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The international management of internal conflict in Africa: the Uganda mediation, 1985

Mwagiru, Makumi (1994) The international management of internal conflict in Africa: the Uganda mediation, 1985. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85966) (KAR id:85966)


This dissertation examines international mediation as an aspect of the international management of internal conflicts. It explores African perspective on ethnic and territorial conflict, and the principles, policies and methodology of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) conflict management. It illustrates certain hypotheses in a case study, the Uganda mediation of 1985.

The study reaches the following conclusions. Firstly, that the notion of ripe moments for mediation can be enlarged, to take into account specifically internal conflict situations. Secondly, that (im)partiality in mediation can be re-interpreted to include psychological explanations. The study finds that the diplomatic and psychological environment of the mediator influences his ability to mediate effectively, and hence on the outcome of mediation. It suggests that the ability of the mediator to apply leverage on the parties determines whether a passive or active strategy is adopted in the mediation: it finds that in the Uganda mediation, the mediator's lack of leverage was responsible for the adoption of a passive study.

On a broader theme, the study identifies a new identity of mediator, namely a heterogenous mediator, who it is argued, is not suited to mediate alone in internal conflicts, because of his close relationship with the conflict. It finds that in OAU conflict management to date, track one diplomacy has been resorted to in the management of the inter-state aspects of conflicts, while track two diplomacy has been used to manage their internal conflicts. It concludes that this dichotomous perception of conflict and its management is ineffective, because it leads to only one dimension of conflict being addressed. A dual track one and track two diplomatic approach is suggested as a solution to this problem. Such an approach would utilise both tracks within the same management process, and hence take into account the multi-level nature of conflict, and the complexity of its management.

Finally, the study concludes that the Uganda mediation made a signal contribution to the study and conflict management in Africa. It was a pioneering effort which effectively challenged principles of OAU conflict management, particularly the principle of non-interference. It concludes that involvement in a conflict by way of management does not constitute interference in the internal affairs of states.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85966
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Political science; Mediation; Uganda Mediation 1985
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:22 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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