The relevance of Edward Azar’s theory of protracted social conflict in the context of Rwanda
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The complexity of the conflict in Rwanda has called for the application of various theories, suggestions and recommendations to the situation by various scholars and researchers in an attempt for conflict resolution. However, it remains a challenge for conflict analysts and peace builders to arrive at an accurate assessment of the actual causes of the conflict for successful resolution and this provokes further analysis of the Rwanda conflict. This research, therefore, is a case study testing the relevance of Azar’s protracted social conflict theory in the context of Rwanda. Identifying the root causes of the Rwanda conflict might provide a baseline for redressing the evils in the country. Therefore, this research work is a potential significant contribution to the building of meaningful and sustainable peace in Rwanda. The researcher used the qualitative research approach, through which he was able to find the different facts, opinions, attitudes, and experiences about Rwanda conflicts from different informants in Rwanda through interviews and focus groups discussions. From the research made, it has been found that Rwanda offers ample evidence to be referred to as a protracted social conflict. According to the researcher, the nature of the Rwanda conflict and its commonly cited causes by the research informants and by such figures as cited in the literature of this work, are encompassed in Azar’s PSC theory. Therefore, it is the researcher’s argument and the conclusion of this work, that Azar’s protracted social conflict theory is greatly relevant for understanding the causes of the Rwanda conflict as well as proposing strategies for conflict resolution. Therefore, the theory needs to be accorded due recognition. For successful conflict resolution in Rwanda, the researcher, basing on Azar’s theory, recommends the management of ethnic dominance, promotion of national unity, practice and promotion of good governance, promotion of sustainable development, and reconciliation, which is a very crucial process for protracted conflicts.