n Journal of African Union Studies - The power of the ballot (read bullet); the legitimate emergence of Armed Non-State Actors in Africa

Volume 3, Issue 2_3
  • ISSN : 2050-4292
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4306


The realist notion of the Westphalian state claims that the state is the key provider of security (among other services). Yet this state has failed in Africa and, as such, we have seen in increase in ad hoc security governance. With this imbalance between what the state can provide, and what the people need, a gap for alternative actors has been created. People have turned to non-state actors, including multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations, international organisations and religious groups. What is interesting to note is that, with the increase in civil conflict, armed non-state actors are playing an increasing role in providing (specifically) security where the state fails to do so. The questions to ask are thus; are these groups accepted as legitimate actors? And, if so, how did they gain legitimacy?

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