Category Archives: West

African Peace Militaries War, Peace and Democratic Governance


About the Editor

David J. Francis is the most recent Head of Department of Peace Studies and is currently Director of the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS), at the University of Bradford, UK. He is author/editor of eight books, including US Strategy in Africa (ed. Routledge, 2010).


This book provides a critical understanding of the emerging role of African militaries in peacetime democratic Africa.

This book departs from the dominant perspective which simply presents the military as an ‘enemy’ of democracy because of the history and legacy of unending military coup d’états and interventions in civilian politics. In the context of Africa, the military has been blamed or largely held responsible for instigating wars, armed conflicts, political violence, poverty and underdevelopment due to bad governance and mismanagement of the state. Drawing from diverse case studies across Africa, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt, this volume presents the argument that though the military has played a negative, and sometimes, destructive role in undermining constitutional rule and the overthrow of democratic civilian governments, the same military, now operating in a changed global environment, is making effort to support the development of democracy and democratic consolidation as well as remain subjected to civilian democratic oversight and control. Notwithstanding, the real challenge for this emerging trend of African peace militaries is the extent to which they are able to fulfil, on a predictable and consistent basis, their constitutional mandate to defend the people against ‘elected autocrats’ in Africa who try to use the military to perpetuate themselves in power.

This work fills a critical gap in the literature and will be of much interest to students of African security and politics, peace and conflict studies, security studies and IR in general.

Table of Contents

1. African Militaries in War, Peace and Support for Democratic Development, David J. Francis

2. The Military in Nigeria: War, peace and support for democratic governance, Oshita Oshita

3. The Rwanda Defence Force: from Genocide to Peace and Democratic Consolidation, Marco Jowell

4. Military in Uganda: war, peace and support for democratic consolidation, Eric Awich Ochen

5. Military Response to Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria: Implications for Peace, Security and Democracy in the Lake Chad Basin, Kenneth C. Omeje

6. African Solutions to Western Problems: Western-sponsored Training Programmes for African Militaries: impact on Peace and Democratic Consolidation, David Chuter

7. African Standby Force: Challenges and Opportunities for support of Democracy in Africa, Kasaija Phillip Apuuli

8. African Militaries, Security Sector Reform and Peace Dividends: a case study of Ethiopia’s post-1998 Defence Reform Experience and impact on Democratic Development, Ann Fitz-Gerald, Paula MacPhee & Ian Westerman

9. Egypt: the Military in War, Peace and Democratic Development, Joseph Lansana Kormoh


Annual Peace Studies & International Development Conference: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa

The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.

The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.

Conference cluster themes include:

1) Natural Resources and Conflict

2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding

3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development

4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus

5) Regional Integration, Security and Development

6) Africa and the Rest of the World
The conference is open to doctoral students and early career scholars, researchers and practitioners. Potential participants and paper presenters are required to submit an Abstract of 200 – 300 words on or before 15th November 2016 to:    
All shortlisted participants will be required to submit the first draft of their papers at least two months before the conference. The conference is expected to result in a co-edited book (Lead Editor: Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow, John & Elnora Ferguson Centre of African Studies, University of Bradford). Kindly note that all short-listed participants will be responsible for the full-cost of their participation, including visa, travels, accommodation and subsistence.

For full details on the conference: conference-call-oct-2016-revised-version-1

JEFCAS Seminar Series: Birthplace, bloodline and beyond

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date: Wed 12 October 2016

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey, University of Oxford

 Birthplace, bloodline and beyond: how ‘Liberian citizenship’ is currently constructed in Liberia and abroad.

Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

As a twenty-first century post-war, emigrant-sending country, Liberia reflects global citizenship norms while simultaneously departing from them, and this unique positioning offers new opportunity to theorise citizenship across spatial and temporal landscapes. I examine ‘Liberian citizenship’ construction through a historical prism, arguing that as Liberia transformed from a country of immigration to one of emigration, so too did conceptualisations of citizenship – moving from passive, identity-based citizenship emphasising rights and entitlements to more active, practice-based citizenship privileging duties and responsibilities.

About Dr Robtel Pailey: Robtel is a Liberian academic, activist and author with over a decade of combined professional experiences in Africa, Europe and North America. Her areas of research expertise include migration, citizenship, Diasporas, development, transnationalism, conflict, post-war recovery, governance, and the political economy of aid, trade and remittances.

Robtel’s research and writing have appeared in the 2016 book The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles; the 2014 book Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence; the 2010 African literature reader Tales, Tellers and Talemaking: Critical Studies on Literary Stylistics and Narrative Styles in Contemporary African Literature; the 2007 book From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa; as well as scholarly journals including Citizenship Studies, the Liberian Studies Journal (LSJ) and Humanitas.

Dr Pailey currently serves as a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (IMI).

Sierra Leone and Ebola: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

[Image Credit: European Commission DG ECHO_Sierra Leone: into the Ebola epicentre (2014)]

The latest contribution from JEFCAS on Sierra Leone was a presentation by Ebola doctor returnee Professor John Wright, epidemiologist from Bradford Royal Infirmary.  He addressed an audience of hospital and university staff, students and members of the public at the university on Monday 9th February 2015, on Ebola : Experiences in Global Emergency.

He gave firsthand experience of setting up and running an Ebola clinic in the more rural areas, and put this work in a country and development context.

A packed earlier panel discussion, held in December 2014 in the university, had brought together peace studies, medical and African expertise in setting the Ebola scene, which by then was at its awful peak.

Although much has been written and said about Sierra Leone as a country over last decades, it could be said that the Ebola outbreak was a disaster waiting to happen.  Indeed, Professor Wright showed that, over the world, there had been some twenty Ebola epidemics over the last 40 years. Most had been very small but some were significant, with the latest being to a very great extent the most serious. Clearly, Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries Liberia and Guinea were unable to cope.

To recap in time.

Sierra Leone has been at or near the bottom of the Human Development Index for decades. Of course, there was the original exploitation of the area in colonial times, a point highlighted in an incongruous way by the small town named Bradford (see image).  The story goes that in the 19th century a Scottish engineer from Bradford – name unknown – was helping to build a railway (to help export materials away to the UK). The villagers could not pronounce his name (or perhaps were not able to understand his accent!) so called him ‘Mr Bradford’.  The name was eventually used for the local area.

Bradford village in Sierra Leone   Prof John Wright image

[Image credit: Bradford village in Sierra Leone, Prof John Wright image (2014)]

In the last two or three decades there have been UK aid programmes, including substantial VSO trainers on a wide variety of topics.  But the civil war 1991-2002 put paid to that.

In retrospect, the British military contribution to the ending of that war may well have helped continue the UK’s later aid linkages with that country, in small and in large ways.

The devastation caused by the war meant that both the physical infrastructure was incapacitated, as was the people infrastructure.  There were grossly insufficient numbers of both able-bodied people and also of those with health, administrative and other expertises necessary for running a country.

On top of that, during the mid-2000s, the peacetime indigenous birth rate boomed. This, together with the numbers of returning refugees from abroad, meant that the demand for everything rocketed, health requirements for the new infants in particular. But these needs could not be met.

Perhaps it’s not surprising in these circumstances that things can go very wrong, and affect the wider world as well.

However, Bradford in the UK has been helping, alongside many others. In the current Ebola situation, its leading health professor, as said above, went to assist.

A couple of other ways of helping were made too – one minor and one major example.

The minor one was an attempt to have a local authority twinning, in 2004, between the two Bradford’s in the two countries.  The primary purpose was as consciousness-raising of the Sierra Leonean town in the Bradford UK, and hopefully to raise money and expertise to assist Bradford Sierra Leone.  Although the attempt was given publicity in the UK, and a civic reception held at which Peace Studies students attended with the Bradford Lord Mayor, the idea was unfortunately not taken up.

The major one was the establishment in Freetown from 2011 of the UNESCO-affiliated African Peace University project, led by Bradford Peace Studies’ David Francis. This is helping to rebuild civic society, and much besides.

Much more will need to be done on many other fronts, of course.

Perhaps a lesson from a Peace Studies perspective is to make sure we (re)build the peace in a big way soon after war, rather than just let countries drift.  Not only building it economically but socially through trained people to do the health, education and the other elements to a society. If the £1 billion spent of the Ebola crisis had been used before to enhance the country’s infrastructure then, who knows, there might have been no outbreak at all.


Peter Nias is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. Initially an urban planner and an economic and social researcher in Telford, he then spent six years in Namibia just after the end of apartheid to help the country to defeat that legacy.  In Bradford he helped run The Peace Museum, an independent charitable trust, from 2000-2010, particularly creating exhibitions that travelled the UK and the world.  He has co-written a book about Manningham, Bradford, and a number of articles for Discover Society.   He is currently researching collateral damage and human rights.

Further reading/resources:

Audio of Professor John Wright’s lecture

Presentation on UNESCO African Peace University Initiative