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System developed by McDonald and Diamond

Acknowledges the roles played by various actors, using various processes, in the process of conflict resolution Diplomacy refers to an interactive process, a back and forth between various parties, it is about relationship, communication and connectedness


diplomacy now goes far beyond the confines of relations between states and between governments, it increasingly involves and incorporates the citizen.

Also known as first tier or official diplomacy

Top down approach to conflict resolution Official representatives of a state or state like authorities conduct Track One Diplomacy. These include heads of states, heads of political parties, officials of intergovernmental organizations, heads of political parties, foreign affairs officials etc.

Usually applied in resolving conflicts at intranational level upwards. Process usually visible when conflicts get to the crisis/ peak/ precipice/ hurting stage
Track One Diplomacy employs the use of positive and negative incentives in resolving conflict.

Positive incentives include inter alia economic and humanitarian aid, mediation services, economic and political support.
Negative incentives include inter alia coercion, sanctions, ultimatums, psychological intimidation, expulsion from international organizations and even military force.

Track One Diplomacy can be crucial during peacemaking because actors can have a strong effect on the outcome of the peace process.
Track One actors may bring considerable influence, concrete incentives, and other resources to the negotiations. Thus processes are better funded.

Top down approach that ignore the grassroots people who in most cases bear the brunt of conflict
Official diplomatic efforts are tied to the official policies of states and thus may be constrained in their flexibility. Partisan and selfish interests often hinder collective action by actors when it comes to resolving most conflicts.

Also known as Citizen Diplomacy

Process designed to assist official leaders to resolve conflicts or problems. Actors are not disputants but people who work with disputants to resolve or transform the conflict.

Track II intervention takes place at all stages of conflict.

In most cases, Track II diplomacy works to resolve conflicts at intranational level and below. The process however has been seen to work at international level albeit with limited success.

In most cases actors are knowledgeable and skilled practitioners who are impartial and whose training and expertise enable them to facilitate peace processes.
Processes include problem-solving workshops, dialogues, cultural and scientific exchanges. Track Two Diplomacy is capable of easing the anger, tension, or fear among parties.

In Track Two Diplomacy, the transformation of attitudes and communication is inextricably tied to the establishment of deep relationships of mutual trust.
Saunders (1996) concurs and adds that conflict transformation is a process of building constructive relationships in societies, not just negotiating, signing or ratifying treaties. This process can only be conducted by Track Two actors.

Advocacyadvocates work to empower the disenfranchised; to restructure relationships and unjust social structures e.g. Martin Luther King jnr.
Intermediary- roles include peace process advocacy, conciliation and mediation.

Observers- provide a watchful, compelling physical presence intended to discourage violence, corruption, human rights violations e.g. thru election monitoring.
Educators- focus on conflict resolution training. They work to increase awareness of injustice or to promote healing and reconciliation. Examples include NUST, AU, SU, UPEACE, Silveira House e.t.c.


mediators have made significant contributions in opening channels of communication between parties who otherwise find it difficult to meet or acknowledge contact.
is grassroots based.


In most conflicts, the local level is a microcosm of the larger conflict. Lines of identity in the conflict are often drawn through local communities, dividing them into hostile groups. It is at this level that Track II diplomacy makes an entry point. Process works to break down negative stereotypes and generalizations of the other side.

Interventions include psychosocial work to help communities deal with trauma that violent conflict produces, to social and arts events that bring people together across conflict lines, joint business projects, interreligious dialogue and peace education among others. Actors are not restricted in terms of movement because they are deemed impartial. Actors work with people from all walks of life.

Assessing the impact of processes is not easy. Initiatives of Track Two actors are not designed to achieve the goals of traditional diplomacy, they are not designed to produce agreements.
Rather, initiatives seek to affect intangible aspects to a conflict, such as attitudes, restructuring of relationships and these are difficult to measure.

Partiality/ impartiality. Unofficial processes cannot completely insulate themselves from the socio-economic and political environment they operate.
Unlike in Track One diplomacy, Track II processes are not secret because they are unofficial. They are vulnerable to negative media exposure caused by leaks or media commentary.


may suffer crisis of legitimacy

volatile situations actors may face persecution, harassment and/ or deportation



Track One Diplomacy Official Representatives, Governments, Elites, Adversarial leaders, MTNs

Track Two Diplomacy

Unofficial representatives, Business community, Academicians, NGOs, Churches, Regional and local leaders, groups. Back channel discussions, educational programmes, workshops, grassroots reconciliation.
Present in all stages but of particular importance during conflict prevention and peace building. Important in fostering personal reconciliation between parties.

Positive and Negative Methods incentives, political and Economic support

Stages of Conflict

Present in all stages but of importance during Peacemaking when official actors determine ceasefires, peace accords and negotiated agreements.

At some point, the odds are great that either you will be suing someone or someone will be suing you.
You have made all reasonable efforts to resolve a dispute with someone. You have talked to them, you have sent letters, you have contacted your lawyers and they have sent letters, and still you have not received an adequate response or resolved the dispute.

What next? Often times, the next step is to begin a lawsuit. Litigation normally has a mystique to many people, and the process can be very frustrating and intimidating to the layperson.
There are generally two types of legal cases (criminal and civil).

Criminal cases involve a charge prosecuted by a governmental body that some individual broke a criminal law and should be punished.
Civil cases involve private disputes between individuals where damages or some other remedy is requested. In civil cases, the "plaintiff" is the party who brings the lawsuit and the "defendant" is the party who is being sued.

The decision making authority in litigation cases in the magistrate, judge or jury. Litigation is normally used to resolve conflicts that take place within a particular nation using the laws of that particular country.
However, the process can be applied at international level. Intergovernmental organizations can set up bodies or tribunals that deal with cases at such levels.


International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Criminal Court (ICC), the recently disbanded SADC Tribunal are examples in point.


most cases the decision making authority is impartial and unknown to conflicting parties.
one party is not satisfied with the initial outcome or judgment there is room for appeal to a higher court.



is not confidential

of today's litigation involves complex factual issues concerning such areas as medicine, psychiatry, engineering, economics, rehabilitation, and law.

When issues are sufficiently complex that they are beyond the common knowledge or understanding of the judge or jury, "expert testimony" by "expert witnesses" may be necessary to assist the judge or jury in determining the case. This may not be possible in some cases.

Although you may have very good grounds for suing someone, it may be far more pragmatic and expedient for you to resolve the dispute at the outset through personal negotiations with the individuals involved.
After assessing the situation, you may come to the conclusion that it is not worth suing someone, because the other party has little or no money.

For example, you could be suing an individual who has no assets, equity, or net worth. You may be suing a corporation with liability limited to the assets of the corporation. However, by the time the trial date arrives, the assets of the corporation may have been pledged as security to other creditors or to raise money to pay the lawyer to defend the lawsuit.

Or you may decide not to sue when the amount in dispute is disproportionate to the costs and legal fees that would be incurred in the legal proceedings. Litigation can be extremely expensive
In addition, it is very time-consuming, full of potential risk of losing the case Process can be stressful.

The civil litigation process is adversarial in nature. That means that each side will exert their best efforts to convince the court on the merits of their respective positions.
It involves expending a lot of negative emotion and energy over a sustained period of time, e.g years.

Arbitration is an extra-judicial mechanism through which conflicts can be solved. It is an adversarial process, which is governed by the principle of party autonomy. This means that it is the parties to a conflict who determine whether they want their dispute to be solved through arbitration.

Thus the arbitrators derive their authority solely from the parties. Parties are free to choose the place (seat) of arbitration, and often do so through a contractual clause before a dispute emerges.
Arbitration processes are convened on an ad hoc basis, and the parties influence the composition of the arbitration panel and/or the selection of a specific arbitrator.

The parties determine the "rules of the game," either by designing the process themselves or by choosing the seat of arbitration.
In most cases, arbitral awards are conclusive, final, and binding.

Today it is widely used for commercial and investment disputes by states and private entities. Arbitration is characterized by an adversarial process, which in most cases ends with a win-lose solution.
It is a settlement technique in which a third party in the form of an arbitrator reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.

When the subject matter of the conflict is highly technical arbitrators with an appropriate degree of expertise can be appointed.
Arbitration is faster than litigation in court. Arbitration can be cheaper and more flexible for business

Arbitral proceedings and an arbitral award are generally non-public and can be made confidential.
In most legal systems, there are limited avenues for appeal of an arbitral award.

Parties waive their rights to access the courts and have a judge or jury decide the case. There are very limited avenues for appeal, which means that erroneous decisions cannot easily be overturned.
In some arbitration agreements, the parties are required to pay for the arbitrator, which adds an additional layer of costs that can be prohibitive.

Arbitration agreements are sometimes contained in ancillary agreements or in small print in other agreements, and consumers and employees sometimes do not know in advance that they have agreed to mandatory pre-dispute arbitration by taking a job or purchasing a product.


arbitration clauses are frequently placed within sealed users manuals within products, within lengthy click through agreements on websites, and in other contexts in which meaningful consent is not realistic.

The word comes from the Latin word mediare which means to stand in the middle. Mediation aims to assist two or disputants in reaching an agreement. more

The parties themselves determine the conditions of any settlement reached, rather than accepting something imposed by a third party.

Conflicts at all levels can be mediated e.g. conflicts between states, organisations, communities, individuals e.t.c.
Mediators use appropriate techniques and/ or skills to open and / or improve dialogue between parties, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement in the disputed matter. Normally all parties must view the mediator as impartial.

Mediation works purely facilitatively, the practitioner has no advisory role.

Instead, the mediator seeks to help the parties to develop a shared understanding of the conflict and to work towards building a practical and lasting resolution.

Parties to a conflict may choose mediation as a less expensive route to follow for conflict transformation.
While a mediator may charge a fee comparable to that of an attorney, the mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through standard legal channels.

Taking less time means spending less money on hourly fees and costs. Mediation offers a confidential process. While court cases happen in public, mediation meetings are conducted behind closed doors. Outsides can only observe proceedings with both parties consent.

Confidentiality in mediation has such importance that in most cases the legal system cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content or progress of mediation.
In mediation, parties have control over the resolution, and the resolution can be unique to the conflict.

Often, solutions developed by the parties are ones that a judge or jury cannot provide Thus mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable, or win/ win for the parties.
Because the result is attained by the parties working together and is mutually agreeable, compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high.

Mediation takes place with the aid of a mediator who is a neutral third party. A good mediator is trained in conflict transformation and in working with difficult situations.
The good mediator is likely to work as much with the emotional aspects and relationship aspects of a case as he/ she is to work on the topical issue of the matter.


trained mediator helps the parties to think outside the box for possible solutions to the conflict, thus enabling the parties to find the avenue to a solution that suits them best.


be time-consuming


of outcome in most cases is not legally enforceable

may be impartial


Creating favourable conditions for the parties decision making.

Providing an appropriate physical environment i.e. through selection of neutral venues. Facilitation the parties negotiations. Mediators can act as catalysts for creative problem-solving e.g. by brainstorming or referring to settlement options generated.

Providing procedural framework. They can establish basic ground rules, provide order, sequence e.g. improving the emotional environment e.g. thru restricting pressure, aggression and intimidation in the conference room by providing a sense of neutrality and by reducing anxiety among parties.

Assisting parties to communicate. People in conflict tend not to communicate effectively.

Thus mediators must be good communicators and practice good speaking and listening skills, pay attention to non-verbal messages and other signals.

The head: listening for facts and other forms of information. The heart: listening for feelings. Conflict is often associated with strong feelings such as anger, fear, frustration, disappointment, etc.
Strong feelings often block the way to rational discussions and therefore have to be identified and dealt with before proceeding to substantive matters.

The stomach: listening for basic human needs. Identify what basic needs are driving the conflict and distinguish between needs and satisfiers.
The feet: listening for intention or will. Identify in which direction the person/group is moving and how strong their commitment is.

The subject of reconciliation is one that is not very easy to understand. We will explore the ideas of widely respected authors on reconciliation that is John Paul Lederach and Hiskias Asseffa.
Generally speaking, reconciliation describes a process of coming together.

Bloomfield et al (2003) notes that the term carries a normative and almost moral aspect as well.
That is to say, reconciliation is the unification (or re-unification) of things destined to be together.

Reconciliation thus entails bringing back together parties that at one point were together but were separated by conflict whether real or imagined.

Truth: the longing for acknowledgement of wrong and validation of painful loss

Mercy: the need for acceptance, letting go and new beginnings


Justice: social restructuring and restitution, individual and group rights

Forgiveness: emotional replacement of hot anger & fear by positive emotions (agape love, romantic love, compassion, empathy)

Lederach, a Mennonite himself believes reconciliation is spiritual irrespective of ones religion.

For reconciliation to happen, the truth must first of all be established. The offender must be in a position to state the truth in its entirety.

In the case of crimes against humanity, offenders or perpetrators must come out clean if they entertain hopes of being forgiven.
This is the most difficult part of the reconciliation process. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once remarked that the most difficult words to come out of a human being can say is to say I am sorry.

After truth acknowledgement, the other elements will then come in. Asseffa (1995) states that reconciliation as a conflict handling mechanism entails the following core elements:
Honest acknowledgment of the harm/injury each party has inflicted on the other;

Sincere regrets and remorse for the injury done: Readiness to apologize for ones role in inflicting the injury;
Readiness of the conflicting parties to let go of the anger and bitterness caused by the conflict and the injury;

Commitment by the offender not to repeat the injury; Sincere effort to redress past grievances that caused the conflict and compensate the damage caused to the extent possible;
Entering into relationship. a new mutually enriching

The element of justice is further clarified by Asseffa on point number six has been problematic in most reconciliation processes.
Forget (2009) notes that the compatibility of reconciliation with justice and respect for human rights, the viability of forgiveness among erstwhile enemies, and so on is always an issue.

On one hand punishing perpetrators (retributive justice) may serve to create a cycle of violence and vengeance and also heighten tensions in the post conflict fragile society and end up impeding reconciliation.
On the other hand, in the case of a national conflict, impunity undermines the new governments credibility and efforts to promote democracy and to establish and uphold the rule of law.

The attempt to differentiate between the previous oppressive regime and the new, supposedly democratic, human-rightsrespecting order will come to nought.
The argument is that a government that openly eschews impunity demonstrates its commitment to justice and the rule of law; whereas a more conciliatory, victim-oriented stance, models empathy and forgiveness (restorative justice).

Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Upon attainment of independence in 1980, the then Prime Minister announced a policy of reconciliation for the new state which was welcomed by the international community.
The announcement of the reconciliation policy was not corroborated by the implementation of distributive justice.

Following independence there were some disturbances in parts of Midlands and Matebeleland (commonly referred to as Gukurahundi) that were interpreted by some quarters as a Ndebele vs. Shona conflict.
These disturbances subsided with the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 between the two major parties PF ZAPU and ZANU which merged into ZANU PF.

Presently there is a feeling among some that the issue to Gukurahundi needs to be revisited in order to bring closure.
On the other hand one of the structural causes why the liberation war had been fought was that of land alienation. Because of the relevant authorities failure to deal with this issue adequately in the post independence era tensions began to rise.

Most white farm owners were unwilling to give up or sell their land and two decades into independence, the government decided to compulsorily acquire and redistribute land to the indigenous people, signalling the collapse of the reconciliation. This was after a Donors Conference called by the government in 1999 failed to live up to expectations.

The land redistribution subsequently attracted the wrath of western governments who went on to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe such as ZIDERA by the USA. Thereafter Zimbabwe experienced a plethora of conflicts (intra-state and inter-state) that left the nation highly polarised.

Following the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) on 15 September 2008 an organ on National Healing was constituted as part of the new government.
Machakanja (2010) observes that the GNUs position on reconciliation and national healing represents what many see as an acknowledgement and endorsement of the adoption of the need for some form of transitional justice in Zimbabwe.

The mandate of the tripartite team (comprised of three ministers one from each of the GNU parties) is to come up with a policy framework that will be presented to the council of ministers for debate, approval and ratification into an act and bill. On the other hand civil society actors are arguing that politicians cannot lead the process because their hands are not clean.

Machakanja (2010) notes that informed by the South African and Rwandan experiences, arguments by some church alliances are that because issues of national healing and reconciliation are embedded in moral obligations, the church or church-based independent organisations can claim moral authority and legitimacy to lead the National Healing and Reconciliation process, as politicians are viewed as not having the moral integrity to remain neutral and / or separate national issues from party political agendas.

It remains to be seen how the process will unfold. It might be important to learn how other countries like South Africa have done it but most importantly each case is unique and requires its own formula.
In a nutshell, Machakanja (2010) argues that reconciliation in Zimbabwe needs to be broadly conceptualised as a dynamic, inclusive, multidimensional adaptive process aimed at rebuilding and healing society; a process of change and redefinition of social and political relationships