State security, securitisation and human security in Africa: The tensions, contradictions and hopes for reconciliation

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Appiagyei-Atua, Kwadwo
Muhindo, Tresor Makunya
Oyakhirome, Iruebafa
Kabachwezi, Estella Kansiime
Buabeng-Baidoo, Stephen
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Global Campus
External actors have predominantly driven the securitisation agenda in Africa with the architecture traceable to Africa’s immediate post-independence past. This article theorises about a double-faced securitisation process in Africa – ‘securitisation from outside’ influencing ‘securitisation within’. The theoretical framework is used to identify three phases of securitisation in Africa. The first phase started during the Cold War era when Africa was inserted into the Cold War politics to fight proxy wars for either the west or the east. As a result, the big powers overlooked human rights and democratic concerns on the continent and focused on promoting their security interests by propping dictatorial and predatory regimes to do their bidding. The second phase connects with the fall of the Berlin Wall, which brought hope of ending the securitised environment in Africa with its attendant expansion of the political space for civil society and political party activism to flourish. This development resulted in the emergence of the African Union to replace the Organisation of African Unity and to introduce principles that shifted from a state-centred to a human-centred security focus. However, the human security project could not work due to tensions with the securitisation of the development agenda being promoted by the donor community. The third phase is the declaration of the ‘War on Terror’ which has moved the focus toward a ‘risk/fear/threat’ project. In response, most African leaders have adeptly exploited this new environment to their advantage by shrinking the political space and criminalising dissent. The securitized environment has done little to solve many of Africa's development problems. Rather, we see the rollback of advances made with regard to human rights, democracy and respect for the rule of law. The theoretical framework is also employed to do a case study of securitisation in three African countries – Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Key words: securitisation; security; human rights; human security; sovereignty
security, social security, human rights, sovereignty, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Nigeria
K Appiagyei-Atua, TM Muhindo, I Oyakhirome, EK Kabachwezi & S Buabeng-Baidoo ‘State security, securitisation and human security in Africa: The tensions, contradictions and hopes for reconciliation’ (2017) 1 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 326

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