Interethnic conflict and the role of traditional leaders in the truth and reconciliation programme in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

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Tembo, Emmanuel Tavulya-Ndanda
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University of the Free State
This empirical research was built on the failure of military operations, and formal peacebuilding processes sought to curb the interethnic conflicts revolving around the issues of land, citizenship and political power in the North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This study focused on the truth and reconciliation process designed by the Amani Programme in 2008 for the eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. It probed the role of the traditional leaders in the said programme for the period between 2008 and 2018. In order to establish its argument, this case study relied on data collected from eleven focus groups and thirty interviews purposively selected. Focus group discussions were conducted among members of CBOs, civil society, field NGOs, church leaders and members of field organisations, while interviews were conducted with traditional/ethnic leaders, church leaders, UN officials, government officials, and members of the civil society. Theoretically, this study used Lederach’s Conflict Transformation Theory and peace education. On the one hand, from the transformative viewpoint, the study's findings revealed that peacebuilding processes failed because they did not consider the local context of North Kivu, which endorses the full participation of the grassroots leadership represented by traditional leaders. On the other hand, this study found that informal and formal education for peace is still insufficient in the province. Clearly, there is a need for change, which is possible if a bottom-up approach is adopted where traditional leaders become the initiators of the reconciliation programme. It is worth noting that traditional leaders have the attribute to manage and distribute land as land question is one of the underlying causes of ethnic conflict in North Kivu. The engagement that restores the bami in their status as peacemakers can significantly change communities’ attitudes and perceptions. There is a strong need to engage the community in more workshops and meetings for reconciliation at the communal level.
Thesis (Ph.D. (Centre for Africa Studies))--University of the Free State, 2021
Military operations -- Republic of Congo (DRC), Truth and reconciliation -- Republic of Congo (DRC)