Post-Insurgent Statehood in Eritrea and South Sudan: The Legacies of Wartime Institutional Convergences and Divergences
Toon Dirkx (University of Basel)
Paper short abstract:
This paper addresses variation in the political stability of post-insurgent statehood. It demonstrates how wartime institutional convergences and divergences by the EPLF in Eritrea and the SPLM/A in South Sudan have created variegated state-making trajectories.
Paper long abstract:
Throughout sub-Sahara Africa, insurgent movements have fought bloody civil wars against authoritarian regimes. In some cases, this resulted in internationally recognised secessionism (e.g. Eritrea and South Sudan) while in other instances it led to the overthrow of an incumbent regime (e.g. Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the DRC). As subsequent rulers of the state, these 'victorious rebels' have displayed highly diverging capabilities to shape post-war political order. Some regimes consisting of former rebels show a quick relapse into civil war, whereas in other cases they dominate post-war politics for decades. The puzzle this paper addresses is how to account for this striking variation in the political stability of post-insurgent statehood. The central argument this paper advances is that wartime convergences and divergences of rebel rule with pre-existing institutions and behavioural norms create variegated systems of governance that shape post-insurgent state trajectories. When rebel institutions in civil war converge with local pre-existing institutions and norms within and across territories under rebel control, post-insurgent statehood exhibits a unification of rules that facilitates political order. Conversely, when wartime institutions by rebels diverge from pre-existing institutions and norms, post-insurgent statehood reflects a fragmentation of rules, leading to political instability and a more likely relapse into civil war. Using multiple methods of research, including fieldwork in the Horn of Africa, the paper empirically demonstrates how the legacies of wartime institutional convergences and divergences by the EPLF in Eritrea and the SPLM/A in South Sudan have shaped the respective state-making trajectories.
Convergences and divergences of African state-making trajectories