Self-Determination and Secession in Africa : The Post-Colonial State book cover
1st Edition

Self-Determination and Secession in Africa
The Post-Colonial State

Edited By

Redie Bereketeab

ISBN 9781138659735
Published March 3, 2016 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a unique comparative study of the major secessionist and self-determination movements in post-colonial Africa, examining theory, international law, charters of the United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union’s (AU) stance on the issue. The book explores whether self-determination and secessionism lead to peace, stability, development and democratisation in conflict-ridden societies, particularly looking at the outcomes in Eritrea and South Sudan.

The book covers all the major attempts at self-determination and secession on the continent, extensively analysing the geo-political, economic, security and ideological factors that determine the outcome of the quest for self-determination and secession. It reveals the lack of inherent clarity in international law, social science theories, OAU/AU Charter, UN Charters and international conventions concerning the topic.

This is a major contribution to the field and highly relevant for researchers and postgraduate students in African Studies, Development Studies, African Politics and History, and Anthropology.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Conceptions, International law and Charters 1. Self-determination and Secession: African Challenges  2. Acquisition of Autonomy: The Right of Self-Determination in International Law 3. The OAU Doctrine on Colonial Boundaries and Conflicts of Separation in the Horn of Africa Part 2: Non-Colonial Creation Successful Secession Case: South Sudan 4. Political History of Southern Sudan before Independence of the Sudan 5. Sudan First Civil War for Self-determination 6. Second Civil War Creation of the United "New Sudan"  Part 3: Colonial Creation Unsuccessful Cases of Self-Determination: Somaliland and Zanzibar 7. Guests in our Houses: Somaliland and British Colonialism  8. Less and more than the Sum of Its Parts: The Failed Merger of Somaliland and Somalia and the Tragic Quest for ‘Greater Somalia’  9. Identifying Challenges against Winning an International Recognition and its Prospects: The Case of Somaliland 10. The Zanzibar Secessionist Sentiments: Can regional integration theory provide insights into the phenomenon? Part 4: Identity Groups Claiming Secession that Failed  11. Why Katanga’s Quest for Self-determination and Secession Failed 12. Nigeria and the Biafran War of Secession 13. The Paradoxes of Secessionism among Tuarag in Northern Mali Part 5: Colonially Created, Annexed by Neighbouring Countries Cases 14. Namibia’s Negotiation to Independence 15. Eritrea a Colonial Creation: A Case of Aborted Decolonisation 16. The Arduous Quest of the Saharawi People for Self-Determination: The Complexities of Unachieved Decolonization

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Redie Bereketeab is Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala University, Sweden.


"This is a seminal text on a theme often neglected and misunderstood in modernist discussions: the construction in Africa of viable states after the colonial era. A rich selection of chapters chart various paths towards self-determination, with a particular focus on secession and the reconfiguration of states. Here we see the roots of civil wars (as in Sudan and Nigeria), big power interventions (as in Somalia) and ongoing decolonisation (as in the Western Sahara). Broader themes emerge that will be of interest to students of post-colonial studies and human rights in development as well as African studies." Tim Anderson, University of Sydney, Australia