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By Means of the Gun: African States After Assassination Open Access

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Head of state assassinations have been rife across an independent Africa, yet a comprehensive analysis of the political impacts of these events has been lacking. This thesis seeks not only to assess the impacts of the 27 cases of assassination, but also to identify the factors most likely to influence the results. Gaining insight into these issues will provide a new perspective on the African state, and may even offer practical guidance for policymakers dealing with post-assassination states. In order to approach the problem, a comparative historical case study analysis was employed using nine cases to illustrate a range of impacts. The cases were also distinct in terms of governance system, historical decade, economic environment, and geography. The impacts of the cases were then scored using ten political indicators (political violence, ethnic strain, civil war, etc.) to determine impact. The results from the case studies and the additional assassinations were then used to develop trends regarding potential explanatory factors for the impacts.The outcomes revealed that the majority of impacts have been low or moderate, suggesting that while the frequency of assassinations may be troubling, the impacts are generally minor. In terms of the African state, these findings indicate that individual leadership is not as important as the continuity of the structures of the state, for those states with sound political structures proved to be the most stable after assassinations. Accordingly, states with structural dynamism, meaning those with a history of coups d'etat, regime transition, military interference, and nascent democratization, were the ones to most likely experience a higher degree of post-assassination impact.

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