Share This Article:

A Political Theory Approach to Understanding Conflict in Selected African States

DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1101248    243 Downloads   422 Views  
Author(s)    Leave a comment

ABSTRACT

Conflict remains a constant, but not a permanent factor, in many African states today. For many decades we have witnessed perpetual conflicts in African states, a characteristic that has led to African states being referred to as dark, anarchical, insecure and violent, particularly as compared to other states and regions of the world. Many studies and researchers have developed frameworks on the likely factors that explain conflict in Africa although there seems to be lack of agreement as to the actual cause of conflicts among the mentioned causes, but are not limited to tribal and clan differences, xenophobia, religious extremism, gender-based violence and resource-based conflict. It is this clear lack of a grand theory that has led to paradigmatic competitors, with each presenting its own understanding of the problem of conflict. This article adopts a political theory approach to understand conflict by drawing examples from selected African states. From the selected examples it is clear that the mentioned states have not played their roles effectively in protecting life and property due to various challenges. Some of the reasons forwarded for the failure by state to protect life and property include the issues of a lame Leviathan and the mentioned states’ inability and failure to appreciate that there are no limits to an individual’s evilness. The main argument is that those individuals who refuse to live in line with the public good should ideally be compelled by the state to “see the light”. But what happens when the very state is weak and incapable of undertaking this cardinal responsibility? The article develops a framework within which conflict within the state may be understood with a view to improve the ability of the state in enhancing security at national, regional and international levels.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Owuoche, S. (2015) A Political Theory Approach to Understanding Conflict in Selected African States. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-8. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101248.

References

[1] Hobbes, T. (2009) Leviathan. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
[2] Nation Reporter (2014) The South Sudan Conflict. Daily Nation Newspaper, 9th April 2014, 8-9.
[3] Augustine, S. (2003) City of God. Bettenson, H., Trans., Penguin Classics, London.
[4] Burke, E. (1955) Reflections on the French Revolution in France. Henry Regnery, Chicago.
[5] Aristotle (1981) The Politics. Penguin, Harmondsworth.
[6] Hobbes, T. (2009) Leviathan. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
[7] Locke, J. (1960) Two Treatise of Civil Government. Laslett, P., Ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[8] Hobbes, T. (2009) Leviathan. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
[9] Burke, E. (1955) Reflections on the French Revolution in France. Henry Regnery, Chicago.
[10] Hobbes, T. (2009) Leviathan. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
[11] Machiavelli, N. (1952) The Prince. Mentor Books, New York.
[12] BBC (2014)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-12392062
[13] Karon, T. (2000) The Resistible Rise of Foday Sankoh. Times, 12 May 2000.
[14] Locke, J. (1960) Two Treatise of Civil Government. Edited and an Introduction by Peter Laslett, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[15] Mill, J.S. (1946) On Liberty and Representative Government. McCollum, R.B., Ed., Basil Blackwell, Oxford.
[16] Rousseau, J.J. (1979) The Social Contract. Bloom, A., Trans., Basic Books, New York.
[17] Ilibagiza, I. and Erwin, S. (2007) Left to Tell: One Woman’s Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust. Hay House UK Ltd., London.
[18] Cicero, M.T. (1960) Selected Works (Penguin Classics-No. L99). Penguin Books, London.
[19] Weber, M. (1922) Economy and Society. University of California Press, Berkeley.
[20] Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J.A. (2013) Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. Profile Books Ltd., London.
[21] Bodin, J. (1992) On Sovereignty: Six Books of the Commonwealth. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511802812
[22] Laski, H. (1917) Studies in the Problem of Sovereignty. In: Political Science Quarterly, No. 3, Yale University Press, New Haven, xi-297.
[23] Hegel, G.W.F. (1988) Introduction to the Philosophy of History: With an Appendix from the Philosophy of Right. Hackett Pub. Co. Inc., New York.
[24] Callaghy, T. (1987) The State as Lame Leviathan: The Patrimonial—Administrative State in Africa. In: Ergas, Z., Ed., The African State in Transition, Macmillan Press, London, 423-442.
[25] Young, C. and Turner, T. (1985) The Rise and Decline of the Zairean State. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
[26] Hyden, G. (1983) Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania. Heinemann, London.
[27] Rothchild, D. (1988) Hegemony and State Softness: Some Variations in Elite Responses. In: Ergas, Z., Ed., The African State in Transition, Macmillan Press, London, 117-148.

  
comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2019 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.