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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Process of Nation-Building in Post-War Eritrea: Created from Below or Directed from Above?
Author:Tronvoll, KjetilISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Eritrea
land law
local government
Politics and Government
Development and Technology
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161793
Abstract:The ideological basis for the political development of postwar Eritrea has been outlined in the National Charter for Eritrea, approved by the Third Congress of the EPLF/PFDJ (Eritrean People's Liberation Front / People's Front for Democracy and Justice) in February 1994. The Charter appears to place the enhancement and persistence of national unity above and beyond everything else. Taking the new Eritrean policies on regional administrations and land tenure as examples, this article illuminates certain characteristics of the government's development ideology, in order to throw some light on the emerging contours of how political authority and decisionmaking in this phase of nationbuilding are administered in the country. New administrative regions have been introduced to bypass the traditional organizing principles of ethnicity and descent. A new system of local government was introduced in 1996, with the most radical change being the discontinuation of elected peoples' assemblies at the lower levels of administration. The main feature of the new land legislation, issued in August 1994, is the transition from communal to individual land tenure. The author argues that, since the form and content of the new institutions are still not clear, people are likely to resist the suppression of the old relationships. The Eritrean government seemingly overlooks the fact that traditions define the culturally specific notion of 'right living', and thus underwrite the fabric which holds society together. Notes, ref.