Submission Deadline-30th April 2024
April 2024 Issue : Publication Fee: 30$ USD Submit Now
Special Issue of Education: Publication Fee: 30$ USD Submit Now

Peace Initiatives in Resource Based Conflicts in Post-Colonial Kenya: A Case of Lower Nyando River Basin of Kisumu County, Kenya

Paul Okello Atieno
Kisii University, Kenya
*Corresponding Author

Abstract: – There is growing literature focusing on resource extraction and unbalanced sharing of natural resources in the exploitation community and conflict especially in the developing countries. Whereas a lot of attention has been directed at grievances of conflicting parties in natural resource based conflicts, limited attention is being given to peace initiatives including the role of local peace committees and community led peace building networks. This paper provided an insight on the role of peace initiatives in resource based conflicts in post-colonial Kenya, with particular attention to lower Nyando River Basin of Kisumu County, Kenya. Specific objectives were to determine the magnitude of resource based conflicts among communities in the Lower Nyando River Basin, analyse the role of local peace committees in resource based conflicts among communities in the Lower Nyando River Basin and to establish the contribution of community led peace-building networks in resource based conflicts among communities in the Lower Nyando River Basin, Kenya. Conflict transformation theory which articulates transforming the causes of conflict as the right approach for resolving and curtailing emerging disputes was adopted to guide the study. Mixed method design involving quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis approaches was adopted. Target population comprised of (Ogenya=153; Kakola Ombaka=704; Jimo Middle=131, and West Kabodho=225) who were natural resource reliant in both Nyakach and Nyando Sub-counties with a sample size of 278 respondents obtained based on Gill et al’s Table of Desired Accuracy with Confidence Level of 95%. The study also interviewed 4 elected community leaders from each sub location. Findings showed that the magnitude of resource based conflicts in the area was high (M=3.91; SD=0.08). The study also found that local peace committees were important peacebuilding initiatives (M=4.17; SD=0.23), while peacebuilding networks existing in the study area had contributed in resolving conflicts to a large extent (M=4.01; SD=0.25). It was concluded that unfounded apportioning of the wetland by the feuding communities has made the magnitude of conflict to be high in the study area. The study also concludes that local peacebuilding initiatives have helped in managing resource based conflict in the area due to their acceptability and incessant peace messaging.

IJRISS Call for paper

Key Words: Community Peacebuilding Networks; Lower Nyando River Basin; Peace Initiatives; Local Peace Committees; Resource Based Conflicts.

I. Introduction

Conflict is a universal phenomenon of the human society that cannot be prevented completely. As Abeeb (2020) rightly asserts, conflict cannot be avoided in social life, but it can only be contained. Moreso, conflict is neither good nor bad (Paffenholz, 2014). It can occur at any given time and in any place, originating between two individuals or groups when there is a disagreement or difference in values, attitudes, needs or expectations (Wahanisa, Hidayat, Riyanto & Anggono, 2021). Essentially, conflict might ensue at the class level, local government level or even international level with an underlying interest or goal. Oyeniyi (2011) also add that conflict usually occurs primarily because of a clash of interests in the relationship between parties, groups or states, either because they are pursuing opposing or incompatible goals. On their part, Dimelu, Salifié and Igbokwe, (2016) opine that conflict emanates from the insatiable nature of human wants; and compétitions for scarse resources are the foremost causes of communal or inter-group conflicts. Resource use conflicts or clashes, are becoming fiercer and increasingly widespread especially in the developing countries (Manu, Mary-Juliet, Fon, and Ajaga, 2014). According to Bond (2014), the discussion on the role of natural resources in conflict situations since 1990s has been dominated by a polemic debate over whether resource scarcity or abundance contributes to strife. Whereas causes of resource based conflicts have been widely discussed (Dimelu, Salifie and Igbokwe, 2016: Price, 2020), the contributions of peace initiatives for solving the conflicts have not shown consistent results.
The central objective of any conflict resolution agenda is simply to identify the main cause of a conflict and put a total end to it so that a sustainable peace can be achieved (Abeeb, 2020). In Africa, the process of applying conflict resolution methods to end a conflict involves mediation through an impartial third party. Ajayi and Buhari (2014) also add adjudication and arbitration to the methods of conflict resolution in traditional African societies. Moreso, Bukari (2013) add on alternative dispute resolution,