Military legitimacy question in democratic transitions of Zimbabwe and Algeria

Legend L.E. Asuelime, Raquel A. Asuelime

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Nation-building is intertwined with certain political agency interactions in conflict-prone regions of the world. Within these conflagrations comes the question of legitimacy in transition processes. It is more so when the military is the main actor. The military variable in these processes, and civilians in the uprisings that led to the fall of the long-term leaders of Zimbabwe and Algeria highlight the vulnerability of the state in search of a sustainable nation-state. The problem under assessment in this paper is interwoven with the following questions: why is the military institution a challenge to democracy or civil rule in both countries (by extension Africa)? Could military coups be associated with civilian misrule? Could it be a case of poor civilian-military relationship? All these questions remain a sub to the question of military legitimacy in Democratic transitions of both countries and by extension Africa. The political leaderships in Zimbabwe and Algeria claim to draw their political legitimacy from the liberation histories of their countries that make them a stakeholder in democratic processes. The establishment of this claim to legitimacy remains a question when viewed from the prism of mass engagement in protest and uprisings. The conclusion here is that the two countries were similar in terms of their prevailing situations and have compromised efforts to legitimize governments in both countries. This paper employs the comparative content analysis of the relations between the military and the civilians in the two countries. It relies on the qualitative research approach and the desk research methodology which are effective in analyzing electronic and non-electronic documentary evidence. The paper recommends that the mechanism that guarantees the restriction of the military to their traditional assignment of defending the state and dissuading them from intruding into politics needs to be instituted in both countries.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Algeria
  • Coup
  • Legitimacy
  • Military Generals
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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