P140 – Armed Political Movements and Their Civil Administration: Legitimacy, Statehood and War-to-Peace Transitions
10 July, 09:00 – 10:30

Heitz Tokpa Katharina / Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg (Germany)
Speight Jeremy / Memorial University (Canada)


Mehler Andreas, IAA/GIGA-Hamburg

Large parts of Africa have been controlled by armed political movements for lengthy periods of time. Some of these movements – like the SPLA in Sudan (South Sudan), the FN in Côte d’Ivoire, and UNITA in Angola – have developed an extensive military-civil administration as a means of maintaining social order, governing civil populations and extracting material resources. In the course of that process, relations to the civil population, the state and the international community have changed. The interest of this panel is to study such transformations with a view of contributing to a better understanding of institutionalisation processes of collective mobilisations. The panel brings case studies of different political movements together that have developed some sort of military-civil administration. Whilst non-armed actors are often lumped together as “civilians”, this panel is particularly interested in the roles civilians play (politicians, neighbourhood representatives, unions, businessmen, transnational actors, etc.) in the co-organisation of social life during the military-civil administrations of armed movements.
We are particularly interested in empirically grounded case studies that address the following questions: How are insurgent administrations organised? How do they legitimise themselves? And what does this tell us about how collective mobilisations may be sustained in war-to-peace transitions?

Mouvements politiques armés et leur administration civile: légitimité, l’Etat et transitions guerre – paix
De larges territoires africains ont déjà été contrôlés par des mouvements politiques armés pour un certain temps. Certains de ses mouvements – comme le SPLA au Soudan du Sud, les FN en Côte d’Ivoire ou l’UNITA en Angola – ont développé des administrations militaro-civiles comme moyen de maintenir l’ordre social, de gouverner les populations civiles et d’exploiter des ressources. Au cours de ce processus, les relations avec la population civile, l’Etat et la communauté internationale changent. L’intérêt de ce panel est d’étudier ces transformations afin de contribuer à une meilleure compréhension des processus d’institutionnalisation des mobilisations collectives. Il rassemble des études sur des mouvements politiques qui d’une certaine manière ont développé des administrations militaro-civiles. Ce panel s’intéresse particulièrement aux rôles joués par des civils (politiciens, chefs de quartier, syndicats, hommes d’affaires, acteurs transnationaux etc.) dans la co-organisation de la vie sociale dans l’administration des insurgés.
Nous sommes surtout intéressés par des études de cas empiriques analysant des questions suivantes : Comment les administrations des insurgés s’organisent-t-elles? Comment est-ce qu’elles se justifient ? Que pouvons-nous dire sur comment les mobilisations collectives peuvent être maintenues pendant la transition guerre – paix?

Paper 1

Suarez Carla / Dalhousie University

Hybrid Governance between the State and Non-State Armed Groups: Civilian Perspectives on Power in the DRC

The eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is infamous for the conspicuous absence of a functional state and the substantial presence of non-state armed groups. Thus, it is often inappropriately labeled as an ‘ungovernable space’ by academics, practitioners and policy-makers. Based on field research in North Kivu, this article addresses this misunderstanding by exploring the concept of ‘hybrid governance’. Specifically, it examines how authority was negotiated, accepted and rejected by civilians living in a community that was governed by both a non-state force, APCLS (Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain), and state forces, FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo), in Masisi Territory. In this context, civilians reinforced particular governing norms, rules and structures by complying with or resisting administrative modalities. For instance, most informants noted that they preferred to have APCLS oversee their conflict resolution processes, as they perceived APCLS to be more ‘fair and efficient’ in trials. In turn, APCLS was generally considered to be the more influential within the community, as it dominated this administrative power. Furthermore, the idea of ‘good governance’ was also linked to the previous or current conduct of soldiers towards civilians. Social order was not necessarily defined by what soldiers did, but more by what they did not do (e.g. harass, rape, beat, etc.).

Paper 2

Perera Suda / University of Birmingham

Within and Without the State? Armed Group-State Relations in the Eastern DRC

Recent international efforts to curb armed group activity in the eastern DRC are predicated on framings which draw a clear distinction between armed groups and the Congolese state. Armed groups are often posited as a threat to both civilians and the state, and strengthening state capacity is regarded as essential to finding a long-term solution to the armed group problem. As a result, many international organizations working in the DRC are prohibited in their mandates from working with armed groups, and usually work, to varying degrees, in some form of collaboration with the Congolese state. This framing, however, does not capture the complex and symbiotic relationships between various armed groups and certain Congolese state actors, and obscures the fact that in the eastern DRC armed groups are often both an extension of state power, and a means through which several state functions are carried out. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in the eastern DRC in 2014, this paper attempts to unpack some of the complex linkages between armed groups and state functions focussing in particular on various armed groups’ self-identification as agents of the state, and the role that certain “legitimate” political actors play in creating and sustaining armed groups.

Paper 3

Heitz Tokpa Katharina / University of Freiburg

Security for taxation: On the civil administration of Les Forces Nouvelles in Côte d’Ivoire

In this paper I show how security and taxation played a key role in transforming mere military power into institutionalised rule in rebel-held Côte d’Ivoire.
The northern half of Côte d’Ivoire was under rebel control for nearly a decade between 2002 and 2011. The western town of Man experienced a first period of rebel rule that was overshadowed by continuous insecurity and uncertainty, despite the reopening of schools and the creation of a local TV channel, radio programme and newspaper.
During a second period starting in mid-2003, a new rebel leadership set up a basic civil administration that gradually brought back order and basic social trust to everyday life. The presence of a UN peacekeeping mission further enhanced and stabilised the security situation after 2004. Crucial for turning military force into rule were the negotiation of taxes with the business sector and the establishment of a single chain of command. Another key element for enhancing trust was communication between different representatives of the local population based on pre-war social organisation.
The paper is based on ethnographic research between 2008 and 2010 and describes the military-patrimonial rule in Man, the western stronghold of Côte d’Ivoire’s Forces Nouvelles. It analyses with what means and to what extent the leadership has managed to create temporary basic legitimacy – and where it failed.

Paper 4

Jeremy Speight / Memorial University

Pathways from Rebellion: Rebel Group-Political Party Relations in Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire

The interaction between former armed movements and political parties represents a significant factor in determining the success of peace processes. Scholars view the integration of former rebels as an important peacebuilding tool because it creates channels for the articulation of grievances underpinning former armed movements. The more former combatants are integrated into the post-conflict order, the less of a threat they are thought to pose to post-conflict peace as potential ‘spoilers’. However, the privileged role commonly played by armed movements as part of power-sharing arrangements can also work to jeopardize long-term peace. In war-to-peace transitions, rebel organizations often displace political parties as the principal vehicles linking citizens to the state. This sends a strong message to other actors that “violence pays” (Mehler 2011, 116) as a means of political advancement. Political parties, as everyday channels for political participation and representation, become sidelined in the process. Taking this tension as its starting point, this paper explains variations in rebel-party relationships that emerge in post-conflict contexts. What explains the spectrum of different ways of integrating former rebels into post-conflict orders? When do former rebel groups become political parties? When do rebels merge with existing parties? To respond to these questions, this paper compares the war-to-peace transitions in Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire.

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