Eritrea's politics and governance crisis as political culture epiphenomena

Eritrea's politics and governance crisis as political culture epiphenomena

Author: 
Petros B. Ogbazghi
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4, October 2015, pp. 467-493
Abstract: 

The emergence of Eritrea as a new nation apparently required the government to transcend inherited forms of identity. It has tried to do this by forging a new political culture out of collective memories of war, but this attempt was only partially successful. Largely steeped in political symbolism and populist rhetoric of sacrifice and self-reliance, the regime's attempt to socialise the Eritrean society with valorised revolutionary values is designed to camouflage the political reality of repression. By taking the concept of political culture as a framework for analysis, this article argues that Eritrea's double tragedy has two major causes. Firstly, it emanates from the surreal, tightly controlled personal rule of Isaias Afeworki who, in the face of declining legitimacy and a tenuous grip on power, has raised the level of repression to new heights. Secondly, it has its origins in the chasm in political orientations and belief systems between the body politic and society, resulting in a culture of anomie which expresses itself in mistrust, impunity, acquiescence and fatalism. The article argues that a viable political framework of state-building is only possible when two conditions are met. In the first place it is necessary that political institutions evolve within a political structure that is rooted in a rule of law that promotes the legitimacy of incumbents and policy governance. In addition, the political framework must facilitate the promotion of civil society as a political space for political education in order to foster the stable reproduction of democratic values of tolerance and coexistence.

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CITATION: Petros B. Ogbazghi. Eritrea's politics and governance crisis as political culture epiphenomena . : Taylor & Francis Group , 2015. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4, October 2015, pp. 467-493 - Available at: http://library.au.int/eritreas-politics-and-governance-crisis-political-culture-epiphenomena-1