Lessons from Mediating Lesotho's Political Disputes
The purpose of this Special Edition (4th SASR) is to contribute to discourses and approaches to the peaceful resolution of internal conflicts and to the long-term transformation of conflict environments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. This is referred to as peace mediation; a term that covers a range of instruments used to deal with intra- and inter-state conflicts, from initial contact between mediators and conflict parties, to ceasefire negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements. While the SADC region is relatively stable compared to its counterparts on the continent, it has experienced its fair share of political conflicts and protracted disputes in the last ten years. Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have provided the testing ground for the effectiveness of SADC mediation processes in the region. They all became sites of repeated SADC mediation, which have also excluded post conflict reconstruction and development in their design. The major objective of the book is to examine the various experiences of mediation in the SADC region focusing primarily on the role of mediators in key countries: Comoros, the DRC, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These case studies will be anchored in the theories and practices of mediation from Africa and elsewhere.
The book is structured into two main parts. The first comprises chapters that discuss different theories of mediation and generic mediation practices under the theme, Approaches to Mediation. These chapters cover debates on hybrid mechanisms to the field of mediation and conflict transformation generally and their application to African conflicts. The second theme, (the) Politics of Mediation includes past cases of mediation processes in the SADC region drawing from individual countries. These include discussions on both the process and outcomes of past mediation missions and how political settlements have supported peacebuilding and political reconstruction in each of these states. This section could also include cases of conflict mediation elsewhere on the African continent that offer lessons for SADC in improving the methodical, technical, logistical, and knowledge support bases of its mediation processes.