Regional Development Dialogue. 24(2):114-119.: African Wildlife Foundation. Nairobi
This issue of Regional Development Dialogue (RDD) focuses on the theme: "Reflecting
on 'Human Security Now'" and is divided into two sections, focusing on Asia and Africa.
The African section looks at selected parts ofthe African continent, incorporating elements
of competition for scarce resources and attendant procurement and utilization strategies.
Application of the strategies in question, once institutionalized, often contradicts the
conventionally and culturally palatable social exchange norms, with consequences that
have turned out to be inimical to the peaceful co-existence of members of societies and
communities in different regions in Africa and among different socioeconomic categories,
especially where there are differences in race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and modes of
livelihoods at different levels of social change in different parts and within the cultural and
economic diversities that characterize many African social contexts. Cases of internally
displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, starving and relatively deprived citizens in every sense
of the word, thus abound in different regional settings in Africa. Associated impacts and
consequences of such structural imbalances have mainly been expressed through conflict,
hence the common outcomes of prolonged human insecurity in its various forms, loss of
lives, abject poverty, and other forms of perpetuated human rights abuses. It is in the light
of these observations that this introduction critically introduces the constituent articles in
this section of the journal.
A key editorial note should bear reference to the comments attending each article, i.e.,
critical remarks made by various scholars, regarding the content, relevance, and application
of the issues raised in the Africa section of this RDD. These comment are themselves part
and parcel of the dialogue, and as such, constitute a series of motivating invitations to the
reader, in effect, serving as useful supplements to the subject matter presented in the
referent articles. The comments include those by Ludeki Chweya, on the article "Poverty
and Human Security in Kenya" and also on "Displacement, Minorities, and Human
Security: The African Experience". The article on "Poverty and Human Security in
Kenya" has also received comments from Asfaw Kumssa. Other commentaries are made
by Charles B. K. Nzioka on "Banditry and Conflict in the Kapotur Triangle: An Alternative
Menu for Resolution"; and by Pius Mutuku Mutie on "Food Insecurity in Sierra Leone:
Overcoming the Challenges in Post-Conflict Reconstruction".
The first article, "Displacement, Minorities, and Human Security: The African
Experience" is by Adam Hussein Adam and fits well into the theme of this issue reflecting
the critical thinking of a renowned scholar and reformist thinker and crusader for minority rights, articulating his views with regard to practice and processes that support
antidiscrimination. The position taken represents a richly textured examination of the
origin and nature of displacement within the context of human security in Africa. The
author's major contention is that displacement is an attribute oftwo major related positions,
namely power and vulnerability. It is argued that the need to survive has always triggered
displacement while advancement in technology has facilitated the process. Tracing the
phenomenon of displacement in Africa from the time when Aboriginal people first entered
Eastern Africa about 10,000 years ago through Arabia and Persia up to the present day
globalization era, Hussein observes that major migrations that resulted in displacement
stemmed from people's vulnerability and need to survive. He uses the examples of the
migrations of the Ngoni people northwards, the southwards migration of the Nilotic
communities from present-day Sudan to Eastern Africa and those of the Bantu speaking
people from today's Central Africa to South, East, and Western Africa to illustrate how
these newcomers displaced the Aboriginal communities they found along the way. During
such interactions, some newcomers co-existed in good symbiosis, especially in the case of
pastoralists and the hunters, while others were assimilated altogether. The author also notes
that displacement takes place on two planes: evolutionary and induced processes (using
force). The article focuses on a discussion of the constituent process which has two aspects,
one being intranational and national in character and the other being international. The two
types of displaced produce refugees and lOPs.
Within this context, the article notes that, as with reasons for displacement, the results
of displaced persons are disastrous, with long-term social and psychological implications.
It has been succinctly pointed out that politics influences society, the economy, security,
development, and every other imperative for human survival including the processes that
precede the status of displacement. At this juncture, the challenging question is, if
displacement today is highly politics-driven, who then benefits from the displacement?
Displacement is seen to affect the collective and individual survival of the majority of
people not only by threatening their lives but also the livelihoods of those affected, spilling
over into kinship and the friends of friends networks, and beyond formal and informal
institutional and structural destructiveness.
Displacement is presented as a resource-driven phenomenon, while it is clearly
domination-oriented. As such, and while displacement remains resource-based and uses
technological advancement (guns) to enhance effectiveness and timeliness in results
production, the political forces are to a large extent known to playa much greater role in
the process. To authenticate the impacts of displacement, the author employs diverse
examples to demonstrate the infectious nature ofdisplacement as it affects large populations,
while benefiting only a small number of politicians and power wielders. Sadly, the
prevailing trend is such that political expediency takes precedence over security and
protection of people's lives and property.
The dominant message of the article is that there is need to forestall both sporadic
violence and also the planned acts of violence designed to displace people without options
on how to protect human lives. Part of these acts must be to ensure that ifthe displacement
is planned then the affected people should be fully involved in decision making. Where
displacement is sporadic, it is the duty of the state to prevent its victims from being exposed
to conflict. As a way forward, institutionalization of appropriate means of empowering communities to strengthen their problem-solving capacities, dialogue and adequate consultation,
rapport-creation between people and the state, involvement of the people in conflict
resolution, and enhancement of the facilitation capacity by the state in community conflict
mediation are all recommended.
The presentation makes a compelling argument for the reconstruction of politics and
the development agendas ofhope in order to counter the disillusionment and pessimism that
have been associated with change processes resulting in displacement in recent years. The
article is an excellent discussion on different aspects of displacement in the context of
human security and makes useful reading for all development scholars and practitioners.
The second article, "Banditry and Conflict in the Kapotur Triangle: An Alternative
Menu for Resolution" by Katumanga Musambayi, is a comprehensive narrative of the state
of banditry and conflict in the Karamoja, Pokot, and Turkana (KAPOTUR) triangle, in the
border areas between northeastern Uganda and northwestern Kenya in Eastern Africa. In
effect, the presentation constitutes a far-reaching intellectual discourse, an articulate
analysis of the nature, causes, and consequences of banditry and, at the end, proposes an
alternative menu for conflict resolution. The article argues that conflict in the Kapotur
region is as a result of the dysfunctionality of the state at the international level and the
collapse at the regional level. The contention is that the underlying dysfunctionality of the
state has to do with such factors as the nature and inability of the state to respond to the
challenges of frontier citizenship, regional state collapse, and elite instrumentalization of
violence. It is written against the background of people whose lifestyles have over time
been informed by harsh weather patterns, and the people themselves are neglected and
marginalized with regard to the benefits associated with basic infrastructural development.
As to coping mechanisms, in times when weather patterns affect their livestock, the people
are compelled to resort to social predation on their neighbours, in a bid to replenish their
stocks, as a result of little or no serious attempts being made to integrate the region in the
overall development within the wider Eastern Africa.
The crises dealt with in this article are seen to date back to, and indeed lie squarely
attributed to, the state's failed post-independence strategies towards national development.
The Government of Kenya, like that in most African states, has been unable to demonstrate
its own de facto sovereignty, instead concentrating on de jure sovereignty status. The de
facto status is connected with the state's capacity to function in the domestic realm, while
the de jure sovereignty has more to do with the state's ability to command recognition in
an international setting and within partnerships. This presupposes a capacity to monopolize
violence on its territory to the extent of enhancing its law within clearly demarcated
boundaries and an identified and controllable population. The key underlying shortcoming
shared by both Kenya and Uganda is that the two gained independence at a time when they
had limited institutional and infrastructural resource capacities to effectively control their
Against this background, and unable to exercise sovereignty in the Kapotur region, or
indeed guarantee security, the respective governments of Kenya and Uganda opted to
disproportionately arm and organize some members of these hostile communities into what
would be seen, and later came to be known, as "local defence units". Consequently, lack
of proper leadership and monitoring mechanisms, for example, on the part of the Kenyan
Government, allowed some of the armed groups in these communities to drift into banditry.