Presidents, Patrons or Profiteers? - by Jo-Ansie van Wyk
Occasional Paper Series: Issue 1, 2007
It is easy to experience a sense of déjà vu when analysing political leadership in Africa. The perception is that African leaders rule failed states that have acquired tags such as “corruptocracies”, “chaosocracies” or “terrorocracies”. Perspectives on political leadership in Africa vary from the “criminalisation” of the state to political leadership as “dispensing patrimony”, the “recycling” of elites and the use of state power and resources to consolidate political and economic power. Whereas African states enjoy external sovereignty, internal sovereignty has taken on a new meaning as political leaders outside the so-called formal Westphalia arena compete for power, provide state-like services and have monopoly of and over organised violence. Against this background, some states that were once “wholesalers” of security are now mere “retailers” of security, authority, resources and power.