Conflict Resolution as a mechanism to foster peacebuilding

The human society is one very complex system which is prone to conflicts and disagreements. These disagreements even though are undeniably part and parcel of the society, some of them can be very costly in terms of human life and resources. Therefore, it is very important to develop mechanism that create a society where conflicts can be resolved and peace fostered. It has been found out that prosperity and wealth creation is easy in a society where peace thrives as opposed to those where chaos rule. Disputes also create a state of lawlessness. Therefore, conflict resolution is an important aspect in creating peace.

What do I mean with conflict resolution? Conflict resolution is a means by which disputing parties resolve their disputes amicably. There exists so many other ways that peace is fostered but none is as effective and satisfying as conflict resolution with the parties involved. Therefore, resolving a conflict has stages and processes that must be followed in order to achieve the desired goal of peacebuilding. The very first stage of resolving a conflict is by the conflicting parties recognizing and appreciating that indeed, there is a problem. It would be worthless to resolve a conflict that does not exists or one which the parties do not recognize. It is therefore important for the parties at hand to realize and recognize the very existence of a problem.

The next stage is the mutual agreement by the conflicting parties to find a solution to the problem. Existence of a problem is one thing, agreeing to find a solution to it is another thing. In the process of resolving conflicts, or disagreements, it is essentially prudent for the parties to agree that despite the existence of the problem, they are keen to find a solution to it. From here, the next stage is to understand the concerns and the viewpoints of each party involved. The main reason people have conflicts is because of the belief that we are always right. With this, viewpoints always conflict leading to conflicts and disputes. Therefore, in resolving a dispute, it is key that a viewpoint of each party is clearly understood before any compromise is worked on. This leads to the next stage which is understanding the triggers of the conflict. This only comes after understanding the viewpoints of each party. With the triggers recognized, it is now very easy to start working on a compromise deal.

The next stage is involving a third party, either as an arbitrator or a mediator, or at the very extreme, a court of law. The reason that may necessitate a third party is is the disputing parties cannot seem to find a solution by themselves even after realizing the triggers. The third party can help in coming up with a compromise which is give and take especially for mediation, guarantees for arbitration and sentences/compensation in a litigation. A decision of which third party to involve is based on the nature of dispute at hand.

The next stage is finding compromise. In order to solve any conflict, it is only natural for parties to compromise and meet somewhere. This means that all the parties will have to give and take. This is because the main reason for conflict is the belief by each party that they are right, and it will only be satisfying that this rightness is not absolutely taken away from the parties. It is here at the compromise that the basis of the solution is realised.

The next stage is coming up with a solution, which is often the results of the compromise. Each party should express satisfaction with the solution, or a set of solution. A solution can also be a resolution. From here, there is often a follow up of how the resolutions and the solutions are being implemented. In events that a party digresses from the solution agreement then the agreement should contains ways through which such parties can be held accountable.

As stated above, there are different mechanism for conflict resolution which includes mediation, arbitration and/or litigation. While all the three are very effective in solving issues, it is encouraged that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is given priority because it has proven to be the most effective. In fact recently, court cases are dropped as parties settle for an out of court alternative dispute resolution that ends with compromises and solutions unlike litigation which is seen as a winner takes it all mechanism.

To this end, it is my utmost desire that the societies we live in will thrive in peace and stability by solving disputes amicably because disputes are inevitable as long as there are two or more people together. I believe that my readers will employ the conflict resolutions mechanisms above instead of warring.

By Lincoln Oyugi

Just as Isaac Newton died a virgin, I'll die a writer!

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