"With the notable exception of the DRC, where the outcome of the most recent peace agreement is still uncertain, all of South Africa's civil wars have ended or are ending. A large majority of political competition in the region now proceeds peacefully. This relative peace is a significant achievement for a region where several states have long histories of intra-state war or other forms of political violence, and it is an important milestone on the road to democratic consolidation. But despite an encouraging trend towards peace, recourse to violence or the threat of violence to gain or maintain control of the state remains a feasible strategy for influencing the political process in several countries. The remaining violent conflicts in Southern Africa are both a consequence of unconsolidated democratic institutions and a threat to the future consolidation of institutions. "