Kabanda is a PhD Candidate in Governance and Regional Integration at the Pan African University Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Science and the University of Yaoundé -II-Soa.  

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Language as a tool to promote peace and justice in Africa; a case Gacaca courts & Lunyarwanda after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda

Colonial management systems and related languages have continued to manifest there misfit through the failed communication, injustice and failed measures from state institutions to guarantee peace and justice to all citizens in Africa. As a result this process has continued to exclude majority of the Africans who are not knowledgeable in the languages used by state leadership structures to express in their governments’ justice systems equally. There is need to introduce a bottom-up approach to explain the power of language in ensuring effective communication for peace and justice. To achieve this, the role played by the Gacaca courts at village level in Rwanda after the Genocide is the present successful case. The importance of language in ensuring effective communication, promotion of peace and justice across Africa is there for undisputed if ingrained within grassroots based justice systems. This aspect is demonstrated by Gacaca courts function and role of Runyarwanda language in promoting peace and justice through facilitating easier exchange across the communities. Due to the progress of Gacaca courts despite their few short comings they can demonstrate the importance of language through their implementation process. They furthermore signals out communication through an interaction process in a language understood by all for peace and justice among the Rwandese who were affected by the Genocide. From this inductive analysis and basing on the Gacaca courts function, it would therefore be significant for contemporary court systems to blend the identified strength from the Gacaca courts in its functioning. Furthermore recommendation is made to adopt languages beyond official languages while delivering justice to violators of the law. In conclusion more has to be done by court systems to find a synergic relationship of language in engaging citizens at grassroots to permit a restorative system that can obtain community support while guaranteeing effective communication in the process. This is hoped to tap the roots of language with in a given community as a tool for peace and Justice in state courts.