Conflict Resolution

Laws are guidelines, put in place to show how people should behave. Laws also ensure that there is security and human rights are protected. The basic laws are written in a constitution.

Causes of lawlessness

Lawlessness can be caused by different factors. Some of these are listed below;

  • Poverty makes people desperate. This makes them participate in lawless activities like stealing. However, there are many poor people that survive without stealing. If caught stealing, people end up in jail.
  • Being under the influence of drugs make people engage in lawless activities.
  • People without jobs and are idle, without any way of meeting their daily needs may engage in lawlessness. If caught, such people may also land in jail.

  • People may commit crimes due to ignorance or illiteracy. They need to realise that ignorance is no defence if they get arrested.

  • The culture of impunity may make people, especially those in authority to commit lawless activities because they feel protected.

  • Some people engage in lawlessness because they feel protected by those in authority who may be from the same ethnic community or are related to them.

  • Leaders may encourage their supporters to take the law into their own hands. They may do this by inciting people.

Effects of lawlessness

  • Lawlessness leads to people living in fear of being attacked.
  • It may lead to destruction of property.
  • Some people may end up in jail.
  • Some people may lose lives. This may be as a result of the crimes or as a result of the police shooting at the lawless people. 
  • Some people may be injured in the process.
  • Lawlessness drives people out of their homes and turns them into internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees.

Factors that promote peace

Peace is a state where there is no conflict or disagreement. It can be promoted by the following conditions:

  • Peacefully existing with other people: Peace can exist where people of different races, communities or religions live with one another, so long as they respect each other.
  • Friendship: Peace is promoted by being friends to one another. When one wrongs another person, he or she should confess and ask for forgiveness.
  • Obeying the law: Law is made so that people can stay in peace. When people do what the law requires, they have peace.
  • Respect for one another: Respect for one another enables people to live in peace.

  • Reconciliation: When countries disagree with one another, there is no peace. They go to war and fight one another. In such cases, peace can be promoted by having a mediator talking to the two enemies to bring understanding between them. The process of bringing two conflicting people to come to an agreement is called mediation. Mediation promotes reconciliation.
  • Transparency: In a country where there is democracy, citizens express their opinions without fear and the government listens to the different views of the citizens.
  • Enforcement of the law by the police force: The government uses the police in order to maintain law and order.
  • Good economy: In a country or place where there is sufficient food and most people are employed, people are more peaceful.
  • Trust: When people are elected to positions of power, they should use their power to serve the citizens.

Factors that undermine peace

Below are some factors which are likely to undermine peace:

  • Abuse or use of power in a negative way: People who are in authority have power to carry out their duties according to what people expect them to do. For example, a head teacher is given power to make sure that all the school activities are properly carried out. The president, government ministers, the police, the armed forces all have power which if misused can make people suffer. This is called abuse of power.
  • Oppression: In a country that is ruled by a dictator, the rules are harsh. The citizens are uncomfortable because they have no freedom to express their opinions or give suggestions. This treatment is called oppression. The dictator cannot be questioned, even if the rules are harsh to the citizens. Dictators have no respect for human rights.
  • Lack of rule of law: This means that the law is applied differently on different people. Some people are favoured while others are oppressed. This causes rebellion and conflicts

  • Tribalism and nepotism: Tribalism is giving favour to people of one ethnic group more than others. Nepotism is favouring relatives
  • Unemployment: This can undermine peace. If people have no source of money or food, some of them are forced to beg or commit crime
  • Corruption: People get annoyed when money or other resources belonging to the public are taken by individuals for personal use.
  • Revenge: Revenge means that the people who have been wronged would like to hurt those people who have wronged them in a similar way.
  • Bullying: In some schools, younger children have no peace because they are bullied by older children. This means that the older pupils do not respect the younger ones and so they mistreat them.
  • Intolerance: Intolerance means that a person gets annoyed and cannot listen to or discuss issues with those who have wronged him or her.

Importance of peace in society

Laws are guidelines put in place to show how people should behave. Laws also ensure that there is security and human rights are protected. The basic laws are written in a constitution. Importance of peace include:

  • Investors will be attracted to our country.
  • It promotes industries like trade and agriculture.
  • People move from one place to another without fear.
  • It promotes infrastructure and social amenities.
  • The government is able to serve the society with ease.

Causes of conflicts

Conflict is a disagreement or a clash between ideas, interests or wishes of two opposing forces. Conflict can lead to emotional tension, disagreement or physical violence. There are many factors that lead to conflicts in our society. The main ones are:

  • Bad leadership or abuse of power: Some leaders misuse their power, causing conflicts among people. For example, some leaders show favour to a certain groups of people.
  • During public meetings, some leaders make statements that may create tension. This leads to hatred between those favoured and those not favoured.
  • When leaders plan development projects, they may concentrate in one area and ignore another. This might cause tension because people want equality.
  • Ignorance: People who are not well informed about a given issue may make wrong interpretations and act in a way that will annoy others.

  • Poverty: Poor people are desperate and may easily act in unreasonable ways as they look for means of survival. If a poor community has rich neighbours, tension can arise if the poor feel deprived and the rich feel threatened.
  • Difference of opinion: If two person or groups of people hold different opinions on certain issues, there is a conflict of views. For example, different religious groups have conflicting views on given religious issues.
  • Scarcity of resources: When resources that people depend on are scarce in supply, people compete to possess what is available. Landlessness is a major cause of conflict between people and communities
  • Abuse of human rights: If citizens are denied their rights, they can rebel against the government. This is common where governments are led by dictators. Many African countries fought to free themselves from the colonial rule because they were oppressed by the colonial governments. Their rights were not respected.

  • Power struggle: When people or groups are fighting for supremacy, they are already in conflict. In some African countries such as Somalia, it has been difficult to form a government because people from different clans have been fighting to become leaders.
  • Cultural differences: Conflict can arise due to cultural differences. This would happen if one group tries to promote its culture while another group is opposed to it.
  • Religious differences within a country where one religious group feels superior to the others.
  • Border conflicts: Sometimes, neighbouring countries fight over the location of their national boundary.
  • Lack of rule of law and injustice: If the law is applied to favour some people, it causes hatred and tension as those oppressed try to seek justice and fair application of the law.

Ways of resolving conflicts

There are different ways that can be applied to resolve conflicts. The method used depends on the type of conflict. The main ones are discussed below:

  • Use of courts of law: This is the situation where those in conflict take the matter to court. The judge then listens to both sides and makes a judgement using the requirements of the law. This process is also called litigation.
  • Peace making and keeping: This method is used by the United Nations (UN), to bring peace in countries where there are civil wars. Military personnel from other UN member countries are sent to the country at war to try and control the two or more fighting groups. These outside forces are not allowed to fight but can negotiate with the two sides and come up with a solution to the dispute.

  • Negotiations: Two conflicting parties hold dialogue and listen to one another. At some point they may come to an agreement by themselves.
  • Forgiveness: If one party had wronged the other, it is possible to resolve the conflict through forgiveness.
  • Mediation: This is the process where a third party is used to settle a dispute. The two conflicting people are each given a chance to give their side of the story. The mediator helps the two parties to reach an agreement. The mediator is also an arbitrator.