some special supports from the federal government for a period of time. This will help to redress some of the neglect the zone has suffered over time among other issues.

References

 Nnoli, O. (2003). Ethnic Violence in Nigeria: A Historical Perspective,             http://www.indiana.edu/~workshop/papers/nnoli_021003.pdf, retrieved 26-07-13.
Dike, K (1956). Trade and politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885, Oxford: Clarendon Press
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Charles, Alfred (PhD) is of the Department of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer: Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. Reach him: twonbrass@gmail.com; 21-01-17.  
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Soon to be out.
1) Conclusion: Toward a Peaceful Resolution of the Gambian Political Impasse (Part 4) 
2) A Strategy to Address the Almagiri Question in the old Northern Region of Nigeria.

How not to resolve the current Niger Delta question

HOW NOT TO RESOLVE THE CURRENT NIGER DELTA QUESTION
Introduction: What is the Niger Delta Question?
There are two major types of Niger Delta in Nigeria. There is a political Niger Delta and a historical or geographic Niger Delta (Willink Commission Report, 1958 and Alagoa, 1972). The Niger Delta Question of Nigeria has its origin in the historical or geographic Niger Delta, which comprises the whole of Rivers and Bayelsa States and some parts of Delta State (Ogomudia Committee Report, 2001). The Niger Delta Question is a question of the mindless neglect and currently the development of the crude oil producing communities in Nigeria (Popoola Report, 1999). The underdevelopment of the Niger Delta is a creation of the bourgeoisie class from the north, the west, the east and the southern (where the Niger Delta is located) parts of the country.
The federal government and the crude oil companies in the region, in the last [immediate past] 10 years, has spent more than 40 billion United States dollars to develop the Niger Delta through sundry agencies that were and are still mostly managed by the elites and their surrogates from the region (Jonas, 2017). However, there is nothing substantial to show that half of this said amount has been spent to judiciously develop any part of the swampy region. It is really corruption in “high places”. Therefore, Niger Delta privileged individuals have overtime also helped by omission or by commission to underdeveloped the region.
Classification of the Niger Delta Crisis
The Niger Delta Question, which has translated to, what is now know as the, Niger Delta region crisis, has been actively on the nation’s dashboard for the past 55 years (Boro, 1992). It has consumed more than 7,000 lives. A war between the Niger Delta militants and the Nigerian State supported by the crude oil multinationals and their parent countries has just ended. Or some say, the war is still on, in the following major forms: illegal bunkering of crude oil, commercial kidnappings, destructions of crude oil facilities commonly called, pipe lines vandalization (Ladum Mittee Technical Committee Report, 2008).
The Niger Delta predicament is an economic and a development crisis. It is an economic crisis because; the major cause of the crisis is crude oil, a money making natural resource. It is also a development issue, because the end-result of all the militant agitations is the improvement of the lot of the people and the environment of the region. The conflict in the Niger Delta cannot be classified as an ethnic conflict, because no [specific] one or group or groups of ethnic entity is or are fighting another or others. Loosely, the crisis in the Niger Delta can also be classified as a class conflict or an environmental conflict.
Official Methodologies: How not to Resolve the Niger Delta Question
It will be disingenuous, to input that, the Nigerian State has not try to develop the Niger Delta region. All sorts of development/empowerment commissions, committee, agencies and recently, a federal ministry and a multi-billion naira Amnesty Programme have been created to resolve the region’s crisis before and after independence. The crude oil firms too have developed and created all forms of agencies and strategies to develop the region. The astringent truth, however, is that all these contraptions have come to develop the region minimally or have just produced a zero development result; this is chiefly due to corruption from the sponsors of these developmental programmes and the implementers, which are mostly the elite from the region.
The pain on our neck is that both the government at all levels and the elites in the region still believe that, the old community development models/methods will still work, can still be used to develop the decimated region. Surely, few initiated ones know that, these old developmental strategies cannot take the region to the needed average Eldorado the people of the region are clamoring for. Below is a strategy that we believe will help the region more than all the contraptions that have been thrown and are still been thrown to the region.
Conclusion: How Best to Resolve the Niger Delta Question
What is needed in the Niger Delta is a Marshall Plan (akin to the Europe Recovery Programme immediately after WW 11) or a Molotov Plan: which are arrangements of honest outsider conscientious development strategies. The two plans were developed by the United States of America and the now defunct USSR respectively to rebuild the World War 11 devastation of Europe and the republics in the former USSR. Both Plans were a success, to a large extent, by all standards; they helped to build both infrastructure and human resource in both post-war enclaves tremendously. The whole world is still feeling the by-products of these recovery Plans.
One major distinct characteristic of these Plans was that they were largely controlled by honest stakes outside the real victims that needed help. They also did not suffer from, elite capture. Therefore, what the Niger Delta need now is an honest outsider development executor like the United Nations, the World Bank or the European Union. Or any other outsider entity that can be put together for the development of the region. All the monies that are to be sourced internally and externally should be given to a well-respected and experienced multinational agency or agencies to rebuild the region like it was done for the Europeans and the nations within the sway of the former USSR after the end of WW 11.
On no account should the Federal Government, the crude oil firms, etc give cash to fantastically fraudulent local contractors or the so-called national or indigenous contractors or local development agencies to build any infrastructure in the region again, they have been tried, they have failed repeatedly. Consequently, it is time to try another strategy. We cannot be doing the same thing and expect to get a different result.
References
Alagoa, E (1972). History of the Niger Delta, Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press
Boro, I. A. (1992). The Twelve-Day Revolution, Benin City: Idodo Umeh Publishers.
Jonas, Odocha (January 5, 2017). Rethinking Niger Delta Region Development. Vanguard. www.vangurdngr.com.
Ladum Mittee Technical Committee Report (2008). http://www.adakaboro.org/resources/ngtc2008/90-niger-delta-technical-committee-members, retrieved 13-08-2016
Ogomudia Committee Report (2001)    http://www.adakaboro.org/resources/ngtc2008/90-niger-delta-technical-committee-members, retrieved 13-08-2016
Popoola Report (1999). http://www.adakaboro.org/resources/ngtc2008/90-     niger-delta-technical-committee-members, retrieved 13-08-2016
Willink Commission Report (1958).      http://www.adakaboro.org/resources/ngtc2008/90-niger-delta-technical-committee-members, retrieved 13-08-2016.
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Charles, Alfred (PhD) is of the Department of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer: Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. Reach him: twonbrass@gmail.com; 13-01-17.  
 

The Democratic Republic of Congo 2016 December Crisis: Towards a Nonviolent Resolution

The Democratic Republic of Congo 2016 December Crisis: Towards a Nonviolent Resolution

Introduction: Brief History of Conflict in the DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, (Formerly called, Zaire) is one of the richest countries in the world, in terms of, natural resources. The country is endowed with cash-spinning, internationally needed natural resources, but it is chronically deprived, sapped by corruption and politically unbalanced. DRC has never witnessed a peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. The country descended to the abyss of [a] civil war in 1997 when the then totalitarian ruler, Mobutu Sese Seko, was forcefully removed from office. The civil war has so far consumed an estimated 5 million people since the dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, was ousted after a 32-year disastrous rule.
Described by some keen observers such as peace and conflict experts, international relations gurus and historians, as Africa’s first World War, the conflict in the DRC has involved seven other African countries. The major motivating factors of the DRC civil war are complex, but they mainly include, conflicts over basic resources such as water, access and control over rich minerals and other resources as well as various political agendas. The civil war has also been fueled and supported by various national and international corporations and other regimes which have an interest in the outcome of the conflict. Below are some of the dour statistics of the DRC civil war according to Anup (2010:2):
  1. Some 5.4 million people have died;
  2. It has been the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II;
  3. The vast majority have actually died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition;
  4. 19% of the population, children, account for 47% of the deaths;
  5. Approximately 1.5 million people are internally displaced or are refugees; and
  6. Some 45,000 continue to die each month.
So far, from December last year, 2016, twenty people have been killed in confrontations between anti-third term, mostly opposition parties’ members protesters and security forces in only Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, hours after the end of the second five-year term of the president, Joseph Kabila. Opposition leaders called for demonstrations overnight after Kabila refused to step down at midnight, when his second and last tenure expired. The opposition political parties’ leaders have accused the 45-year-old former guerrilla commander of carrying out a coup d’état to have a third tenure for himself which the constitution of DRC does not allowed (Anup, 2010 and Jason, 2016).
Classification of the DRC December 2016 Conflict
By all known standards, the current crisis in the DRC is a political conflict. It is a political crisis because the key cause of the conflict is connected to/and is on the elongation of a stipulated, legally backed political tenure that has already expired. And it is also a political conflict because all the actors in the conflict are struggling to hold on to or to get political powers to decide who gets what, when and how in the DRC.
Causes/Reasons of the DRC December 2016 Crisis
The main cause of the current crisis in the DRC, according to the government ministers and supporters of Kabila, is lack of money to pay for the expenses of fresh elections at the end of the expiration of the current second tenure of the president. Therefore, the supporters of the incumbent want the president to continue to rule until 2018 or until perhaps when funds are available (News24, 2017).  Joseph Kabila took office after his father Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 at the height of the Second Congo War. He was confirmed as an authentic elected leader in 2006 during the first free elections since independence, and he was re-elected for a second term in 2011 in a vote marred by accusations of fraud, that included massive vote-buying and the use of ethnicity for canvassing of votes.
Moves to manage the latest Crisis
Generally, when a conflict is hydra-headed, in terms of causes, stakes and actors, the first step to take is to look for the best strategy to manage it. Conflict management is only interested in limiting the consequences of an ongoing conflict. Therefore, the Catholic Church’s move to manage the current DRC conflict is laudable. The country’s influential mostly catholic bishops have brokered a New Year’s Eve deal to sketch a timetable under which Kabila will stay in office until new elections are to be held in late 2017 (News24, 2017).  The main aim of this conflict management strategy is actually to prevent more bloodshed in a crisis that has already claimed dozens of lives. This appears to be more acceptable to Kabila and his supporters than to the members of the opposition parties. So it seems more innocent souls will depart this sinful world in the coming days….
Conclusion: Strategy to Resolve the Current DRC Conflict
Conflict resolution involves the final settlement of a conflict to the satisfaction of most of or all the parties in a conflict. The DRC conflict needs a final resolution. This is imperative because, the mere management of the conflict is just the postponement of the dooms day. It is our considered opinion therefore, that Kabila should not be allowed to prolong his rule in the DRC. The international community, mostly the UN or the AU or both should immediately provide the needed cash for the electoral body of the DRC to conduct the needed fresh elections. To allow Kabila to still rule the nation when constitutionally his final tenure has expired, in December 2016, is a bad precedent and it is a receipt for future disaster, continentally and otherwise.

References

Jason Burke (December 20th, 2016). 20 dead’ in DRC protests after president’s term expires. The Guardian.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/20/drc-protests-grow-as-kabila-clings-to-power-despite-his-term-ending.
Anup Shah (August 21st, 2010). The Democratic Republic of Congo. Global Issue. http://www.globalissues.org/article/87/the-democratic-republic-of-congo.
News24. (January 5th, 2017). Kabila backs Catholic bishops’ role in DRC crisis. Retrieved from: http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/kabila-backs-catholic-bishops-role-in-drc-crisis-20170105. ……………………………………………
Charles, Alfred (PhD: Peace and Conflict Studies) is of the Department of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer: Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. Reach him: twonbrass@gmail.com; 07-01-17.  
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SOON TO BE POSTED: 1) How not to Resolve the Current Niger Delta Question. And (2) Triple Actions Needed to Currently Resolve the Biafra Question in Nigeria

Towards a Peaceful Resolution of the The Gambian Political Impasse 3

Towards a Peaceful Resolution of the The Gambian Political Impasse 3

Introduction: The Die, it appears, has been cast in The Gambia.
The Gambia, the poor, small Africa nation, is gradually drifting towards the cliff. Soon it will fall off the cliff and implode. The following widely reported [very similar, but presented below for emphasis] three news items really shows that, in The Gambia, at the moment, alea iacta est.
Story One:  For asking him to step down for a democratically elected president, the Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, has accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country. Mr. Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow. He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV. The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on January 19. PREMIUM TIMES reported how President Muhammadu Buhari led other West African leaders to meet with Messrs. Jammeh and Barrow.  Apart from Mr. Buhari, the ECOWAS delegation also had Presidents Ernest Koroma, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and John Mahama of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana respectively. The leaders appealed to Mr. Jammeh to leave office and also reportedly sought an ‘honourable exit’ for him that would ensure he is not tried for various human rights crimes he is alleged to have committed while in office (Nicholas Ibekwe, January 02, 2017).
Story Two: For asking him to step down for a democratically elected president, the Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, has accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country. Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow (Skytrend News, January 01, 2017).
Story Three: BANJUL — Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh accused West African regional body ECOWAS of declaring war, after it said it was putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down at the end of his mandate this month. Jammeh, who has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow, also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year’s speech broadcast on state TV. The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on Jan. 19. Marcel de Souza, commission president for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said last week it had put standby forces on alert. In his speech, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of Dec 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible,” apparently acknowledging again that the poll did not go in his favor (VOA, January 01, 2017).
That, His Excellency, the voted-out president of The Gambia, Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji, Dr, Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa, has crossed the Rubicon is also confirmed by the facts that, he has reopened the office of the closed Electoral Commission, which he sealed [off] on December 13th, 2016 and he has in addition, to consolidate, his psychological propaganda preparation, for the forthcoming show-down, closed down a very popular radio station, Teranga FM, that is critical of his long odious 22 years reign (John, 2016 and BBC, 2017).
The Latest Trick from President Jammeh
Like most former sit-tight leaders, who were also war mongers, the current voted-out president of The Gambia, is redefining the international opposition against his individual choice not to leave office as a national issue. Cleverly, he has spooned-out the propaganda that, attacking him, is an attack on the body and soul of The Gambia, and therefore, he is ready to defend the country from external aggressors such as the AU, the UN and the battle ready ECOWAS Stand-by Force.
The invocation of the spirit of nationalism to deceive the unsuspecting public [of his largely poor and unlettered people] is a populism that equally demonstrates that president Jammeh may not leave office in a peaceful manner.
Conclusion: Actions Needed Before and During the Strikes
From all the facts on the table, at the moment, it is now very clear that, some sort of military solution must be brought in to oust president Jammeh. However, before any military hit, the civilian population of The Gambia must be appropriately and broadly educated on the reasons and mission of a surgical military operation (it appears, the ECOWAS, etc is not doing much on this). And finally, as much as possible, president Jammeh should be properly isolated before any strike. If there is any doubt, it is better for a strike not to take place than to kill an innocent The Gambian. The poor masses of the people have suffered too much for the past 23 years under president Jammeh.
References
John Abayomi (December 29th, 2016). Gambia President Jammeh Orders Electoral Commission to Reopened. Retrieved from, http://punchng.com/gambia-president-jammeh-orders-electoral-commission-reopened/.
Nicholas Ibekwe (January 02, 2017).  Gambia: Jammeh Accuses Buhari, Other West African Leaders Of Declaring War. Sahara Reporters. Retrieved from, http://saharareporters.com/2017/01/02/gambia-jammeh-accuses-buhari-other-west-african-leaders-declaring-war.
Skytrend News (January 01, 2017). Gambian Crisis: Buhari, Other ECOWAS Leaders Declaring War Against Us — President Jammeh. Retrieved from, http://skytrendnews.com/2017/01/01/gambian-crisis-buhari-ecowas-leaders-declaring-war-us-president-jammeh/.
VOA (January 01, 2017). Gambia Leader Accuses West African Bloc of Declaring War. Retrieved from, http://www.voanews.com/a/gambia-leader-accuses-west-african-bloc-of-declaring-war/3658772.html.
BBC (January 02, 2017). The Gambia’s Teranga FM Radio Station Closed. Retrieved from, www.bbc.com/news.
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SOON TO BE POSTED:
  • How not to Resolve the Current Niger Delta Question
  • Triple Actions Needed to Currently Resolve the Biafra Question in Nigeria.

 

 

 

2017. A look ahead

Over 4 billion messages are sent on New year’s day, every year. Majority of them contain various versions of these three words “Happy new year.”

Based on this study by Harvard researchers details the findings of a 75 year old study, we simply wish you better relationships. You may also wish to look at this excellent piece about the habits that can drive your productivity in the year ahead.

The new year brings uncertainty, and its twin – opportunity.

This year Donal Trump will take office as the United States president. His policies and relationships with other world leaders have the ability to affect events on a global scale. There will be winners and losers. International trade and diplomatic protocol are the two principal areas where his policies have the highest chance of creating change.

In Nigeria, 2017 will be the second full year in office of President Muhammadu Buhari. And for about 30 Governors and the Minister of the FCT. Their policies and initiatives are tremendously important for up to 200 million people in Nigeria and the West African region.

In security, the recent gains in the war against terror are extremely welcome but can easily become an invitation to complacency in prosecuting the campaign.

Furthermore the situation in Kaduna, which Dr Charles Alfred has written about here, requires honest and lasting solutions before it precipitates another conflict.

The responsibility of leadership does not also stop at Aso rock. The Governors and LGA administrators also need to do more. At a very basic level, it must be admitted that the nature of Nigerian politics has not been very supportive of trained technocrats, intellectuals or professionals. This has created a skills gap at all levels of leadership which is one of the things that Sultan Maccido Institute designs programs for. The Executive Course in E-Government, Innovation and the Freedom of Information Act is a very good one that I am a proud resource person of.

This year, in partnership with Digital Africa Group and Seigneur Consults, Sultan Maccido Institute will be launching a podcast and a debate series to focus on the practical lessons for leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers.

Key issues will include

The impact of Technology on Governance
How to motivate leaders to produce results
The practices that Nigerian entrepreneurs and innovators can employ to rapidly get from 0 to 1
The Fourth Industrial Revolution

If you have ideas for us or would like to be part of the project, send an email to sultan Maccido Admin officer Mustapha Tanimu at admin.smiplds@uniabuja.edu.ng

Finally, I leave with a quote I am pondering

It is not the movement of the clock that changes at the turn of the year. It is the change in our thinking.

Until later. Lead. Be productive.

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Igwe Uchenna is a Law, Economics and Development Fellow at the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja. You can find him on LinkedIn.

 

Triple Unorthodox Strategies to Manage the Southern Kaduna Deadly Conflict

Triple Unorthodox Strategies to Manage the Southern Kaduna Deadly Conflict

Introduction: Conflict Management/Resolution/and Transformation 

To all intents and purposes, this concise commentary is all about how to manage the near-genocidal conflict going on in southern Kaduna. It x-rays the centripetal and the centrifugal forces/actors that have sustained and are still sustaining the toxic conflict. As a result of the usual fluidities associated with the concepts/variables (conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation) in the heading of this subsection, it is germane to throw-up some sorts of epigrammatic definitions. Conflict management is generally concern with the limitation of the effects/impact of an on-going conflict, while, conflict resolution is the final settlement/resolution of a conflict. Conflict transformation, is the elimination of the root causes of a conflict after a settlement has been reached or obtained. The fact is this, this article, is all about management of the southern Kaduna conflict, because through the management of the conflict, a resolution and a transformation will be attained.

Classification of the Conflict

Classification is derived from deep analysis. And the passionate dissection of a conflict helps in the development of strategies, which will enable interlocutors to prevent, manage, resolve and transform a particular conflict with an appreciable level of precision. The ongoing conflict in southern Kaduna could be group under, ethnic, religious, economic or political conflicts. It is ethnic and religious because, the major actors are largely from different ethnic and religious platforms. It is also economic because, the major cause of the lethal conflict is associated with livelihood while it is political because, the conflict started after an election in 2011 (Ochonu, 2016 and Suleiman, 2015).

The Study Area and the Principal Actors

Kaduna State is located in the political north but in the mostly use categorization system, the geopolitical classification, Kaduna state is classify [sometimes] under the middle belt or the north central zone. Kaduna State has twenty three Local Government Areas, out of which, Southern Kaduna has eight, while northern Kaduna has fifteen. Southern Kaduna refers to the area located [to the] south of Kaduna city, the capital of the state. The area shares common boundary to the north and the east with the Plateau and Bauchi States and to the south, with Abuja: the Federal Capital Territory. At present, the eight local government areas of Southern Kaduna: Jaba, Jema,a, Kachia, Kagarko, Kaura, Kauru, Sanga and Zangon Kataf constitute one senatorial district out of the three senatorial districts of the state. Southern Kaduna is multi-ethnic and it is pre-dominantly occupied by largely non-Muslim ethnic groups (Suleiman, 2015). Senator Danjuma La’ah, a Christian (?), is the current senator representing Southern Kaduna.

 

Virtually all the major actors in the southern Kaduna mortal conflict are non-state actors. There are two well-known groups involved in the southern Kaduna conflict. These are: Nigerian and foreign Fulani herdsmen and indigenous southern Kaduna citizens residing in the local communities.

 

Key Causes of the Conflict

The conflict under review is about half a decade old. So it predated all the current governments in place—both in the state and the federal level. The remote cause of the conflict is the quest for distinct identity by the indigenous communities in southern Kaduna (Suleiman, 2015). While the immediate cause of the crisis, according to the current Chief Security Officer of Kaduna State, “began in the aftermath of the 2011 presidential elections when foreign Fulani herdsmen (and perhaps some local ones) passing through Southern Kaduna were attacked with (sic) some of them killed and their cattle stolen” (Ajijah, 2016 and Ochonu, 2016).

Three approaches to manage the conflict

  1. Compensation/payment of the aggrieved Fulani herdsmen:-this set of actors in the conflict, should be aptly indentified and the Kaduna State government, etc should [openly] sign a kind of ceasefire agreement with them and handsomely compensate them for what they have lost, that is motivating them, to incessantly attack the local communities. Peace-buying or the payment of non-state actors to stop fighting is a strategy that is acceptable globally. For absolutely weak states such as Nigeria, that is already overwhelmed with numerous on-going deadly conflicts, this strategy is highly recommended.  

 

  1. Compensation/payment of the cattle rustlers:-the indigenous population in southern Kaduna should also be compensated and those who periodically rustle cattle, as a business or as a means of retaliation, should be paid to stop.

  

  1. Systematic encouragement of communities-wide vigilante groups-most importantly, the communities in southern Kaduna should be encouraged to establish very strong, well-resourced vigilantes (to work outside the communities) and semi-military civil protection groups (to work within the communities) that will support the official security forces to protect the whole zone. This should be supported by all stakeholders, including the religious organizations. Self-help crime preventive brigades primarily to protect a vulnerable neighborhood are allowed to operate in most materially developed nations too.    

Conclusion: Implications of the Conflict

The southern Kaduna conflict is howling for an urgent attention because, the consequences of the conflict will be too much for the already very fragile Nigerian State to stomach, if it is not tackled immediately. Already, conflict entrepreneurs and other religious cum ethnic irredentists have started getting attracted to the conflict. Far-reaching poisonous sentiments are now been used to explain the conflict so that, when it finally explodes, there will be no winner, and the Nigerian State and her citizen will be the ultimate losers (Fani, 2016). Therefore, as we search for the final resolution and transformation of the conflict, the above-mentioned strategies should also be adopted urgently to manage the conflict.

References

Ajijah, A. (December 29th, 2016). Church says ‘808 killed in southern Kaduna. Premium Times. http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/219173-church-says-808-killed-southern-kaduna.html.

 

Fani, K. (December 28th, 2016). Southern Kaduna: Hit Back or Die (1). Vanguard. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/southern-kaduna-hit-back-die-1-fani-kayode/.

Ochonu, M.E. (December 26th, 2016). El-Rufai’s Blunders And The Christmas Killings In Southern Kaduna. Sahara Reporters. http://saharareporters.com/2016/12/26/el-rufai%E2%80%99s-blunders-and-christmas-killings-southern-kaduna-moses-e-ochonu.

Suleiman, M.D. (2011). Southern Kaduna: Democracy and the struggle for identity and Independence by Non-Muslim Communities in Northern Nigeria 1999-2011. A Paper Presented at the 34th AFSAAP Conference Flinders University 2011.

 

Vanguard (December 30th, 2016). Southern Kaduna killings: SERAP drags FG to UN.  http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/southern-kaduna-killings-serap-drags-fg-un/.

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Charles, Alfred (PhD) is of the Department of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer: Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. Reach him: twonbrass@gmail.com; 1-01-17.  

Towards a Peaceful Resolution of the The Gambia Political Impasse – Part 2

This post is the continuation of a two (2) part series. If you haven’t read it, part one is here.

It is no more a hush-hush statement. The strong man who has ruled and is still ruling The Gambia for the past 22 years is in the hot soup. The ECOWAS, the star regional organization of West Africa, has decided to use force to pull down the defeated out-going president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, for the real estate/property developer opposition leader, Adama Borrow, who won the recently conducted election now been disputed by the incumbent in the supreme court (BBC 2016 and PM News, 2016).

Mercel Alain de Souze, chairman of the ECOWAS Commission has warned that: Jammeh had until 19th January, 2016 to comply with it mediators to leave office or according to the chairman: “if he is not going, we have stand-by forces already alerted and these stand-by forces have to be able to intervene to restore the people’s wish” (BBC, 2016).

Senegal has three clear-cut boundaries with The Gambia, and it has been chosen by the ECOWAS to manage the force strategy that will compel and force Jammeh out of power and authority. Obviously Senegal was chosen because of its knowledge of The Gambia and it geographical advantage. Obviously too, the choice of Senegal shows that the regional body, ECOWAS, is ready to pour blood. “If he, (Jammeh) loves his people, he has to be able to negotiate an exit door calmly. If it doesn’t happen (sic), the most radical means will be used.” This was the final summation of the chairman of the ECOWAS Commission according to the BBC news of December 23rd, 2016.

The ECOWAS best bet, the force strategy, to resolve the political impasse is nothing special to Jammeh. Old solider never die. Jammeh has boosted back to the regional body, ECOWAS, threat that, “as a man of peace”, he is ready to defend himself and the country, The Gambia, “courageously, patriotically and win (sic)” (BBC, 2016).

There are four established stages of escalation of conflicts to destructive crisis/war according to Ifeanyi 2006:1). The understanding of these stages will help to enable us adequately understand and evaluate all conflicts in all societies. These stages are: dispute (or latent) stage, polarization (or perceived) stage, segregation (or tension) stage and destruction (or manifest) stage. That the, The Gambian political impasse is in the third stage of the processes of conflict development, that is tending towards spilling of blood, the fourth stage, is now known to all discerning minds.

The question now is, how can the two elephants (ECOWAS and Mr Jammeh) fight or make love without the grasses, which are the innocent people, in The Gambia, etc suffer? For now, if the inevitable happens, since we do not have much option, we will not cry much, if only the trained armies of the two elephants fight to finish, we will weep for only awhile, since fighting is their calling, and because they know how to defend themselves too, our concern is not at the moment with them. The innocent people from the region, the so-called, would-be collateral damages that will result from the impending war are our foci.

As indicated earlier in the part one of this submission, we still advise, Jammeh, to legally cover himself with immunities of all hues and quietly leave office to contest for the Ibrahim Mo award for African leaders who voluntarily vacate offices.

However, if Jammeh refuses, the ECOWAS stand-by force must be professional in the use of force to drive him out. Before, the use of violence, however, ECOWAS, should first use targeted sanctions against Jammeh himself. By all known facts, Jammeh cannot survive for more than a day, if the ECOWAS mobilize the whole international community against Jammeh. The good news is that, the international community is even fed up with Jammeh.

Our final point for now is that, the use of force, to coerce Jammeh out of office should still be a far option or should be the last alternative. Well-formulated and formidable sanctions targeted only at the accumulated mostly ill-gotten wealth of Jammah, his family members and ardent supporters should be the next line of action. These wealth (liquid cash and properties) are mostly starched in the vaults and lands of most of the so-called developed nations.

In the final analysis, however, if the sanction option falls, then ECOWAS must evacuate the civilians living and staying close to wherever, Jammeh is, or would be, before they strike or invade him and his die-hard supporters of all types.   

Further reading and references

PM News (December 23rd, 2016). Gambia: Senegal Ready to Lead Military Onslaught    

against Jammeh.  HYPERLINK “http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com” www.pmnewsnigeria.com

BBC News (December 23rd, 2016). Gambia Crisis: Senegal Troops “on alert if Jammeh

stays on.  HYPERLINK “http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa” www.bbc.com/news/world-africa

Ifeany, P. (2006). Conflict Management, Prevention and Resolution, A paper presented at a

Workshop on Conflict Resolution organized by Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organization at the Medical research and Training Hall, University of Ibadan on Thursday, March 16th, 2006.

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Written by:  Charles, Alfred (PhD) 

Charles is a PhD in Political Science/Peace and Conflict Studies, he is a lecturer in the Dept of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer to the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. 24-12-16.

Towards a Peaceful Resolution of the The Gambian Political Impasse – Part 1

Background of the Impasse

It is a truism that, the classification of a subsisting conflict helps to comprehensively resolve or manage a conflict. The classification of a conflict exposes the type of interlocutor(s) that will be deployed to either mediate or head the negotiation team, among others. This explains why, experts of peace and conflict studies usually waste ample time to dissect and classify any conflict before seeking for strategies to resolve it. Or sometimes, to temporarily manage it.

To all intents and purposes, the ongoing crisis in The Gambia, is a political crisis. A political crisis like ethnic, religious, identity, international and domestic crises, is an individual(s) driven one. A political crisis usually is a product of the contestation for power, a power that will enable the winner(s) to decide “who gets what, when and how”. A political crisis in a capitalist domain is embittered in the philosophy of, “winner takes all” mentality.    

Immediate Cause(s) of the Impasse

The current political impasse in The Gambia is a by product of a democracy-driven political contestation, that has gone sour. It was a struggle for power and authority to control the highest office in the land, the presidency. The election in question actually produced a winner in the person of opposition leader, Adama Borrow, who defeated the incumbent, Yahya Jammeh, who is a legend of a sort now in the comity of long-serving African leaders or heads of state.

The good news, until recently, was that the outgoing president, the defeated “father” of the nation, congratulated the in-coming president immediately after the election. However, when the opposition arrowheads shouted on their rooftops that, the outgoing elder statesman and president will be comprehensively probed, the papa of the nation smelt a rat, revisited the done election, saw some holes, and shouted back, “I will no longer accept the election as a free and fair one. The election must be nullified and a new one must be conducted”. So The Gambia landed itself in a deep, still brewing political impasse, which may explode the nation as early as February 2017.

All known and well-respected individuals including presidents of all the nations and multinational and multilateral organizations have denounced the volta-face of the out-going president. Some have threatened fire and brimstone. Surely, a war is in our hands. And what do we do as peace lovers and advocates?

Strategies to Resolve the Impasse

Number one fact, the in-coming crop of leaders made a mortal mistake. The mistake is this; they began to eat their cakes ever before the cakes are given to them. Why announcing to the whole world that the outgoing president will rot in jail? This is an error, The Gambia like most countries in Africa is a near failed state in transition, therefore, an incumbent should be settled/pampered/paid like brutal warlords with comparative advantages, to leave the stage.

The solution: to guarantee his safe passage and transition into retirement, the outgoing president, Baba Yahya Jammeh, should be allowed to write into the constitution that, he will have immunity against all probes and prosecution as long as he lives. Former president of Ghana, J. J. Rawlings still enjoys a similar legal cover.  Some other former presidents; I suppose, including former president Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria still enjoy similar non-legal or legal gentlemen agreements with the current power holders in their various nations.

Conclusion

War, cannot be an option in The Gambia. Let us avoid it. We cannot afford to take actions that would result in loss of innocent lives of ordinary poor The Gambians. International terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, drug gangs and other war entrepreneurs such as the “developed” countries’ defence industries, will cash-in on the situation in The Gambia, if we let it degenerate into a war.  The result will be a long war that may consume all of us. Therefore, let us together ease the big masquerade with all fanfare out of the village square.

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Written by:  Charles, Alfred (PhD) 

Charles is a PhD in Political Science/Peace and Conflict Studies, he is a lecturer in the Dept of Political Science, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State. He is also a visiting lecturer to the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, Abuja Nigeria. 21-12-16.

 

A counterfactual view of Donald Trump’s election and the rise of Nationalist movements in Europe

The rise of mass immigration in the last decade, culminating in what the UN has called the largest migration of people since World War II has spurred the rise of far right, nationalist sentiment in the US and the West

Emigration is fueled by weak and failed states like Somalia. War in places like Libya, Mali. Corruption, human rights abuses and incompetence in majority of Sub Saharan African nations. Most of all, economic factors and the desire for more opportunities is the main driver of emigration.

This has highlighted more than ever the divisions between the left and the right in Western politics.

The leftist side of Western Politics presents a liberal and inclusive view of the world. This includes policies that are pro immigration, aid to less developed nations, human rights and free trade. On the right, policies and proposals are less open to immigration, free trade trade and aid. This is usually presented as being protectionist, racist, selfish and hawkish.

Opponents of the right usually argue for a more inclusive world and quickly draw comparisons to the Fascist European ideology that led to the Second World War. 

History however suggests that Human Rights and Freedom does not necessarily translate to economic progress. Singapore, China, Vietnam, India and South Korea are countries who have grown their economy massively while having a checkered history of human rights compliance

Furthermore, the left wing love of giving “aid” has gotten Africa dangerously addicted.

Aid and other forms of Official development Assistance has been shown by world bank research to create a pattern of dependency which in turn fuels corruption, weakens nations and encourages brain drain.

Countries like Nigeria with an abundance of talent, resources and potential continue to underperform because of a dependency on foreign aid.

“Aid dependence can undermine institutional quality by weakening accountability, encouraging rent seeking and corruption, fomenting conflict over control of aid funds, siphoning off scarce talent from the bureaucracy, and alleviating pressures to reform inefficient policies and institutions.”

Source: world Bank

The data clearly shows that higher aid levels erode the quality of governance, as measured by indexes of bureaucratic quality, corruption, and the rule of law.

For instance, Official development Assistance to Nigeria for the last 5 years has averaged 2 billion dollars. That is about 10% of the $ 21 billion that are remitted back to Nigeria by the diaspora.

This is a huge potential source of foreign exchange that remains untapped. The Diaspora bond proposed by the Nigerian Government will likely underperform if floated, simply because the people do not trust the government to invest their money.

The Nigerian Senate recently turned down a request to borrow close to $30 billion for this same reason.

There is an argument to be made that if the world becomes a less inclusive place, it will benefit African nations who will turn inwards to find solutions to their problems, and in so doing stop the need to emigrate. This will have the effect of earning Africa global respect and destroy the basis of neo-nationalism. 


About the Author


Barrister Igwe Uchenna is a Law, Economics and Development Fellow at the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja.

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