Violence, Insecurity and Marginality in Pastoralist Spaces: The Horn of Africa and the Sahel Regions.
The pastoral world is defined by the prevalence of war, various forms of insecurity and lack of development, which constitutes violence in all its forms: direct war violence, structural violence (emanating from economic alienation and marginalisation, political repression, poverty, destitution and climatic vulnerability) and cultural violence (bias towards and the securitisation of pastoralist economic and social system). In effect, in human security parlance, the violation of freedom from fear and freedom from want is prevalent that it appears inherent to the nature of the pastoral way of being. The pastoral way of life is considered as an ephemeral state of existence that will wither away with the advancement of 'modernity' and the full encroachment of modern nation-state institutions. Therefore, pastoralist-state relations have always been strained. Their precarious existence on the fringe of every state they form part of is consequently considered as normalcy for pastoralists until their livelihood, socio-economic and political system is transformed into the dominant socio-economic and political systems the states are built on. The pastoralist conception of their livelihood and the entirety of their view of 'good life' is denigrated and their voice silenced. By reflecting on the book entitled New Fringe Pastoralism: Conflict and Insecurity and Development in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, this review article examines violence in pastoral society.
The book investigates the conflict-insecurity-development nexus and the factors behind the prevalence of various forms of violence, which fits into the broad discourse on the violence in the pastoral world. By dealing with violence in the pastoral world in a cross-regional dimension and comparative approach, the book speaks to the spatial variation and similarity of violence in pastoral spaces vis-a-vis emergent national, regional and global forces that situates the study in the framework of understanding violence from the vantage points of direct violent conflicts, insecurity and lack of development. The book and the overall context of pastoral violence it is situated in brings to the fore a series of questions. Among these are: what constitutes the prevalence of violence in pastoralist society and the roles pastoralists take in it? How does the marginal position of pastoralists in the modern state define their unbearable entrapment in violence, the continuity of old form of violence and the emergence dynamics of violence interconnected with regional and global actors? What capabilities for pastoralists have for peace, security and development that can be taped for their total potential to transform the violence to peace?
The rise of new fringe pastoralism and the growing association of pastoralists with emergent regional, national and international forces of violence is rooted in two overlapping reasons; first, beneath the interface of small section of pastoralists with global jihad and terrorists is the mutual condition of being situated at the margins of states and global space, respectively. Second, in face of existential threats, a small section of pastoralists takes this linkage with emergent and traditional structures of violence as only one among many alternative coping mechanisms that they avail to national, regional and global fringe forces that can ameliorate the alienation, marginalisation and oppression that they endure in their respective states. The pastoralists-global actors' linkage in violence and insecurity can be understood from the point of their marginality to the dominant peace-security-development nexus of the nation-state and the global liberal order. The old form of violence in the pastoralist society is predicated on the multiple overlaps of direct and indirect violence built into the state and regional systems. The emerging trends in the nature and character of violence affecting pastoralist societies on the fringes can be considered as the result of the encounter of the national fringe and the global ideological fringe made possible by the incessant alienation and marginalisation by the states of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.
2. The anatomy of violence, insecurity and marginality in pastoral societies
The research on which the book is based set out to investigate the cause of pastoralist insecurity and illicit activities that impact negatively on economic growth and development in pastoral communities of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region. It also examined the socio-economic and political factors that contribute to the changing role of pastoralists in the growing insecurity, violence and illicit activities across the 16 countries of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region. The study resulted in four chapters and an executive summary. The central focus of the study is to interrogate the conflict-security-development nexus and the role of pastoralists and the birth of what it terms "new fringe pastoralists", how this engenders violence and insecurity across the two regions.
The study, therefore, explores the opportunities and challenges confronting pastoralists. It elucidates the major pressures that affect pastoral societies, including conflict and displacement, poverty, climate change and food insecurity, which underscores the complex overlap of different factors affecting the state of violence and development across the two regions. In this regard, a detailed discussion of the profile of pastoral communities and opportunities associated with pastoralists yields useful insights into how their role in violence is connected to their livelihoods that they see as being threatened by all manner of new forces and changes in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. They thus become a barometer of structural violence and social transformations that come with social, political, economic and ecological changes in one of the most arid land areas of Africa. The study also identified major structural challenges that limit the utilisation of the opportunities for the realisation of the viable pastoral way of life. Pastoralists constitute 11.45 % of the population in regions and livestock contributes 38.8% to the agricultural GDP which in turn contributes 27% to the GNP of the countries (UNECA 2018: 5-8).
Despite the violent conflict in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions, pastoralist livestock trade links the two regions in ways not always understood sufficiently. Living in the arid and semi-arid zones of the two regions, pastoralists employ diversified adoptive strategies ranging from nomadic pastoralism, transhuman, urban pastoralism, agropastoralism and cross-border trades (UNECA 2018). However, according to the study, the major challenges to pastoralist survival are three-fold: poverty (livelihood insecurity), land alienation and food insecurity. The causal linkage among various factors is well presented in the following quote: "... poverty tends to be more prevalent in situations of climatic unpredictability and low precipitation, coupled with environmental degradation and shrinking land and land-based resources. Evidence shows that these factors are catalysts in the reproduction of poverty, often exacerbated by the failure of policy responses and a lack of voice in the corridors of power" (UNECA 2018: 10).
However, it also warned against a general labelling of all pastoralists as poor against the fact that pastoralists have diversified livelihoods that such an erroneous generalisation will "empower outside interests to transform rather than strengthen pastoral livelihoods" (UNECA 2018: 11). Besides, livelihood sources, level of education and age of the household head, and family size as determinant factors of the nature of poverty among agropastoralists. The level of education, age and sex are important factors in determining the level of poverty among pastoralists. Central to the three-fold vulnerability is the interplay of land alienation, climatic vulnerability and unreliable precipitation, policy marginalisation as well as political instability, which reflects the strained relationship between states and pastoralist communities across the regions under study. In short, the challenges of pastoralists are associated with conflict, displacement and physical security, a reflection of the apathetic historical relationship with the state and the securitised policy responses of states: an extension of the global war on terror, which widens the rift between the state and pastoralists (UNECA 2018: 12-13)
The conflict and displacement in the pastoralist world are caused by multiple overlapping factors including development-induced displacement of pastoralists, policies favouring non-pastoralist livelihood, lack of access to modern and pastoralist resources, the shortage of infrastructures and lack of basic amenities. The study under review identified six major unique features of conflict in the pastoralist world. Conflicts are trans-nationalised and internationalised; that they are supported by transnational jihadist and global justice movements; they are multifaceted (localised due to resources); at national level, they are against the state; at regional level, they pit states against one another; and at transnational level, they are supported by global jihadist networks. They manifest the intersection between illicit and violent means of financing rebellion. This contributes in changing the national and global (jihadist) political order. Pastoral areas have become the focus of large-scale concession in the intersection between national and global jihadist movements (UNECA 2018: 13-14). This has created a new category of pastoralist dubbed as neo-pastoralists involved in illicit trade and violent activities.
The response of states to the complex nature of the conflict in the pastoralist zone is securitised, justifying the use of repressive force and violence to resolve issues in this zone. Pastoralists find themselves snared in between the securitisation of development and the discourse of the anti-terrorist global alliance. Yet, the study has identified that it is not only poor pastoralists that suffer in the process, but also rich pastoralists involved in acts of kidnapping of tourists, drug trafficking, recruitment of fighters, and suicide bombings. These are some of the desperate measures they get drawn into in their fight to survive as the securitisation and war on terror threaten their livelihood. Pastoralists falling under the spell of climate change, changing face of conflict and development-induced displacement, resource scarcity, livelihood insecurity and violence resorted to adaptive strategies, which included a combination of legal and illicit measures.
While the examination of the overlapping causes of conflict and insecurity, the pastoralists opportunities and challenges is well addressed, the understanding of the constituting elements of violence in pastoralist societies and their capabilities for peace, the chapter misses several crucial points. First, the opportunities in pastoralist societies studied are in fact limited to economic opportunities per se, thus undermining the range of social, cultural, political and ecological opportunities that can be identified if the situation is seen from the vantage point of pastoralists themselves. This over-emphasis on the economics can simplify a complex situation such as fringe pastoralists have to contend with daily. This needs to be borne in mind when the study is, as stated, about conflict-insecurity-development or positively speaking ensuring peace-security-development nexus. Accordingly, the opportunities should have been addressed from the vantage point of capabilities for peace because studies show that peace is the precondition for development. Besides, the social and cultural capabilities of pastoralists embedded in their social organisation and customary conflict transformation mechanism should have been examined.
The second point missed is the identification of the multifaceted and multitiered features of conflicts in the pastoralist societies of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region. Transnational, internationalised and global dimensions of violence are crucial for understanding what peace-development nexus is solidly embedded in pastoralists' reality. Out of the six features of violent conflicts, only two features from the pastoralist reality are emphasised, leaving out the four features of the regional and global connectedness of sources of insecurity. At face values, this articulation of the overlapping nature of violent conflicts is appropriate in showing the prevalence of violence as not purely of pastoralists' making. Yet, on two counts, it has problems; that it does not allow enough room to show the impact of this conflict and violence on lives of pastoralists. It also tacitly legitimises securitised measures against the prevalence of violence and lack of development. It falls back to the very securitisation of pastoralists' development (with only a cursory focus on the factor of peace) in the analysis of the problem and in the description of solutions. An analytical framework that accepts uncritically the logic of securitisation and state security runs the danger of legitimising state violence against pastoralist communities.
Thirdly, while the new fringe pastoralists constitute a very small portion of the wider pastoralist communities, their links to regionalised, internationalised and global features of violent conflicts is exaggerated without much evidence to establish this. The new fringe pastoralist narrative emphasised in the study seems to dominate and overshadow other dynamics of violence in pastoralist societies. This makes the fringeness of pastoralists a problem in and of itself; makes it a principal factor for explaining the changing patterns of violence. Yet it is pastoralists themselves who suffer the most from this violence. Careful evidence-based analysis would be needed to explain how could they be the main cause of their own suffering. The structural and systematic factors relating to changing ecology, demography, political economy, external agents and so on cannot be under-stated.
The study also attempted to address the conflictual relations between states and pastoralists in the Sahel and Horn of Africa region. The issue is examined in a way that provides an opportunity to rethink the nature of relations between pastoralists and states. It delves into the "heavy-handed infringement in local sovereignty, inappropriate livestock development policies, the impact of national development policies on pastoralists' capacity to survive and the failed policy interventions to control porous borders" in the two regions. Three major issues are examined in discussing the pastoralist insecurity, namely pastoralist land alienation, state-pastoralist relations and national and regional livestock and pastoralist development policies and orientation. The prevalence of violence and conflict in the pastoralist world is depicted as the result of the overlapping interplay of the three factors. First, the relationship between states and pastoralists is marred with mutual suspicion, mistrust, more hostility than cooperation. What the study did not include is that this reality, in violence studies parlance, constitutes an element of cultural violence that provides justification for states to securitise pastoral lands and pastoralist development policies. Because the traditional and seasonal mobility of pastoralists across state boundaries (in search of a multiplicity of ecosystems) is vital for the sustainability of pastoralism it comes into clash with notions of state sovereignty. For pastoralists, this clash is the basis of their moral justification for resisting state infringement on their mobility for livelihood and the state repression. For them, it justifies their resistance as a form of struggle for self-determination, autonomy and, in case of the new fringe pastoralists, free involvement in internationalised jihadist, criminal syndicate and terrorist networks.
Contrary to the dominantly hostile relations, the study shows that there is a slow but developing trend among pastoralists towards integration within the modern states system. Therefore, it asserts that "the state-pastoralist relations oscillated between conflict and cooperation and produced winners and losers from administrative controls and development interventions" (UNECA 2018: 21). However, the "conflictual-cooperative" trend notwithstanding, this does not diminish the importance in the analysis of the structural violence pastoralists are exposed to because of land alienation. In the 15 countries of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions, land alienation of pastoralists is a major form of structural violence propelling pastoralists into acts of violence in order to protect their way of life.
The state of pastoralists' land alienation and tenure insecurity are shown to be characterised by four major features: first, pastoralism is misconceived as an extension of agriculture rather than system of production in its own merit; second, land reform measures dismantle customary land tenure system and with this goes pastoralism; third, non-pastoralist big development projects and commercial interests are prioritised in the state allocation of pastoralist land, thus causing tensions between the state and pastoralists; fourth. There is a lack of implementation of communal land right promulgations. Thus, a huge share of pastoralist land is taken out of the pastoralist mode of production, which, in turn, exacerbates the scarcity of resources and fuels communal violence. Consequently, coupled with the fact that most of the violent conflicts in the region are in pastoralists areas, the seasonal mobility and viability of pastoralist life are rendered unsustainable by tenure insecurity. This is a major driving force behind violence in pastoralist communities. In effect, this on its own constitutes the silent war or violence in the pastoralist society besides being a factor for other forms of open violence.
Beyond the national level, the study investigated regional and continental pastoralist development policies. The African Union (AU), cognisant of the development-conflict nexus, in its "... continental pastoralist policy framework made two major objectives of ensuring the livelihood security and multi-dimensional development of pastoralist areas and to reinforce the national, regional and continental contribution of pastoralist livestock" (UNECA 2018: 24). The adoption of the N'Djamena Declaration when in Kenya and Somalia (Al-Shabaab), Mali (Tuareg), northern Nigeria (Boko Haram), and Sudan (several pastoral groups in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region) were caught up in violence testified to the continental recognition of the pastoralist livelihood in the insecurity-violence nexus. The declaration aimed at improving governance, pastoralist resilience, livelihood and social sustainability. At the regional level, the Nouakchott declaration on pastoralism and Community of Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA)'s livestock and pastoralist forum are responses to the continental orientation. InterGovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) took the objective with their respective livestock production and livelihood enhancement programme. IGAD included the issue of pastoralism within its regional peace and security architecture. IGAD's pastoral livelihood resilience programme identified the cross-border drought-prone pastoralist and agro-pastoralist areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Most important in this respect is the integrated approach IGAD adopted, which encompassed climate change, early warning systems, and peace and security. However, these initiatives have put pastoralists into a cycle of violence because of the skewed nature of pastoral development policies and their implementation without the participation of pastoralists. This has contributed to the emergence of new fringe pastoralists and new patterns of violence, making the pursuit of peace-development nexus even more complicated.
As discussed above, the marginality of pastoralists at state, regional and continental levels of peace and development policy making, and implementations define their unbearable entrapment in violence, the continuity of old forms of violence and the emergence of dynamics of violence interconnected with regional and global actors. While the pastoralist livelihood resilience programmes of IGAD and the multidimensional and integrated development approaches of the AU are commendable, the focus on the livestock development programmes of states is informed by market-oriented thinking than the primacy of pastoralist livelihood.
Let us now turn to the idea of new fringe pastoralism as used in this study to understand new responses to hidden and open violence, and the changing environment in pastoral areas. The concept is used to refer to the new mode of pastoralist adaptation and livelihood among a small section of the pastoralist society, not fully detached from the old way of pastoralist livelihood. This constitutes an interplay between pastoral livelihood adaptation to natural environment and diversification, on the one hand, and coping with the entry of outside forces behind their involvement in licit and illicit activities, on the other. The factors associated with diversification of pastoral production systems due to economic pressure; urbanisation; adaptation to climate change; increased cross-border trade; more targeted movements in search for water and pasture; and the ability to tap into improved market information emerge as crucial in this study. The central argument is that a small number of pastoralists known as new pastoralists or post-pastoralists engage in a non-pastoralist way of life has emerged as a result of above-mentioned developments. The argument is that though small and on the fringes, their influence, however, is far-reaching. The concept of new pastoralism or post-pastoralism implies that new forms of pastoralism have emerged that have parted with the traditional pastoral way of life because of pastoral transformation.
There are four vantage points proposed for understanding this phenomenon. First is the nature of formal and informal transboundary in the Horn of Africa and the engagement of petty and well-off pastoralists in illicit activities. It is thought that this affects millions of people in this business especially among the Somali, the Borana, Gari and Gabra along the Ethio-Somali and Ethio-Kenya borders. In the traditional Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT) in the Horn of Africa, 60% of ICBTs are women depending on the petty trade for their livelihood (UNDP 2016). However, in livestock trade and basic pastoralist development programmes women are excluded. With the advent of the new fringe pastoralism and association of ICBT with the politics of insurgency (like the case of the Somali with Al-Shabab and Borana with the OLF) and conflict, the role of women is hindered by the associated risks. ICBT is also influenced by ethnic conflicts along borderlands that result in the confiscation of commodities. Besides, the involvement of national politics and nationalism as in the case of Sudan and South Sudan border conflicts make transborder sharing of resources.
In the Sahel region, transboundary pastoralists' mobility is characterised by seasonal transhumance and nomadic migration across states: Niger to the south in Nigeria, Chad and even the Central African Republic. This follows seasonal fluctuation of rainfall and availability of pasture Besides, there is a flow of livestock trade from the Sahel to West Africa. However, this traditional trend is being impeded. The first is the rise of extremist groups like Boko Haram and the Ansar Al-Din in Mali have put a strain on the traditional transhumance mobility and livestock trade in the region. The Niger experience of establishing livestock trade infrastructures, markets, controlling posts and even the development of livestock passport is an interesting system, which must be adapted to other regions. Cognisant of this gap regional economic commissions and multilateral financial institutions are actively engaged in pastoral livelihood resilience programmes through market access, information systems and secure transboundary trade. However, they are not informed by the views and lived experience of pastoralists. Consequently, neither the attempt to improve the traditional trade in Moyale nor similar efforts in the Sahel got the support of pastoralists.
The drug trafficking in the Sahel especially in Mali has distorted the local markets, introduced new profits around which communal conflicts are exacerbated for control of the drug trafficking network in the Sahel. The involvement of the Tuareg self-determination movement and the creation of several competing groups complicated the problem. Similarly, the Khat trafficking in the Somali-speaking Horn and the Cannabis trafficking from Ethiopia through Kenya to central Africa is complicating relations between pastoralists and states.
The study has also explored the state-pastoralist relations in terms of three related issues: trans-national mobility, migrant smuggling and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in both regions. The Tuareg and the Rashaida are involved in a globally networked community of interests of smugglers that transcends their countries. They are all involved in transnational webs of illicit activities, which are linked at the regional level. The Tuareg and the Rashaida network is the route migrants from the Horn of Africa and West Africa use to migrate to Europe. Similarly, the Somali migrant smuggling network function at two levels namely, the domestic and international syndicate sections: members of the Somali criminal syndicates on the Ethiopian side accomplish the task of identification, transporting and relaying of migrants across the Gulf of Aden using family, clan or close friendship links within specific territories in which the migrants repeatedly change hands on their journey. On the Ethiopia-Kenya border, the Borana, Gabra, Garri and Burji pastoralist groups are involved in the migrant smuggling business in both sides of Moyale (UNECA 2018: 41).
The presence of communal conflicts among pastoralists, the struggle for self-determination, autonomy and the activities of Jihadist networks operating in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel have created both the demand and the supply market for small arms and light weapons. The proliferation besides exacerbating the ethnoreligious violence among pastoralist groups, it fuels violence between states and pastoralists. In other words, it feeds the securitisation of the pastoralist areas. Consequently, "(a)rmed violence between different groups is used by traffickers to circulate firearms from one conflict to another, resulting in the prolongation and intensification of instability and a slowdown in economic and social progress" (UNECA 2018: 42-44). The study identified communal violence as much as local it is an aspect of the struggle to secure government positions, which the study dubbed as a hybrid violence.
The demand for arms in both regions is necessitated by the struggle for self-determination, cultural and economic: cattle rustling and cattle raiding, commercialised cattle raiding, agriculturalist encroachment and the pastoralist-dominated liberation movements, either vying for self-determination or as militia armed by the state to support the regular army. Transnational Jihadist groups, such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Al-Qaida avail themselves of poverty among pastoral youth, the remoteness of pastoral communities from government authority and security forces as recruitment bonanza. Weak law enforcement and porous borders, and the involvement of various armed radical groups made arms proliferation easy task. As a result, tens of thousands of people were killed in armed conflict. Nevertheless, the fundamental issues and root causes of the proliferation of these weapons and ethnoreligious violence as in Nigeria are not well studied.
The need for exposing the fundamental issue and root causes of the arms trafficking and ethnoreligious violence in pastoralist societies not only in Nigeria, is subject for further research. This book like other literature on the subject have more significant insights on this in relation to Nigeria than other countries. This is needed because it could give the big picture of underlying violence shared by pastoralists and the way forward to peace and development. Moreover, transborder relations in trade and war are repeatedly mentioned as using the social and identity infrastructures and territories of pastoralists, but this is under-explored. Not much said to explain why states fail to use these transborder trajectories, which are used by global and transnational forces for the violence, for the purpose of regional integration, regional peace and development in contiguous territories of pastoralists in both the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. This is a way of looking at the transborder structures of pastoralists used for trade, human trafficking, terrorism and Jihad as capabilities for regional peace and development. For instance, as reiterated in the conclusion, ICBT is one of the transborder structures knitting the Horn of Africa together by the Maize and Sorghum belt contributing mainly to the food security of pastoralists and agropastoral. Therefore, by delinking ICBT from violent structures mentioned above, it can be used for ensuring peace and security.
Finally, the study examined the nexus between conflict and development in defining the state of security and violence in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. Since the1990s countries of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel have been plunged in violent conflicts, which assumed two forms: state-based (state versus insurgents) and non-state conflicts (among pastoralists, agropastoralists and farmers). Conflicts resulted in the huge displacement of pastoralists and the proliferation of arms which in turn feed into the cycle of violence (UNECA 2018: 49). The dialectical relationship between conflict and development requires that development is delayed until the conflict is resolved and peaceful conditions are created for development. The study identified four major factors in this regard, namely: the combination of the old modality of pastoralism and the new global connectedness, connectedness with international jihadists like Al-Qaida and Islamic State (ISIL) and the associated emergence of armed insurgency from poor pastoralists as well as the support of wealthy pastoralists to criminal syndicates, and the exclusion of pastoralists voluntarily residing around urban centres from development programmes as well as the involvement of few pastoralists in human and drug trafficking. In effect, new fringe pastoralists are involved in illicit activities that sustain violence and exacerbate insecurity characterised by three major effects. First, the undermining of state authority and traditional source of power; second, the arrival of new wealth derived from illicit and criminal networks, which produces social hierarchy in an egalitarian society and causes a rise in social envy; third, the rise of criminal activities like kidnapping for ransom and insurgents targeting foreign and local nationals with negative impacts on the national economy. Also, drug trafficking and the smuggling of migrants have added a new aspect of humanitarian crisis across the two regions. As a result, in spite of the small number of pastoralists involved in the illicit networks, the security repercussion and its devastating impact on development is immense.
The other side of this security-development conundrum lies at the heart of the failure of the states of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel to end the historical marginalisation and direct violence against pastoralists. In recognition of this, the study has correctly articulated the way forward as: "if pastoralism is to be attractive, the current inequity and vulnerability of poor and young pastoralists need to be addressed, to provide attractive sources of alternative income to compete with the illicit sources ones" (UNECA 2018: 52). As this is done, both researchers and policy makers must be careful not to assume that the pastoralism of the 21st century is a mere continuation of 20th-century one. Therefore, this underlines the need for a new narrative or paradigmatic shift recognising the transformative potential of pastoralism, creating a market, infrastructure, financial linkage and the imperative for integration of pastoralists with national and international value chains supported through specific policies and strategies.
The book is an important contribution to understanding the trans-regional spatial expression of pastoral violence as it covers wide regions of the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. It is also a valuable contribution to the understanding of the multilayered and multi-tiered nature of violence in pastoral societies. The book is a great contribution to the discourse on violence in pastoralist societies in relation to the conflict-security-development conundrum. In exposing the constituting elements of violence, insecurity and marginality in pastoral space, the entrapment of pastoralists owing to their existential marginality and the capabilities of pastoralists for peace, the following major points are areas requiring further critical reflection.
The book explored the overall contexts, the major challenges and the root causes of violence and insecurity in the Sahel and Horn of Africa region. The nexus between violence and insecurity in the pastoral world militating development and peace are examined contextually. The socio-economic and political factors contributing to the pastoralists' role in violence, insecurity and illicit activities are analysed at various levels: local, national, regional and international connectedness. The study astutely recognised that the vagaries of poverty, economic and political alienation and marginalisation of pastoralists are not just the result of choices and actions of pastoralists themselves but a complex interplay of a variety of factors including structural and external factors. The role of pastoralists in the violence and insecurity both as adaptation to changing dynamics and as a deliberate violence for other reasons is a crucial factor. The important contribution of the study is the cautious identification of the birth of a new form of pastoralism as new fringe pastoralism as a strategic response and mode of adapting to the new dynamics of security and politics stretching from the local to the international levels. However, it did not examine the regional systems of violence and insecurity characteristic of the nature of the states in the two regions and did not analyse the regional system of violence as other academics have dubbed it (Berouk 2010). Examining the problem of violence and security from this vantage point could have shown the regional specificities and how violence is built into the regional and state systems. This a major shortcoming of the book.
While the study implicitly identified all forms of (both war violence and structural) violence pastoralists face and they contribute to, it did not articulate the various livelihood, climatic and political insecurities that form part of the system of violence. Instead, it presented the aspects of violence as contributing factors for the conflict-security-development nexus. It also missed an opportunity to discuss the aspect of cultural violence common in all states in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, used for legitimising the securitisation of the pastoralist world.
As opposed to the erroneous conception of pastoralism as an ephemeral sector that vanishes with "modernisation", it continues to be one potential sector not yet harnessed for promoting cooperation between states (Woodward 2013: 148). While the study succinctly portrays violence and insecurity involved in the pastoralist world, it does not address their untapped potential for regional peace-building. For instance, among the Afar and Somali speaking the Horn of Africa, the various cross-border structures of violence the study identified are in fact the social, economic and identity infrastructures, which can be used for the promotion of regional peace and development (Muauz 2018). The robust customary conflict transformation institutions constitute a resource for peace-making and development promotion, but the study under review is so focused on conflict that the peace factor is overlooked. There is a need for an in-depth inquiry into violence, insecurity and marginality in pastoralist spaces, so that pastoralists and their space could be reimagined as potential zones of peace and development.
An important issue missing from the book is the vitality of ICBTs in ensuring food security of the poor border landers and pastoralists, on the one hand, and the link between ICBT and structures of violence, on the other. The imperative to delink ICBT (are vital for poor pastoralists' survival) from the violence of insurgents, jihadists and criminal syndicates would have been another addition to the study. The need to delink transborder structures of violence from pastoralists' capabilities for peace is a vital entry point for further reflection on peace and development in pastoralists' space.
Like this book, the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Tana Fora have assessed the emergence of "non-traditional security concerns related with human trafficking, contraband and other similar sources of violence" (Fisher 2014: 14). However, none of them recommended a "non-tradition" approach towards security and peacebuilding in the pastoralist territories.
The interface of new fringe pastoralism and the regional and global forces that partly define the nature of the former, the continued traditional forms of violence and insecurity are rooted in the structure of marginality built into state systems as a form of silent violence. The failure to build regional and continental peace and development in pastoral spaces enables the invisible violence in marginal areas built into state systems in the two regions to fester. The same inner working of the logic of marginality is reflected in the omission of the lived experience, voice and perspective of pastoralists in the study under review, as is a trend with many recent studies on this subject. By focusing on the trans-national, regional and global connectedness of the new fringe pastoralist, it has in a subtle way subscribed to the interests of states that associate the fringeness with illegality and danger to be controlled and destroyed, rather than with pastoralist commons to be built and support. Hence, it gives in to the logic of securitisation of peace-building in pastoralist space.
These issues underline the need for the reexamination of the nature of violence in pastoralist societies, their capabilities and how marginality plays out not only in sustaining violence, but also in interfacing them with the emerging forms of regional and global structures of violence. By so doing, the reimagining of pastoralist space as a zone of peace and development can be possible. In the final analysis, at methodological level, while recognising the multiple forms of pastoralist life, the study replicates the problems of most studies by neglecting the voice of pastoralists themselves, their view of and relationship with states, borders and the emergent regional and global actors of violence. It neither openly advocates for their emancipation nor gives voice to their lived experience. Hence, in the name of objectivity, the book sits on the proverbial fence.
However, the above-mentioned shortcomings do not undermine the significance of the book as an important survey of the violence in pastoralist space and the emergent violence linked with new fringe pastoralists in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. Therefore, the book is an important reference material for both policymakers and academics.
Berouk, M (2010), The Horn of Africa as Regional Security Complex. Pretoria: ISS.
Fisher, J (April 2014), Mapping 'Regional Security' in the Greater Horn of Africa: Between National Interests and Regional Cooperation. Hor n of Africa Security Dialogue. Addis Ababa: FES.
Muauz, G (2018), Trajectories of Cross-Border Violence and Peace Building in the Afar Horn: Working Paper. Addis Ababa: N P.
UNDP (2016), Ending Need Indeed: Harmonizing Humanitarian, Development and Security Priorities in the Horn of Africa UNDP Africa Sub-Regional Strategic Assessment No. 2 Consultation Draft, Addis Ababa: UNDP.
Woodward, P (2013), "The IGAD and Regional Relations in the Horn of Africa", in Bereketeab, R (ed), The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security. London: Pluto Press
UNECA (2018), New Fringe Pastoralism: Conflict and Insecurity and Development in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, Addis Ababa: UNECA.
Muauz Gidey Alemu
Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria
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|Author:||Alemu, Muauz Gidey|
|Publication:||Strategic Review for Southern Africa|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2018|
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