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Title:Discerning an African post-colonial governance imbroglio: colonialism, underdevelopment and violent conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone
Author:Wong, Pak NungISNI
Periodical:African and Asian Studies (ISSN 1569-2094)
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Sierra Leone
Subjects:State formation
North-South relations
civil wars
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/156921012X629330
Abstract:By attributing recent violent conflicts in Africa to decades of underdevelopment which can be traced back to colonial times, there is scholarly consent among pan-African scholars that the present African State is a neocolonial construct and must be democratically reconstituted. In response to the pan-African intellectual-political project, this paper provides a comparative historical-structural analysis of the postcolonial State formation processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone which, having experienced Belgian, US and British colonial rule respectively, are together deemed representative of Western colonialism. With reference to the existing approach in 'warlord politics', which attempts to link domestic politics with foreign relations in Africa, it illustrates how the concept of neocolonialism and its global-historical-structuralist methodology enables the identification of the structural properties in the global capitalistic system which have been impeding the development of African States and contributing to violent conflicts. Based on the historical case studies of State formation in DRC, Liberia and Sierra Leone, two features could be said to define the 'postcolonial governance imbroglio'. First, the postcolonial State architecture does not substantially distinguish itself from its colonial predecessor. As a neocolonial State, its core values and practices continue to fashion the perception of the African State as a powerful instrument of economic self-enrichment and political oppression. Second, postcolonial African rulers and State agents, such as the military, are generally caught in a circulatory loop of survival politics which often short-circuits domestic politics and foreign relations. To obtain international recognition of sovereignty and foreign financial and military aid for economic development and for pacifying internal conflicts, African rulers usually become collaborative agents with the metropolitan States, mainly for plundering the rich State resources and exploiting their own people. In conclusion, the author outlines an alternative policy option for building a more robust African State through 'exceptional democracy' and education for global citizenship. Bibliogr., note, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]