The Evolution of Insurgent Leadership in Africa

  • William Reno
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


Most African insurgencies from the 1960s through the 1980s featured strong leaders who articulated broad programs of political and social change. Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane, Guinea-Bissau’s Amilcar Cabral, and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni led highly organized insurgencies that presented visions of a future society to people in territories that they controlled, and convinced outside observers that they were viable alternatives to the regimes in power. This was true even where rival groups contended for power, as in Zimbabwe between the Zimbabwe African National Union and Zimbabwe African People’s Union, and in South Africa between the African National Congress and Pan-African Congress. That earlier leadership contrasts sharply with the record of predation and fragmentation among more recent insurgencies such as Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the numerous armed groups fighting in eastern Congo and Somalia since the early 1990s.


United Nations Social Space Armed Group National Liberation Peace Negotiation 
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© William Reno 2016

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  • William Reno

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