Editorial staff
 Table of Contents
 Livelihoods and security in Africa:...
 Judicial responses to Genocide:...
 Creating peace in an armed...
 Book reviews

Title: African studies quarterly
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091747/00002
 Material Information
Title: African studies quarterly
Series Title: Gale Group
Uniform Title: African studies quarterly (Online)
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Center for African Studies
Publisher: University of Florida, Center for African Studies,
University of Florida, Center for African Studies
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 1997
Copyright Date: 2010
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Electronic journals
Study and teaching -- Periodicals -- Africa   ( lcsh )
Gainesville (Fla.)
African studies -- Periodicals
Genre: Electronic journals   ( lcsh )
Electronic journals.
periodical   ( marcgt )
Abstract: Presents "African Studies Quarterly," an electronic journal published quarterly by the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Posts contact information for the editorial office via street address, telephone number, and e-mail. Lists advisory board and staff members. Offers access to the current issue, as well as to previous issues. Contains articles and related book reviews. Provides information on submissions and links to "African Anthropology."
Restriction: Licensed for access by authorized UF users (current UF students, faculty and staff -- and others within a UF Library.) Some e-journal service providers may offer only selected articles.
System Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, issue 1 (May 1997)-
General Note: Title from title screen (viewed Aug. 6, 1999).
General Note: An online journal of African studies.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: Vol. 7, issue 4 (spring 2004) (viewed at publisher's Web site, Aug. 19, 2004).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091747
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 003331589
oclc - 40217685
issn - 2152-2448
lccn - 99030079
lccn - sn 99030079


This item has the following downloads:

v1i1 ( PDF )

Table of Contents
        Page i
    Editorial staff
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    Livelihoods and security in Africa: Contending perspectives in the new global order
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Judicial responses to Genocide: The international criminal tribunal for Rwanda and the Rwandan genocide courts
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Creating peace in an armed society
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Book reviews
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
Full Text

African Studies Quarterly

Volume 1, Issue 1

Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida

ISSN: 2152-2448

African Studies Quarterly

Editorial Staff

Michael Chege
Carol Lauriault
Errol Henderson
Kriston Jacobson
Chris Johnson
Andy Lyons
Richard Marcus
Victoria Michener
Janet Puhalla

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for
individuals to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Table of Contents

Livelihoods and Security in Africa: Contending Perspectives in the New Global Order.
Goran Hyden (1-16)

Judicial Responses To Genocide: The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda And The
Rwandan Genocide Courts.
Paul J. Magnarella (17-32)

Creating Peace In An Armed Society: Karamoja, Uganda, 1996.
Michael Quam (33-46)

Book Reviews

Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Mahmood
Mamdani. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. 353 pp.
Michael Chege (47-51)

The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity. Michael
Maren. New York: The Free Press. 1997. 302 pp.
Victoria Michener (51-53)

The Ghost of Equality: The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa, 1885-1959.
Catherine Higgs. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997. Pp. xiii + 276.
James Meier (53-54)

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa: Contending Perspectives in

the New Global Order



Development, as we typically define it, implies the integration of livelihoods into an
increasingly global economy where the destinies of people living continents apart are no longer
separate. New forms of social consciousness emerge from the effects of these globalized
resource flows. Conflicts arise more and more over control of resource flows and the way in
which these resources are conceived, managed, and sustained. These conflicts, in turn, pose
challenges to existing ways of governing at different levels. The growing realization that
individual livelihoods and the fate of local communities can no longer be viewed in isolation
from national or international structures and processes has given rise to new forms of
scholarship in which micro and macro considerations are being combined to provide fresh
perspectives and insights on issues that previously were studied in isolation from each other.
This means that in the same way that we are increasingly interdependent in pursuit of our
livelihoods, we are as scholars more and more dependent on each others' theoretical and
methodological contributions. Even though many are slow in recognizing it, interdisciplinarity
is no longer something to be despised or discarded.
One field in which this convergence of social and economic forces is influencing the
parameters of scholarship is that concerned with "security". The latter has for a long time
occupied a prominent place in the literature on international relations. Debates about security,
therefore, have typically been interpreted mainly in terms of what it means to the nation-state,
and primarily in terms of military security. This orientation among international relations
scholars was particularly pronounced in the days of the Cold War when calculations about
military security were driving state policy, especially among the Big Powers. The "realist"
school, which argues that states act in the international arena to maximize their own security,
was for a long time the trend-setter in the study of international politics.
Realist assumptions continue to influence the field but they have become increasingly
challenged, particularly in recent years, for at least two major reasons. The first is the end of the
Cold War which has allowed scholars to revisit such concepts as security with a view to making
it more applicable to a world where bipolar tensions between the East and the West no longer
dominate the international arena. The other is the globalization of the capitalist economy and
the threats to and opportunities for human welfare that follow in the wake of this process.
Conflicts over resources and their use are now being studied not merely as international
Goran Hyden, Ph.D., is Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. He is the author of Governance And
Politics In Africa, No Shortcuts To Progress: African Development Management In Perspective, and Beyond Ujamaa In
Tanzania: Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry. He is also past president of the African Studies Association.

University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448

2 I Hyden

political economy but are increasingly analyzed in terms of security. The Gulf War is an obvious
case in point but this is evident also in the way that communities within nation-states, e.g. the
Ogoni in Nigeria and the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania, struggle to protect their security in the
light of threats posed by international forces. At the heart of many of these conflicts are often
different interpretations of the concept of security. The latter is not only a concern for states, but
also individuals and communities. Furthermore, threats to states, communities, and individuals
are no longer seen as only military but also include economic poverty, political instability, and
environmental degradation. This new debate also alerts us to the different time horizons that
often apply to the notion of security. In thinking about what security means, analysts can no
longer escape the differential time horizons that apply to various categories of security. For
example, with growing interest in the notion of environmental security has come a recognition
of the need for studying the long-term consequences of specific state policies or interventions.
The debates among political scientists, and international relations scholars in particular,
therefore, are a fruitful starting-point for a closer examination of how macro and micro sets of
issues are increasingly being studied in more holistic terms. The perspectives that are evolving
in academic circles are of interest not only because of their theoretical or methodological
dimensions but also because they serve as the lenses through which eventually policy is likely
to be formulated and evaluated. Theories typically shape the way we interpret the world
around us and they are of interest, therefore, not only because of their analytical but also their
prescriptive value.
The purpose of this article is not to make an exhaustive analysis of the security literature,
but to indicate how principal theoretical perspectives today influence our thinking about peace
and security in Africa. Africa is a particularly good case in point for this kind of overview
because nowhere else in the world do issues of conservation and development, as well as war
and security, interface more manifestly than there.

The Evolving Discourse on Security

The emerging debate on the concept of security seems to take place largely in response to
two simple but fundamental questions: (1) what security? and (2) whose security? The discourse
centering on the first of these questions may be seen as a lateral expansion of the concept. By
emphasizing that threats to states and societies are not only military -- as the case tends to be
among realists -- but includes economic poverty, political instability, and environmental
degradation, the idea of different categories of security, i.e. political, economic and
environmental, has begun to take hold in the literature (e.g. Buzan, 1991). The need for a
reconceptualization of security studies has also been argued by Gilpin (1981) and Keohane
(1984) and more recently by Ray (1995). An overview of some of these efforts are contained in a
recent review article by Baldwin (1995). A good deal of the academic work, particularly by
younger scholars, along these lines has been funded in the past ten years by the joint U.S. Social
Science Research Council-MacArthur Foundation Program on Peace and Security in a Changing
World. Other efforts include an edited volume with special focus on Africa (Hjort af Ornas and
Salih, 1989) published under the auspices of the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies (now
the Nordic Africa Institute). Ken Booth and Peter Vale (1995) have advocated the need for a new

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 3

and critical outlook on security in southern Africa, using a laterally expanded definition of
security. Implied in this and other similar work is the assumption that the various spheres of
modern life rather than the state are the primary contexts of security (Latham, 1995:44). These
spheres, which are variably defined but include the configuration of military power, the
dynamics of collective existence, the structuring of the polity, the organization of material life,
and the conditions of biological and non-human life on the planet, are not isolated but
intertwined and constitute part of the conceptual apparatus needed for redefining security in
the present global setting. The trend of recent events in a number of African countries, e.g.
Liberia, Rwanda and Somalia, illustrate the need for studying the interrelationship between
these spheres in an integrated fashion if we want to understand the problems of peace and
security in the present global environment. Ethnic conflict fueled by the supply of arms from
other countries in societies where material existence is hazardous and political institutions are
weak combine to adversely affect resource flows which in turn threaten livelihoods. Similarly,
more intensified use of natural resources may pose serious security threats to both state and
society as the battle for control of water resources in the Middle East and the waters of the Nile
The ongoing redefinition of security has a simultaneous and complementary vertical
dimension. By this is usually meant the inclusion of other units of analysis than the nation-
state. "Whose security?" may refer to specific communities of people within a country or to
regional and other international entities. In this respect, the study of security issues is expanded
both upwards and downwards. The important point is that these levels, like the spheres
discussed above, are interrelated. At a practical level, this articulates itself in the motto, often
used in NGO circles: "Think globally, act locally!" For the student interested in the connections
between livelihoods, security, and governance, it is important to recognize not only that local
values and institutions are often mediated by national, regional, and global influences but also
that the opposite may take place. The challenges of contemporary governance cannot be
resolved at one level alone. Neither local nor national considerations provide long-term
solutions if allowed to prevail.
Some of this literature addresses the question of whether it is possible to have a "bottom-
up" approach to the definition of security, or, put in somewhat different terms, whether civil
society has a place in defining security concerns in the present era. For example, Julie Fisher
(1993) points to the problems for indigenous non-governmental organizations in the Third
World caused by the dominance of more powerful international (read: Northern) NGOs. Booth
and Vale (1995) discuss the challenges facing South Africa and its neighbors in achieving
national reconciliation through a focus on people, justice, and change, stressing that regional
security is possible only if the building of common identities and the spreading of moral and
political obligations to the various state and non-state actors is involved. A more broad-based
study of environmental activism in the global arena by Wapner (1995) focuses on the new
strength of transnational environmental action groups (TEAGs) and the emergence of a civic
public realm that transcends national boundaries. The point he is making is that state actors in
the international arena are not only influenced by other states or multinational corporations but
increasingly also by TEAGs that demand -- and often obtain -- changes in the behavior and
stand of individual governments.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

4 I Hyden

The idea of expanding the study of security vertically has also gained momentum from the
growing recognition among comparative politics scholars that the state in some parts of the
world is weak or even disintegrating (e.g. Zartmann 1995). The notion of the state as a passive
victim rather than an active agent features prominently in much of the contemporary
commentary about the emerging security agenda (Del Rosso Jr., 1995). This is perhaps best
exemplified by journalist Robert Kaplan's article "The Coming Anarchy" (Kaplan, 1994). In this
article, he paints a ghoulish picture of the assorted demographic, environmental, and societal
stresses afflicting states in West Africa which he holds up as a harbinger of a future world of
"ever-mutating chaos". Among academics, Robert H. Jackson (1990) describes African states as
"quasi-states" possessing juridical statehood but having only a tenuous empirical claim to such
status. In this perspective, it is easy to see that institutions other than the state may be identified
as necessary complements to the task of making the world a safer place.
It may be helpful to summarize this emerging debate by distinguishing the literature along
the two cross-cutting lines identified above: (a) the lateral dimension, involving a redefinition of
security to include other aspects than the military, and (b) the vertical dimension, extending the
concept to involve actors other than the nation-state. The following matrix captures these
dimensions and identifies four different "schools" or perspectives that participate in the ongoing
discourse on security:

Figure 1. Four contemporary perspectives on the study of security


Realism Liberalism

Military Non-Military

Moralism Populism


The realist school continues to focus on the state and treats the threat of war between
nations as the primary focus of its intellectual concerns. The moralist school dwells first and
foremost on the breakdown of political order within a country and the threat of civil violence to
human security. While focusing on the use of military means, its concern with security extends
beyond the state. The liberal school concentrates its intellectual efforts on the implications of a
technologically and economically interdependent world and what governance measures need to
be instituted in order to promote greater security and cooperation among existing nation-states.
The promotion of democracy on the assumption that democratic states are less likely to go to
war with each other is a cornerstone of this approach. The populist school is furthest removed
from mainstream realist studies in accepting an expanded definition of the concept along both a
vertical and a lateral line. Thus, its main concern is with the effects of resource degradation not
only for the security of states but also for individuals and societies alike. In the remainder of this
paper I shall deal with each of these schools in turn.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 5

The Realist School

In spite of the growing interest, particularly in recent years, in redefining security, it would
be wrong to imply that realism is waning as a leading paradigm in the study of international
relations. It continues to occupy a hegemonic position especially among analysts of foreign
policy in the United States. The extent to which there are new concepts of security emerging in
the literature is more the outcome of new groups of scholars taking an interest in it than a major
upheaval in the study of international relations. Realism is very much alive and kicking, as the
saying goes.
This does not mean that all those who may be referred to as "realists" in their approach to
the study of security are of one and the same persuasion. Particularly when looking at security
studies in international relations over time, it is clear that the interpretation of war and military
threat, and their implications for national and collective security, has varied. Going back to the
seminal work of Quincy Wright (1942), war was primarily a problem to be solved, a disease to
be cured, rather than an instrument of statecraft. Although the preoccupation was with war, it
was affecting national security as a malfunction of the international system. Growing out of
scholarship in the period between the two World Wars, realism, in that perspective, called for
interventions to improve the workings of the international system as a whole. "National
security", however, took on a very different meaning in the Cold War era when consideration of
force as it relates to policy in conflicts among nations emerged as the first and foremost concern
of realists. Although the initial period after 1945 was characterized by a definite caution with
regard to how far to interpret security only in military terms (e.g. Brodie 1949), the emergence
of "deterrence theory" in the 1950s and 1960s initiated a specific focus on nuclear weaponry and
related issues such as arms control and limited war. Because it was assumed that no one really
wanted to use nuclear weapons, except as last resort defence, security strategizing took on the
logic of chess players. The objective of the national security analyst was to always offer a
winning option without risking the imposition of a global disaster.
The work of Thomas Schelling (1960) stands out as a good illustration of the orientation of
realist scholars of that period. The breakdown of detente and the renewal of cold war tensions
in the 1980s stimulated further interest in security studies, but the realist's concern tended to
remain focused on "the study of the threat, use, and control of military force". What was new in
this latter period was that perspectives from history, psychology, and organization theory were
brought in to enrich security studies. In none of these versions of realism, however, did concern
with livelihoods and resource flows feature with the exception that realists acknowledged that
war in the modern era would have a disastrous effect on civilian life.
There is obviously much more that should and could be said about the realist school.
Suffice it to stress here, that realism does not necessarily mean that military force or war is the
only variable entering into the equation of what constitutes security. Nor does realism have to
exclude concerns about the nature of the international system. What is best in the interest of a
nation, in other words, may take on variable interpretations in the realist perspective. It is
important to take this into consideration in the contemporary setting when other intellectual
perspectives are being launched to challenge realism. The latter is likely to still hold its ground
and, at least in the United States, foreign policy debates are likely to be pursued on the terms set

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

6 I Hyden

by realists rather than by other schools. In other words, it is not very likely that Washington
security analysts are going to be persuaded to abandon their own realist premises in favor of
some other "fashionable" theory. In this respect, one can reasonably assume that the 'hardcore'
realist perspective on security will continue to be significant in the ongoing discourse on
security. The challenge, therefore, is how to make environmental and other concerns an integral
part of the realist equation.

The Moralist School

The fact that the global setting in the 1990s differs from the Cold War scenario creates space
for alternative perspectives that now compete for attention among scholars. A particularly
important driving force for the emergence of rivaling schools is the tendency for conflicts to be
within rather than between states. Such conflicts tend to be particularly violent in multi-ethnic
states (Carment, 1993). Evans (1994:3) mentions that of the 30 conflicts receiving international
attention in 1992, no less than 29 were within state borders (Evans, 1994:3). This trend has been
exacerbated by the breakdown of empires, notably the Soviet one, but also the collapse of the
state in many former colonies in Africa. Bosnia, Rwanda and Somalia, mini- states without their
own clout in the global arena, have occupied the attention of policy analysts in recent years, not
the military threat of competing global super-powers.
This is to many the essence of what is sometimes referred to as the "post-imperialist age".
The principle of national self-determination, we have come to assume, is not in question.
Interventions are no longer imperial but humanitarian. We prefer to imagine the acts of rescue
undertaken in countries like Bosnia, Kurdistan and Somalia since 1989 as exercises in post-
imperial disinterestedness, as a form of therapeutics uncontaminated by lust for conquest or
imperial rivalry, as Ignatieff (1995:78) argues. Nor is this mere illusion. In the cases mentioned
above, the intervening forces have stopped short of occupation. Even if these interventions have
been more associated with failure than success, they have changed the parameters of the debate
about security in ways that still prevail.
The bottom line of the moralist school is that the international community has a collective
responsibility for not only all member states but also for the people living in these member
states. It is no longer possible to define security in narrow national terms; it must be viewed as
cooperative, i.e. as involving every member state of the international community in renouncing
the use of force among themselves and coming collectively to the aid of any one of them
attacked. Cooperative security, then, in the language of one analyst (Evans, 1994:7), means
consultation rather than confrontation, reassurance rather than deterrence, transparency rather
than secrecy, prevention rather than correction, and interdependence rather than unilateralism.
Peace is seen as a necessary condition for development, this school argues while pointing to the
fact that it is no coincidence that those countries whose economies are declining, whose political
institutions are failing, and where human rights are not respected should also be those
experiencing the greatest amounts of turmoil and violence.
The moralist position favors a stronger role for preventive diplomacy conducted not
unilaterally by the already strong powers but through global or regional mechanisms. Its
advocates point to the fact, for instance, that UN's peacekeeping budget for 1993 was $3.3 billion

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 7

while the cost of the U.S.-led coalition that defeated Iraq spent more than $70 billion. To
enhance the mechanisms available for pursuing collective security, a number of proposals have
been made. Some suggest that if member states contributed just 5 per cent of their existing
defense budgets to the UN, the world body would have a security budget of some $40 billion a
year -- more than ten times what it now has available. Others have suggested a flat levy on
international air travel or a 0.1 per cent turnover tax on foreign exchange transactions to boost
the ability of the UN to engage in preventive diplomacy and peace- keeping.
The moralist position, however, has its own problems which stem not only from the
failures of the global efforts in recent years to ensure collective security or pursue preventive
diplomacy. The political will to engage in these ventures has understandably slackened in the
mid-1990s even though the real reason for the failures is that there was never enough of it in the
first place. For example, it is hardly reasonable for states to deny the UN desperately needed
funds, then turn around and blame it for the failures that lack of resources inevitably generate.
Nor is it reasonable to blame the UN as an institution for the failures of member states in the
Security Council to provide decisive leadership.
Another problem with the moralist position is the difficulty in determining its boundaries.
Morality is often invoked but seldom delineated. Because objectives and motives are hard to
concretize in situations where morality is an important factor, exercises aimed at crisis
prevention often create their own backlash (Harff 1995:36). Humanitarianism is morally
seductive but it also easily leads to hubris of the same kind that characterized the old
imperialism. What else but imperial arrogance, asks Ignatieff (1995:79), could have led any one
to assume that an outside power -- even one mandated by the international community -- could
have gone into Somalia, put an end to factional fighting, and then exited, all within months?
Our moral reflex -- something must be done -- has often been sustained by the unexamined
assumption that we have the power to do anything. We have taken our technological and
logistical might for granted. Now that we are faced with the partial, if not total, failure of almost
all interventions attempted in the name of humanitarianism or collective security, the theme of
moral disgust is emerging. The thought is not too far away that maybe civil wars must be
allowed to burn themselves out on their own accord. Add to that the anguished suspicion that
our attempts to stop them have either delayed the inevitable or even prolonged the agony and
we find ourselves adopting the moral reflex of self-exculpation by blaming the victim and thus
justifying moral withdrawal.
There is a need for every one who seriously ponders what we can do in Burundi, in the
former Yugoslavia after the Dayton Peace Accord, or in any other place where intra-state
violence occurs or is likely to occur, to consider the dilemma that follows from adopting the
moralist stand. It is a seductive stand, but it creates its own traps in which we all are prone to
fall. The moralist argument, therefore, while important for pointing to the relationship between
civil war and the collapse of resource flows and livelihoods, carries its own prescriptive
limitations when it comes to policies which are not always fully considered. The result is
typically disgust, cynicism, and withdrawal, i.e. the opposite of what the school demands of the
global community to do.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

8 I Hyden

The Liberal School

The liberal school lays primary emphasis on the growing economic and technological inter-
dependence of states and societies in the contemporary world setting. It accepts that security
concerns go beyond military aspects. In a liberal international economic system, vulnerability to
external economic events and dependence on foreigners are a necessary consequence of
immersion in global markets. They are viewed as the source of opportunities for improved
living standards, not threats to be avoided. This means that the sense of insecurity for
individuals, firms, and nations that follows from the uncertainty associated with liberal
capitalism is regarded as a necessary evil, if not an outright positive thing (Cable, 1995). Yet,
even liberals agree that policies that enhance security, for example, to guarantee resource flows,
are necessary. There are different versions of this liberal definition of security.
Robert McNamara (1968) is among those who first argued for a broader definition of
security than what was typically inherent in the concept of "national security" in the Cold War
era. His apostasy is particularly interesting given his role as architect earlier in the decade of
America's involvement in the Vietnam War. McNamara, on the eve of becoming President of
the World Bank, articulated an expansive notion of security that included the promotion of
economic, social and political development in "poor nations" as a means of preventing conflict
and preserving a minimal measure of global order and stability. Contrary to the moralists who
argue that peace is a precondition for development, McNamara argued that development is a
precondition for peace. The problem with his expanded notion of security was how to delineate
and operationalize it. It was not easy to identify, for example, which specific policies would
really promote greater global security. The policy of massive resource transfers in support of the
poor that was pursued by the World Bank in the 1970s under Mr. McNamara's leadership,
proved quite soon to be inadequate for that purpose. All it did was leave these poor nations
heavily indebted to the West.
Others who tried to articulate a similar non-military definition of security were not more
successful. For example, during the 1970s, a growing number of activist scholars began pointing
to ecological degradation and population growth as existential threats to human survival. They
questioned the positivist assumptions underlying the dominant liberal view of development as
inherently good. Science and technology, these activist scholars argued, were more ambiguous
instruments than had generally been accepted. This group, preaching the new gospel of saving
the planet, included, as Del Rosso, Jr. (1995:185) reminds us, Rachel Carson, Barry Commoner,
Jacques Cousteau, Paul Ehrlich, Buckminster Fuller, Garrett Hardin, and Margaret Mead. Every
one of them emphasized a particular aspect of the problem, but the urgency that drove their
separate appeals was enshrined in the 1972 Club of Rome study, The Limits to Growth, which
painted an unremittingly grim picture in which the world's economic system was destined to
collapse as a result of unchecked population growth and industrial growth. It was ironically the
alarmist nature of their warnings of inescapable disaster that in the end undermined the
political impact of their calls. At least in the perspective prevailing in policy circles in the 1970s,
these doomsday prophets were seen as advancing prescriptions that were totally unfeasible.
Whether they should be described as being ahead of their time or not, these advocates of
"saving the planet" had very limited impact on either the "silent majority" or the policy-makers

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 9

in governments because the explicit link between non-military phenomena and the prevailing,
typically realist notion of security was not effectively made. This verdict applies also to the
effort by Lester Brown (1977), eventually President of the World Watch Institute, and Robert
Ullman (1983) in redefining national security to include such security threats as climate change,
soil erosion, food shortages, and deforestation.
It was only with the dramatic shifts in geopolitical terms after the end of the Cold War that
space evolved for considering more seriously the points about security advocated by the liberal
school. Gwyn Prins (1992) was one of the first and more influential in advocating a new field of
security in which the key referent object was the entire globe rather than the state. Global
security is about survival. The existential needs of humans -- and non-humans, notably animals,
trees, and plants -- were now more readily accepted as part of the security agenda. Building on
James Lovelock's "Gaia Hypothesis", which describes a world in which all elements, including
human beings, are inextricably linked by powerful feedback loops that sustain a fragile global
equilibrium. This new apostasy of security emphasized the critical interrelationships among
some of the most daunting threats to human existence such as poverty, environmental
degradation, and rapid demographic change (Myers, 1989).
Much of this global perspective was dismissed by conventional security analysts as
"globaloney", but this liberal message had greater impact in the 1990s than it had two decades
earlier. Behind their often inflated rhetoric there lay, after all, some important, and
underappreciated, dimensions of the evolving international system which, following the
liberalization of the world economy in the 1980s, had become increasingly apparent. The
critique that the liberal definition of security moved the concept away from the fundamental
notion of "protection from organized violence" could no longer be sustained because it was now
more readily recognized than in the 1970s that factors emerging in the non-military realm were
capable of causing as much harm to stability and order as the arsenals of the world's armies. For
example, Homer-Dixon (1994), drawing on a wide range of cases from around the world,
concludes that environmental scarcities definitely contribute to violent conflicts in many parts
of the developing world.
The philosophical underpinnings of the liberal gospel of security in the 1990s are not new;
what is new is its pretension for filling the conceptual vacuum left in the wake of the dissolution
of the Soviet Empire. It takes two forms. One is political, the other is economic in orientation.
The former emphasizes the importance of promoting democracy around the world as a means
of enhancing global security, the assumption being that democratic states tend to go to war
against each other less readily than other types of regime. This notion has become an important
complement to the earlier preoccupation with development as a preventive measure. Today, the
liberal gospel tends to be expressed as follows: democracy promotes development and
development in turn promotes security. The liberals also have contributed toward making
"geoeconomics" emerge as a natural successor to geopolitics in a world in which the force of
arms is not only bad for humanity but also bad for business (Del Rosso, Jr. 1995).
The liberal definition of security continues to exercise influence in academic circles, yet
there is evidence as well that these ideas have begun to permeate policy circles too. For
example, in the US State Department, traditionally a fortress of realist thinking, there exists,
since President Clinton took office, a special Under-Secretary for Global Affairs. Former

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

10 I Hyden

Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, in an address at Stanford University in April 1996,
confirmed the Administration's acceptance that global environmental issues must be a vital part
of U.S. foreign policy. Governments in many other countries around the world have already
taken steps in this direction. We can safely say, therefore, that non-military aspects of security
as they affect not only the nation-state but the global community as an integrated whole are
receiving greater recognition today. More and more analysts and policy-makers realize that
livelihoods and resource flows have to be secured in new and more imaginative ways than in
the past.

The Populist School

The populist school shares some of the same points as the liberal perspective on
development. In particular, it accepts that the security concept needs to be expanded to include
non-military aspects. Like the liberal school, it also recognizes that developmentalism today
must be tempered with a definite dose of environmentalism. It differs from the former,
however, in that it recognizes not only states and markets as important actors, but also people.
To the populist school, indigenous organizations and civil society are important concepts.
Livelihoods and resource flows cannot be adequately secured unless citizens, and more
specifically the poor and marginalized peoples of the globe, have a voice in the matter. To
ensure their security the world needs to be governed in different ways than we have been used
to in the past.
The environmental and demographic threats that the liberal school identifies in more
generic terms are seen by the populists as applying in differential terms. The poor and the
marginalized are more exposed than others. It is their livelihoods that need special protection. It
is the way resource flows affect them that should be our priority. The populist school draws
considerable inspiration from the Report of the Global Commission on Environment and
Development, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland (World Commission on Environment and
Development 1987). Like the liberal school, populists differ among themselves in terms of what
concern to give highest priority. One noticeable difference is in the way populists relate to the
question of how large-scale development affects small-scale efforts and vice versa.
One group starts from the assumption that the principal challenge is to draw upon the
lessons of grass-roots development for the purpose of improving national or global
development. It presupposes that the foundation for development lies with the people, that
they are the best judges of how to judiciously use scarce resources. For this group, security lies
in the notion that things grounded in society stand a better chance of being protected and
promoted. If developmental and environmental factors may pose a threat to human survival
and security, then it is important to get the equation right by proceeding from the bottom up.
Considering the magnitude of the challenge, however, it is important to ask: how large can
small ultimately become? Can that which is local build upon itself so that small is
institutionalized and widely replicated? Can a species of development flourish that maintains
the virtues of smallness, but at the same time reaches large numbers of people, transfers
genuine power to the poor, and provides the prospect of sustainable development (Uvin, 1996)?

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl /1/1.df

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 11

Annis (1987) answers these questions affirmatively with reference to Latin America. He
believes that every Latin American country is now interlaced with a thickening web of
grassroots organizations intertwined with each other and the state which provides the basis for
the "scaling up" of small-scale development. Friberg and Hettne (1988) agree with Annis and
add that micro processes can produce macro transformation for three reasons. First, the
conventional distinctions of levels (local, national, global) are simplifications that distort our
understanding of the aggregate effects of dispersed and localized phenomena. Second, there is a
dynamic interplay between the functional macro system and the territorial micro system, which
has been spurred by local responses to the operation of the world economic system in which
those who suffer from unemployment, marginalization, and the destruction of their habitat
react and take their future into their own hands. The resulting dialectic between the macro and
the micro makes more room for local initiatives. Third, while the issues of local development
vary quite a bit because of contextual differences, they are similar at a deeper level. It is
possible, therefore, to speak of a tendency toward convergence, the two authors argue.
There certainly appears to be a growing consensus, not only among analysts but also
practitioners, that the implementation of many global policies will require acceptance of these
policies by most of the people of the world (Alger 1990). The view of Western moral and
technical superiority that was so prevalent some years ago is finally being called into question.
For example, the notion that Europeans could succeed where indigenous people had failed can
no longer be sustained on the basis of existing performance records, whether the sector is
agriculture or health. The refocus on the poor, therefore, draws attention to the indigenous,
often marginalized, groups who in the past were subjected to the experiments of Western
developmentalism. In trying to find answers to the questions raised by the interplay of
environment, human rights, governance, and development, Western models are no longer
viewed with the same confidence as before. In fact, it is increasingly recognized, as in the case of
the CAMPFIRE project in Zimbabwe (Derman, 1995), that national proprietorship and local
ownership must be recognized as fundamental to the success of any effort to combine
environmental concerns (in this case wildlife protection) with the development aspirations of
indigenous communities. An interesting example of what Brock (1991) calls "peace through
parks", which involves the participation of grassroots communities as well as governmental
agencies, is the attempt to establish the world's largest consecutive wildlife corridor in southern
Africa, involving South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This is a practical example of the
efforts in the region to reduce the tensions between South Africa and the member states of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) that Booth and Vale (1995) are advocating
in their review of post-apartheid security concerns in the region.
An opposite approach to dealing with the macro-micro interrelations is to start from the
more negative assumption that all macro (or mega) development is harmful to the micro,
whether defined in human, institutional or biological terms. Many analysts adopting this
particular approach focus their attention on what development does to indigenous
communities. Their security is being threatened by the global development forces set in motion
by an assertive capitalist economy. Sometimes, these concerns are expanded to include not only
human communities but also wildlife, whose existence is being threatened by economic or
social forces. "Parks and people" programs constitute one practical example of how

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl /1/1.df

12 I Hyden

governments, and sometimes NGOs, have tried to deal with the tensions that exist, e.g. in east
and southern Africa, between the development needs of human communities and the demands
of wildlife protection.
Another example of interest here is the struggle to protect the rain forest in the Amazon. Of
particular significance has been the Kayapo Indian protest which over the years helped
galvanize a new environmental consciousness in Brazil and in neighboring countries. The
protest focused on the proposal to build the Kararao Dam, which would have drowned a
considerable part of the rain forest and would have displaced members of the local Indian
community. With the help of international NGOs like Friends of the Earth and Survival
International the Kayapo staged a major demonstration in the town of Altamira that eventually
had the effect of making the World Bank withdraw its promise of a loan for the project to the
Brazilian Government (Fisher 1994). The Altamira Kayapo protest not only achieved the
objective of stemming further destruction of the rain forest, but also profoundly changed the
political reality of the indigenous Indian communities and their expectations of what they could
do to protect their own livelihoods. In this case, the small managed successfully to defend itself
against the large-scale development efforts funded by governments and international finance
Some of the same concerns have arisen in conjunction with the conservation of
biodiversity. Here it is not so much human communities as biological riches that are at stake,
but the two go together in that the best protectors of biodiversity are often local communities
who have a stake in the continued existence of certain species. Community management of
biodiversity, therefore, has more recently become an interest of scholars and practitioners alike
both in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where such diversity is particularly rich. There is also
growing realization in the richer parts of the world that these efforts are of value not only to the
local communities but also to the rest of the world. Again, it is the small, by being defended,
that can provide benefits to the large.
While the security concept which presupposes that the protection of local communities has
a value to the global community at large is still enigma to most security analysts, the populist
school does provide a new dimension to the discourse on security that complements other
perspectives in a meaningful manner. By so doing, it also challenges existing structures of
governance and calls for ways of linking analysis of livelihoods, security, and governance in
new ways. Its concerns can no longer be taken as only esoteric. They are increasingly part of the
global discourse on security.

Four Separate Tables?

This paper has traced the evolving discourse on the concept of security in recent years. A
number of important points emerge from this review. The first is that the vertical and horizontal
expansion of the concept has broadened the debate and created at least four different
perspectives that compete for attention among academics and policy analysts alike. As a result,
the debate is richer and no longer the prerogative of a highly specialized group of international
relations experts alone. Even though each of these perspectives has its own limitations,

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 13

especially when it comes to operationalization, security is now viewed as a much broader and
more complex concern than in the past.
A second point is that the actors participating in the debate about security are no longer
only government officials worrying about the security of the nation-state. Increasingly,
representatives of civil society participate in the debate with a view to demonstrating how the
definition of security bears on their welfare and livelihoods as well. Even though many analysts
experience the present situation as disorderly and dismiss the debate in the post-Cold War era
as confusing, the parameters of the debate have changed for good because the stakeholders are
now so much more a diverse group than before. The recognition that civil society is as
important an actor as the state guarantees that the concept of security will be defined in terms
that reflect society's interests in ways that was not the case before.
The third point is that the rise of "geoeconomics" is drawing attention to new dimensions of
security that are difficult for governments to ignore in a world where "everything is related to
everything else, only more so now than ever", to quote an American diplomat (Del Rosso, Jr.
1995:175). Threats to economic security are potentially as harmful as many military threats
might be. For example, the disruption of supplies, whether it is food, oil, or raw materials
needed for production, can cause major damage to a country's economy and potentially spark
political violence. Such threats to resource flows are bound to have implications for people's
livelihoods in ways that politicians cannot ignore. They can affect rich countries as well as poor.
The fourth point is that human-induced environmental scarcity such as degradation of land
resources and population pressures, helps precipitate agricultural shortfalls, which in turn leads
to adverse social and political outcomes. Many parts of Africa, for example, are vulnerable to
such interactions. Although some may wish to brush off such a scenario as scare tactics, there is
a definite need to build into the calculation of security the fact that it is affected by a dual set of
variables, one fast-moving, the other operating in the longer haul. The discourse on security in
the past has been influenced mainly by consideration of the fast- moving variables such as
military interventions or economic crashes. Equally important, however, are the processes of
land degradation, population growth, climate change and, not the least, human values, which, if
not considered, may cause as much long-term damage to resource flows and livelihoods as
those more readily considered by security analysts.
These four concluding observations suggest the need for ensuring that advocates of the
four schools presented above are able to enter into dialogue with each other. There has been a
tendency for each school to ignore the others. To use Gabriel Almond's (1990) characterization
of the debates in the field of comparative politics in the 1980s, advocates of each perspective
have been seated at separate tables, engaging only each other while ignoring their neighbors at
other tables in debate. This tendency not only limits the extent to which new theories and
research is developed, but also ignores the practical policy implications of such misguided
If we fail to take a holistic view of security, we first of all overlook the inherent
contradictions within the concept itself as it applies to contemporary problems and challenges.
To start with, one person's security is often another's insecurity. In a world that is increasingly
not only interconnected but also stratified between rich and poor, this becomes both an
intellectual and a policy challenge. As Athanasiou (1996) argues, it is necessary for advocates of

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

14 I Hyden

any one of the perspectives listed above to recognize the difference between panaceas and
solutions. At a time when the most politically powerful movements addressing economic and
social inequalities tend to be fundamentalist, when corporate environmentalism is having
greater influence, and when even some "greens" fear the notion of "equity," is it possible that we
will witness the emergence of greater dialogue between these four perspectives on security?
Such dialogue would become possible only if advocates of each perspective are ready to
engage in some form of compromise of their core position. For example, realists need to
reconsider their tendency to reify the state. Security is ultimately defined and acted upon by
human beings. At the same time, those coming at security from a moralist or populist
perspective gain little from merely pursuing an anti-statist position. Their calls for a redefinition
of security and the creation of new governance structures to realize it will meet with little
response unless they incorporate the important role of the state. For example, civil society
cannot act alone. Its influence can only be secured in the context of a functioning state.
Furthermore, liberal analysts need to acknowledge that technology as a mediating factor
between human beings and environment is not only positive but often associated with negative
implications. For example, the tendencies towards homogenization, or "monoculturalism"
reduce not only biodiversity but also other kinds of diversity that are inherently productive.
Each perspective, therefore, needs to be more adaptive and open to the possibility of
integrating aspects of security that originate from other schools. A particular challenge in this
regard will be how far realists can transcend their concern with state security issues and bridge
the gap between macro and micro aspects of security. How far, for instance, does the economic
dimension, notably factors associated with the globalization of the market, provide an entry
point for broadening and deepening the realist perspective on security to include both non-
military and civil society aspects on security? This and related questions need the attention of
both researchers and practitioners if the global challenges that lie in the interface between (1)
conservation and development and (2) war and peace are going to be better understood and
more effectively acted upon.


Alger, Chadwick F. 1990. "Grassroots Perspectives on Global Policies for Development", Journal
of Peace Research, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 155-168.

Almond, Gabriel 1990. A Discipline Divided: Schools and Sects in Political Science. Newbury
Park CA, Sage Publications.

Annis, Sheldon 1987. "Can Small-Scale Development be a Large-Scale Policy? The Case of Latin
America." World Development, vol. 15, Supplement, pp. 129-134.

Athanasiou, Tom 1996. Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor. Boston, Little Brown.

Baldwin, David A. 1995. "Security Studies and the End of the Cold War", review article, World
Politics, vol. 48, no. 1 (October), pp. 117-141.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Livelihoods and Security in Africa I 15

Booth, Ken and Peter Vale 1995. "Security in Southern Africa: After Apartheid, Beyond
Realism", International Affairs, Vol. 71, no. 2, pp. 285-304.

Brock, Lothar 1991. "Peace through Parks: The Environment on the Peace Research Agenda",
Journal of Peace Research, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 407-423.

Brodie, Bernard 1949. "Strategy as a Science", World Politics, vol. 1, no. 3 (July), pp. 462-480.

Brown, Lester 1977. "Redefining National Security", WorldWatch Institute Paper # 14,
Washington D.C. (October).

Buzan, Barry 1991. Peoples, States and Fears: An Agenda for International Security Studies in
the Post-Cold War Era, 2nd edition. Boulder CO, Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Cable, Vincent 1990. "What is International Economic Security?" International Affairs, vol. 71,
no. 2, pp. 305-324.

Carment, David 1993. "The International Dimensions of Ethnic Conflict: Concepts, Indicators,
and Theory", Journal of Peace Research, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 137-150.

Del Rosso Jr, Stephen J. 1995. "The Insecure State: Reflections on "the State" and "Security" in a
Changing World" Daedalus, vol. 124, no. 2 (Spring), pp. 175-207.

Derman, Bill 1995. "Environmental NGOs, Dispossession, and the State: The Ideology and
Praxis of African Nature and Development", Human Ecology, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 199- 215.

Evans, Gareth 1994. "Cooperative Security and Intra-State Conflict", Foreign Policy, No. 96
(Fall), pp. 3-20.

Fisher, William H. 1994. "Megadevelopment, Environmentalism, and Resistance: The
Institutional Context of Kayapo Indeigenous Politics in Central Brazil", Human Organization,
vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 220-232.

Friberg, Mats and Bjorn Hettne 1988. "Local Mobilization and World System Politics",
International Social Science Journal, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 341-360.

Gilpin, Robert 1981. War and Change in World Politics. New York, Cambridge University Press.

Harff, Barbara 1995. "Rescuing Endangered Peoples: Missed Opportunities", Social Research,
vol. 62, no. 1 (Spring), pp. 23-40.

Hjort af Ornas, Anders and Mohamed Salih, eds. 1989. Ecology and Politics: Environmental
Stress and Security in Africa. Uppsala, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas E. 1994. "Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict", International
Security, vol. 19, no. 1 (Summer), pp. 5-40.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

16 I Hyden

Ignatieff, Michael 1995. "The Seductiveness of Moral Disgust", Social Research, vol. 62, no. 1
(Spring), pp. 77-97.

Kaplan, Robert 1994. "The Coming Anarchy", The Atlantic Monthly, (February), pp. 44-76.

Keohane, Robert 1984. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political
Economy. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press.

Latham, Robert 1995. "Knowledge and Security in a Post-Cold War World", Items, vol. 49, no.
2/3 (June-September), pp. 43-48.

McNamara, Robert 1968. The Essence of Security: Reflections in Office. New York, Harper &

Myers, Norman 1989. "Environment and Security", Foreign Policy, no. 74 (Spring), pp. 23-41.

Prins, Gwyn 1992. "The Global Security Programme: A Key Emerging Initiative in the
Campaign for Cambridge", Cambridge University Global Security Programme Document.

Ray, James L. 1995. Democracy and International Conflict: An Evaluation of the Democratic
Peace Proposition. Columbia SC, University of South Carolina Press.

Schelling, Thomas 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

Ullman, Richard H. 1983. "Redefining Security", International Security, (Summer), pp. 123- 129.

Uvin, Peter 1996. "Linking the Grassroots to the Summit". In Ellen Messer and P. Uvin, eds. The
Hunger Report: 1995. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Gordon and Breach Publishers.

Wapner, Paul 1995. "Politics beyond the State: Environmental Activism and World Civic
Politics" World Politics, vol. 47, no. 3 (April), pp. 311-340.

World Commission on Environment and Development 1987. Our Common Future. New York,
Oxford University Press.

Wright, Quincy 1942. Study of War. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Zartmann, William 1995. Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate
Authority. Boulder Co, Lynne Rienner Publishers.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide: The International Criminal

Tribunal for Rwanda and the Rwandan Genocide Courts


Abstract: Following Rwanda's 1994 appalling eruption into genocide, the UN Security
Council, having created an international criminal tribunal for humanitarian law violators
in the European States of the former Yugoslavia, decided it could do no less for African
Rwanda. Because the Rwandan conflict was internal rather than international, the statute
for its tribunal complements rather than replicates that of its Yugoslavian counterpart.
The statute for the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda contains a number
of legal innovations; as a result, it will contribute significantly to the development of the
humanitarian law of internal armed conflict. In addition to analyzing these innovations
and the creation of the Tribunal, this article briefly discusses the background to the
genocide and Rwanda's own attempts at judicial justice.

Following the assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana by unknown
assailants on April 6, 1994, Rwanda burst into horrifying violence resulting in the murder of
about 800,000 people (mostly Tutsi), the uprooting of about two million within Rwanda's
borders, and the exodus of over two million (mostly Hutu) to the neighboring countries of
Zaire, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda'. Soon after Habyarimana's death, extremist Hutu
militias, the Presidential Guard, and the Hutu-dominated national army unleashed a systematic
campaign of murder and genocide against hundreds of moderate and opposition Hutu and all
Rwanda had been Africa's most densely populated country, with rural peasants
constituting the bulk of its inhabitants2. It had a pre-genocide population of approximately 8
million, all speakers of Ikinyarwanda, a Bantu language3. About 85% of the people were Hutu,
14% Tutsi, and 1% Batwa or Pygmies4. Generations of intermarriage had reduced but not
eliminated inter-population physical differences5.
Pre-colonial rule by the minority but aristocratic Tutsi, as well as indirect rule later by
Belgian colonialists through Tutsi royalty, had created resentment among the majority Hutu7.
Rwanda became independent of Belgium in 1962, and various Hutu factions controlled the
government and military until July of 1994. Throughout the period of independence there were
periodic outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence, resulting in the flight of Tutsi to surrounding
countries, especially to Uganda where they formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the
Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). In the 1960s, some exiled Tutsi invaded Rwanda in
unsuccessful attempts to regain power.
Major-General Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, seized power in 1973, by a military coup.
During his 21 years of rule (1973-1994), there were no Tutsi mayors or governors, only one Tutsi


University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448

18 I Magnarella

military officer, just two Tutsi members of parliament, and only one Tutsi cabinet minister8. In
addition, Hutu in the military were prohibited from marrying Tutsi, and all citizens were
required to carry ethnic identity cards9. Habyarimana promoted a policy of internal repression
against Tutsi. In the 1990s, especially, his government indiscriminately interred and persecuted
Tutsi, solely because of their ethnic identity, claiming they were actual or potential accomplices
of the RPF10. From 1990 to 1993, Hutu ultra-nationalists killed an estimated 2,000 Tutsi; they also
targeted human rights advocates, regardless of their ethnicities11.
The genocide campaign following Habyarimana's death ended in July, 1994 when the RPA
routed the Hutu militias and army. The RPF and moderate Hutu political parties formed a new
government on 18 July 1994, but the country was in chaos12. The government pledged to
implement the Arusha peace agreement on power sharing previously reached by
Habyarimana's regime and the RPF on August 3, 199313. On 10 August 1995, the UN Security
Council called upon the new Rwandan government to ensure that there would be no reprisals
against Hutu wishing to return to their homes and resume their work. The Council reminded
the government of its responsibility for a national reconciliation, and emphasized that the
Arusha peace agreement constituted an appropriate framework for reconciliation14.
The new Rwandan government was a coalition of 22 ministers drawn from the RPF (with
nine ministers) and four other political parties15. Both Tutsi and Hutu were among the top
government officials. Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, was named president, while Paul Kagame, a
Tutsi, was appointed vice-president and minister of defense. Faustin Twagiramungu, a Hutu,
was prime minister until late August 1995, when he was replaced by Pierre Claver Rwigema,
also a Hutu16. The government publicly committed itself to building a multiparty democracy
and to discontinuing the ethnic classification system utilized by the previous regime17.
Shortly after the new regime established itself, the prime minister reportedly stated that his
government might prosecute and execute over 30,000 Hutu for murder, genocide and other
crimes committed during Rwanda's holocaust18. The US government, fearing that such a
prospect would amount to a new cycle of retribution and keep Hutu refugees from returning
home, sent John Shattuck, US Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, to the Rwanda
capital of Kigali to encourage the government to delay its plans for prosecution in favor of
judicial action by an international tribunal19.

Creating the Tribunal

On 1 July 1995, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 935 in which it requested the
Secretary General to establish a commission of experts to determine whether serious breaches of
humanitarian law (including genocide) had been committed in Rwanda20. In the fall of 1995 the
commission reported to the Security Council that genocide and systematic widespread and
flagrant violations of international humanitarian law had been committed in Rwanda, resulting
in massive loss of life21. On November 8, 1995, the UN Secretary- General submitted to the
Security Council a statute for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (hereafter, ICTR
or Rwanda Tribunal), stating that he was "convinced" that "the prosecution of persons
responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law [in Rwanda] ...would
contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 19

peace."22. He recommended that this Tribunal, like the one created by the Security Council in
1993 for the former Yugoslavia (hereinafter ICTY), be established under Chapter VII of the
United Nations Charter23. Given the urgency of the situation, the Secretary-General did not
involve the General Assembly in the drafting or review of the statute. Subsequently, however,
the General Assembly passed its own resolution welcoming the Tribunal's establishment24.
The Security Council adopted the Secretary-General's report and the Statute of the ICTR
without change. Ironically, Rwanda was the only Security Council member to vote no25.
Rwanda expressed three objections. It wanted the Statute to contain a provision for capital
punishment; it preferred that the temporal jurisdiction of the Tribunal extend back to 1990 to
cover earlier crimes; and it wanted the Tribunal to be based in Rwanda itself. The Statute, as
accepted by the Security Council, does not allow for capital punishment; its temporal
jurisdiction covers the year 1994 only; and the Security Council preferred that the Tribunal be
located in a neighboring state26. Furthermore, the Security Council rejected Kigali's proposal
that Rwandan judges sit on the Tribunal27. Initially, Rwandan President Bizimungu publicly
criticized the Security Council vote saying it would only lead to a "secret" court that would
"exonerate" the true organizers of the genocide28. Later, however, a Rwandan spokesperson said
his government would cooperate fully with the UN court29. Rwanda's only realistic hope of
bringing most of the major instigators of the genocide to justice is through the Tribunal. Most of
those chiefly responsible had fled the country, and Rwanda lacks the political leverage, the
necessary extradition treaties, and the resources necessary to gain custody and to try them30.
One of the most innovative and expeditious recommendations in the Security-General's
report was that of establishing the Tribunal through the exercise of the Security Council's
powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter31. As Antonio Cassese, the eventual President of
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), explained, "the
traditional approach of establishing such a body by treaty was discarded as being too slow
(possibly taking many years to reach full ratification) and insufficiently effective as Member
States could not be forced to ratify such a treaty against their wishes"32. By invoking Chapter
VII, the Security Council obliges all UN member states to cooperate with the Tribunal and to
honor any lawful requests it makes for assistance under its Statute. Specifically, Articles 39, 41
and 48 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter provide the legal basis for the Security Council's
establishment of the Tribunal. Article 39 states that the Security Council shall determine when
threats to peace exist, and shall, in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, determine what
measures shall be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security33. While Article
42 addresses military actions, Article 41 provides that "[t]he Security Council may decide what
measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions,
and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures." The article
goes on to list the kinds of actions (e.g., interruptions of economic and communication ties) that
these measures "may include." Although Article 41 does not expressly include judicial measures
in its list, it does not preclude them. And, the use of the phrase "may include" denotes that the
list is not exhaustive.
Article 48 obligates UN member states to support the Security Council's decision by
cooperating in its implementation. The Article provides that "[t]he action required to carry out
the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

20 I Magnarella

shall be taken by all Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council
may determine."

Composition of the Tribunal

The Tribunal consists of two trial chambers with three judges each, an appeals chamber
with five judges, the office of the prosecutor and a registry. In January 1995, the UN appointed
Honore Rakotomanana, the former president of the Supreme Court of Madagascar, as deputy
chief prosecutor for the Tribunal34. He works out of an office in Kigali, under the supervision of
Louise Arbour, who is also the chief prosecutor for the ICTY located in The Hague, The
Netherlands. In June 1995, the six trial judges and five appeals judges took their oaths and held
their first plenary session in The Hague. All were elected and appointed by the United Nations.
The trial judges are from Sweden, Senegal, Bangladesh, Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania. The
appeals chamber of the Rwanda Tribunal is comprised of judges from the ICTY and includes
judges from Egypt, Italy, Canada, China, and Australia. The justices elected Judge Laity Kama
of Senegal as the Tribunal's president. The Tribunal's registrar and chief administrative officer
is Andronido Adede, a Kenyan attorney, who has served as Deputy Director of the Codification
Division in the UN Office of Legal Affairs35.

The Tribunal's Jurisdiction

Article 1 of the Tribunal's Statute limits the ICTR's temporal jurisdiction to the year 1994
only36. That Article also states that the ICTR "shall have the power to prosecute persons
responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory
of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for such violations committed in the territory of
neighboring states,. ." Consequently, the Statute gives the Tribunal both personal and
territorial jurisdiction in Rwanda as well as limited personal and territorial jurisdiction in
surrounding states. By contrast, the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia grants that Tribunal jurisdiction "in the territory of the former Yugoslavia"
only (Article 1.
By granting the ICTR the competence to prosecute Rwandans who allegedly committed
certain crimes abroad, the Security Council has added a new dimension to the humanitarian
law of non-international armed conflict. Rwanda formally requested the creation of a tribunal,
and thereby voluntarily surrendered some of its jurisdiction to the Security Council's judicial
creation. By contrast, according to the Statute, Rwanda's neighbors must surrender some of
their jurisdiction to the Tribunal without choice. All States, of course, have the competence to
prosecute Rwandans for crimes committed on their territories. However, because the Tribunal
by its Statute has primacy over the national courts of all States, it may formally request that any
neighboring State's court defer certain cases to its competence37. This request carries with it the
threat of a penalty for non-compliance. Should any State notified of a deferral request not
respond satisfactorily within sixty days, "the [Tribunal's] Trial Chamber may request the
President to report the matter to the Security Council," which presumably will consider
sanctions38. Requiring States to surrender to a UN Security Council creation their competence to
prosecute persons for criminal acts committed on their own territories is another novel use of

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 21

UN Charter Chapter VII. Whether surrounding States will voluntarily accept or protest this
demand on their sovereignty remains to be seen. State action and reaction, claims and responses
will determine whether this kind of measure, taken by the Security Council under Chapter VII,
will become an accepted principle of international law to be applied again in the future.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Because the Security Council is not a legislative body, it had no competency to enact
substantive law for the Tribunal. Instead, it authorized the Tribunal to apply existing
international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflict. The
humanitarian law included in the Tribunal's Statute consists of the Genocide Convention,
(ratified by Rwanda), crimes against humanity (as defined by the Nuremberg Charter), Article 3
Common to the Geneva Conventions, and Additional Protocol II (also ratified by Rwanda)39.
Both the prohibition and punishment of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity are part
of customary international law imposing legal obligations on all States40.
Article 2 of the Statute replicates Articles 2 and 3 of the Genocide Convention. Statute
Article 22 defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in
whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group; killing group members; causing
serious bodily or mental harm to group members; deliberately inflicting on the group
conditions calculated to bring about its complete or partial physical destruction; imposing
measures intended to prevent birth within the group; and forcibly transferring children to
another group. Persons who commit genocide or who attempt, conspire, or incite others to
commit genocide are punishable41.
Similar to the Geneva Conventions, the Genocide Convention (Article 5 obligates States
Parties to enact the legislation necessary to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of
genocide. Article 6 of the Genocide Convention also requires that persons charged with
genocide be tried in the territory where the act was committed, "or by such international penal
tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have
accepted its jurisdiction." Consequently, the surrounding states of Zaire and Tanzania, as
ratifying parties to the Genocide Convention, undertake to charge persons responsible for
genocide in Rwanda and to extradite them for prosecution either back to Rwanda or to a
competent international tribunal that they recognize. Since the Convention's entrance into force
in 1951, the only international tribunals competent to prosecute those accused of genocide in
limited geographic areas have been the ones established by the Security Council for the Former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda. By virtue of Chapter VII obligations under the UN Charter, all UN
members (including Burundi, Uganda, and Kenya, which have not ratified the Genocide
Convention) are required to recognize these Tribunals and send indicted suspects to them. Non-
UN members, however, can decide for themselves whether they wish to recognize these
international tribunals for purposes of surrendering indictees.
Obligations to prevent and punish acts of genocide are not confined merely to the 107
States that have ratified the Genocide Convention42. Because the prevention and punishment of
genocide have become part of international customary law, the International Court of Justice
has noted that "the principles underlying the [Genocide] Convention are principles which are

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

22 I Magnarella

recognized by civilized nations as binding on States, even without any conventional
Statute Article 3, "Crimes against Humanity," follows Article 6(c) of the Nuremberg
Charter44. It empowers the Tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for the following crimes
when committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against any civilian population
on national, political, ethnic, racial or religious grounds: murder, extermination, enslavement,
deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, persecutions, and other inhumane acts.
Employing the Nuremberg concept of crimes against humanity in Rwanda constitutes an
important legal development. The Nuremberg Charter was established to prosecute "war
criminals," and it explicitly defined crimes against humanity as specified inhumane acts
committed "before or during the war;..." 44. Traditionally, war was defined as a state of armed
conflict between two or more States, but legal experts debated about the legal criteria of war,
e.g., whether a formal declaration of war is required, whether there can be domestic war,
whether the parties must be recognized States, etc.45. Some legalists may now wonder whether
applying the Nuremberg Charter to Rwanda's internal conflict is appropriate. Although the
Charter is explicitly included in the Statute of the ICTY, that conflict did involve more that one
State, and consequently meets the war criterion of the Charter46. The Statute for the Rwandan
Tribunal characterizes the situation there as an internal armed conflict. Hence, it does not
include the "grave breaches" sections of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which apply to
international armed conflict and are regarded as customary international law47. By containing
the Nuremberg concept of crimes against humanity in its Statute, the Rwandan Tribunal
represents an important extension of international humanitarian law to internal conflicts. The
UN Security Council, the Tribunal's creator, has ignored the ambiguity of the war concept, and
with its authoritative voice has made crimes against humanity an internal as well as an
international offense of customary international law.
Article 4 of the Statute empowers the Tribunal to prosecute persons committing or
ordering to be committed serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of
1949 and of the Additional Protocol II thereto of 1977. These violations include: (a) violence to
life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder, torture, or
mutilation; (b) collective punishments; (c) taking of hostages; (d) acts of terrorism; (e) outrages
upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced
prostitution, and any form of indecent assault; (f) pillage; (g) sentences or executions rendered
extra-judicially or without due process; and (h) threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
Both Article 3 common and Protocol II apply to non-international conflicts. Rwanda's
neighbors--Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire (but not Kenya)--have ratified both the
Geneva Conventions and Protocol II48. However, unlike the grave breaches sections of the
Geneva Conventions, Article 3 common and Protocol II do not require ratifying parties to
criminalize the above acts or to prosecute or extradite alleged violators either to the State on
whose territory their acts occurred or to a competent international tribunal. As noted above,
each UN member State is obligated under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to cooperate with
Security Council measures taken to maintain international peace. Article 28 of the Rwandan
Tribunal's Statute specifies that States shall cooperate with the Tribunal and comply without
undue delay with any request for assistance, including the arrest or detention of persons and

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 23

the surrender of the accused to the Tribunal. Consequently, the UN Security Council, through
its creation of this Tribunal, has added a compulsory arrest and surrender requirement to acts
that the Geneva Conventions and Protocol II had previously conceptualized as being governed
by domestic discretion. This represents another important extension of humanitarian law.
The Security Council's and the General-Secretary's decision that the Tribunal should have
jurisdiction over natural persons and not juridical persons, such as associations, is reflected in
Statute Article 5. Accordingly, membership alone in a criminal organization would not be
sufficient to subject someone to the Tribunal's jurisdiction. Article 6 addresses "individual
criminal responsibility." It states that any person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed
or aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of any crime mentioned in
Articles 2 to 4 of the Statute shall be individually responsible for the crime. An accused's official
position, even as president or prime minister, shall not relieve him of responsibility or mitigate
punishment. Furthermore, superiors are criminally responsible for the criminal acts of their
subordinates if they knew of the acts and did not take reasonably necessary measures to
prevent or stop them. Although following government orders will not relieve subordinates of
criminal responsibility, it may mitigate their punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice
so requires. The doctrine of individual responsibility for violations of humanitarian law was
emphasized in the post-World War II Nuremberg and Tokyo trials49. It was also codified in the
Geneva Conventions of 194950.

Concurrent Jurisdiction and Tribunal Primacy

Given the magnitude of the crimes committed in Rwanda, the successful prosecution of all
those responsible would greatly exceed the resource capacity of the Tribunal51. Therefore,
Statute Article 8 states that "[t]he International Tribunal for Rwanda and national courts shall
have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute persons for serious violations of international
humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens for such
violations committed in the territory of neighboring States,. ." (Article 8[1]). However, the
Statute goes on to state that the Tribunal "shall have primacy over national courts of all States,"
such that it may formally request national courts to defer to its competence. (Article 8[2])52.
To respect the principle of non-bis-in-idem and to avoid the potential for double jeopardy,
Statute Article 9 states that no person tried by the Tribunal shall be retried by a national court
for the same acts. However, persons tried by a national court for crimes covered by Articles 2 to
4 of the Statute may be retried by the Tribunal if: (a) the litigated acts had been characterized as
ordinary crimes; (b) the case was not diligently prosecuted; or (c) the national court proceedings
were neither impartial nor independent or were designed to shield the accused from
international responsibility.

Rules of Procedure

The Tribunal's Rules of Procedure are based on those of the Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia. They incorporate the fundamental due process guarantees to a fair and speedy trial
found in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Consequently, this Tribunal, like its counterpart for the Former Yugoslavia, will become a

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

24 I Magnarella

medium whereby international human rights standards will have significant influences on the
development of international criminal law. Its due process guarantees include: the right to the
presumption of innocence (Rule 62); the right against self-incrimination (Rule 63); the right to
counsel of choice or to free legal assistance if indigent (Rule 42); the right to inspect
prosecution's incriminating and exculpatory evidence (Rules 66-68); the right to privileged
communication with counsel (Rule 97); the right to public proceedings (Rule 78); the right to
challenge the prosecution's evidence and to present evidence in one's defense (Rule 85); and the
right of appeal (Rule 108).
Only the prosecutor or his duly delegated deputy may commence a proceeding by
submitting an indictment supported by evidence to a designated Tribunal judge for
confirmation (Rule 47). Neither victims, States nor Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
may initiate proceedings before the Tribunal.
Once a judge confirms an indictment, he or she may issue arrest and search warrants (Rule
54-55). The Tribunal's registrar transmits the arrest warrant to the national authorities of the
State having jurisdiction over the accused "together with instructions that at the time of the
arrest the indictment and statement of the rights of the accused be read to him in a language he
understands . . (Rule 55). The arresting State authorities shall notify the Registrar and
arrange to transfer the accused to the seat of the Tribunal where the President will arrange for
his detention (Rules 57 & 64). The accused will be detained in a UN- supervised prison in
If the notified State has been unable to arrest the accused, and if the registrar has, at the
prosecutor's request, published notices of the arrest warrant in widely circulated newspapers, a
trial chamber may, after finding the prosecutor's evidence sufficient, issue an international
arrest warrant that shall be transmitted to all states (Rule 61). The President of the Tribunal has
the authority to notify the Security Council of any State that refuses to honor the Tribunal's
arrest warrant or that impedes the execution of such a warrant (Rule 61[E]).
Soon after his arrest, the accused is brought before a trial chamber and formally charged
(Rule 62). The trial chamber shall satisfy itself that the accused's right to counsel is respected
and that he understands the indictment (Rule 62). It shall call on the accused to enter a plea, and
should the accused fall silent, it shall enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf (Rule 62). The trial
chamber then instructs the Registrar to set a date for trial (Rule 62). There are no provisions for
trials in absentia.
The Tribunal is not authorized to impose the death penalty in deference to the Second
Optional Protocol to the ICCPR of 1989. This, however, leads to an ironic situation. Owing to its
limited resources, the Tribunal is expected to go after, what prosecutor Goldstone called the
"big fish."53. Consequently, those chiefly responsible for the genocide would receive, if convicted
by the Tribunal, a sentence of years, up to life, whereas lesser figures tried and convicted in
Rwandan courts could be sentenced to death.

The Situation in Rwanda

As it was successfully routing the Hutu army and various Hutu militias, the RPF Army
began rounding up Hutu suspected of participating in the genocide and committing other

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 25

crimes. The International Committee of the Red Cross claimed that by August 1996, Rwanda
had about 80,000 Hutu (mostly followers, rather than leaders) crammed into antiquated, putrid
prisons, detained indefinitely while awaiting formal charges54. Reportedly, over two thousand
had died under these conditions55. Before the detainees could be tried, Rwanda had to rebuild
its judicial system. As of February 1, 1995, Rwanda had only a few surviving judges, but not a
single functioning court56. The trials of those suspected of involvement in the genocide had been
repeatedly postponed due to a lack of resources.
In September 1996, Rwanda's parliament approved a genocide law designed to expedite
the trials of the thousands held in prison and to encourage Hutu refugees to return from
abroad. The government hopes that once the judiciaries identify and prosecute those primarily
responsible for the genocide, Rwanda's Tutsi will believe justice is being served and will be less
likely to seek revenge on returning Hutu refugees. The legislation covers offenses committed
between 1990 and 1994 (versus only 1994 for the ICTR) so as to deal with the massacres that
occurred during the civil war prior to President Habyarimana's death56. It also distinguishes
genocide planners and mass murderers from others, and offers reduced prison sentences to the
last if they confess.
According to the law, those who planned, instigated or supervised the genocide will face
the death penalty. Ordinary murderers are liable to life imprisonment, while those who
committed physical assaults will serve three years or less. In addition, courts will treat property
crimes as civil offenses, offering victims the opportunity to sue for damages. In June 1996,
Rwanda's Ministry of Justice offered a crash training course for magistrates, who began
adjudicating cases later that year.
The Rwandan government pledged to guarantee the safe return of refugees living abroad
in sprawling and unsanitary camps57. However, it was concerned about Hutu extremists
waging an insurgency campaign from the camps located in Tanzania and Zaire, where Hutu
militias reportedly were forcibly inducting young men into their units and threatening to
invade Rwanda to retake power. According to UN observers, from May to June of 1996 Hutu
extremists had killed 99 witnesses to the genocide in order to prevent them from testifying
before either Rwandan courts or the ICTR58. Many of those murdered had lived in Rwanda's
Gisenyi province, located just across the Zairian border from Hutu refugee camps59. Because
there is so little documentary evidence of much of the 1994 killing, prosecutors will have to rely
on eyewitness accounts. Hence, the murder of key potential witnesses will hamper the
prosecutorial process.
By January 1997, Rwandan courts in Kigali, Byumba, Gikongoro, Kibuye, Nyamata and
Kibungo were trying cases and applying the genocide law. As of January 20, the courts had
convicted nine persons (all Hutu) of genocide and had sentenced them to death by firing squad.
All those convicted had appealed their sentences. The trials were generally brief. The first,
involving three defendants, lasted only four hours60. Most, if not all, of those convicted, could
not find lawyers willing to represent them; consequently, they had to defend themselves61.
These procedures raised serious concerns on the part of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights and Amnesty International62.
On January 7, Jean Flamme, secretary general of Avocats sans Frontieres (Lawyers without
Borders) announced that three members of his organization would soon go to Kigali to establish

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl/1 /2.df

26 I Magnarella

a permanent office to carry out a project entitled "Justice for all in Rwanda" 63. They plan both to
provide assistance to the Rwandan judiciary and to defend those being tried for genocide.
Among those convicted by the Rwandan courts were a former official of the National
Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (Habyarimana's ruling party), three
school teachers, a hospital aide, a low-level local official, and a Burundian Hutu, reportedly one
of many who participated in the genocide64. As of mid-January, the court's major defendant was
Froduald Karamira, the former deputy head of the Hutu ruling party, who in 1994 allegedly
made daily radio broadcasts urging Hutu to kill Tutsi65. When the Rwandan government
successfully negotiated his extradition from Ethiopia, Karamira became the highest ranking
official of the former Hutu government in custody. His trial resumed at the end of January after
a two week suspension to allow his attorney, a member of Avocats sans Frontieres, time to
prepare a defense.
In addition to expediting genocide trials, the Rwandan government is exploring the idea of
establishing a South African-style truth commission. In January 1997, a Rwandan delegation,
including the Labor and Social Affairs Minister, went to South Africa to inquire about the
policies and operations of that country's truth and reconciliation commission66.

Tribunal Indictments

Approximately one year after the genocide, the Tribunal had 400 suspects as a result of
ongoing investigations67. Most of these were officials and military leaders of the former Hutu-
dominated regime who had fled to other countries. As noted above, all States are obligated to
cooperate with the Tribunal by arresting and transferring to it suspects and indicted persons. In
early January 1995, the heads of government from Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda,
Zaire, and Zambia met in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, and agreed to hand over to the Tribunal
those who took part in the genocide68. Subsequently, however, Kenyan President Daniel Arap
Moi stated that he not only would not cooperate with the Tribunal, he would prevent it from
seeking out suspects in his country69. According to human rights officials, some Kenyans have
benefited financially from wealthy Rwandans from the former government who fled to Kenya
after the war broke out70.
Immediately after Moi's remarks, Tribunal Prosecutor Goldstone sent him a letter, asking
for clarification and warning that Kenya's refusal to cooperate with the Tribunal would be
regarded as a breach of Kenya's obligations under international law, a matter for the Security
Council to consider71. President Moi soon retracted his statement, but human rights watchers
doubted his sincerity72. More recently, Tribunal Judge Navanethem Pillay has stated that
African States, especially Zaire and Kenya, were ham;ering efforts to bring criminals to justice73.
An observer explained that the Presidents of Zaire and Kenya are more concerned about the
regional balance of power than about crimes against humanity74. They support Rwanda's
former rulers because they regard the successor RPF-led government as a client of Uganda's
President Yoweri Museveni, their rival for leadership in East and Central Africa75. If any African
State refuses to cooperate with the Tribunal, as is required under the UN Charter, it may
become a sanctuary for some suspected criminals, but it may also be sanctioned by the UN

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 27

Security Council. Sanctions could include a moratorium on international economic aid,
something no African country can afford to lose.
Initially, the work of the ICTR had been slowed by a lack of facilities in Arusha and by UN
budgetary constraints76. Later, however, some employees and consultants complained that the
Tribunal's top administrative officers had given jobs to unqualified relatives and friends; had
discriminated against non-Africans; had misused resources; and had unduly delayed the
purchase of essential equipment and services77. These charges led to an internal investigation by
the U.N. Fortunately, none of the judges were accused of any wrongdoing.
On December 12, 1995, the Tribunal issued its first indictments against eight Hutu,
charging them with genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva
Conventions78. As of January 1997 the Tribunal had indicted 21 people and held eleven in
custody. Of the remaining ten indictees, one was being held in the United States, one in
Switzerland, and eight were at large79.
Those being held in Arusha included Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who has been called the
mastermind of the genocide. He had assumed de facto control of military and political affairs in
Rwanda after the death of former president Habyarimana. Bagosora had been arrested in
Cameroon under an international arrest warrant issued by Belgium in connection with the
murder of ten Belgian UN Peace Keepers in April 199480. In July 1996, however, Belgium
dropped its request for extradition in deference to the ICTR and its Statute Article 82, addressing
concurrent jurisdiction and Tribunal primacy (discussed above)81. Cameroon authorities handed
over Bagosora and three others to the ICTR on January 23, 199782. The three others are Andre
Ntagerura (the former transport minister), Ferdinand Nahimana (a founder of Radio Television
Milles Collines, which had been used to incite the genocide), and Colonel Anatole
Nsengiyumva (former military intelligence chief and alleged death squad member)83.
Other indictees being held in Arusha include Georges Rutaganda, a vice president of the
national committee of Interahamwe ("those who work together"), the Hutu youth militia of the
National Revolutionary Movement for Development, the political vehicle of former President
Habyarimana's single party state84. Some observers regard members of the Interahamwe as the
main perpetrators of the genocide85. A second indictee is Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor
of Taba, in the Gitarama district of central Rwanda, where at least 2,000 Tutsi were killed86. Also
being held is Clement Kayishema, the former governor of Kibuye, who allegedly helped
organize the slaughter of 90% of the Tutsi residing there87. All three had been arrested by
national authorities in Zambia and then transferred to the ICTR in May 1996.
The Tribunal's first trial, against Jean-Paul Akayesu, opened in October 1996. After winning
three delays, two by changing lawyers, Akayesu took the stand on January 9, 199788. At the rate
the Tribunal is proceeding, it may only be able to try one person a month.


The ICTR and its predecessor for the former Yugoslavia represent the first attempts by the
international community to create international judicial organs to enforce the Geneva
Conventions, the Genocide Convention, and laws proscribing crimes against humanity. The
Rwandan Tribunal is unique in that it is the first international court to apply crimes against

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

28 I Magnarella

humanity to a non-international conflict and to enforce Article 3 common and Protocol II of the
Geneva Conventions. The extension of its territorial jurisdiction to States not party to the
Rwandan conflict represents another new development in international law.
The exact impact that the ICTR will have on the application of international humanitarian
law and the legal prerogatives of the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter will be determined by actual political and judicial experience, by the reactions of States
and the ability of the Tribunal to gain custody over and prosecute a significant number of major
criminals. Both Tribunals will influence the way many States view the causes of grave
humanitarian crimes and possible strategies for achieving peace and national reconciliation.
The mass murders in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia did not arise spontaneously.
They were instigated by persons in positions of power who sought to gain personal advantage
through violent and hideous means. Unless these persons are made to account for their crimes
against humanity, the reconciliation necessary for the reconstruction of these torn societies may
not be possible. By assigning guilt to the leader-instigators, the Tribunals may also lift the
burden of collective guilt that settles on societies whose leaders have directed or ordered such
terrible violence. The assignment of guilt by neutral Tribunals may also enable the international
community to differentiate between victims and aggressors. It may help erase the belief that
interethnic conflicts are genetically inbred and therefore insoluble.
The success of the Tribunals is essential if future crimes against humanity are to be
prevented. If human rights can be massively violated with impunity in Rwanda and the former
Yugoslavia, we can expect new Hitlers to appear whenever and wherever political advantages
can conceivably be gained by committing crimes against humanity. Should the Tribunals not
accomplish their main prosecutorial objectives, their creation will still have a lasting effect on
the application of humanitarian law to both international and domestic conflicts. They also will
have accomplished, as Prosecutor Goldstone has stated, the significant task of putting
international humanitarian law and human rights squarely on the international agenda89.


1. For a detailed account of the Rwandan events related here, see Prunier, Gerard. The
Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995;
Braeckman, Colette. Rwanda, Histoire d'un Genocide. Paris: Fayard, 1994.
2. Rwanda, Collier's Encyclopedia 20, 1980, p. 308. For a study of clientship and shifting
ethnicity in Rwanda, see Newbury, Catharine. The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship
and Ethnicity in Rwanda: 1860-1960, New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.
3. Prunier, op. cit. p. 4.
4. Rwanda, Collier's Encyclopedia, op. cit..
5. For a description of physical differences among these peoples, see Prunier, op. cit., p. 5;
Nyrop, Richard F., et al., Area Handbook for Rwanda, Washington, D.C.: US
Government Printing Office, 1969. pp. 44-47.
6. The political history of Rwanda and its important relations with surrounding countries,
especially Burundi, are beyond the scope of this article. For these important topics, the
readers is referred to the above sources as well as to Lemarchand, Rene. Rwanda and

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 29

Burundi. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970 and Kamukama, Dixon. Rwanda Conflict:
Its Roots and Regional Implications. Kampala, Uganda: Fountain Publishers, 1993.
8. Prunier, op. cit., p. 75.
9. Ibid. For purposes of these identity cards, ethnicity was determined by patrilineal
descent. Hence, even the children of mixed marriages were classified Hutu, Tutsi, Twa,
etc. depending on the identity cards of their fathers. See US Department of State.
Rwanda Human Rights Practices. Lexis-Nexis News Library, 1994, no pages given.
10. Jefremovas, Villia, "Acts of Human Kindness: Tutsi, Hutu and the Genocide," in Issue 23,
1995, pp. 28, 29; Newbury, Catharine. "Background to Genocide in Rwanda," in Issue 23,
1995, pp. 12, 14.
11. Newbury, op. cit., p. 14.
12. Prunier, op. cit., p. 299.
13. Ibid., p. 329.
14. UN Doc. S/PRST/1994/42.
15. These and the following facts about the new government are based on U.S. Department
of State, Rwanda Human Rights Practices, op. cit.
16. Reuters, "Rwanda's Prime Minister Leaves Office Suddenly," New York Times, August
29, 1995, p. 2.
17. Bonner, Raymond. "Rwanda's Leaders Vow to Build a Multiparty State for Both Hutu
and Tutsi." New York Times, September 7, 1994, p. A10.
18. Burkhalter, Holly. "Ending the Cycle of Retribution in Rwanda." Legal Times, August 22,
1994, p.19.
19. Ibid. The US government most probably underestimated the enormity of the judicial
task. Thousands of people were directly involved in acts of genocide, but the UN
Tribunal will be able to prosecute only about 50 persons a year. Kahl, Hubert. "Rwanda
Traumatized by Images of Death." Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 4, 1995, Lexis News
20. UN Doc. S/935/1944.
21. Referred to in the Secretary General's letter of 1 October 1994. UN Doc. S/1994/1125.
22. UN Doc. S/Res/955, 1994 (hereinafter, Statute).
23. Ibid. For a discussion of the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, see Bassiouni, M. Cherif. "Former Yugoslavia: Investigating Violations of
International Humanitarian Law and Establishing an International Criminal Tribunal."
In Fordham International Law Review 18, 1995, pp. 1191-1210. For a description and
analysis of that Tribunal's legal structure, see Magnarella, Paul J. "Trying for Peace
through Law: The UN Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia," in Human Peace, 10, 1995,
pp. 3-8; Meron, Theodor. "War Crimes in Yugoslavia and Development of International
Law," in American Journal of International Law 88, 1994, pp. 78-87; and Wedgwood,
Ruth "War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia: Comments on the International War
Crimes Tribunal," in Virginia Journal of International Law 34, 1994, pp. 267-75.
24. UN Doc. A/Res/49/206, 1994.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

30 I Magnarella

25. The Security Council adopted the resolution sponsored by the United States and New
Zealand by a vote of 13 to one, with China abstaining. Preston, Julia "Tribunal Set on
Rwanda War Crimes; Kigali Votes No on U.N. Resolution." Washington Post, November
9, 1994, p. A44.
26. It was subsequently placed in Arusha, Tanzania. UN Security Council Resolution 977, 21
February 1995.
27. Preston, op. cit.
28. "Rwandan President Says UN Wants 'Secret' Trials on Rwanda," Agence France Presse,
November 9, 1994, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
29. Thomas, Anni. "Rwandan Government Promises to Work with War Crimes Court,"
Agence France Presse, International News, November 24, 1994, Lexis-Nexis News
30. See Marie, Alphonse. "Statement by the Minister of Justice of Rwanda to the First Public
Hearing of the First Session of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda," The
Hague, June 27, 1995.
31. Charter of the United Nations. San Francisco, June 26, 1945.
32. UN Doc. A/49/342, S/1994/1007, 29 August 1994.
33. Presumably, the Security Council regarded the massive flow of refugees and remnants
of the Hutu militias to neighboring countries as a threat to international peace.
34. "UN Appoints Prosecutor for Rwandan Tribunal," in New York Times, January 15, 1995,
p. A6.
35. "UN Package," September 11, 1995, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
36. UN Doc. S/Res/955, 1994.
37. Article 8(2), discussed below.
38. "ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence." Adopted on June 29, 1995.
39. "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." December 9,
1948. U.N.T.S. 277, (hereinafter, Genocide Convention). Charter of the International
Military Tribunal. Done at London, August 8, 1945, 59 Stat. 1544, 82 U.N.T.S. 279.
Geneva Conventions No. 1-4, August 12, 1949, 75 UNTS 31, 85, 135, 287. Protocol
Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection
of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflict, December 12, 1977, 1125 UNTS 609,
(hereinafter, Protocol II).
40. McCoubrey, Hilaire. International Humanitarian Law: The Regulation of Armed
Conflicts. Brookfield, Vt.: Gower Publishing Company, 1990. p. 140; Meron, op. cit. p. 79.
41. Article 4(3).
42. "Advisory Opinion on Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," International Court of Justice, 15, 1951
43. For the lists of States that had ratified the Genocide Convention and other human
rights/humanitarian law conventions as of January 1, 1994, see "International
Instruments Relating to Human Rights," in Human Rights Journal 15, 1994, pp. 51-67.
44. Charter of the International Military Tribunal. Done at London, August 8, 1945. Article

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Judicial Responses to Genocide I 31

45. Oppenheim, Lassa. "Disputes, War and Neutrality," in Hersch Lauterpacht (ed.)
International Law, A Treatise. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1952; Ingrid Detter de
Lupis, The Law of War, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, pp. 5-23.
46. Article 1(a), UN Doc. s/25704, May 3, 1993.
47. See "Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to Paragraph 2 of the Security Council
Resolution" 808 (1993). S/25704, May 3, 1993, para. 37 & 38.
48. "International Instruments Relating to Human Rights," in Human Rights Journal 15,
1994, pp. 51-67.
49. de Lupis, op. cit., pp. 353-4.
50. Ibid., p. 354.
51. One Africanist estimates that the number of Rwandans directly involved in the acts of
killing amounted to between 75,000-150,000. Jefremovas, op. cit., p. 28.
52. Rule 9 states the procedures and criteria for such a deferral request. ICTR Rules of
Procedure and Evidence. Adopted on June 29, 1995.
53. Kahl, op. cit.
54. "More than 80,000 Prisoners in Rwanda," Agence France Presse, August 12, 1996, Lexis-
Nexis News Library. "Rwanda Conference Recommends Genocide Courts," Reuters,
November 6, 1995, Lexis-Nexis News Library. Wedgwood, Ruth. "Retaliation in
Rwanda," Christian Science Monitor, December 20, 1995, p. 20.
55. "Rwanda Conference," op. cit.
56. Kotch, Nicholas. "Rwanda's Genocide Law Defines Guilt and Punishment," Reuters
World Service, September 25, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
57. Kaban, Elif. "Rwanda Pledges to Do More to Heal Ethnic Rifts," Reuters, November
2,1995, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
58. "365 People Killed in Rwanda: UN," Agence France Presse, August 22, 1996, Lexis- Nexis
News Library.
59. Ibid.
60. "Rwanda to Execute 2 Hutu; First Verdict on '94 Killings," New York Times, January 3,
1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
61. Ibid.
62. "U.N. Blasts Rwandan Genocide Trials as Biased, Unfair," Deutsche Presse-Agentur,
January 28, 1997; "Amnesty Blasts "Unfair" Rwandan Genocide Trials," Agence France
Presse, January 13, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
63. Fox, David. "'Lawyers' Group Readies for Rwanda Genocide Appeal," Reuters World
Service, January 7, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
64. "Burundian Sentenced to Death in Rwandan War Crimes Trial," Agence France Presse,
January 21, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
65. Cullen, Paul. "Trial Opens of Man Said to be Ringleader of Genocide," Irish Times,
January 15, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
66. "Rwandans to Swop Notes with S. African Truth Body on War Crimes," Agence France
Presse, January 17, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
67. "Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal Holds First Session," Associated Press, June 29, 1994,
Lexis-Nexis News Library.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl/1 /2.df

32 I Magnarella

68. Chintowa, Paul. "Rwanda--Politics: Tanzania to Repatriate Refugees," InterPress Service,
January 10, 1995, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
69. Lorch, Donatella. "Kenya Refuses to Hand over Suspects in Rwanda Slayings," New
York Times, October 6, 1995, p. A3.
70. Ibid.; Tunbridge, Louis. "Kenya "Sheltering Suspects in Rwandan Atrocities," Daily
Telegraph, November 3, 1995, p. 20, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
71. "Statement by Justice Richard Goldstone," ICTY, The Hague, October 5 1995.
72. "Kenyan Will Not Protect Rwandan Killers: Moi," Agence France Presse, October 10,
1995, Lexis-Nexis News Library; Tunbridge, op. cit.
73. Barbara Crossette, "War Crimes Judge Says Rwanda Probes Being Hampered,"
International Herald Tribune, December 30, 1995 (no page given), Lexis-Nexis News
74. Hilsum, Lindsey. "Rwanda Justice Grinds to a Halt," The Observer, November 12, 1995,
at 25, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
75. Ibid.
76. "Cash-strapped UN Cuts Costs in Rwanda," Reuters World Service, October 2, 1995,
Lexis-Nexis News Library.
77. Barbara, "On the Eve of U.N. Rwanda Trials, Reports of Misconduct," New York Times,
January 9, 1997, p. A3.
78. Bigg, Matt. "Tribunal on Rwanda's Genocide Names First Suspects," Reuters, January 10,
1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
79. "Suspects Handed over to Genocide Tribunal," The Record, January 24, 1997, p. A10,
Lexis-Nexis News Library.
80. "Rwandan Colonel Indicted on Suspicion of Masterminding Genocide," Agence France
Presse, August 15, 1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
81. "Belgium Defers to Rwanda Tribunal in Bagosora Case," Reuters World Service, July 9,
1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
82. "Suspects Handed over to Genocide Tribunal," The Record, January 24, 1997, p. A10,
Lexis-Nexis News Library.
83. Ibid.
84. Smerdon, Peter. "UN Tribunal Charges First Rwanda Genocide Accused," Reuters, Ltd.,
May 30, 1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
85. Prunier, op. cit, pp. 76, 368.
86. Smerdon, op. cit.
87. "Rwanda and Zaire: The Situation Grows More Complicated," Africa News Service, July
1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
88. "Rwanda War Crimes Defendant Interrogates Witness," Agence France Presse, January
16, 1997, Lexis-Nexis News Library.
89. Tyler, Christian. "Private View: Bloodhound in pursuit of the Dogs of War--Christian
Tyler Meets Richard Goldstone, Chief Prosecutor of the UN War Crimes Tribunal,"
Financial Times, March 2, 1996, Lexis-Nexis News Library.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society:

Karamoja, Uganda, 1996.


Introduction to Karamoja

Located in the northeastern part of Uganda, Karamoja is a 27,200 square kilometer area of
semi-arid savannah, bush and mountains. To the east, the escarpment drops down into Turkana
District in Kenya; to the north is the Sudan; to the west and south are Ugandan districts
populated by Acholi, Teso and Sebei people. Within Karamoja, the dominant groups are the
Dodoth in the north, the Jie in the central region, and in the south a cluster of closely related
ethnic groups known as Bokora, Matheniko, and Pian all of whom are referred to generally as
the Karimojong. In the southeast, a Kalenjin-speaking group, the Pakot (or Upe), occupy a
territory that overlaps the Uganda-Kenya border. Living in the mountainous areas around the
edges of Karamoja are several smaller ethnic groups. From 1911 to 1971, Karamoja was a single
district, but in 1971 it was divided into two administrative districts, Northern Karamoja and
Southern Karamoja, later renamed Kotido District and Moroto District.
By far the most important ecological feature of this region is its rainfall pattern. As a semi-
arid area it may get short rains during April and a longer rainy season from June to early
September; however, this pattern is not reliable and in many years the rains are sparse, or fail
altogether. Thus, drought and hunger are a recurrent feature of life in Karamoja. Although in
years of adequate rainfall sorghum and millet provide most of their nutrition, the Dodoth, Jie,
and Karimojong have adapted to this often harsh environment by focusing much of their
energy on their herds of livestock--principally cattle, but also goats and sheep, and, in a few
areas, some camels. In addition to being a major source of dietary protein, these animals,
especially cattle, represent wealth, both economically and symbolically. During the long dry
seasons the herdsmen leave their permanent settlements and move their cattle to temporary
encampments near pasture and watering places located to the west and south of the central
plains, often crossing over into the territory of neighboring groups and districts.
Competition for scarce resources, particularly water and pasture, and the high value placed
on cattle have produced a culture of raiding and warfare within which men are noted for their
bravery and their wealth. Men marry with cattle and historically bridewealth "prices" have been
very high (Quam,1978). Young men have a powerful incentive to establish their reputations and
build their own herds through mounting raids on other pastoral groups. Traditionally, these
activities, as well as other group policy decisions, have been controlled through a social
organization of male age grades within which the elders have wielded great political and ritual
power (Dyson-Hudson, 1966; Thomas, 1965; Gulliver, 1953).

http:/ /www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl /1 /3.pdf

University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448

34 I Quam

Two Decades of Chaos and Change

In the last two decades, a combination of calamities has produced profound changes in the
population, economy, and culture of these semi-pastoral societies. Beginning in the decade of
the 1970s, these warrior herdsmen who had always fought with spears began to acquire modern
firearms. Recurrent food shortages due to localized drought, increased raiding between groups,
particularly by well-armed Turkana, thefts and killings by armed bandits, and general political
turmoil resulted in a major famine in 1980. The dynamic that generated this disaster has been
well-summarized by Alnwick (1985: 132-133).
The widespread insecurity in Karamoja in the latter half of 1979 and early 1980 resulted in
many family groups planting far less than in a normal year because people feared to cultivate
far from the safety of their relatively well-protected dwellings. Many families may also have
had seed from the previous harvest stolen or destroyed. Erratic rainfall in some parts of the
district in 1980 resulted in low yields from the already reduced cultivated areas.... General
insecurity and the rapidly changing balance of power between rival groups also resulted in the
herds of some groups being taken away to remote corners of the region in an attempt to avoid
them being taken [stolen]. Many families lost all of their cattle and wealth in raids. The settled
population, consisting mainly of women, children and old people, no longer had access to milk
or blood from the herds. More importantly, insecurity within the area and within the country as
a whole resulted in a more or less complete breakdown of trade and commerce. Families who
received a poor harvest, either due to climatic conditions or because of the small area planted,
could not trade cattle for grain. Many families no longer had access to cattle, either because the
cattle had been taken by rival groups or because the cattle had been hidden in distant and secret
grazing areas. Even families with cattle to sell could not find a trader willing to take the risk of
transporting cattle out of Karamoja because of the high risk that he would be attacked and lose
not only the cattle he was transporting but his life as well. For similar reasons virtually no grain
from outside the region was brought in and families who still had money could find little grain
to buy at any price.
Massive food relief efforts by international organizations managed to halt this disaster, but
not before "21 percent of the population died in the twelve months up to December 1980, mostly
from starvation" (Biellik and Henderson, 1981: 1333). An estimated 50,000 people died, 25,000 of
them children (Biellik and Henderson, 1981). Famine of the early 1980s was ended, famine
recurred in 1984-5 and again in 1991. The causes and consequences of these severe hardships
were all too familiar.
A drought destroyed the 1984 crop in northern Karamoja while cattle raiding in south
Karamoja spilled over into Kenya and neighboring districts. This necessitated a joint Kenya
Uganda military operation to quell the violent raiding and displaced an estimated 75% of the
population in the extreme south, rendering the whole of Karamoja famine prone in early 1985
(Dodge, 1986: 760).
A cycle of famine has come to the Karamojong again. A homestead of more than 500 people
near Moroto recently dwindled to only 100 women and children. Almost everyone else left in
search of food .... [F]ood expected from international relief agencies had not arrived. Relief

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 35

groups have been hesitant to deliver the food because Karamojong warriors held up trucks
entering the region last year, in one instance killing a driver (Perlez, 1991).
Armed violence and the deterioration of the traditional economy continued to transform
the society and ecology of Karamoja well into the 1990s. With their cattle herds depleted or
gone, and many of their traditional agricultural areas abandoned because of fear of armed
raiders, poverty-stricken people turned to producing charcoal to sell to townspeople in the
administrative centers and military posts. As a result, many of the trees and large bushes have
disappeared from the plains and the lower slopes of the mountains. Clearing the brush has
opened up land to be potentially reclaimed by savannah grasses (Wilson, 1985), but the broader
impact of deforestation may be a further decrease in rainfall. Also, concentrating cultivation in a
smaller number of more secure areas close to towns and military posts has caused soil depletion
and lower crop yields. In the past, these pastoralists had never relied on game animals for their
subsistence, and thus had never developed a hunting culture with ritual and practical
constraints on harvesting wildlife. Thus, more recently, with modern rifles in their hands and
hunger in their homesteads, they have literally decimated the large populations of zebra,
antelope, giraffe, ostrich, and other fauna that were abundant in Karamoja twenty years ago.
Cattle herds have also been reduced and redistributed through raiding. Although few hard
data are available, the following statements give some indication of these changes:
In the course of time, the ratio of cattle per person in Karamoja has dropped from 6 in 1920
to less than 2 today (1991) (Ocan, 1992: 14).
During the field surveys in Karamoja, Teso and north Bugisu all people said they were
raided indiscriminately during the raids of 1983/84 and 1986-90.... For Moroto and Kotido the
most armed were the least raided. Out of about 160 respondents in Karamoja, 47 had lost cattle
completely. Twenty nine had become very poor and were herding other people's animals for a
living, without homes of their own (Ocan, 1992: 24).
The best armed among the Karamoja tribes are the Jie and the Matheniko (a subtribe
among the Karamojong). The least armed are the Dodoth. During 1979-81 the Dodoth, ill-
equipped to defend their stock from better armed raiders, lost practically all of their cattle
(Cisternino, 1985: 155).
Recent conversations with people in Karamoja confirm this general picture. Although
wealth was not equally distributed in traditional Karimojong society, nearly every family had
enough livestock for subsistence, and the size of family herds waxed and waned depending on
the skills of the herdsmen and the winds of fortune. A man of even modest wealth could
exercise some influence in the council of elders. In the last two decades, however, some
individuals have become extremely wealthy in cattle through successful large-scale raiding.
They command the allegiance of many other armed men who have little or no wealth and have
attached themselves to these exceptionally rich and powerful leaders. On the other hand, many
men and their families have been driven into poverty by the loss of their herds and as a result
have also lost political influence.
Ben Okudi (1992) paints a bleak picture of the effects of this new inequality. Many people
have become so destitute that they are now scavenging for food in garbage dumps. To feed
their children, some Karimojong women have resorted to working as prostitutes, a practice that
was almost unheard of until recently. According to Omwony-Ojok (1996), chronic drinking, not

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl/1 /3.df

36 I Quam

just of local sorghum beer, but often of distilled spirits, is becoming more prevalent, and is
undermining the stature and traditional authority of parents and elders. During these years of
turmoil and insecurity, young men who began to go to school often did not finish and have
become unemployed school leavers. These alientated youth are easily recruited into raiding and
The towns have grown as poor people have migrated to them seeking a meager income
and some security. As a result, the basic amenities of town life have declined. For example,
Moroto Town, the largest town in all of Karamoja, no longer has running water or 24-hour
electricity; many of the shops along its main street are boarded up, and the hospital does not
have the staff or supplies to provide basic health services. At the same time, the region has lost
population as people have migrated out of Karamoja to neighboring districts where they have
become traders and farmers.
The raiding and banditry have taken their toll in human lives as well. Cisternino (1985: 155)
claims that "[t]he Jie tribe ..., which counts some 25,000 persons, during 1981 lost not less than
1000 young men in gun battles." John Wilson (1985: 165), who had lived in Karamoja for many
years both before and during the recent troubles, makes the following statement:
The change in weapons was dramatic and resulted in horrifying carnage between 1980 and
1982. In fact, so many men, women and children were needlessly slaughtered in massacres of
whole villages and settlements during this period, say for a hundred or so cattle, that the
leaders of different warring tribes finally met in order to call a halt to the killing.
Wilson is known to be unsympathetic to many aspects of traditional Karimojong life, and
his account may be somewhat exaggerated. Nevertheless, according to Dr. Robert Limlim
(1996), the Medical Officer for Moroto District, in the district's one really functioning hospital, a
mission facility in Matagn, many of the patients are brought in with gunshot wounds.

A Brief History of Guns in Karamoja

Firearms first made their appearance in Karamoja in the late nineteenth century. They were
in the hands of ivory hunters and traders, the majority of whom came from Ethiopia. According
to Barber (1968), the British colonial power at the time became concerned, principally for
geopolitical reasons, about the rumors of gun-running and territorial inroads being made by
Ethiopian warlords possibly representing the rapidly expanding Ethiopian Empire of Menelik
II. This ungoverned and distant frontier was potentially strategic for continuing control of the
Nile. Finally, in 1911, a British patrol was sent to establish British authority, to run the
Ethiopians and other unsavory rascals out, and to disarm the tribesmen. The commander of the
patrol reported great success in seizing large quantities of arms from the local tribesmen.
Lamphear (1976), who has written the most thorough oral history of this region, convincingly
disputes these claims of large numbers of guns in the hands of local people. Although they did
acquire a few firearms, they continued to rely on their traditional weaponry and indigenous
military tactics in their warfare with neighboring groups. Thus, when pressured by the British
patrol, they surrendered what few guns they possessed without a struggle. By 1921 the British
had firmly established a military administration in Karamoja, and guns were not allowed in the

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 37

hands of any local people except the chiefs that the British appointed. This situation was to
continue for the next fifty years.
In the decade of the 1960s, the Turkana from the west and the Toposa from the north,
armed with modern firearms, especially high-powered rifles, began frequent incursions into
Karamoja, raiding for cattle and whatever else they could take. The armed police of the
Ugandan government who were stationed in Karamoja to maintain law and order seemed to be
completely ineffectual in responding to these raids. Local informants claimed that the police
would waste precious pursuit time by interviewing the victims of raids at great length, filling
out long forms with useless information, and then asking the victims what the raiders' likely
path of flight might be. Finally, they would drive off in their vehicles to pursue the raiders,
leaving behind the local herdsmen who might have been able to follow the tracks of the stolen
cattle. If the police did encounter the raiders, the Turkana or the Toposa, being well-armed and
knowledgeable about how to fight in that terrain, could easily defeat the police militarily.
Meanwhile, the police were strict about enforcing the law which forbade ownership of guns by
the local people.
This frustrating predicament continued until the military coup d'etat by General Idi Amin
in 1971 brought a different armed force into the district. Amin's army took over the job of
stopping the raiders, and, according to local informants, was much more brutally efficient. The
army pursued the raiders with a vengeance, and recovered many of the stolen livestock, but
rather than return these recaptured cattle to their rightful owners, the soldiers confiscated them
and sold them to local cattle traders. Now the people of Karamoja were faced with both armed
raiders and a thieving army.
Believing that their only recourse was self-help, in the early 1970s they began to fabricate
homemade guns. They broke into the schools and stole metal furniture to get steel tubing for
gun barrels. With these crude firearms and their traditional weapons, they began attacking
isolated police posts, overwhelming the officers, and taking their guns. Now better armed, a
small group of Karimojong men mounted an audacious and cleverly planned early morning
attack on police headquarters in Nabilituk, a raid that netted them many more modern firearms.
Finally, in 1979, Amin's regime collapsed under the onslaught of the liberation troops
invading from the south. As the government disintegrated, so did the army, and soldiers fled to
the north and east. Along the way, they traded and sold their weapons, or sometimes lost them
to local attackers. The Karamoja regional army barracks in Moroto were abandoned and the
doors were virtually left open for looting. Almost immediately, local people broke into the
armory and carried off rifles and ammunition by the donkey-load. Observers said the bundles
of weapons looked like firewood and, indeed, these guns did become fuel for the firepower that
was rapidly changing the social and ecological landscape in Karamoja.
The Karimojong now were quite well armed, and they began to use these weapons to
mount cattle raids on neighboring districts, especially to the west and south. The victims of
these raids complained bitterly to the new Obote-led government, and Milton Obote, a
northerner himself and sympathetic to the complaints of the Teso, Lango, and Acholi people,
and also concerned about a heavily armed and potentially rebellious populace in Karamoja,
decided to use military counterforce. He sent police and militia units from these neighboring
districts into Karamoja to pursue cattle raiders and disarm the Karimojong. In the armed clashes

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

38 I Quam

that ensued, the Karimojong repeatedly defeated these outside forces and captured their
Within a few short years, Obote's errors and misdeeds led to his downfall a second time,
and in 1985 the Okellos organized a coup within the army (the Acholis overthrowing the
Langis) and against the Obote regime. Okellos' forces, however, were also undisciplined and
within six months theyfell to the invading National Resistance Army (NRA) lead by Yoweri
Museveni (Mutimbwa,1992). During all of this political and military chaos at the center, the
army barracks armory inMoroto was once again looted and the Karimojong obtained another
large infusion of guns.
By this time, an internal and international trade in arms was well underway in Karamoja.
Continuing militarization and armed conflict in southern Sudan, western Kenya, and southern
Ethiopia had created a steady and lucrative trade in guns and ammunition across these borders
into Karamoja. Indeed, this trade still continues, especially from southern Sudan into Dodoth in
northern Karamoja. The price of a round of ammunition is determined by the distance from its
source, and increases as it moves south in Karamoja.
Museveni's NRA was attempting to pacify the whole of Uganda, and within a few months
it reached the borders of Karamoja. As it moved in, the army began to arrest gun-holders and
confiscate their arms. Some observers report that when the NRA tried to disarm the
Karimojong, things went awry. In some areas, the army did manage to take away many of the
guns, but then the soldiers misbehaved, bullying people and looting stores, and generally
convincing the Karimojong that their only protection from men with guns lay in keeping guns
themselves. The resistance might have become quite violent, but before that could happen, the
NRA was withdrawn, and sent westward to fight the more serious rebellion that had broken
out in northern Uganda, leaving behind only a token force, and a still heavily armed Karamoja.
In 1989, a group of policy-makers and individuals deeply concerned about conditions in
Karamoja held a conference to try to find solutions to the increasing violence and lack of
security in the area. After lengthy discussions, a preliminary report from the conference
participants detailed two options: (1) the army could re-enter Karamoja and forcibly disarm the
local people, or (2) the people could keep their guns and the armed Karimojong warriors could
be transformed into a local level force to police the use of guns. In the opinion of the conference
participants, the first option would be met with violent resistance and thus would be extremely
costly in terms of money, military effort, and human lives. The second option was resisted by
politically powerful opponents in Kampala who would not accept a policy that provided
government support to these armed and rebellious warriors, many of whom had committed
criminal acts. Rather, the opponents insisted, these thieves and murderers should be arrested.
The result of this effort at peacemaking was stalemate. No final report of the conference was
ever completed, and the government did nothing.

The Formation of the Vigilantes

In 1992, as security conditions in Karamoja continued to deteriorate, the Moroto District
Council decided to take matters into their own hands. They appointed Sam Abura Pirir as
Secretary of Security for Moroto District (southern Karamoja) and charged him with organizing

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 39

a local police force recruited from among the armed warriors. Members of this local force,
known as "vigilantes", were recruited according to two main criteria. First, you must own a gun
(the local government was not going to provide weapons), and secondly, you must be
recognized as a leader in your community. The criteria for recognized leadership were quite
traditional, i.e., your opinions are listened to and carry great weight, you are a man, or the son
of a man, wealthy in cattle, your bravery and marksmanship are well-known and admired (or
feared), or your skills at divination are recognized and respected. A small force was initially
formed and, as events would have it, almost immediately tested.
In Matheniko County, a well-known and respected local school headmaster was ambushed
on the road and killed. A group of vigilantes from the area was quickly formed and began
tracking the killers. It followed these fugitives to Namaalu in the far south of the district, then
north to Nabilatuk, and finally back to Matheniko. In the course of their pursuit, the vigilantes
arrested a sub-county chief who had helped the killers elude their pursuers, thus demonstrating
their political muscle in law enforcement. Two of the killers managed to escape into Kenya, but
the pursuers got word that a third one was hiding in a village just south of Moroto. Before
dawn, the vigilantes surrounded the village, then kept everyone inside and began a systematic
search. The fugitive's kinsman in the village had hidden him under the top of a granary that
was removed and placed on the ground. It was a clever ruse and probably would have worked,
but the man panicked, leapt out of his hiding place and began firing only to be shot and killed.
The vigilantes' determined and effective performance in this event was very impressive. As
a result, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) agreed to support the vigilantes
through contributions of blankets and food, and their commander was able to get shirts for his
men as a kind of rudimentary uniform.
Sam Abura Pirir (1996) developed the initial vigilante force by recruiting ten men from
each parish (a unit of a subcounty) for a total of 900 in Moroto District. He also chose a few
women as intelligence gatherers: when they moved about they saw and heard things that might
indicate illegal or non-peaceful activities, and men did not pay any attention to them. Abura
Pirir decided that the top priority was to secure the roads. The army had not been able to
accomplish this and its own vehicles, even when traveling in convoys, had come under fire.
Private vehicles and convoys were at great risk of attack, and over the past decade many NGOs
had withdrawn from Karamoja because of these attacks. So initially, the ten vigilantes in each
parish were posted to guard the roads and, according to Abura Pirir, they were immediately
effective. The roads became much safer.
Meanwhile, PresidentMuseveni was under continuing political pressure from districts
bordering Karamoja to deal with the problem of armed Karimojong cattle raiders. When he
finally visited the area, he was persuaded, albeit with misgivings, that the national government
had to support the successful vigilante program that already had the backing of NGOs and the
local government. To allay his skepticism, the President took three significant actions. First, he
appointed Peter Lokeris, a trusted associate from Karamoja, as a special President's
Representative on Security in Karamoja to oversee this volatile situation. Secondly, he
appointed a new army commander for the Moroto division, a man from Karamoja who spoke
the language and could relate to the local people. As a final and crucial step, Museveni insisted
that the vigilante organization must come under the command and control of the army. Local

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl/1 /3.df

40 I Quam

officials were in no position to argue with this demand. Although local government funds were
used to pay the vigilantes' monthly stipend, now set at 10,000 Ugandan shillings per month
(approximately US$10), the army became the paymaster. The overall force was greatly
expanded to 1,000 per county--5,000 in Moroto District (southern Karamoja) and 3,000 in Kotido
District (northern Karamoja). The vigilantes were issued their own special uniforms and a
hierarchically elaborated military command structure was established, with commanders at
each geopolitical unit level, i.e., village, parish, sub-county, county, and district. Even the
temporary cattle camps had vigilantes moving with the herds. According to Abura Pirir, the
army did not retain the women vigilantes that he had recruited, because they did not fit the
military conception of what a soldier is or does; the army only wanted people with guns, and
"how can a woman have a gun?"
By early 1996, this new form of security did appear to be having a positive effect. In the
village of Nabilatuk, for example, people were sitting outside their houses and shops long after
dark, talking and drinking tea and beer, in a relaxed atmosphere of sociability they had not
experienced for many years. They could walk from one homestead to another without fear of
attack, they said, something that had not been possible until the vigilantes became active.
Although still somewhat wary, many people attested to the increased safety they felt in
traveling throughout the region. Reports of raiding and other forms of theft by violence
dramatically decreased.
Under this new organization, one question immediately arises: are the vigilantes soldiers?
They do receive some military training and some political education on peace and development
from the army. When government officials need to go into an area where there is a high
potential for violence in order to initiate security discussions with the local people, they will
enter in an army vehicle, typically an armored personnel carrier (APC). Unlike a few years ago,
the local people do not attack the APCs because they now are filled with vigilantes and elders,
recognized traditional local leaders, not government soldiers from ethnic groups outside of
Karamoja. In one particular situation, the vigilantes do work under the close supervision of the
national army. Museveni's government promulgated a law forbidding the Karimojong to carry
their weapons outside of Karamoja. When Karimojong herdsmen bring their cattle to temporary
cattle camps across the district borders into neighboring Teso and Acholi areas, vigilantes in
these groups accompany them. Some of these vigilantes do bring their guns, but they report to
the nearest police or army barracks where they sleep and train with those units and are
available to participate in policing the prohibition on Karimojong having guns.
The district police force, also controlled by the district administration but an entity separate
from the vigilantes, is being rebuilt with Karamoja secondary school graduate recruits who are
receiving formal training at the national police academy. Some localofficials say that the
vigilantes are a kind of local arm of the district police, but how these two forces will be
organizationally related, much less integrated, has yet to be addressed.

Keeping the Peace through Talking

Within traditional Karimojong society, important decisions for the group (one might call
them policy decisions) are made through a process of discussion and debate by the adult

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 41

(initiated) men of the community or area. As noted earlier, in these discussions certain men are
quite influential, especially those who are elders, who have a reputation for good judgment,
who are wealthy in cattle (usually seen as an indication of good judgment), who have special
powers of prediction or prophecy, or, in circumstances of conflict with an enemy, are known to
be especially brave and militarily astute. Although changes that have occurred during the past
two decades of turmoil have threatened to undermine this system of traditional authority and
decision-making, these leadership traits are still recognized and the form of group decision-
making is still potentially powerful. As local government leaders have tried to create peace in
Karamoja, they have used this traditional political process to prevent outbreaks of large-scale
conflict and escalating violence. I was fortunate enough to witness an example of this approach
to peace-keeping.
In January 1996, serious trouble was brewing. For more than twenty years some Turkana
herdsmen had lived in an area north of Mt. Moroto. Recently they had moved east and south of
the mountain. They had made marriage and livestock alliances with their Karimojong "cousins"
(primarily, the Matheniko) and lived in relative peace; indeed, some villages and even some
cattle camps were a mixture of Turkana and Matheniko. Farther to the south, the Pian division
of the Karimojong had developed similar, although much more recent, alliances with the Pakot
people, some of whom lived in Kenya and some in Karamoja territory adjacent to the Pian. In
Kenya, the Pakot and Turkana have an ambivalent relationship; sometimes they are allies,
sometimes enemies. During the past decade in Karamoja, the Pakot have been known to join the
Pian in large raids against other groups. Now, the Pakot and Pian were complaining bitterly
about what they claimed was a new and hostile military alliance of the Turkana and Matheniko,
and threatening to take what they portrayed as preemptive action against these enemies.
Word of these complaints and the impending conflict reached Kampala and the central
government made a decision that the Turkana must be forced back to the north side of Mt.
Moroto. On orders from Kampala, the army commander in Moroto went out to the
Matheniko/Turkana villages and told the Turkana that they had to pack up and leave in three
days. The commander, who harbored his own grudges against the Turkana, then informed the
Pakot and Pian of his actions, and thus these two groups expected the Turkana to be forced out
of their current location.
In an effort to defuse this situation, a group of government officials, lead by Hon. David
Pulkol, Member of Parliament for Moroto District and then Minister of State for Karamoja
Affairs, and including Michael Lokawua, then Chairman of the Moroto District Council, Peter
Lokeris, Sam Abura Pirir, and the Moroto army commander, traveled to distant villages and
cattle camps to talk, often late into the night, with local leaders, trying to ascertain the factual
basis for this conflict and the potential for violence. Among the Turkana, they talked with a
particularly powerful and influential man named Lowakaabong, who told them that the
Matheniko/Turkana elders had come to an agreement with Pakot elders just six or seven days
earlier on how to share grazing and water resources in a particularly desirable and contested
area known as Ochorichoi. (Because of the continuous conflict over this choice area, all
settlements in the area had been abandoned for more than three decades.) When these officials
talked with Pakot leaders the following night, they discovered that there had been no actual

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997
htto://www.africa.ufl.edu/asca/vl/1 /3.df

42 I Quam

incidents of raiding or trouble with the Turkana. In other words, the whole "problem" appeared
to be a fabrication.
But the Moroto army commander refused to rescind his order to the Turkana to move their
settlements unless ordered to do so by his superior commanding officer. So Peter Lokeris went
to Kampala to consult with the President's office and to Mbale to convince the Divisional Army
Commander to attend a peace meeting the following Saturday. Word was then sent out to the
contending parties to bring their supporters to a large meeting on Saturday at Ochorichoi to air
their grievances.
On the way to the meeting that Saturday morning, we encountered a group of Matheniko
herdsmen, all heavily armed and tense with anger and apprehension, who said they were not
going to the meeting. They had been warned by an arms trader who had just been in Pakot
villages that the Pian and Pakot were planning to steal their cattle while they were off attending
the meeting. The trader also said that the Pakot were going to attack and disrupt the meeting
with gunfire. As we left the main road and headed for Ochorichoi, the government officials all
rode in one vehicle discussing what their strategy should be. When we arrived at the site,
hundreds of men were already there, sitting in their various ethnic groups, all armed. Many
vigilantes were present, also sitting with their respective tribal groups. The army had
unobtrusively deployed men all around the far perimeter of the area. The men in these ethnic
groupings were very quiet, tense and wary.
The meeting finally got underway with an opening speech by Lokeris who warned that the
patience of the national government was not inexhaustible and the army could be used to
enforce peacekeeping. Then the first round of speakers, two from each group, began to present
their arguments and rebuttals. The Pakot led off with a vitriolic attack by a young man who
accused the Turkana of every kind of treachery and atrocity, including burying people alive. In
one dramatic gesture, he pointed to Lowakaabong and in a voice strained with anger called him
a thief. A second Pakot speaker, although older and less histrionic, also claimed that the
Turkana were the core of the problem, that the Matheniko had been harboring these criminals,
and that they must be sent packing back to Kenya. Two subsequent Pian speakers made
essentially the same argument. Then the Matheniko were given a chance to respond to these
accusations. They pointed out that the Pakot are also from Kenya and so did not have any
grounds for criticizing the Turkana as outsiders. Indeed, on the Kenya side of the border they
were living with the Turkana and making alliances with them, just as the Matheniko had done.
When Lowakaabong was allowed to defend himself and to speak for the Turkana, he
challenged his accusers, especially the Pakot, to name one incident where his group of Turkana
had stolen from them. In further rebuttal, he cited several incidents in which Turkana stock
were stolen and he had counselled his people against retaliation. He told how he had led his
people into Kenya to recover from Turkana raiders cattle they had stolen from the Karimojong,
and had even made up the difference out of his own stock. The Pakot fears were unfounded, he
said, and he noted their recent grazing rights agreement.
As the afternoon wore on, the speakers were all more senior men, elders and vigilante
commanders, and the speeches took on a more conciliatory tone, with many statements
extolling the benefits of peace. As the meeting broke up, men from the different ethnic groups

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 43

were talking with one another and shaking hands. The Divisional Army Commander was
convinced that violence had been averted and rescinded the order against the Turkana.
In discussions after the meeting several of the Karamoja government officials said they
believed that the Pian and Pakot had deliberately fomented this conflict hoping to generate
hostility toward the Turkana and force them to move their herds and settlements. Because the
Matheniko and Turkana livestock and homesteads had become so intermingled over the years,
the Matheniko would have to accompany the Turkana. Then, while they were on the move and
in their weakest position, the Pian and Pakot would attack. They came to the meeting with
tempers flaring, expecting the government to evict the Turkana. Thus, at the beginning of the
meeting there was enormous tension and a real possibility of violence, but the conduct and
outcome of the meeting had undermined their position and destroyed their strategy.

Restoring Traditional Authority

At the close of the meeting the local governmental leaders had exhorted the men to
establish in their villages local councils of leaders who would meet frequently to keep track of
any trouble that might be brewing and take measures to keep things from escalating to violence.
For example, if any theft of livestock had occurred they could go to the ones who had stolen and
force them to return the animals or make restitution. These local leaders would be the
equivalent of, and in many cases would be, the traditional elders.
As the armed violence of the past two decades escalated, the control that the elders had
traditionally exercised over the young men was challenged. Rich men with guns formed small
armies of young headstrong warriors who were dispossessed and willing to break the cultural
rules and restraints against indiscriminate raiding and killing. Those elders who also were
dispossessed in the chaos of raiding, drought, and famine could no longer command respect or
exercise any control over these young men. The threat of a total breakdown of traditional law
and order was one of the most serious consequences of the transformation of weaponry in these
warrior societies.
Fortunately, this system of social control by the elders was not completely destroyed. The
practice of initiation into the age grade system has continued. Indeed, many of the modern
educated men who are government officials told me they had been initiated. The cultural
principle and practice of respecting those who are older has deep roots and a strong rationale in
this pastoral political economy. Some of the elders have managed to maintain their status,
although they have adapted to the new reality of modern firearms being widely distributed.
They also are armed, have maintained their herds, often through some raiding, and have
networks of younger men they can call upon for support. Nonetheless, they still are committed
to the traditional forms of decision-making and they have grown weary of the violence and
destruction. It is from the ranks of these elders and their networks that many of the vigilantes
have come, and it is to these elders that the modern governmental leaders are now turning to
create peace through the restoration of traditional forms of culturally legitimate social and
political authority.
It may seem ironic that at the end of a century of attempts to isolate, then to control and
change Karamoja the value of the elders is finally being recognized. The British colonial

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

44 I Quam

administration was convinced that the elders were an impediment to progress and civilization,
and so it appointed chiefs (Barber, 1968). When the chiefs proved ineffectual, the colonial
administration blamed the elders and attempted to destroy their political power by outlawing
initiation ceremonies, hoping to undermine the continuity of the age grade system. The plan
might have worked, but fortunately, when Ugandan independence occurred, this edict was
rescinded and the age grade system was immediately revived (Dyson-Hudson, 1966). Still, in
the years since independence a series of Ugandan governments has viewed Karamoja as
dangerously backward and irrationally resistant to change, and the elders have been mocked
and disregarded, as outsiders appointed by Kampala have come into Karamoja to administer a
series of unsuccessful development plans (Quam, 1978) or to impose a militarized order. More
recently, Karamoja has produced a few leaders who have risen to some political prominence at
the national level. In June 1996, David Pulkol was re-elected to Parliament (and has since been
appointed to the powerful post of Director of the External Security Organization), Michael
Lokawua was newly elected to Parliament, Peter Lokeris was appointed Minister of State for
Karamoja Affairs, and Omwony-Ojok continued to serve as the Director of the National AIDS
Commission. These modern men, along with their allies in the District Administration, have
become convinced that the traditional forms of social control are the best hope for creating
peace and community development in the places they call home.
Will this approach work? Will it be given a chance to work? The peace in Karamoja is not
perfect and it is fragile. In November, 1996, The Monitor newspaper in Kampala carried four
stories about relatively small-scale incidents of cattle raiding and armed attacks in Karamoja
(Sylvester, 1996a, 1996b, 1996c, 1996d). Significantly, the stories also included accounts of
vigorous response by vigilantes and other security officers. Another serious drought could set
off a series of conflicts over grazing and water which might quickly escalate into large-scale
armed violence. In the past, when a family lost much of its livestock it could rebuild its wealth
through traditional practices of borrowing and skillful herd management. The recent levels of
impoverishment may require new strategies of subsistence and recovery, but the opportunities
for agriculture and wage labor are severely limited in Karamoja, especially after the recent
economic and infrastructural decline (Okudi, 1992). Unless those who are impoverished,
especially the young men, can find a lawful means of subsistence, they will continue to be a
reserve army of potential recruits for renewed raiding and banditry.
The militarization of the vigilantes could create some dissonance with traditional authority.
The effectiveness of the vigilantes is based on their legitimacy as indigenous, grass-roots leaders
whose authority is grounded in their conformity to traditional values. They are local leaders
who guard their community areas, although some ambiguity exists regarding their status
because they fall under the command of the army and are organized in a military-style chain of
command structure. What would happen, for example, if a senior commander gave a local
vigilante an order that contradicted the authoritative voice of the local elders? Where would the
vigilante's allegiance lie? The vigilantes have received pay increases, full uniforms, and even
some additional payments in kind. They also are receiving additional military training. Where
do their long-range interests lie? If they begin to be seen as another arm of the national army,
will the people continue to trust and obey them?

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

Creating Peace in an Armed Society I 45

On the other hand, the national government has little choice but to pursue the current
policy of indigenous peace-keeping in Karamoja. With rebellion on the Sudan border and
warfare to the west and south in Zaire and Rwanda (French, 1996; UN Department of
Humanitarian Affairs, 1996), it cannot take on significant military operations in the northeast.
As has been the case so often in the past, Karamoja is viewed as an exceptional problem case in
national development. This time the people of Karamoja may have a chance to demonstrate the
effectiveness of their traditional system of political authority in keeping the peace in an armed


Alnwick, D. J. The 1980 Famine in Karamoja, in Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health
Services. Cole P. Dodge and Paul D. Weibe, eds. Pp. 127-144. New York: Pergamon Press. 1985.

Barber, James. Imperial Frontier: A Study of the Relations Between the British and the Pastoral
Tribes of North East Uganda. Nairobi: East Africa Publishing House. 1968.

Beillik, R. J., and L. Henderson. Mortality, Nutritional Status and Diet During the Famine in
Karamoja, Uganda, 1980. Lancet 11: 1330-1333. 1981.

Cisternino, Mario. Famine and Food Relief in Karamoja, in Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of
Health Services. Cole P. Dodge and Paul D. Weibe, eds. Pp. 155-161. New York: Pergamon
Press. 1985.

Dodge, Cole P. Uganda--Rehabilitation, or Redefinition of Health Services? Social Science and
Medicine 22(7): 755-761. 1986.

Dyson-Hudson, Neville. Karimojong Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1966.

French, Howard. Zairian Crisis Part of Broad Web of African Subversion and Revolt. New York
Times, Nov. 23, pp. A1,5. 1996.

Gulliver, P. H. The Age-set Organization of the Jie Tribe. Journal of the Royal Anthropological
Institute 83(2): 147-168. 1953.

Lamphear, John. The Traditional History of the Jie of Uganda. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1976.

Limlim, Robert. Interview in Moroto, Uganda, January 4, 1996.

Mutibwa, Phares. Uganda Since Independence: A Story of Unfulfilled Hopes. Kampala:
Fountain Publishers 1992.

Ocan, Charles Emunyu. Pastoral Crisis in North-eastern Uganda: The Changing Significance of
Cattle Raids. Working Paper No. 21. Kampala: Centre for Basic Research. 1992.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

46 I Quam

Okudi, Ben. Causes and Effects of the 1980 Famine in Karamoja. Working Paper No. 23.
Kampala: Centre for Basic Research. 1992.

Omwony-Ojok. Interview in Kampala, Uganda, January 13. 1996.

Perlez, Jane. A Fierce and Remote Uganda Tribe, Cattle Rustlers Living in Earlier Era. New York
Times, April 10, p. A4. 1991.

Pirir, Sam Abura. Interview in Moroto, Uganda, January 5. 1996.

Quam, Michael D. Cattle Marketing and Pastoral Conservatism: Karamoja District, Uganda,
1948-1970. African Studies Review 21: 49-71. 1978.

Sylvester, Onyang. Karimojong Warriors Return Rustled Cattle. The Monitor, November 6. 1996

Karimojong Rustlers Raid Kenya, Rock Border Peace. The Monitor, November 18. 1996.

Police Boss Escapes Karamoja Ambush. The Monitor, November 20. 1996.

Karimojong Warriors Kill 4 Gold Miners. The Monitor, November 27. 1966.

Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. Warrior Herdsmen. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1965.

UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs. Humanitarian Situation Report on Uganda (12/04).
New York: United Nations. 1966.

Wilson, J. G. Resettlement in Karamoja, in Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services.
Cole P. Dodge and Paul D. Weibe, eds. Pp. 163-170. New York: Pergamon Press. 1985.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Mahmood
Mamdani. (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996) xi+353pp.

Whatever else may be said of Citizen and Subject, it is a landmark publishing event in
contemporary African political studies. Coming out hot on the wake of South Africa's transition
to a non-racial democracy, and the continuing political paralysis in most of the rest of the
continent, the book has set a new agenda that seeks to answer to the historical origins of the
ongoing social and governance problems in South Africa as well as north of the Limpopo. Quite
unconventional in its perspective and conclusions, the book argues that the difficulties in South
Africa's racially segregated past are writ large in the rest of the continent. It therefore denies
South Africa and apartheid any "exceptionalism", embracing the implausible argument that
"apartheid was the generic form of colonialism". Citizen and Subject may also represent the first
opportunity in a long time that an African scholar has made significant theoretical waves in
African studies on both sides of the Atlantic, considering the attention the book has received in
South African universities as a whole, and in the US African studies community generally. The
book also presents its author in his new theoretical perspective, having all but bade farewell to
materialistic interpretations of post-colonial Africa, grounded in class struggles in the neo-
colonial context, and embraced the Weberian perspective of authority--what Weber called
"possession of the means of administration"--as the ordering factor of social conflict. All this is
most refreshing, persuasively argued, and extremely well written. But it remains to be seen,
when all the reviewers have had their say, and when all the factual evidence is carefully sifted,
whether the book adds value to existing knowledge of the colonial origins of Africa's political
predicament and South Africa's new role in it. Despite his having enjoyed reading the book, this
reviewer has some strong doubts about that.
The overarching thesis of the book which this writer read, disbelievingly over and again
since acquiring his copy in the middle of last year, leaves little ambiguity in the reader's mind.
The institutional framework of rule enshrined in apartheid and in all late colonialism, hinged
especially on its use of "indirect" rule over the natives by local chiefs using "customary law".
This in turn dichotomized African societies into "citizens" (those above the writ of customary
laws, enjoying some civil liberties, and mostly white), and "subjects" (primarily peasant
households in the countryside) who faced the wrath and arbitrariness of native authorities,
chiefs and their retinues. The book proceeds with the assumption--often enshrined in customary
law statues--that native authority was coextensive with geographic "tribal" domains. Given the
multiplicity of rural native authorities, the system of indirect rule so established is referred to by
Mamdani as "decentralized despotism". In Southern Africa at least, white authorities sought to

http:/ /www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/vl/1/reviews.pdf

University of Florida Board of Trustees, a public corporation of the State of Florida; permission is hereby granted for individuals
to download articles for their own personal use. Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida.
ISSN: 2152-2448


transplant indirect rule into the "native" townships, and to sustain the figment of "tribal"
solidarity under chiefly control in the urban setting where black migratory labor was seen as
transient, and still grafted to its rural umbilical cord. Somehow, and again difficult to sustain in
the light of hard historical evidence, British and South African indirect rule is equated to what
Mamdani calls the French colonial policy of "association". At the nadir of the books narrative,
the tragedy of African independence is represented as the continent's inability to dispense with
decentralized despotism even when rural socialist revolutionary programs were attempted, as
they were in Tanzania and Mozambique. With the attainment of independence, and of majority
rule in South Africa, the institutional framework was deracialized but not democratized". This
left the African peasantry almost everywhere "trapped in a nonracial version of apartheid". But
with one major exception: in South Africa, industrialization had brought Africans in vast
numbers to the cities, and in that context, indirect rule and decentralized despotism were an
urban affair. So was the opposition to the system. In short, rural protest movements north of the
Limpopo are generically identical to the township rebellions in South Africa.
In these circumstances, Citizen and Subject informs us, rural and urban popular resistance
to decentralized despotism inevitably took an ethnic form--"tribal" political organization, as
Mamdani calls it after dispensing with the quotation marks early in the book, hoping that his
readers will understand that he is no apologist for the colonial coinage or the archaic sense of
the term. Modern "tribalism" writes Mamdani, signifies the contradiction of (indirect) authority
and the resistance it generates. To wit then, far from being reactionary, provincial and backward
looking, ethnic-based peoples' resistance (be they rural or urban) "may be emancipatory" in the
move toward democratic rule in Africa. As examples of emancipatory backlash against the
tyranny of the decentralized despots by the rural peasants, the author describes the long-
simmering Rwenzururu uprising in Toro, Western Uganda, the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion in
Kenya, postcolonial "simba" revolt in the Congo (now Zaire). All attacked despotic native
authority. In South Africa's townships, the revolts of the 1970s onwards aimed at the sham
black administration erected by apartheid. The book's empirical data is culled especially from
Uganda, but also from Kenya, Tanzania and Zaire, in addition to the large chunks from South
Africa. With the partial exception of Nigeria, West Africa and Francophone Africa have only bit
roles, if they feature at all. And while the township rebellions in South Africa are themselves
symptomatic of emancipatory counter-action, the counter-revolutionary behavior of some
hostel dwellers is itself seen as "tribal" action motivated by autocratic native rulers filling a
vacuum created by lack of modern secular trade unionism. The books calls for a critical review
of the democratic potential of these popular, ethnic-based rural and urban resistance
movements, without being romantic about them, as Africanists recast their analytical apparatus
to understand the best way out of the current political impasse.
But is the essence of the history of African colonial rule--the seeming genesis of the
problem--captured by the metaphor of decentralized despotism and its malcontents? To begin
with, it may be prudent not to overemphasize the African novelty of using local rulers to
buttress colonial rule for the use of native auxiliaries has been inherent in the definition of
colonialism through the ages. The archetypical model of Lugard's policy of using native rulers
in the British empire was India, and its political sequel after India's independence in 1947 was
very different from the institutional depravity that informs much of Africa today. Indeed,

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


notwithstanding Mamdani's impressively low figures of European officers in African colonial
service (even in closely-administered colonies like Kenya), the truth is that most empires have
survived on a combination of might and local administrative accomplices. Reviewing the
practice in the ancient world, Machiavelli says in The Prince that there are three ways to hold
newly conquered lands: first by devastating them; next by going to live there...; thirdly by
letting them keep their own laws, by exacting tribute, and setting up an oligarchy which will
keep the state friendly to you". Anticipating the decision of the Victorian colonial office,
Machiavelli judged the third alternative--i.e. indirect rule--as the most economical and effective.
Depending on the country, African colonial rule in practice combined indirect rule, European
settlement and brute force, and its variation across countries and imperial powers--British,
French, Belgian, Portuguese and Italian--was more varied than is suggested by a uniform
apartheid, "association", or indirect rule. Thomas Hodgkin brings this out most clearly in his
classic Nationalism in Tropical Africa, and we know from detailed historical work on
comparative colonialism (like that of Michael Crowder) of the substantive differences between
British indirect (and sometimes direct) rule, and French-style direct rule with its complements
like assimilation, French education in French, African deputies in the Parisian national
assembly, replication of territorial administrative circles and prefectures, etc. In fact, association
did not become policy until well after the 1944 Brazzaville conference, as a sop for the would be
African nationalists during the war. It pays to remark that like under the British, there were
exceptions in the French system as well: the Mossi kingdom in the then Upper Volta, and Felix
Eboue's installation of the grand chefs in Central Africa come to mind. But all this reinforces the
terrific diversity of colonial structures at the grassroots. Indeed, long after independence, there
were regions in Africa--like Northern Chad and interior Mozambique--where it was news that
the colonialists had departed. The people had never heard of their arrival.
Thus while the nexus of the colonialist and his local agent may have some overall but
highly general resonance, it was hardly similar in substance in British territories themselves, let
alone French, Portuguese, Italian and Belgian colonies. And it was hardly apartheid in
miniature except in the most perfunctory sense: effective foreign conquest requires active local
auxiliaries--the interface between foreign and local laws, between citizen and subject is implicit
in the definition of colonialism. Strictly speaking, if apartheid and the politics of indirect rule
are equated, then apartheid was the norm not just in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Nigeria,
but also in colonial India, Northern Ireland after the seventeenth century, and Native American
reservations after the heyday of the US Cavalry. And as an analytical model it has minimal
predictive capability since the political consequences in these situations are so divergent.
Neither is the relationship of chief and their subjects as portrayed in Citizen and Subject
wholly consistent with the practice of "decentralized despotism" under indirect rule and
apartheid. In his memorable 1949 essay, "The Village Headman in British Central Africa", Max
Gluckman described the Janus-faced obligations of native rulers at the lower end of the colonial
hierarchy. To the extent that he was successful in his duties, the headman ( and the chief) was at
once a representative of popular local causes and an enforcer of unpopular colonial directives.
The history of local African rulers under British colonial rule is shot through with examples of
difficulties in balancing the two, with some chiefs siding with the ruled or turning tables against
the colonial order. Against the wishes of the white establishment in South Africa, Khama I of

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


the Bamangwato was an early modernizer, introducing much-needed schools and heath
programs to his people. Chiefs and local spiritual leaders founded the first nationalist party in
Gabon. Chief Koinange wa Mbiyu in Central Kenya was a powerful influence in the Kikuyu
independent schools movement; detained without trial in the Mau Mau years, he died in prison
in 1961. The list is long that would prove Gluckman's point.
However, this is less problematic than the recurring portrait in this book of "tribe",
"tribespeople","tribalism", and "customary law" as concrete categories of political behavior, with
or without quotation marks. Coming in the 1990s and in Southern Africa, of all places, this is
surely unforgivable. For nowhere else in Africa have these terms been as severely discredited--
in the sense that Mamdani uses them--as in the urban and migrant labor culture in Southern
Africa. With the publication of J.Clyde Mitchell's The Kalela Dance in 1959, and the subsequent
work of urban African ethnicity at the then Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Lusaka, it was
established that township-based identities bore little resemblance to "traditional" rural "tribes",
which were themselves often creatures of the vortex of social and administrative changes
introduced by colonialism; a process in which African peoples were creators of their new
identities, not the hapless tools of colonial exploitation some left-wing authors claim "tribal"
groupings to have been. Thus although as a communal appellation, the ethnic designation of
"Nyanja" may have had resonance in the Northern Rhodesia coppperbelt (with urban "Nyanja
chiefs" to boot), it was irrelevant in eastern rural parts of the territory, where the "tribe"
supposedly originated, and where the operational categories of identity (complete with "tribal"
chiefs and "native" laws) were Ngoni, Tumbuka, Chewa and many others. In one of the most
articulate renditions of this phenomenon, Crawford Young (in Politics in the Congo), described
the emergence of "Bangala" identity in colonial Leopoldville--complete with its ethnic political
association--and narrated the surprise of the native chief in northeastern Belgian Congo, the
supposed home of the "Bangala", who himself denied any knowledge of a Bangala ethnicity.
Over time, we have seen an accumulation of similar ethnographic data with reference to the
Tonga, Shangaan, and Tswana (in Southern Africa) as well as the urban identities of Dyula,
Yoruba, Hausa, Luhya, Fang, Ugandan Nubians, and so on.
As an old witticism from this literature, African ethnic identity ( indeed all ethnic identity
worldwide) is a shifting, multilayered phenomenon that is contextually defined. To contend as
Mamdani does on a "conveyer belt" of migrant tribals from rural to urban, all governed by
common ethnicity and indirect rule, is simply and factually untenable, however persuasive may
be the archival legal statutes underpinning this concept that he quotes. And this is when one
wishes Mamdani had not shed his materialistic heritage so readily. In one of the most
influential books on this resurgent phenomenon of ethnicity in the 1990s, Benedict Anderson
describes new and old nationalities as "imaged communities", a term that applies no less to
what Mamdani and others describe, with the best of intentions as African "tribes" and
tribespeoplee"; terms of course that do not apply to non-African Croats, Serbs, Basques,
Chechens, Pathans, Parsees, or just plain Baluchis. Over twenty five years ago, Pierre van den
Berge, author of South Africa: A Study in Conflict, appealed for the abandonment of this
invidious and meaningless term (tribe) in place of more objective and universal categories. Far
from being mere semantics, this is sound advice. The discourse of ethnic identity and national
politics can now be heard in Britain, the Russian Republic, Sri Lanka and Australia. That

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


"tribalism" continues to be used so casually for Africans, all objective evidence to the contrary,
may say something about the minimal extent by which the perception and study of ethnic
movements in Africa has changed. And it testifies to the need for international comparativism
of the kind Mamdani rules out in the opening remarks of this book.
One of the most surprising things about African studies at the end of the century is the
extent to which some major strands of them have revived (almost unconsciously) the analytical
categories that were current in the heyday of "modernization" and "development" theories of
the 1950s and 1960s. According to the conventional wisdom of that era, African societies were
characterized by conflict between "tradition" and "modernity", with "modernizing elites" created
under colonialism, championing the later. And of course there were dissenters who saw strong
benefits in using popular traditions and beliefs as a springboard for modernization. With the
disappointing results of development in the 1970s, it was argued by dependency writers that
the problem lay in attempting to modernize the colonial, European-run economy with then neo-
colonial African "petty" or "bureaucratic" bourgeoisie in place instead of overhauling the
production system and putting "the people" in control. Now it is starkly stated that with the end
of apartheid and one-party rule in the north, the system is still hostage to an indigenous ruling
oligarchy installed in the past (like the old "petty" bourgeoisie) that does not incorporate the
people in decision-making. Once again, the system has been "deracialized but not
democratized". Hence the current efforts to build a countervailing African civil society. For all
its attacks on Goran Hyden's dichotomy between the modern capitalists and the traditionalistic
"economy of affection", Citizen and Subject bears all the trademarks and the dilemmas of the
modernization school and its sequel, of the struggle between the old and new institutions of
governance and economic life. There may be nothing wrong with that. In moments of crisis like
those in Africa today, it does pay to retrace one's steps in order to chart a better way forward. If
the debates sparked by this book enable us to design a clearer path for national governance in
Africa, it will have served a greater purpose than its author intended.

Reviewed By Michael Chege
Director, Center for African Studies
University of Florida, Gainesville

The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity. Michael
Maren. New York: The Free Press. 1997. 302 pp.

The Road to Hell is a scathing critique of the development and relief aid industry in East
Africa. In his expose, journalist and former aid worker, Michael Maren portrays several US
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
(UNHCR), and the US military, among others, as corrupt, self-serving agencies whose ulterior
interests contributed to rather than helped resolve conditions of famine and war in Somalia.
According to Maren, relief aid to Somalia in the 1980s and 1990s was manipulated by local
authorities, hoodlums, and even refugees who grew rich diverting food and other donations or

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


by using these resources for political ends. Despite this, Western aid agencies continued to
solicit funds and carry out relief and development activities because they benefited financially.
Maren exposes the expatriate aid community in Africa as comprised of careerists who live
luxurious lifestyles in the midst of poverty and make little attempt to learn about or to integrate
themselves into their host society.
Maren uses his own experiences as an example of how easily expatriates obtain
comfortable jobs in Africa and how little the impact of their action or inaction matters to them
and their funders. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in the late 1970s, he discovered that he
had little to offer in the village where he lived and that his presence there was the result of a
bribe made by the school headmaster who wanted a white teacher to attract more students and
donations. As an employee of Catholic Relief Services in Kenya, Maren learned, "[w]ith my
English degree and suburban upbringing and white skin, I could walk into an African village
and throw money and bags of food around. I could do anything I pleased. I had, admittedly,
enjoyed the feeling of power. Suddenly it scared me." Maren later worked for USAID in Somalia
as a food monitor in the early 1980s, where he discovered that the Somali government was
deliberately diverting development aid and inflating refugee numbers to keep refugees
dependent and to keep the aid flowing.
Maren takes aim at Care, Save the Children, AmeriCares, and other American NGOs. He
accuses CARE of continuing to solicit UN funds for food relief in Somalia while knowing that
its donated food was turning up in markets in other countries. He criticizes Save the Children's
exploitation of starving children to raise funds which are spent mostly on administering grants
from the US government. Save the Children in Somalia did not pay field personnel or disperse
project funds, preferring to make a profit by changing money on the black market and renting a
weekend beach house for the director. Maren suggests that AmeriCares' purpose is to provide
tax write-offs for corporations, and details how the agency delivered inappropriate donated
goods (Gatorade, Mars Bars, Pop Tarts, Maidenform bras) to disaster-stricken areas in Russian,
Bosnia, and Japan.
If all that he says is true, The Road to Hell provides a depressing comment on the state of
foreign and charitable aid. The book's most important contribution is as an eye-opener for the
general public whose only information about international development and relief aid comes
from commercials for charities and the popular press. Maren does provide insightful details
about interclan conflict and politics in Somalia. As an objective study of aid in Africa, however,
The Road to Hell is inadequate.
Maren is right: the development industry is inherently paternalistic, but he does not
mention and may be unaware of the lively debate and increasing attempts in development
literature, in NGO and major bilateral and multilateral agency policies and programs to reverse
the top-down, dependency-creating, bureaucratic nature of development. Maren also does not
distinguish clearly between relief aid and development aid. Food aid is notorious for creating
dependency and disrupting local markets in emergency situations, while development,
although by no means free of problems, does not suffer from the massive influx of funds and
the sensationalistic press coverage that distort relief aid. His analysis ignores local movements
and small NGOs based in African countries who receive aid funds and manage them more
responsibly and responsively than the large agencies.

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


By sensationalizing the corruption and greed, Maren's analysis overlooks the complex but
less flashy problems of the aid industry. In this sense he is no different than those he criticizes.
Like the journalists who flocked to Somalia, Maren was right there with them, looking for a
good story.

Victoria J. Michener
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida

The Ghost of Equality: The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa, 1885-1959.
Catherine Higgs. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997. Pp. xiii + 276.

The Ghost of Equality chronicles the long and varied life of Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu,
one of South Africa's most distinguished public figures. The book is aptly subtitled "the public
lives of D.D.T. Jabavu" since his life encompassed several distinct careers as an educator,
African nationalist politician, organizer, writer, and Methodist lay preacher. In Catherine
Higgs's fine biography his profound influence is duly recognized. Her book joins the growing
number of biographies and autobiographies that have appeared in recent years illuminating the
lives of leading African political figures in South Africa. With notable works now available on
Nelson Mandela, Sol Plaatje, Alfred B. Xuma, H.I.E. Dholomo, Z.K. Matthews, and Albert
Luthuli, a comparable study of D.D.T. Jabavu is especially timely.
Higgs provides an engaging and well-informed account of Jabavu's very full public career.
Jabavu made his mark as the first African lecturer at the South African Native College (Fort
Hare), where from 1916 to 1944 he helped transform what "was little more than a glorified high
school" into the preeminent institution for higher learning for black South Africans. During this
same time, Jabavu was instrumental in organizing several associations of teachers, farmers, and
voters. Perhaps his crowning achievement centered around his cofounding of the All African
Convention in 1935, for which he served as president until 1948. In 1943, he also helped
establish (and subsequently led) the Non-European Unity Movement. Despite his repeated
attempts, Jabavu's efforts to merge the AAC and NEUM with the African National Congress in
a broad opposition alliance never came to fruition. In 1949, recognizing that his moderate
approach to political protest was at odds with the more radical and assertive strategy assumed
by the younger generation of African leaders, he retired from active political life. His last years
were spent in relative seclusion devoted to writing and making only the occasional public
According to Higgs, the defining characteristic of Jabavu's political philosophy was his
lifelong commitment to the "Cape liberal tradition." He believed that equal rights ought to be
extended to all civilized men irrespective of race. In spite of the many developments that
progressively stripped all blacks of basic rights in South Africa during his lifetime, and which
effectively rendered this goal unrealizable, Jabavu continued to cling to the Cape ideal. This
quixotic strain in his ideological bearings is captured by the book's title, "The Ghost of

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997


Equality." Even late in life, by which time he had grown disillusioned with white liberals and
British justice, Jabavu never wholly renounced this improbable dream.
Higgs effectively points to the limits of Jabavu's political activism. Like many elite,
mission-educated South African blacks of his age, Jabavu was unable to jettison his ideological
commitment to polite deputations in favor of grass-roots radicalism. Despite the pressure
applied by the younger political leaders who entered the ranks of the AAC and other black
opposition movements during the 1940s, Jabavu resisted attempts to make the AAC more
responsive to a mass membership. As Higgs points out, it is ironic that the guiding principle of
Jabavu's life was fashioned after the famous dictum of Cecil Rhodes--"equal rights to all
civilized men south of the Zambesi."
Higgs seems to suggest that many of Jabavu's shortcomings emanated from his enduring
belief that he and other elite Africans were uniquely qualified to lead their African
constituencies. For Jabavu, haunted by the ghost of equality, an education grounded in Western
cultural values still served as the portal to social and moral "uplift" for a few select Africans.
Higgs deliberately excludes all but the most skeletal details of his personal life, choosing to
avoid the "gossip mongering and voyeurism" that might otherwise insinuate itself into an
account of his private life. While this decision may be methodologically valid and even laudable
in its own right, it leaves the reader yearning to learn something--anything--of what Jabavu was
like as a private person. Virtually no mention is made of what activities he pursued in his
leisure hours, whom he counted as friends, or of any other such intimate matter. While these
issues may be rather pedestrian in nature, their inclusion would have provided a more rounded
and vivid portrait of a very complicated man.
Throughout, Higgs balances her account of Jabavu's contribution to African political and
associational life with a solid historical contextualization of his times. She demonstrates a strong
grasp of the tensions surrounding his public lives and manages to present an impartial
assessment of his foibles and failures as well as his strengths and accomplishments. Higgs's
well-written and engaging account is appropriate for both undergraduates and graduates and
represents a valuable contribution to understanding an important South African.

James Meier
Department of History
University of Florida

African Studies Quarterly I Volume 1, Issue 1 I 1997

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs