To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Chapter 5 explores the collapse of the EPRDF-PFDJ and NRM-RPF relationships between 1998 and 2001, until that point the main fulcrum of regional security policy for all four governing elites. The chapter explains how longstanding tensions within both pairings rose violently to the surface during this period. At the heart of both disagreements were feelings of superiority and inferiority dating back to affinities established during the struggle era and deep-seated militarism within each movement. These conflicts were, however, catalysed by changes in all four movements’ regional position in the post-liberation era. The intensely personal nature of EPRDF-PFDJ and NRM-RPF elite relations prior to this point, it is argued, rendered the subsequent violence and inter-state antagonism all the more acute and damaging, and the chapter underlines the significant regional repositioning the clashes forced all four states to undergo, and the unlikely regional alliances that this led to.
Chapter 6 chronicles the fragmentation of the four sets of post-liberation elites, and the purging of many established veterans between the late 1990s and ca. 2006. The chapter shows how each movement during these years was shaken to its foundations by internal criticism and major splits which pitted the leadership and a new, younger generation of loyalists against many senior liberation war cadres. Though these splits were notionally focused around questions of movement governance and leadership they were provoked by regional security crises. Indeed, in all four cases, debates on loyalty, ideological purity and movement integrity were laid on top of more long-standing disagreements on each movement’s relationship with its struggle-era regional ally. In mapping these splits and the removal of a significant part of the founding post-liberation elite from the policy arena, this chapter demonstrates how fundamentally inter-linked regional and domestic politics have been in these four states, at least with regard to relations with states governed by a one-time liberation war partner. It also underscores the degree to which gaining and maintaining office can be intrinsically destabilising – even destructive – for militarised, revolutionary movements such as those examined in this study.
This chapter, together with Chapter 1, introduces the four East African liberation movements individually and as part of a distinct collective, a collective whose politico-military leadership would push to re-structure regional politics in the decade that followed its ascent to power. In doing so, the chapters delineate not only the ideas and relationships developed in the bush that would later shape regional politics but also how these ideas and relationships were themselves constantly shaped and re-shaped by contingency and context – as they would continue to be following victory. Chapter 2 focuses on the four movements’ liberation struggles themselves, explaining how support structures, wartime experiences and the manner in which each liberation struggle ended moulded each movement and its elite and set it on a particular path in the post-liberation era.
This chapter explores how the four East African liberation movements transitioned into governments and begun to negotiate their place within the region. The central argument of this chapter is that the early regional relationships of EPRDF, EPLF and NRM post-liberation elites were dominated by pragmatic, domestic preoccupations, and managing tensions with, and the distrust of, regional counterparts. Revolutionary change, at least at the regional level, was therefore far from being a lodestar. Diplomatically isolated for much of its first decade in power, NRM Uganda found itself in an instantly antagonistic set of relationships with its conservative neighbours, who feared it would seek to replicate its revolution in their own territories. Seeking to allay these concerns, Kampala promoted itself as a regional conflict mediator in Somalia and vacillated in its support for the RPF, which launched its first invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990. In the Horn, EPRDF and EPLF elites focused mainly on settling the question of Eritrean independence and the shape of post-liberation Ethiopia’s political and constitutional order. The elites of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda first came together in the early 1990s around shared security concerns – the perceived threat from Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist Sudan – rather than ideological agendas.
Chapter 4 explains how an initially defensive alliance between the post-liberation elites of the region developed into a more philosophical, aspirational and militarised one, focused – putatively – around promoting regional liberation projects. The chapter demonstrates how summitry around support for the South Sudanese SPLM/A during this period provided a space for the four movements to share ideas on promoting wider regional transformation, most notably in Zaïre – a notion that spoke to their shared heritage as liberation movements and shared understanding of violence as an effective reform mechanism. The chapter cautions, however, against understanding the four elites’ involvement in the Zaïre/Congo wars as motivated by a coherent understanding of, and commitment to, regional liberation. The Horn movements’ engagement took place at a much more theoretical and superficial level than those of the Great Lakes, and elites in Addis Ababa, Asmara and Kampala took a quite different view on legitimate ways to promote liberation in Zaïre to counterparts in Kigali. The chapter also reflects, then, on the challenges encountered by post-liberation movements in reframing their country’s place in regional security frameworks, and in reimagining struggle era ideational frameworks in a new context.
This chapter, together with Chapter 2, introduces the four East African liberation movements individually and as part of a distinct collective, a collective whose politico-military leadership would push to re-structure regional politics in the decade that followed its ascent to power. In doing so, the chapters delineate not only the ideas and relationships developed in the bush that would later shape regional politics but also how these ideas and relationships were themselves constantly shaped and re-shaped by contingency and context – as they would continue to be following victory. Chapter 1 focuses on the movements as ideological and social entities, charting the ideational, sociopolitical and organisational underpinnings of each, and their links to one another.
This chapter introduces the purpose and core arguments of the book, which focuses on exposing, examining and underlining the acute challenges faced by East African post-liberation movements seeking to re-structure and transform regional politics. The analysis that follows argues for the importance of common ideological, ideational and aspirational frameworks around pan-Africanism and liberation across the four post-liberation elites in their negotiation of a place in the region. The conceptual framework developed nonetheless also underlines how far these movements needed to accommodate a range of competing forces and pressures in the years following their victories, reformist ambitions often sitting uncomfortably alongside the practicalities of regional diplomacy and, increasingly, regime maintenance and intra-movement politics. The chapter also emphasises the importance of understanding these post-liberation elites as social, as well as ideological and pragmatic, actors.
The book concludes by reflecting more broadly on the extent and character of the domestic and regional transformation delivered by the four post-liberation regimes since 1986. It outlines the significant and enduring impact that all four have had on the political fabric of East Africa, and the gradual securitisation of regional affairs and fora that their regional engagements have brought about. It also examines the re-calibration of regime structures and aspirations in the aftermath of regional conflict and internal splits and considers the longer-term durability of post-liberation governance in East Africa, and beyond.
Between 1986 and 1994, East Africa's postcolonial, political settlement was profoundly challenged as four revolutionary 'liberation' movements seized power in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. After years of armed struggle against vicious dictatorships, these movements transformed from rebels to rulers, promising to deliver 'fundamental change'. This study exposes, examines and underlines the acute challenges each has faced in doing so. Drawing on over 130 interviews with the region's post-liberation elite, undertaken over the course of a decade, Jonathan Fisher takes a fresh and empirically-grounded approach to explaining the fast-moving politics of the region over the last three decades, focusing on the role and influence of its guerrilla governments. East Africa after Liberation sheds critical light on the competing pressures post-liberation governments contend with as they balance reformist aspirations with accommodation of counter-vailing interests, historical trajectories and their own violent organisational cultures.