Problems of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Africa: The Congolese Question.1960-2011

 – Problems of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Africa: The Congolese Question.1960-2011 –

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Africa has been by far the most important regional setting for the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. This is as a result of decades of unending and increasing tensions which have been complex and multidimensional in Africa.

This research gives a general background on the emergence and causes of conflict in Africa. It critically analyzes the reasons why most countries engulfed by war especially the Democratic Republic Congo have always allowed the United Nations to mediate in their conflicts.

Therefore, in the context of the research, we are able to articulate whether the UN peacekeeping efforts in Africa have been able and effective in preventing wars in the region,

whether the Congo crises is beyond the capacity of the United Nations and whether peacekeeping operation is capable of resolving the intractable conflicts which have ravaged Africa over the years.

Having subjected the above questions to empirical verification, it was however concluded that the United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Africa have not been effective in preventing wars in the region, that the Congo crises is beyond the capacity of the UN and that only peacekeeping operations cannot resolve the conflicts in Africa.

The systems theory enunciated by David Easton serves as the explanatory framework to understand better how the UN operates to achieve its goals.

Data gathering is mainly on secondary sources. Our findings in this dissertation however provide evidence that recovery from war and its aftermath is a protracted process in conflict impacted states such as the Democratic Republic of Congo especially when war is superimposed on decades of social, economic and political decline.

In the light of the above findings, we recommend that UN should be constructively reformed to better respond to modern realities.


Background of Study

Most nations in Africa got their Independence in the 1960s, after series of struggles to emerge free from European colonialism. After those years of nationalist struggle, the much- vaunted stability by African states has become an illusion.

This is due to the fact that conflict has continuously been an ever present phenomenon in the affairs of Africa. Thus, one can say that conflicts in the past years are multifaceted and manifest in various forms that is ethnic, religious, economic, social, political and so on.

More often than not, these conflicts have engendered in spirit of disunity, acrimony and hatred in some African societies and sometimes culminate in violence and even armed conflicts.

The ethnic and religious crises have enormously increased conflicts and tensions especially in Africa.

These conflicts have gulped an appalling toll of human lives and property as well as polarizing many African states. Ethnic nationalism and consciousness have a force in the armed conflict in most African states like that of Sudan (between the “Amharans” and minorities like Tigreans Oromis etc) and also the major source of political instability in Nigeria, Togo, Libya, Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, just to mention a few countries.

Many Sub-Saharan African states have been warring since the 1980s. Poverty is also a cause of instability and civil conflict across the continent.

Political corruption, no respect for rule of law is also reasons for much of the strife. Artificial borders were drawn through territories by European colonists, throwing unfamiliar groups of Africans together and thus, inciting conflicts

Colonialism in no doubt also contributed to the escalation of conflicts in Africa. Since the Berlin Conference during the late 1800s, European nations have been carving up Africa and settling regions for themselves.


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Clausewitz, C.V. (1976), On War. Princeton and New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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