Breaking the “Insecurity Trap”? How Violence and Counter-violence are Perpetuated in Elite Power Struggles
AbstractHalf a century after independence, African elites, at least those in conflict-ridden countries, often live in constant fear for their life. Real or invented coup attempts, political assassinations, beatings of opposition leaders, the distribution of death lists, etc. have a profoundly traumatizing and self-perpetuating effect. Purges, not least in the security apparatus, are not uncommon, particularly after changes in government, be they peaceful or violent. These purges come at a cost: the excluded elites are frequently tempted to use violence to come back into the “dining room”—and the excluding government tries to prevent reentry by all means. This contribution draws a dense picture of elite (in)security in three African countries (Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia). A comparative analysis of elite security needs and devices is undertaken, permitting the author to draw some preliminary sconclusions: The ineffectiveness of state institutions (presidential guards, etc.) in breaking the insecurity trap by providing special elite-protection services is obvious. The record of private security services is most debatable and efforts by international actors need to be looked at more closely: UN peacekeepers can be effective when they are sufficient in number and have the appropriate mandate. The record of French interventions in former colonies has over time become ever more ambivalent and has lost any preventive meaning.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 87.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, D-20354 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0)40 42825-593
Fax: +49 (0)40 42825-547
Web page: http://www.giga-hamburg.de/workingpapers
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul Collier & V. L. Elliott & Håvard Hegre & Anke Hoeffler & Marta Reynal-Querol & Nicholas Sambanis, 2003. "Breaking the Conflict Trap : Civil War and Development Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13938, August.
- Andreas Mehler, 2009. "The Production of Insecurity by African Security Forces: Insights from Liberia and the Central African Republic," GIGA Working Paper Series, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies 114, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bert Hoffmann).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.