Warlords in Africa’s “New Wars” Jonas Savimbi and Charles Taylor compared

Kok, Chantelle (2010-03)

Thesis (MA (Political Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to describe the factors that led to the creation of warlords in Angola and Sierra Leone so as to better understand the dynamics and origins of warlord politics. The two warlords that were focused on, and compared, were Jonas Savimbi (Angola) and Charles Taylor (Liberia and Sierra Leone). Authors like Mary Kaldor (2006), William Reno (1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007) and Collier and Hoeffler (2004) contributed toward the base of this study. Their work captured the issues contributing toward the warlord phenomenon and generated thought surrounding the context in which these warlords arose. John Mackinlay (2000) was used to describe and analyse the origins of warlordism and how the warlord phenomenon has changed with the onset of new wars, especially in the late 20th and 21st centuries (Kaldor, 2006). Furthermore, the work of Thomas H. Greene (1984) was used in guiding this thesis into a systematic study, focusing mainly on the leadership, following, organization, techniques and external support of both Jonas Savimbi and Charles Taylor as examples of contemporary warlords. Through utilizing the contributions of the above authors on this topic, the similarities and differences between the two warlords were explored. The study found that while Jonas Savimbi and Charles Taylor emerged from different eras and contexts (Savimbi out of the Cold War and Taylor as a result of globalization), they both became typical warlords. Savimbi only became a warlord after 1992. Before, Savimbi used Maoist ideology while an insurgent against Portugal, whereafter he became a rebel in the Angolan civil war. Taylor was a warlord in diamond-rich neighbouring Sierra Leone. Both used identity politics to gather a following while Taylor used brute force and the manipulation of the youth. They both manipulated illicit criminal networking and operated internationally, smuggling diamonds. The main difference, however, is that Taylor was an insurgent in Liberia where he seized power in 1990 and became president in 1997, while a warlord in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Savimbi, on the other hand, never attained presidential power even though he participated in the 1992 Angolan elections which he lost, whereafter he ceased to be a revolutionary, and became a real warlord without the external support he previously had. Savimbi was assassinated in 2002 and Taylor abdicated in 2003, currently standing trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. He stands trial for the human right atrocities committed in Sierra Leone. Their legacies live on.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om die faktore te beskryf wat gely het tot die ontstaan van krygshere (“warlords“)in Angola en Sierra Leone, en om die dinamika van krygsheerpolitiek beter te verstaan. Die twee krygshere waarop gefokus en vergelyk was, is Jonas Savimbi (Angola) en Charles Taylor (Liberië en Sierra Leone). Die denke van skrywers soos Mary Kaldor (2006), William Reno (1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007) en Collier & Hoeffler (2004) het bygedra tot die basis van hierdie studie. Hulle werk het ingesluit die aspekte wat bygedra het tot die krygsheer fenomeen, en het besinning aangemoedig oor die agtergrondsfaktore waaruit hierdie twee krygshere ontstaan het. John Mackinlay (2000) se werk is gebruik om die oorsprong van krygsheerpolitiek te beskryf, asook hoe die krygsheerfenomeen verander het met die uitbreek van “nuwe oorloë“ (Kaldor, 2006), veral aan die einde van die 20ste en 21ste eeue. Verder is die werk van Thomas H. Greene (1984) gebruik om hierdie tesis ‘n sistematiese struktuur te gee wat gefokus is op die leierskap, volgelinge, organisasie, tegnieke en eksterne ondersteuning van Jonas Savimbi en Charles Taylor. Hierdie twee persone is albei voorbeelde van kontemporêre krygshere in die jongste verlede. ‘n Vergelykende studie verg dat ooreenkomste en verskille tussen die twee krygshere verken word deur gebruik te maak van die bydraes van bogenoemde skrywers. In die studie is bevind dat alhoewel Jonas Savimbi en Charles Taylor uit verskillende eras en agtergrond kom (Savimbi uit die Koue Oorlog en Taylor as gevolg van globalisasie), albei tipiese krygshere geword het. Savimbi het Maoistiese ideologie gebruik terwyl hy ’n insurgent teen Portugal was. Daarná het hy ’n rebel in die Angolese burgeroorlog geword. Hy het eers na 1992 ‘n krygsheer geword nadat hy die verkiesing verloor het en sy buitelandse steun verloor het. Taylor, aan die ander kant, was ‘n krygsheer in die diamantryke buurland, Sierra Leone. Altwee krygshere het identiteitspolitiek gebruik om volgelinge te kry, terwyl Taylor ook brutale krag en die manipulasie van die jeug gebruik het. Hulle het beide internasionale diamante gesmokkel deur kriminele netwerke te gebruik. Die groot vi verskil is egter dat terwyl Taylor ‘n krygsheer in Sierra Leone was, was hy ook ‘n insurgent in Liberië, waar hy in 1990 mag gekry het en in 1997 president geword het. Savimbi, aan die ander kant, het nooit presidensiële mag verkry nie, alhoewel hy deelgeneem het aan die 1992 Angolese verkiesing. Hy het daarna opgehou om ‘n revolusionêr en ‘n rebel te wees en het ‘n ware krygsheer geword (sonder die eksterne ondersteuning wat hy voorheen gehad het). Savimbi is in 2002 vermoor en Taylor het in 2003 abdikeer. Taylor is tans onder verhoor in Den Haag waar hy tereg staan by die Internasionale Strafhof vir oorlogsmisdade en menseregteskendings in Sierra Leone. Beide hierdie krygshere se nalatenskap leef egter voort.

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