1 .1         Abstract

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in 2000, the first- ever on Women, Peace and Security Resolution. The Resolution called for the recognition of women as agents of change in conflict prevention and resolution; acknowledged the different impacts of conflict on men and women and the necessity of appropriate protection measures; and underlined the need to include women in peace processes. East Africa has been hit ever since independence with conflict and violence that borders on terrorism, piracy, organized crime, intra-state conflicts among others. The impacts of such conflicts is a long list leading to deaths and maiming so many. Women have borne the brunt of these conflicts/violence both indirectly (when their men, the sole breadwinner) is killed and directly when they are tortured and even killed in their numbers. Nevertheless, little attention is paid to how women suffer the conflicts and violence or participate in peace processes. Women continue to be under-represented in matters pertaining to peace and security as they are only seen as victims in conflict and security situations. This paper seeks to rethink UNSCR 1325 against the background of the ongoing peace and security situation in East African region, assesses the challenges of non-inclusion of women in peace processes and proposes mainstreaming of gender perspective in peace and security as a remedy to the cycle of conflicts and violence in Eastern Africa.

1.2         Introduction

The ultimate goal of human during history in all societies is to achieve such peace and security that as a result violence of human life disappeared, and the dignity of man restores its place (Soltani & Moradi, 2017). According to Miller (2005), It is thought the most important thing is that whether peace should simply be defined as the absence of war and direct violence (negative peace), or whether it involves both mean of absence of war and direct violence in the presence of social justice (positive peace) (Kurtz, 1999). In the second sense, peace is political conditions that guarantee social justice and stability through institutions, procedures and the formal and non-formal norms (Miller, 2005).

For many people, today’s world is an insecure place, full of threats on many fronts. Protracted crises, violent conflicts, natural disasters, persistent poverty, epidemics and economic downturns impose hardships and undercut prospects for peace, stability, and sustainable development.  Such crises are complex, entailing multiple forms of human insecurity. When they overlap, they can grow exponentially, spilling into all aspects of people’s lives, destroying entire communities and crossing national borders, but as noted in the United Nation General Assembly resolution 66/290, “human security is an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people.” It calls for “people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses that strengthen the protection and empowerment of all people.”

East African community countries like most African countries, despite the efforts that they have put forth to ensure peace and security in the region, the security threats seem to stay put. This paper recognizes that one of the main gaps in ensuring that the region is peaceful and secure lies in mainstreaming a gender perspective in peace and security. Agbalajobi (2010) affirms that, the rise in conflict in east Africa and the frequency by which they occur call for a re-thinking into the strategies of for their intervention. Conflict exists in all countries and at every level of society. Conflict per se is by no means a negative force; it is a natural expression of social differences and of humanity’s perpetual struggle for justice and self (Agbalajobi, 2010)

Atim (2017) on the other hand asserted that in a world of continuing instability and violence, the participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts aimed at prevention and resolution of conflicts are essential for maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Agbalajobi insists that the way in which gender is integral to peace and violent conflict makes it clear that a gendered analysis of peacebuilding is essential in preventing and mitigating new violent eruptions in post-conflict societies while helping them recover from current conflict (Agbalajobi, 2010). While conflict inflicts suffering on everyone, women are particularly affected by its short- and long-term effects. Sexual assault and exploitation are frequently employed as tools of war. Victimisation leads to isolation, alienation, prolonged emotional trauma, and unwanted pregnancies that often result in abandoned children.

Given that women suffer as victims first of conflict and then of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, it has become necessary to recognise the role played by women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, otherwise they will continue to be victims of conflicts. Resolution 1325 recognises the importance of women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and provides a series of specific measures aimed at women’s full participation in decision making in the area of peace and security. Agbalajobi (2010) observes that in the last few years, governments, international organisations and civil society have increasingly recognised the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the continuing struggle for equality, democracy and human rights and for poverty eradication and development.

1.3         Theoretical Considerations

State-centrism in the international system is not a benign occurrence. The realist domain is quite instructive. The international system is anarchical and anarchy is best managed by states. To the realist therefore, under these circumstances the state becomes the ultimate guarantor of the security of its people (Nzau & Mohamed, 2017). Without refuting the position of the realist, it is clear that the peace and security dimension has become too complex making the realist lens less elaborate in explaining the reality of peace and security.

According to Renner (2006), many of today’s challenges cannot be resolved by traditional (i.e., military-focused) security policies.  Unlike traditional military threats emanating from a determined adversary, many of today’s security challenges are risks and vulnerabilities shared across borders.  While the poorest countries are most directly affected, none of these issues respect human-drawn borders, and we might think of them as “problems without passports.”

As such, from a feminist point of view, the realist-cantered international security discourse is unduly male-dominated, a state of affairs that leaves out critical actors who are in fact victims and/or active participants in matters to do with security and/or insecurity- the female gender. Yet, over and above the general feminist theoretical orientation, the human security paradigm is a broad theoretical argument that in many ways subsumes feminist concerns within it

Marry (2009) quoted in Nzau & Mohamed (2017) asserts that from an African standpoint, when talking about energy, water, food and personal security and others, it is mothers, sisters, daughters and the women-folk in general who come to mind.  further they quoted Davies (2008) elaborating that, the women-folk cook, fetch water and firewood; and in a region that has had its own share of brutal civil war, women and children (and by extension, the girl-child) have suffered the brunt of it- torture, abduction, displacement, rape and death. As it is, the domestic realm to which they have mostly been relegated is rarely illuminated in the security discourse, a state of affairs that makes them inferior players in security matters. From this perspective, therefore, the ideas presented by the critical theoretical domain of international security do present a worthwhile framework for mainstreaming gender in countering violent extremism and terror in the Eastern African Region.

1.4         Gender and insecurity in Africa: A brief introspective account

Yinger (1997) believes that ethnic unrest and tension are prevalent in today’s world. Newspapers and television are rife with stories about ethnic violence among the people of Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Srilanka, Ireland, etc. Many other societies in little danger of civil wars—such as the United States, Britain, Canada, most of the Western Europe, and Japan—are nevertheless torn by ethnic strife. In many ways they are more seriously divided along ethnic lines, marked by racial, lingual, religious, and national differences, than they were a generation ago.

Yabi (2016) believes that Africa and the Middle East are the two regions of the world with the highest conflict burden. Since the mid-1990s, Africa has gradually improved across all measurements of death and war. These positive changes are due to several factors, including greater regional cooperation, decreased intrastate wars, economic growth, and increased democratic governance that include women in the process of governance.

Comprising the largest share of ex-colonial states of the world, Africa is caught up in a range of intra- to inter-state conflicts. „Since independence, about one-third of the countries of Africa have experienced large-scale political violence or war (Ali, 2004). Statistics bear out the impression that conflict on the continent is getting worse, not better. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which monitors incidents of conflict around the world, found that there had been 21 600 incidents of armed conflict in Africa in 2019 (up to 30 November). For the same period in 2018, that number was just 15 874. That represents a 36% increase (Allison, 2020).

According to Yinger (1997), the conflict in Africa have been largely blamed the colonization of Africa after the 1884 Berlin conference that led to the division of Africa to the satisfaction of the different colonial powers of the time. Even after independence, the conflict have continued with a range of causes such as boundary related conflicts, electoral conflicts, conflict based on gender discrimination, inter-ethnic conflicts among others. Such conflicts have led to deaths, destruction of properties, revenge attacks among others. If no interventions are carried out, this will rip Africa apart.

But not all African countries are affected to the same degree. In some African countries, a whole generation has never experienced peace since independence and has internalized war as a legitimate part of life (Nhema, 2004). For instance, within only four decades time (i.e., between the 1960s and the 1990s), approximately 80 violent changes in government in the 48 sub-Saharan African countries took place (Adebayo, 1999). Strangely enough, Africa has seen over seventy coups in the last quarter of the 20thC (Ali, 2004:9). Roughly in the same period, Africa has suffered the greatest number of armed conflicts in the world” (Andreas, 2010). As long as the root causes are not established, or if the root causes are politically downplayed, find a resolution would be a big challenge.

According to Okyere (2018), Wars and revolutions have been viewed as an exclusive preserve of men battling to either defend some class of people or champion the protection of State or a group’s ideology. In these specific situations, women are characterized in their capacity as wives, mothers and considered vulnerable. Over the past two decades, there has been increasing recognition that to understand the nature of conflict and design effective peacebuilding responses, it is necessary to think about gender. The different roles and behaviours of women, men and sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) affect the way that conflicts play out, as well as the impacts they have on people’s lives. Expectations relating to gender influence the roles that people play in efforts to build peace, and peacebuilding activities can also influence gender roles and behaviours (Watson, Wright, & Groenewald, 2015).

According to Shcraeder (2004) quoted in Nzau & Mohamed (2017), the folklore and contemporary historical evidence has from time to time come to prove that women actually organized and participated in offensive and defensive warfare in many pre-colonial African societies. Some were great warriors of their people while others were part of powerful secret spiritual societies that gathered, analysed and transmitted vital intelligence in both times of war and peace. Such was the case with the traditional women’s secret societies among the Mende people in today’s Sierra Leone, West Africa (Nzau & Mohamed, 2017). Shcraeder opines that the colonial system destroyed certain matriarchal societal systems, and further unduly reinforced a patriarchal social structure. The fact is conflicts/violence don’t discriminate, whenever it comes around it hits hard whoever is on its way regardless of their gender and other discriminations and because of this I believe it is the vocation of each one to be involved in peace and security in their respective positions in the society and children are not excluded from this.

1.5         Status of Peace and Security in Eastern Africa

1.5.1        Terrorism

There is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. It is commonly defined as the de-liberate use of violence and intimidation directed at a large audience to coerce a community (government) into conceding politically or ideologically motivated demands (Krieger & Melerrieks, 2010). Nearly all countries in East Africa have been victims to terrorist attacks for different reasons.  Examples include; the 1980 terrorist attacks on the Norfolk Hotel in Kenya, the August 1998 simultaneous attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the November 2002 simultaneous attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, on another Paradise Hotel and on an Israel-bound aircraft at take-off from the Mombasa International Airport, Kenya; the July 2010 attacks during the World Cup finals in Kampala, Uganda and the December 2010 bombing of a Kampala-bound bus in Nairobi. Local communities in the region have borne the burden of the loss of life and property as well as other economic damage from these attacks

According to Chikwanha (2007), Complexities of the violence in the EAC have been partly caused by, and have resulted in hostilities amongst individuals, groups and states. Although colonial legacies have fuelled the conflicts, contemporary violence seems to be a result of failure in both statecraft and state capacity to provide a secure and decent life for. Dagha (2020) on the other hand opines that EA region is vulnerable to terrorism because countries in the region experience: conflicts, weak governance, collapsed state institutions; porous borders the allowing extensive and uncontrolled movement of people and illegal weapons; increased extremist religious ideology and radicalisation of vulnerable groups. These factors generally coincide with poor socio-economic conditions and create fertile ground for the existence of terrorism. For instance Southern Somalia has faced the burden of the civil conflict for the past two decades. Since the overthrow of Siad Barre‟s regime in 1991, Southern Somalia has not had a functioning government, making it the most unstable and insecure region of the country

Barely two weeks into 2020, al-Shabaab attacked Kenya five times, leaving scores of Kenyans and foreigners dead? For the first time, one of the attacks involved infiltrating an air strip and destroying several aircraft in Lamu County – an area where the Kenyan and U.S armies operate. Chikwanha (2007), thinks that exclusionary governance styles are largely to blame for many of the conflicts since exclusion from government usually means exclusion from all other developmental prospects.

Kenya has borne the brunt of al-Shabaab attacks outside Somalia. Over the past decade, the group has attacked Kenya at least 30 times, leaving over 600 citizens and scores of foreigners dead, thousands injured and millions of US dollars lost in damages to infrastructure – both public and private. According to Dagha (2020), Al-Shabaab has warned of more attacks in Kenya. In these statements one key message has remained consistent over the years: Kenya should remove its troops from Somalia if it ever wants peace with al-Shabaab. If it fails to do so, ‘its streets will continue to be filled with rivers of blood of its own people’, said an al-Shabaab statement following the high-profile Westgate Mall attack in 2013 (Dagha, 2020)

The Kenyan government incurs heavy costs in trying to stabilize Somalia. But it became partisan to United States (US) interests in the anti-terrorism drive. This has resulted in the victimization of Somalis and Muslims resulting in the radicalization of the Muslim community thus the War on terror is perceived as a war on Islam by many Moslems. The maligning of the local Moslem community signals mistrust of the Muslim community yet Moslem cooperation/collaboration is central in fighting terrorism in Kenya (Chikwanha, 2007). The north eastern region of Kenya has remained one of the most insecure regions in the country. Government and civilians require armed escorts. The collapse of Somalia led to an increase in banditry, lawlessness, inter-clan tensions and villains from Kenya simply cross over to cool down in Somalia where they have relationships with warlords.

1.5.2        Intra-State Conflicts

Smith (2001) observes that from the start of 1990 to the end of 1999 there were 118 armed conflicts worldwide, involving 80 states and two para-state regions and resulting in the death of approximately six million people. He defines armed conflicts as open, armed clashes between two or more centrally organised parties, with continuity between the clashes, in disputes about power over government and territory. such armed conflicts have shaken the peace and security in Africa at large and Eastern Africa in particular for instance, for the African Union, 2020 was supposed to be a landmark year. Its ‘silencing the guns’ initiative was aimed at ‘ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide in the continent by 2020.’ While no one can argue with that laudable goal, the continental body and its member states will have to work miracles to achieve it by the end of this year – especially when the trend seems to be heading in the other direction.

According to Peace and Security Council (2020) report, the issues around elections or political change on the continent remain volatile and have the potential to trigger or aggravate political crises, with the possibility of tipping over into violent conflict, for example Cameroon postponed legislative election to 2020 as a result of volatile political climate, Algeria and Sudan saw their respective incumbents forced out as a result of sustained popular protest, the security situation in Burkina Faso and Niger has been severely affected by violent extremism, with a worrisome increase in attacks in the latter

Meanwhile, since the post-electoral crisis of 2010– 2011, Côte d’Ivoire has had a difficult time in its process of peacebuilding and democratic consolidation. What is brewing in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential elections has the potential to end up being another major crisis. The Sahel, where violent extremism has been occurring with renewed intensity, is an area that will require the whole of Africa to be fully involved in the search for and implementation of a holistic and durable solution. The political transition in Sudan, the conflict situation in South Sudan, and the prognosis for Ethiopia in 2020 make the Horn of Africa another region that risks increasing instability. Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed, faces several crises in the context of its ethnic federalist model being challenged by various groups within the federation.

Almost three quarters of East has suffered different episodes of conflicts for’p 987 instance; since 2015 Burundi faced crisis punctuated by episodes of violence and a deteriorating socio-political climate. Africa peace and security (2020) report some examples; Incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza was allowed to seek re-election after he amended the constitution in May 2018. The terrorist problem is all the more worrying because it is spreading like a trail of gunpowder across the continent, now affecting northern Mozambique and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and most parts of East Africa, occupying spaces where states are absent, and taking advantage of the social and economic misery of an often youthful and idle population that is without prospects for the future.

Chikwanha (2007) observes that global economic pressures push recalcitrant governments to engage in rapid economic and political reform through mobilizing constituencies around ethnic or religious differences. This makes it possible for them to hold on to power and restore their positions of wealth and power. Such exclusionary governance styles drive ethnic groups to force inclusion violently. For instance, Burundi’s ruling elite come from one province, Bururi leaving those excluded to use violence to fight for inclusion. In Kenya, former President Moi restructured distributional politics to benefit his Kalenjin group and the Kikuyus were not happy to lose their privileged position. Currently, the Kikuyus are unhappy and uneasy about the possibility of losing their current status again. he goes further to state that ethnic tensions (inter-ethnic violence)- Decades of ethnic violence deter the achievement of political and social harmony- this has resulted in different types of killing societies e.g. Burundi’s history of ethnic cleansing of Tutsis [1965,1972,1988 and 1993] and unworkable peace deals that condone violence by allowing perpetrators to go unpunished.

Stereotyping that has persisted since colonization also contributes to conflicts. For example according to the International crisis group (2017) report, the most serious clashes, which occurred after the disputed presidential election in 2007-2008, engulfed much of the Rift Valley region and took the country to the brink of civil war. Most of these violence pitted the Kikuyu and a few communities believed to have backed President Mwai Kibaki’s re-election against the Kalenjin, Luo and Luhya groups that supported opposition leader Raila Odinga’s candidacy. Chikwanha (2007) is of the assertion that in the entire East Africa, there are aliens and indigenes; sophisticated and primitive regions; oppressors and the oppressed and rulers versus subjects, the predatory politicians and the revolutionaries. The case of cattle rustling shows the apparent lack of sophistication as these inhabitants devastate themselves, their neighbours and entire regions.

Many researchers view identity as being implicated in intractable conflicts. Specifically, intractable conflicts are characterized by simplifying stereotypes and zero-sum conceptualization of identity (Azar, 1986; Coleman, 2003,; Kelman, 1999, 2006; Putman & Wondoleck, 2003; Zartman, 2005), the identities of parties in intractable conflicts are negatively interdependent such that a key component of each group’s identity is based on the negation of the other group (Kelman, 2006). Furthermore, for one group to maintain its legitimacy it must delegitimize the other.

1.5.3        Resource-Based Conflicts

According to Renner (2006), Natural resources are at the core of a number of security issues.  Resource wealth has fuelled a series of civil wars, with governments, rebels, and warlords in Latin America, Africa, and Asia clamouring over resources such as oil, metals and minerals, gemstones, and timber. He states further that oil is the most strategic and lucrative commodity in the world economy. Struggles over access and control have long fuelled geopolitical manoeuvring, civil wars, and human rights violations.  Major Powers have repeatedly intervened in resource-rich countries, militarily and by other means, in order to control lucrative resources.  The result has often been enduring political instability. He goes further to state that security, political, social and economic crises will certainly be aggravated by climate change, which caused death and destruction on the continent this year. Extreme weather events destroy communities, disrupt farming and cause food insecurity, while African governments (and populations) remain unprepared to deal with this threat.

According to Gumba, Alusala & Kimani (2019, Cattle rustling, a term widely accepted to mean livestock theft, has become a widespread and sometimes lethal practice in East Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. Once a traditional practice among nomadic communities, it has now become commercialised by criminal networks that often span communal and international borders and involve a wide range of perpetrators. Cattle rustling is clearly an economic activity for some population categories. The cross border nature of the raids complicate redress mechanisms as collaboration with neighbouring countries have to be strengthened (Chikwanha, 2007) Cattle rustling in East Africa and the Horn was, in the past, predominantly practised by pastoral and nomadic communities for two main purposes. The first was as a way of restocking after a severe drought or disease had killed their livestock and the second was to enable suitors (young warriors) to acquire cattle to pay the bride price required in order to marry. Whatever the reason, however, it rarely involved violence or death (Gumba, Alusala, & Kimani, 2019).

According to Chikwanha (2007), the entire region experiences poverty that is exacerbated by the unequal distribution of resources. This has always been a major cause of civil strife. For example, Burundi has very high rates of poverty with over 60% living below the poverty datum line. Economic performance has not been good for a long time and even regressed between 1993 and 1996. Ignorance and a general lack of awareness is pervasive in Burundi. He further observes that access to land is one issue that has led to perpetual conflicts since decolonization. Throughout Africa, the pattern has been largely the same with certain groups accumulating land to the disadvantage of others. Land policies are often complex and require fair redistribution models so as to stop the prolonged conflicts (Chikwanha, 2007). Uganda for example has experienced cycles of conflicts since 1979 but three major ones have persisted. In the West Nile, there are thousands of refugees from Congo and Sudan who battle with locals over land. Then there is Karamoja where over 30 years of armed cattle rustling has intensified as grazing land and water access dwindles. Cattle rustling creates opportunities for banditry to flourish.

1.5.4        Organized Crime

According to Kraft (2016), it is increasingly recognised in the international aid community that organised crime hinders inclusive and sustainable development in many ways. Today’s universe of organised criminal activities and of the individuals, groups and networks involved in them is virtually infinite. Spanning the whole globe, organised criminal operations range from illegal protection economies and extortion rackets to cybercrime, oil theft, money laundering, and counterfeiting, maritime piracy and the trafficking and/or smuggling of illicit drugs, humans, firearms and wildlife. In 2009, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that transnational organised crime generated $ 870 billion, the equivalent of 1.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP). All criminal proceeds worldwide amounted to an estimated 3.6% of global GDP, equivalent to about $2.1 trillion. He further observes that organised crime is not an “alien”, external threat. Criminal operations are planned, designed and implemented by mafia bosses, drug kingpins, paramilitary and insurgent commanders, warlords and gang leaders ‒ but also by, and with, politicians, military and police officers, civil servants, investment bankers and accountants, among representatives of many other professions.

According to the ICC International Maritime Bureau, in 2008, there were 293 actual and attempted piracy attacks globally. 92 of these attacks took place in the Gulf of Eden and 19 of them were in the coastal waters of Somalia. In 2009, there was an increase in the piracy attacks to 410 globally with 117 of them taking place in the Gulf of Eden and 80 in the coastal waters of Somalia. In 2010, the piracy attacks increased to 445 globally. Due to heightened international surveillance and counter-piracy activities, the piracy incidents in the Gulf of Eden dropped to 53 attacks in the Gulf of Eden, but the piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia rose to 139 (ICC International Maritime Bureau, 2010).

Chikwanha observes that porous and insecure borders all around [along Kenya – Somali and Kenya – Ethiopia] serve as fertile ground for organized crime. The rise in violence in Kenya is attributed to the ease of access to guns from the Darfur and Somali conflicts. The pervasive poverty in the entire region enables easy infiltration and recruitment into crime networks (Chikwanha, 2007). He further observes that, Insecurity in the region takes many forms: There is a pervasive climate of lawlessness as evidenced by increasing levels of piracy off the Somali coast, cross border smuggling between Kenya and Sudan, and between Kenya and Somalia. There is a general increase in violent crimes in all the cities: burglary, hijacking, poaching in the game parks, banditry/robbery and cattle rustling in the rural areas. For him, consequent redress mechanisms like forced disarmaments have proven elusive since governments have resulted in at times co-opting citizens to carry out disarmament policing and this has spiralled into un-checked ‘government enabled militias’ whose activities have also not been so objective. This has exacerbated violence, increase the number of weapons into the conflict epicentres and decelerated development in the areas.

1.6         Mainstreaming a gender perspective in peace and security

“Security” – no other political term has experienced such an international career since September 11, 2001. In the name of security, wars have been waged to topple the Taliban and the Iraqi dictatorship; the “war against terror” has been declared; the EU has resolved to set up intervention troops with a global scope of action; border controls have been tightened; and the powers of the security apparatus have been expanded. Have all of these actions resulted in more security (Fucks, 2006). My answer to the question is no and my proposal is that peace and security could be realized if a gender perspective is mainstreamed in peace and security. Mainstreaming a gender perspective will change the meaning and the approach to sustainable peace and security. Renner (2006) is of the same line of thought when he asserted that weapons do not necessarily provide security they aggravate it and this true in all forms of war. Real security in a globalizing world cannot be provided on a purely national basis (or even on the basis of limited alliances).  A multilateral and even global approach is needed to deal effectively with a multitude of transboundary challenges (Renner, 2006). It is under this umbrella that we propose that the peace and security agenda should be removed from state-centrism to a more encompassing model that incorporate all sectors and in this case a mainstream of gender perspective.

The traditional focus on state (or regime) security is inadequate and needs to encompass safety and well-being of the state’s population.  If individuals and communities are insecure, state security itself can be extremely fragile.  Security without justice will not produce a stable peace.  Democratic governance and a vibrant civil society may ultimately be more imperative for security than an army (Renner, 2006).

Non-military dimensions have an important influence on security and stability.  Nations around the world, but particularly the weakest countries and communities, confront a multitude of pressures.  They face a debilitating combination of rising competition for resources, severe environmental breakdown, the resurgence of infectious diseases, poverty and growing wealth disparities, demographic pressures, and joblessness and livelihood insecurity (Renner, 2006)

1.6.1        Change in Peace and Security Dimensions

Renner (2006) state that, security has been see traditionally as closely related to the threat or use of violence, and military means are regarded as central to the provision of security. This may once have made sense, when conflicts took place predominantly between different countries, when territorial control was a key objective, and when uniformed soldiers were the combatants.  But over the last several decades, this type of conflict has become more the exception than the norm. He asserts further that the pressures facing societies and people everywhere do not automatically or necessarily trigger violence. But they can translate into political dynamics that lead to rising polarization and radicalization.  Worst-case outcomes are more likely where grievances are left to fester, where people are struggling with mass unemployment or chronic poverty, where state institutions are weak or corrupt, where arms are easily available, and where political humiliation or despair over the lack of hope for a better future may drive people into the arms of extremist movements. Insecurity can manifest itself in ways other than violent conflict. The litmus test is whether the well-being and integrity of society are so compromised that they lead to possibly prolonged periods of instability and mass suffering. it is under this background that I wish to argue that in matters security, gender discrimination should not apply, actually put positively, mainstreaming a gender perspective is likely to escalate the realization of peace and security in conflict areas

1.6.2        Gender and Conflicts

While conflict inflicts suffering on everyone, women are particularly affected by its short- and long-term effects. Sexual assault and exploitation are frequently employed as tools of war. Victimisation leads to isolation, alienation, prolonged emotional trauma, and unwanted pregnancies that often result in abandoned children. As culturally designated caregivers, women must struggle to support their families and keep their homes together, while the traditional breadwinners, the husbands, are caught up in the fighting and are thus unable to provide for their families (Agbalajobi, 2010). From this observation, it is worth noting that paying special attention to the different experiences of women and men is particularly critical in designing successful conflict management and peacebuilding programmes

In any discussion on peace security especially in light of the dangers posed by radicalization into violent extremism and terror, the place of the female gender cannot be overlooked. In the African context particularly, women may appear to have been relegated to the domestic sphere, yet the story of radicalization into violent extremism is closer home- in feminine circles (Nzau & Mohamed, 2017). More than involvement in counterterrorism, women must be involved in different peace and security platforms for the sustainability of peace and security. Alao quoted in Mohamed & Nzau (2017), it is noteworthy, for instance, that a substantial number of suicide bombings in Nigeria today have been orchestrated by women. It is evident that the matter peace and the security no longer fall in the men domain alone but far wider and deeper in the society structures.

1.6.3        Gender Discrimination

According to Brine (1999) quoted in Isike & Uzodike (2011) he asserts that while a multiplicity of factors is responsible for the conflicts, they all reflect the failure of national political systems to prevent them ab initio, effectively manage their symptoms or mediate them when they occur. It is pertinent to note that the vast majority of world leaders, of governments and officials at all levels, and of the presidents and boardrooms of transnational corporations are men. Isike & Uzodike (2011) are of the assumption that: first, the global power is gendered in favour of men, and second is that armed conflict has a masculine character in terms of causes since men dominate the decision-making structures and mechanisms that produce them in the first place. The question they ask is how and why did women transform from being active participants in pre-colonial politics and peace processes to being passive observers of politics and peacebuilding in neo-colonial Africa (Isike & Uzodike, 2011).

Donnenfeld (2019) observes that any country, region or society that fundamentally excludes 50% of its population will never be able to realise its full potential. Around the world women are systematically discriminated against relative to their male counterparts, but the problem is particularly acute in developing countries – especially sub-Saharan Africa. Women in sub-Saharan Africa face hurdles not only to personal safety and access to basic services such as education and healthcare, including reproductive health services, but also to economic and financial independence.  Nzau & Mohamed (2017), posits that gender is a socially constructed aspect of social reality. Over time and space, different societies have ascribed gender roles and with them, different social expectations, prestige, entitlements, rights and privileges. For the most part, pre-colonial African societies were patriarchal, where male-gendered roles took precedence over female-gendered ones. There were, however, matrilineal societies where the case was the reverse. Here, female-gendered social roles (and hence social expectations, prestige, entitlements, rights and privileges) took precedence. On the whole however, societal defence was a male-dominated affair.

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) global agenda recognises that gender mainstreaming is important for a gender-equal society. Because of historical disadvantage and unequal and discriminatory policies against women worldwide, specific attention must be given to women to tackle the challenges that impair their development (Chikwanha, 2007). Isike & Uzodike (2011) brings forward the significance of the human factor paradigm in their observation that beyond the human security and human rights (people-centred) approaches to development, the quality/type of people who can make peace and development possible also matters. In other words, there is need to focus on the character traits and human dimensions of people who are more likely to make peace and development happen, and appropriate their services accordingly (Isike & Uzodike, 2011). The human factor model bring out the quality of the actor in peace and development beyond gender composition and this in my view is what ought to be considered in the peace and security infrastructure.

Mainstreaming a gender perspective is a prerequisite for meaningful peace and human security. In 1994 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced a new definition of human security that advocates for inclusion of the following dimensions: economics, health, personal, political, food, environmental and community.  Fundamental to this broader definition of human security is the acknowledgement that all members of society are included, regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity or gender. whichever perspective that may be adopted, it should be noted that peace and security is the responsibility of each one and finding and putting appropriate actors in the peace process is key to the realization of sustainable peace and security in Eastern Africa and beyond.

1.6.4        Gender Roles

Women have been largely marginalized in formal conflict resolution processes and post conflict governance hence issues that affect them get scant attention. Violence against women [domestic] and the fact that many wars are fought on women’s bodies, means that their voices are crucial and critical for reforming the security sector (Chikwanha, 2007). Isike traces the significance of women in the traditional African society when he asserted that Women in different pre-colonial African societies had traditional peace-making and peacebuilding roles as they were involved in mediating and preventing conflict within and between societies. Women’s peace agency in these societies, and also their cultural and socio-political roles and contributions to the overall well-being of these societies, were rooted in Ubuntu (Isike & Uzodike, 2011).

Chikwanha observes that while women were active fighters, many more were (and continue to be) victims of various forms of insecurity on the continent, particularly in the context of civil wars and concomitant ramifications on society- politically, economically, culturally and physiologically (Chikwanha, 2007).   Presley (1999) quoted in Chikwanha (2007), observes that during the Mau Mau struggle, the women were instrumental in conveying messages to the male fighters from one place in the forest to another; as well as transportation of essential supplies such as food and clothing. As state above it is worth noting that men are generally militaristic as they are naturally charged with the role of societal protection. However the very term protection ought to be deconstructed and understood beyond violence.

Isike & Uzodike observes that women generally are richly endeared with the moral capacity to care and to embrace curiosity and complexity as they are want to rise above the historic traps of dualistic divisions which drive the cycles of violence, and in this way, transcend orthodox gender stereotypes and the oppressive relations they spew. This is possible because women are more relational than men and as such view the same phenomenon differently (Isike & Uzodike, 2011). Further to that, they noted that women’s existence and power in precolonial African societies were based on an ethic of care that was rooted in their motherhood and their nature, which was tolerant of difference, collaborative, non-violent and, as such, peaceful. It is important to not that the African feminist ethic of motherhood and care which drove women’s political participation and peace agency in pre-colonial African societies is still very much alive amongst contemporary African women. Such powers ought to be explored deeper revived and mainstreamed in East African peace and security process.

Traditionally, women in pre-colonial African societies were peace agents. According to Nwoye (no date), women engaged in peacebuilding through positive childcare, responsible mothering and nurturing of children in ways that prepared and socialised them towards peaceful co-existence (Isike & Uzodike, 2011). According to Leith (1967), women are teachers. Culturally, African women were the transmitters of the language, the history and the oral culture, the music, the dance, the habits and the artisanal knowledge. They were the teachers and were responsible for instilling traditional values and knowledge in children. This caring role of women must be allowed to play in the community architecture of Eastern Africa and beyond. My argument is that if women in their numbers play this caring role in the society, children will grow up knowing the importance of coexistence (Leith, 1967).

Women in pre-colonial societies also engaged actively in conflict mediation. As mentioned before, age was an important social base of political power in these societies and respect was given to the elderly in general, and to elderly women in particular (Isike & Uzodike, 2011). More than mediation as Olasunkanmi (2014), the women’s role in traditional Africa was synonymous to societal development. The impacts of the women were felt in every aspect of life of the society. African traditional societies assigned to women the role of educator. African woman played a key role in the education and the teaching of children social, ethical and moral values which were part of the cultural standards for evaluating proper societal behaviour. Further to that as mentioned by Isike & Uzodike (2011) was the intermediaries’ role in conflicts between human beings and nature. The East African communities despite appreciating the roles that the men play ought to recognize the need to escalate the involvement women in peace and security owing to their significant nature and position in peace process

Isike & Uzodike (2011) observes from a study of women that; conflict, politics and peacebuilding show that the defining features of such a feminist peace model include a caring and nurturing nature based on motherhood, empathy to community needs (which makes women less corrupt than men), tolerance of difference, sharing and collaboration, all of which are undergirded by the notion of relational mutuality, i.e., that men and women exist in a web of relationships where their existence are intrinsically connected (Ubuntu). From the study, women respond to conflict by embracing peace and adopting collaborative methods of engagement. The attitude of women to conflict, which underscores their response and the peace-oriented roles they play in conflict resolution, is not unconnected to the African woman’s feminist ethic of care which values interrelationships, connectedness and empowerment rather than conflict and competition mostly embraced by the female gender.

1.7        Conclusion

The understanding of peace and security ought to be reviewed and removed from a state centric and male dominance into a more elaborate model that incorporate very significant actors such as the women. Mainstreaming a gender perspective transcend the consideration of peace and security actors based on their sex to capabilities. In order to realize sustainable peace and security in Eastern Africa, peace actors must be looked at from the perspective of their capabilities and not necessarily by their sexes.

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