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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Frederic Pearson


This dissertation examines the factors that contributed to the increase of number of internal wars in Sub Saharan Africa during the 1990s. It examines relationship between governance and internal wars in the region. Despite the fact that many of the ingredients e.g. economic decline, multi-ethnicity, etc. as suggested by the literature were present in most of the countries in the region; still many countries managed to maintain a continued stability and growth, while others could not. Thus, the leading question for the dissertation is: How and why did some countries manage to avert internal wars, while others did not? The dissertation examines factors that were present (or absent) in the countries that did (or did not) experience internal war in the 1990s. Using qualitative comparative case studies, the study compares three war countries (Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Somalia) to three no-war countries (Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia). The study hypothesized that at the center of the occurrence of internal war is the issue of governance. Governance defined and measured as the ability of a state to bolster development in the country. Governance was examined from three perspectives: contextual, structural and policy for each country and as a group. In contrast to the previous studies, the study finds that multi-ethnicity is not a cause for internal war. The study also finds that higher social expenditure such as education and healthcare and lower military expenditure helped the no-war countries avoid internal war. Externally, the increase of aid during the 1990s, which primarily resulted from good leadership that accepted International donor's conditionalities also helped in the avoidance of internal war. Finally, the state's ability to accommodate the demands of the local opposition groups also helped the avoidance of internal war.

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