ISBN 9781905068524
Pages 220
Dimensions 229mm x 152mm
Published 2008
Publisher Adonis & Abbey Publishers, Nigeria
Format Paperback

National Conference as a Strategy for Conflict Transformation and Peacemaking

The Legacy of the Republic of Benin Model

by Jacques L. Koko

Events in the post Cold War era have challenged the notions of realism and realpolitik, with an upsurge in intrastate conflicts involving other actors than just the state. During this period, the international community has witnessed the limitations of the tenets of realism for addressing disastrous civil wars or ethno-political conflicts internal to the states. Largely because of this, and alongside the emerging field of conflict resolution in western countries, transitional conflict resolution mechanisms emerged with characteristic multi-track diplomacy orientations for solving national problems within African countries. By the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, several African countries, including South Africa, Burundi and Sierra Leone resorted to either a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or an international tribunal to handle violence and restore peace and justice. In the same period, other African countries opted for what was called 'national conference' to solve their national problems and transform conflict into an opportunity for structural change. In February 1990, the Republic of Benin, a small nation-state in West Africa, achieved peace through a national conference. The national conference in Benin was a national gathering for crisis resolution through social debates on critical issues facing the nation, and political decision making for constructive changes. As a pioneer, Benin led the political change movement of the national conference and was later followed by eight other African countries namely, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Togo, the Central African Republic, and the former Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. To date, most of the existing literature on the subject explores the phenomenon of national conference as something of a prelude to political transition to multipartyism and democracy. Part of the literature depicts the national conference as a civil coup d'Ètat, and recommends its institutionalization as a system for democratic transitions. This book takes a different approach by conceptualizing the national conference phenomenon as a multi-track diplomacy tool or as a process for conflict transformation and peacemaking. Building upon theories of conflict and conflict resolution, the author analyzes the national conference as a unique diplomatic approach to transforming national crisis, which expands the scope of strategies for peacemaking.
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About the Author

Jacques L. Koko

Jacques Koko is an Adjunct Professor in the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, USA, where he teaches "Peacemaking and peacekeeping", "Conflict and Displacement in Africa", and "Ethnopolitical conflict". A Beninois, Professor Koko has worked as a Senior Social Analyst with the Institut Africain pour le Développement Economique et Social (INADES) in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and as an Associate Researcher with the Université Nationale d'Abomey Calavi in Cotonou (Benin). Correlatively with his teaching position at Seton Hall University, he currently serves as a Senior Political Analyst for Americans for Informed Democracy. He publishes in both English and French.