In Quest for a Culture of Peace in the IGAD Region

Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Nairobi
Place of publication
Date of Publication
Number of Pages
9966- 9772-6–0
The IGAD (Intergovernmental Agency for Desertification) region, comprising of Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, has distinctive historical, socio-economic and cultural features. This sub-region is diverse and its geo-strategic location has resulted in competition and animosities between different local and foreign powers from time to time. These dynamics led to the development of a culture of violence based on the tradition of origin, a fixation with territory, a feudal vision of the exercise of power and an absolutist conception of conflict. As a result, the nations within the region have usually pursued political and development strategies that ignore the socio-cultural affinities and the economic interdependence between their peoples. This deep attachment to the territorial concept of nationhood and their reluctance to explore the potentials offered by sharing of a common heritage has discouraged the development of coherent policies of sub-regional integration that would promote peaceful co-existence.

Several initiatives at conflict resolution have been undertaken by regional actors. Noteworthy examples were the establishment of a Transitional Federal Government for Somalia in 2004 and the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for the Sudan in 2005.

A regional approach towards analyzing and addressing the challenges of the region is needed, going beyond the shortfalls of single-case analysis that fails to consider the common aspirations, interests and characteristics of all the member states.

Time has come to concentrate efforts on a regional dialogue for peaceful and beneficial coexistence, and to develop in this region studies and exchanges that stress the sharing of common ideals, values and interests among peoples of the IGAD region. It is time for intellectuals of the region to build a holistic approach; taking into consideration the common aspirations of the people. Civil society organizations will have to establish specialised mechanisms that can endow them with the capacity to continually monitor, review and intervene in events and issues in the region.

This book covers the proceedings of a conference held in February 2006 in Nairobi.

Table of contents

For the Hurried Reader

Regional Conceptualisation

  • Bahru Zewde Embattled identity in Northeast Africa: A comparative essay
  • Abdi Ismail Samatar & Waqo Machaka Conflict and peace in the Horn of Africa: A regional approach
  • Ali Moussa Iye Developing a new vision on the Horn of Africa: Creation of a forum to debate the common future of the region 
  • Dani W. Nabudere The role of intellectuals and integration in the IGAD region

Transitional Politics

  • P. Anyang’ Nyong’o The challenges of transitional politics in Kenya
  • Samuel B. Tindifa Grappling with the challenges of multi party democracy in Uganda
  • Okello Oculi The 2006 elections in Uganda: Potentials for conflict and growth of democratic governance

In the Quest for Peace

  • Suzanne Jambo Sudan: The challenge of national renewal
  • Khalif Hassan Ahmed Somalia: A nation in search of a state

Human Rights Agenda

  • Dawit Mesfin Africa’s forgotten human rights crisis. The Eritrean experience
  • Melakou Tegegn Ethiopia, on a threshold of democracy?