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Studies on post-conflict reconstruction in Africa have glossed over the need for state transformation as a prerequisite for sustainable peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. This article fills this gap and discusses the relevance of Claude Ake's political thought for state reconstruction in post-conflict Africa. It underscores the need for the autochthonous transformation of the state as a central component of peacebuilding and post-conflict transition in the continent as Ake had suggested. Drawing on Sierra Leone, it theorizes Ake's works on the state in Africa against the backdrop of externally driven state reconstruction projects hinged on hegemonic discourses of ‘nation-building’ in post-conflict situations. It presents Ake's corpus as a basis for critiquing ongoing state rehabilitation attempts and urges a return to endogenous initiatives of rebuilding the state from below as a condition for achieving a sustainable democratic reconstruction of the state in post-conflict Africa.