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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. The protection of the civilians, provision of the basic amenities of life and improvement in human rights should be the top priority of the government of Democratic Republic of Congo. Unless good governance is prized, Africa will not break free of the threat and the reality of conflicts which are so evident today.



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 muchvaunted 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. European administrations were put in place with the help of Africans. Many Africans gained power by inventing lineages that were supposed to prove their right to rule. These actions incited tribalism and led to strife amongst the people.

The UN Secretary General however noted in a report to the UN Security Council that: Colonial rule bequeathed to Africa not only arbitrary boundaries which contributed to conflicts between states and made national unity within states more difficult, but it also left a legacy of authoritarian governance. In far too many African countries, the leaders of the newly independent states pursued a heavy centralization of political and economic power and suppressed political pluralism.

This often led to corruption, nepotism, complacency and the abuse of power. (Kofi, 1998:10). As to why ethnic conflict is more severe in Africa than other parts of the world, Okwudiba Nnoli(1998:38) provide various explanations, including the fact that colonial incursions exploited and compounded inter-ethnic inimicable relations. For example, in countries like Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritania, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, and Zimbabwe, colonial powers utilized the segmentation of ethnic groups to their advantage.

The divide-and-rule policies of colonial administrators assured the docility of different ethnic groups and thus shielded them from the menace of insurrection. In other words, it was feasible to divide ethnic groups and pit them against each other so that they could focus their energies on fighting one another rather than overthrowing colonial governments.
Nnoli, also noted that capitalism is also responsible for the severity of ethnic conflict in Africa. As people perceive other groups to be more economically secure, they often turn to ethnicity as an anchor, particularly if those who are economically better off belong to a different ethnic group. This is not mere jealousy, but a need for every person to be economically secured, exacerbated by the inability or refusal of those who possess wealth to equally distribute resources. Whether it is the peasants in rural Nigeria, the impoverished indigenous people of Liberia, or blacks in Mauritania, they are all pushed into conflict by socio-economic needs.



Despite decades of con flict, death and tragedy, coverage of issues in Africa has often been ignored, oversimplified, or excessively focused on limited aspects. Deeper analysis, background and context has often been lacking, so despite what seems like constant images of starving children in famines, news of billions in aid to Africa from generous donor countries, the background context and analysis is often missing. Whether aid makes the situation worse, or why there is famine and hunger in Africa when African nations are exporting crops to other parts of the world are rarely asked by the mainstream.

However, following the failure of the league of Nations to maintain a global peace and security leading to a disastrous Second World War which dealt heavy blow on the people and property of the nations, cognizance of the fact that war was so unrivaled in the history of wars in terms of extent of destruction of lives and property, following the fears and opinion expressed by the nations and individuals as regards the possibility of a reoccurrence of such war on a more devastating scale if the desires of nations are not checked and the need to check them in the interest of mankind, the United Nations Organization was set up in 1945.

In other words, it should be noted however that as the Second World War unfolded, it became clear that the League had failed in its chief aim of keeping the peace. The League had no military power of its own. It depended on its members’ contributions; and its members were not willing to use sanctions, economic or military. Moral authority was insufficient. A report from the United Nations publications in 2000 noted that several Big Powers failed to support the League: the United States crucially never joined; Germany was a member for only seven years from 1926 and the USSR for only five years from 1934; Japan and Italy both withdrew in the 30s.

The League then depended mainly on Britain and France, who were understandably hesitant to act forcefully. It was indeed difficult for governments long accustomed to operating independently to work through this new organization. Even as the Second World War raged, the leaders of Britain, China, the US and the USSR, under intense pressure from the press and public, discussed the details of a post-war organization. In 1944 representatives of China, the UK, the US and the USSR meeting at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, prepared a blueprint for an international organization.

Towards the end of the war representatives of 50 countries gathered in San Francisco between April and June 1945 to hammer out the final text, which would lay the foundations of international cooperation. This was the Charter of the United Nations, signed on 26 June by 50 countries. Poland, the 51st country, was not able to send a representative to the San Francisco conference but is considered an original member. Although the League was abandoned, most of its ideals and some of its structure were kept by the United Nations and outlined in its Charter. The ideals of peace and social and economic progress remained the basic goals of the new world organization. However, these were developed to fit the new and more complex post-war world. The United Nations Organization as mentioned above came into existence in 1945 following the end of six years of cascading blood bath, the worst painful conflict ever to erupt in the world.
Originally and specifically, the United Nations was formed and trusted with the onerous mandate of maintaining permanent international peace and security in the world. In an international system made up of multiplicity of entities and social classes of divergent world view, ideology, goals, aspirations and orientations, the United Nations mandate becomes, as it were a nuclear and complex one .It is in line with the above that Holt and Berkman
acknowledged however that: The United Nations has a broad mandate to act against threats to international peace and security.

The UN authorizes and leads peace operations and authorizes actions led by individual countries, coalitions as multinational forces (MNFs), and regional bodies in response to threats to international peace and security. Traditionally when the Security Council cited Chapter VII of the UN Charter and authorized a mission to use “all necessary means” to implement its mandate, the resulting operations were referred to as “peace enforcement” missions, reflecting the charter’s language. The UN typically has not led these kinds of missions. By early 2006, the UN had increasingly taken on the leadership of many complex operations however— most with Chapter VII mandates. (Holt and Berkman, 2006:58).



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