When Success Becomes a Liability: Challenges of State Building in Eritrea (1991-2005)

in African and Asian Studies
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The article aims to discuss and analyze the post-liberation state building challenges in Eritrea. It interrogates how and why the promising start was transformed into a nightmare. It traces two sets of explanatory factors. The first is the political culture that was developed during the liberation struggle. A political culture characterized by centralization, hierarchy, collectivism, strong loyalty and discipline became an obstacle to state building and transition from a guerrilla to civilian governance. The second set of factors pertains to the second war with Ethiopia. The second war not only erased all the post-liberation achievements, but also plunged the nation into social, economic, and political structural and systemic crisis. To exist from this predicament would require emancipation from the political culture of the liberation struggle and smooth transition to a civilian democratic and constitutional governance system.



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