Warlords in Africa : a comparative study of Jonas Savimbi and Farah Aideed
Lawack, Marvin Sylvester
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Abstract: The African continent has been riddled with conflict for many years. Angola and Somalia are prime examples of countries having experienced protracted wars. During those wars, warlords have played a definite role in perpetuating the fighting. The thesis investigates warlordism in Africa. Specifically, it is a comparative analysis of Jonas Savimbi of Angola and Farah Aideed of Somalia. The thesis investigates the concept of warlords and uses the examples of Aideed and Savimbi to illustrate the impact of warlords on the respective countries. The examples of Aideed and Savimbi are further used to show that there are different ways to becoming ultimately labelled as a warlord. The role of state weakness and ethnicity will be investigated in the two cases. The discussion will highlight the points that state weakness (i.e. lack of governmental functionality) and the use of ethnicity play a profound role in the rise and survival of warlords. The case studies of Aideed and Savimbi will emphasise the influence of state weakness and ethnicity in their formation as warlords. The concept of state weakness is defined and the thesis illustrates that there are different levels of state weakness. The thesis compares Angola and Somalia, and shows that Savimbi and Aideed acted under vastly different conditions as warlords. Ethnicity is defined and linked to the idea that the effects of colonialism played a profound role in creating ethnic divisions, enabling warlords such as Aideed and Savimbi to use their ethnic backgrounds to mobilise followers to wage war. The thesis investigates how Aideed and Savimbi maintained their military organisations. Their ability to do so is related to both state weakness and ethnicity. State weakness and ethnicity create conditions which are conducive to the emergence of warlords.