In his 2012 report on mediation, the UN Secretary-General notes a growing trend to recognize the
ability of national mediators to lead mediation in intra-state conflict. This article explores the feasibility
of national mediation in Africa. It analyses the role of national mediation in South Africa (1985–1996)
and Lesotho (2009–2012) and, taking Ghana as the primary example, the role of national peace
councils, which have an institutionalized mandate to mediate in internal conflict. It discusses the
complementarity of national and international roles in national mediation, the issue of leverage, the
conditions for national mediation, the composition of mediation teams and their mediation capacity,
and the benefits of national mediation. The article offers qualified support for the usefulness of national
mediation since it can produce benefits such as enhanced self-reliance and social cohesion, has
substantial ability to prevent conflict and can help to implement agreements. However, the specific
conditions necessary for national mediation to be viable mean that success is rare.
The mission of the Centre is to contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of mediation in major conflicts in Africa through teaching, training, research and supporting the UN, the AU, sub-regional organisations and African governments.