Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10321/3387
Title: Building viable community peace alliances for land restitution in Burundi
Authors: Mbazumutima, Theodore 
Issue Date: May-2018
Abstract: Following the determination to consolidate peace and deal with the legacies of civil war in Burundi, it was proposed by the Arusha Peace Accord that there was need to instigate a process of transitional justice. In part, this was recognition of the need for mechanisms that could grapple with the challenges around land and other property restitution. However, political elites hijacked the land restitution process such that localised land conflicts at the grassroots have coloured national political conflicts. In particular, there has been strong evidence of violent alliances between the opposition and second occupants of the land on one hand, and the ruling party and returnees on the other.

This thesis is based on qualitative research, using action research as its key strategy. Research was carried out in Nyanza-lac Commune, Makamba Province in southern Burundi, between May and December 2017. The aim was to understand the nature of alliances within the land conflicts and determine the extent to which violence is used as a means of coercing and mobilizing followers in line with these alliances; to explore the possibility and/or training needs for potential mobilisation to establish community peace alliances capable of addressing land conflicts; to help establish these mechanisms; and then to evaluate their impact.

The study found that the second occupants, often with direct or indirect support from the opposition, use direct or indirect violence against the returnees in order to keep the land which originally belonged to these returnees. They also use direct or indirect violence against (The CNTB) National Land Commission officials during their routine activities of restituting land to the returnees. At the same time, opposition politicians use indirect violence to sustain an alliance between themselves and second occupants of the land in order to get political support from them and oppose land restitution which could have direct consequences for these politicians. At the same time, the CNTB has an alliance with the returnees, and the Commission uses direct or indirect violence against second occupants to compel them to abide by the CNTB’s decisions. In this strategic alliance, returnees expect to get land and continue to support the government, while CNTB officials, by executing the government-given mandate, keep their jobs.

The research showed the positive role which dialogue can play in helping affected ordinary people to resolve and transform complex conflicts with incompatible interpretations in a context where the law has failed to address them. Involving the action team and the ordinary people in property restitution built their self-esteem and capacity to contribute to the understanding of their problems and to plan and implement suitable solutions as well as to constructively reflect on their intervention. Thus, they adopted dialogue as a valuable and effective means of addressing the land restitution conflicts and this dialogue led to the finding of a common understanding between the conflicting parties. Furthermore, this allowed for the peaceful resolution of land conflict and the building of broken relationships.
Description: Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration – Peace Studies, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10321/3387
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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