National Liberation Movements as Government in Africa  book cover
1st Edition

National Liberation Movements as Government in Africa

Edited By

Redie Bereketeab

ISBN 9780367248109
Published June 7, 2019 by Routledge
270 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $58.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Africa is well known for the production of national liberation movements (NLMs), stemming from a history of exploitation, colonisation and slavery. NLMs are generally characterised by a struggle carried out by or in the name of suppressed people for political, social, cultural, economic, territorial liberation and decolonisation. Dozens of NLMs have ascended to state power in Africa following a successful violent popular struggle either as an outright military victory or a negotiated settlement. 

National Liberation Movements as Government in Africa analyses the performance of NLMs after they gain state power. The book tracks the initial promises and guiding principles of NLMs against their actual record in achieving socio-economic development goals such as peace, stability, state building and democratisation. The book explores the various different struggles for liberation, whether against European colonialism, white minority rule, neighbouring countries, or for internal reform or regime change. Bringing together case studies from Somalia, Somaliland, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Algeria, the book builds a comprehensive analysis of the challenges NLMs face when ascending to state power, and why so many ultimately end in failure.

This is an ideal resource for scholars, policy makers and students with an interest in African development, politics, and security studies.

Table of Contents

Part I: Conceptualisation and Performance of National Liberation Movements-cum-Governments

Chapter One: Introduction: Understanding National Liberation Movements Redie Bereketeab

Chapter Two: Varieties of African liberation movement governments M.A. Mohamed Salih

Chapter Three: Liberation Movements and the "Democratic Deficit" John Markakis

Part II: Liberation Struggles against European Colonisation

Chapter Four: The MPLA Government and its Post-liberation Record in Angola Paulo Ingles

Chapter Five: From Former Liberation Movement to Four Decades in Government: The Maintenance of the Frelimo State Adriano Nuvunga

Chapter Six: From Cabral’s Liberation Movement to Power Struggle and Ideological Erosion: The Decline of PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau Birgit Embaló

Chapter Seven: From Anticolonial Liberation Movement to Ruling Party: The FLN in Algeria Yahia H. Zoubir

Part III: Liberation Struggles against White Minority Rule

Chapter Eight: The African National Congress: From Liberation Movement to Neoliberal State Manager Patrick Bond

Chapter Nine: ZANU-PF in Power in Zimbabwe, 1980-2013: Towards Explaining Why Former Liberation Movements Fail as Governments Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Part IV: Liberation Struggles against Annexation by Neighbouring Countries

Chapter Ten: Struggle Mentality versus Democracy: The Case of SWAPO of Namibia Henning Melber

Chapter Eleven: Problems of Transition to Civic Governance in Eritrea Redie Bereketeab

Chapter Twelve: Understanding Rebellion in South Sudan Leben Nelson Moro

Part V: Liberation Struggles for Reform (Regime Change)

Chapter Thirteen: Liberation Movements Turned Governments: The Ugandan Experience George G. Okiror

Chapter Fourteen: Ethiopia: The Quest for Transformation under EPRDF Kassahun Berhanu

Chapter Fifteen: Liberation Struggle for Regime Change: Somaliland’s transition from conflict to civilian government Michael Walls
Chapter Sixteen: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: The Birth and Breakdown of Somali Armed Movements, 1976-99 Mohamed Haji Ingiriis

View More



Redie Bereketeab is Associate Professor of Sociology and Senior Researcher at The Nordic African Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.


‘This collection provides a much needed conceptual and comparative analysis of African liberation movements whose struggles against oppression and questionable records as governments remain highly controversial. Wide-ranging and comprehensive, this volume constitutes a landmark in the study of contemporary African politics.’Roger Southall, Emeritus Professor in Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

‘This wide-ranging collection of case-studies takes our knowledge of national liberation movements in power in Africa to a new level and will be required reading for students of African politics.’Chris Saunders, Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa