chapter  7
21 Pages

The Show of State in a Neo-colonial Twilight: Francophone Africa

The inhabitants of African states, whether they should properly be designated citizens or subjects, do not readily regard their rulers as providing a legitimate authority, and state power does not rest on a secure foundation of popular belief in the right of rulers to rule. Nearly three decades of independent African government have led to situations where it is the decomposition of state structures, the tendency to de-institutionalisation, which are remarked. Richard Sandbrook puts it bluntly, but he speaks for many when he talks of fictitious states." This may be a mot juste in certain African circumstances (Uganda, Chad at a certain period, etc. ), but one should recognise a widely variable African capacity to sustain this fiction.