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When Jungle Order Rocks the Boat of Legal Order: Inevitability of State Stability for the Peace and Security of Mankind in Africa

Simeon A. Igbinedion ()
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Simeon A. Igbinedion: University of Lagos, Nigeria

No 016SI, Working papers from Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies

Abstract: This paper discusses the disorder that characterizes the legal order of the modern state in parts of Africa. The capacity to maintain law and order and to exercise monopoly over means of coercion constitutes some of the raison d’etre of the Westphalian state model that pervades every nook and cranny of the continent. However, the inability of the state to meet the existential exigencies of its citizens and, ipso facto, its consequent loss of legitimacy, has generated a groundswell of discontent that has triggered the emergence of centrifugal forces – non-state actors – variously described as rebels, insurrectionists, insurgents, armed bandits, separatist agitators, terrorists, amongst others. But although these forces initially set out as viable alternatives to the state, they soon lose track and threaten not only the peace and security of the state but also of everyone else including their compatriots and neighbouring or contiguous states. Amidst the incapacity of the state to reclaim its lost power or glory, these non-state actors create a jungle order that harks back at Thomas Hobbes’ state of nature where life is short, nasty and brutish. Such has become the lot of so many states in Africa. From Nigeria to Central African Republic through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Somalia, the narrative is similar. This paper examines the background and the foreground of the failure of the legal orders of the state, the disaster that armed non-state actors have become for their compatriots and territorial neighbours and the reluctance of the international community to effectively respond to restore order. Finally, the paper suggests some ways in which the legal order of the state can be rejuvenated in such a way as to be able to meet contemporary needs of law and order on the one hand and freedom and liberty on the other.

Keywords: legal order; jungle order; non-state actors; law and order; peace and security; freedom and liberty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 7 pages
Date: 2019-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr
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Published in Proceedings of the 15th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, November 6-7, 2019, pages 131-137

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