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Conflict and conflict resolution in Africa: Engaging the colonial factor

F Achankeng


By engaging the colonial factor in African confl icts, this article seeks to understand the ineffectiveness of efforts at confl ict management in overcoming the disasters that brought the confl icts to the African continent. It claims that confl ict in Africa does not always stem primarily from crises of national governance and the failure of governmental institutions in African countries to mediate confl ict, and revisits the colonial factor as the root of many confl icts in Africa. The article reconsiders the confl ict management and confl ict resolution debate and indicts former colonial powers and powerful organisations for maintaining colonial-style approaches to African confl icts at the expense of a desire to address the fundamental issues that divide the parties to the different confl icts. It argues that the colonial factor ought to be a consideration in attempts to address African confl icts because the roots of many post-colonial confl icts in Africa remain buried in Africa’s past and, specifi cally, in the colonisation and de-colonisation processes. Making the claim that confl ict resolution is more than the suppression or perhaps the elimination of overt violence, it argues that envisaging and/or imposing peace-keeping forces at every turn on various African confl icts does not provide the desired durable outcomes.

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eISSN: 1562-6997