Indigenous methods of conflict prevention, management and resolution: a case study of the Lugbara in Arua district
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This dissertation examines the indigenous methods of conflict prevention, management and resolution among the Lugbara in Arua district. Indigenous conflict structures are closely bound with socio-political and economic realities of the lifestyles of the Lugbara communities. These structures are rooted in the culture and history of the Lugbara and are in one way or another unique to this community. The overriding legitimacy of indigenous conflict structures amongst these communities is striking. The dissertation outlines scarce and unequal access to resources and power, ethnic mistrust, domestic tensions, inadequate state structures and border tensions as some of the causes of conflicts in Arua. Among other findings, this study has given due consideration to the unique cultures that emphasize the resolution of conflicts amicably through a council of elders, dialogue, peace agreements, traditional rituals and common utilization of resources especially land. Nevertheless, peace pacts are flouted as soon as conditions that necessitated the pact cease to hold as they are governed by opportunistic tendencies. The current peaceful relationships between Arua communities are testimonies to the power of indigenous arrangements of peace building. The study indicates that among the Lugbara, there is a marked inadequacy of enforcement mechanisms to effect what the elders and other traditional courts have ruled. The indigenous courts mainly rely on the goodwill of society to adhere to its ruling. In terms of gender consideration, the whole process is grossly flawed. There is a serious gender and age imbalance as women and youth are largely excluded from important community decision-making processes. Women and children are there to be seen and not heard despite the fact that they play a critical role in precipitating conflicts. The study proposes that there should be increased collaboration and networking between the government and indigenous institutions of governance. In particular, the government should recognize and aid indigenous courts and enforce their rulings. Elders should be trained on modern methods of arbitration and mediation and indigenous methods should be more sensitive to the universally accepted principles of human rights. Gender and age mainstreaming in conflict resolution should be prioritised in all traditional courts and in the decision-making processes. Women and children voices should be heard and be seen to fundamentally alter the pace and direction of community governance system. The research adopted a qualitative methodology and quantitative methodology was used to give statistical data of the respondents’ views. The researcher used empirical analysis to expose the various facts and conceptions about conflict prevention, management and resolution methods among the Lugbara. The researcher used both Key Informants and Focus Group Discussions basing on a questionnaire. The selection of respondents was on the basis of age and true Lugbara origin. Both primary and secondary sources of information were considered. This dissertation is divided into seven chapters. Chapter one covers the introduction and background, chapter two provides the review of the literature while chapter three covers the research methodology adopted. Chapter four provides the research findings while chapter five provides an analysis of conflict prevention. Chapter six is on conflict management and resolution while the chapter seven provides the analysis. This is followed by the list of informants, bibliography and appendices.