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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Personal rule in Africa: the case of Eritrea
Author:Ogbazghi, Petros B.ISNI
Periodical:African Studies Quarterly (ISSN 1093-2658)
Geographic term:Eritrea
State-society relationship
External link:http://asq.africa.ufl.edu/files/Ogbazgh-V12Is2.pdf
Abstract:Notwithstanding the on-going struggles for democratic transformation, many African countries still lack rudimentary principles of the rule of law and legitimate political institutions. Contemporary Eritrea exemplifies this type of situation in which personal rule is the embodiment of the political system. The article argues that the perpetuation of personal rule in Eritrea is explained by the political strategy of unleashing sheer coercive force against citizens by the military whose loyalty is bought off by providing its top echelons control over substantial State economic resources. This is facilitated by a culture of impunity fostered by a legacy of three decades of guerrilla conflict, and by deliberately keeping the rest of society off-balance in an economic situation characterized by rampant poverty. The regimenting of civil-society institutions within the power structures and chapters of party-controlled organizations has reduced them into instruments of social control in order to diffuse any form of organized resistance. Finally, the party and the bureaucracy as agents of the State function to accentuate the symbolic dimensions of socioeconomic activities to which the entire society is mobilized in order to wedge the immense legitimacy gap and make the system appear popular. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]