The Interface between Peace Operations and Regional Reconciliation Processes: Framing an Exit Strategy for Africa’s Conflicts
In November 2019, disgruntled Congolese citizens stormed the premises of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in their locality, to protest the failure of the operation to protect civilians and consolidate peace and security in the country.1 This article will argue that experience and evidence continue to demonstrate that reconciliation processes are considered only as an afterthought, as far as UN peace operations in Africa are concerned. This article argues that this short-sighted approach to African peace operations ultimately makes it much more difficult for missions to transition out of the countries where they are embedded. The strategic design of reconciliation processes should be integrated into the pre-mission design of peace operations at the outset. The article will conclude by arguing that, given the cyclical nature of conflicts, UN peace operations in Africa should adopt regional reconciliation as a strategic objective at the premission planning stage of their intervention.