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State building in the 21st century has become a leading priority in the international development

community, mostly in post-conflict settings but, ongoing state building challenges persist in
states in comparatively more normal developing settings. This paper seeks to define violence.
Conflict and state building and also to give the relationship between either violence or conflict
and state building. The assertion that conflict and violence are a viable means for state building
in the 21st century is true to a lesser extent because of the reasons and facts which will be
critically analyzed in the essay below. However, conflict and violence are not a viable means to
state building because they cause disharmony, economic disruption, escalates more violence and
conflicts resulting in wars and loss of humanity and infrastructure.
Conflict is a social situation in which at least two parties, individuals, groups, states are involved
and who strive for goals which are incompatible to begin with or strive for the same goal, which
can only be reached by one party; and or want to employ incompatible means to achieve a
certain goal Call, (2008). State building refers to deliberate actions by national and or
international actors to establish, reform or strengthen state institutions and build state capacity
and legitimacy in relation to an effective political process to negotiate mutual demands between
state and Citizen Paris and Sisk, (2009). State building is not, therefore, only about the state in
isolation but the quality and nature of the relationship linking state and society are also essential.
Proponents of the comprehensive conception of violence avoid some of these difficulties by
broadening the definition to include anything avoidable that impedes human realization, violates
the rights or integrity of the person and is often judged in terms of outcomes rather than
intentions. Call (2002) proposes a generic definition that is, actions that inflict, threaten or
cause injury. Actions may be corporal, written or verbal, psychological, material or social.
Rocha Menacol, (2013) describes violence as physical aggression, that is, when people use
physical methods to harm others. However, he continues that The harm they produce is not
necessarily physical. It could be a social harm or a deprivation of resources. The latter condition
invokes Galtungs (1969) concept of structural violence, that is, physical and psychological
harm that results from exploitive and unjust social, political and economic systems. This is not
(necessarily) carried out by individuals but is hidden to a greater or lesser extent in structures that
prevent people from realizing their potential. An example of this might be the injustices of the
worldwide system for the trade in goods, which is correlated with infant mortality, infectious
disease, and shortened life spans. Unemployment, job insecurity, cuts in public spending,

destruction of institutions capable of defending social welfare, dispossession and violation of

rights. These are social harms that could be encompassed within violence
It must also be understood that a constitution cannot be rammed through too early in the process
where people are coming out or are still in a conflict and are hardly capable of building the
national consensus required for the successful drafting of a constitution. This is more so if, as
was the case with Iraq, conflict is still raging. Nor is the provision of a new constitution an end in
itself. Quite often an existing constitution will be perfectly adequate, with minor amendments if
necessary, at least for the immediate post-conflict period. In Latin American constitutional
processes, for example, parties often found previous constitutions acceptable and focused their
energies on striking a balance between the branches of government, or addressing specific issues
such as indigenous rights. During the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in November-December
2001, it was easily agreed that the 1964 constitution, cleaned of its original monarchical
dispositions would serve Afghanistan well at the start of the new era.
Clearly it can be said that to some extent, conflict can be is not a viable for state building but
however, to a better extent violence and conflict are viable for state building. One is also of the
view that conflict and violence can undermine state building when it bypasses state institutions.
The provision of basic social services, such as health, water and education offers a powerful
illustration. In fragile settings, donors have often put service delivery in the hands of
international and local non-governmental organizations to generate quick and visible
improvements in everyday conditions. A recent case study on the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) commissioned by the OECD DAC as part of a broader project on state building in fragile
situations, for example, found that schools and clinics are being built without the authorization of
the local administration and that such initiatives weaken the state and its linkages to society.
Conflict is and has always been an inevitable aspect of every society and so the assertion that
conflict and violence are viable means of state building can be said to be a true notion. The other
thing that has to be noted is that violence does not take place in a vacuum, rather it generally
occurs in a repeated and patterned way, often within entrenched social relations. The relationship
of violence and state building is complex and nuanced, as is the concept of state building itself. It

is also of the belief that violence might be a source of power, a resource that can be mobilized to
enforce the compliance of others. Violence is clearly exercised by the powerful and the
perpetrators have privileged positions within systems of patriarchal, ethnic or political power.
However, it is not always the case that all manifestations of violence can be attributed simply to
instantiating power. A good example for this is when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union
(ZCTU) led a protest or rather a demonstration against the Labor Act which favored the
employer at the expense of the employees. Through the demonstrations and protests led by the
ZCTU the Labor Act of Zimbabwe was reviewed and amended so that it favors both parties that
is the employer and the workers. Had it not been that there were protests and demonstrations
done the Act was going to stay like that and the conflict would escalate or rather there would
have been some more violent protests happening up to date. State building can be said to have
been enhanced through this kind of a conflict in the sense that equality normality was brought
about between employers and employees after some conflict of some sort and therefore one can
say that in some way violence and conflict are viable means to state building.
Again conflict and violence can be said to viable for state building as evidenced by the
resolutions and ways formulated by the Harare City Council in Zimbabwe to minimize the
conflict between the vendors and the city fathers of Harare. Instead of spending hours and days
chasing away vendors in the city center, the Harare City council built and created space for
vendors to operate of freely and also helped in generating revenue through the taxes that the
vendors pay to the city council. This was also the case of other cities and towns in Zimbabwe and
therefore one can say that the conflict between the vendors and the city fathers led to the
generation of more revenue for the councils in Zimbabwe and therefore improving economic
growth in Zimbabwe, though at a very slow pace.
Nigeria for decades has been recognized as the Giant of Africa. This was perhaps because of
its leading role in peace-making and peacekeeping activities across the political landscape of
Africa, which fosters peace and regional integration Adebajo and Mustapha, (2008). In its
numerous foreign policy pronouncements, Nigeria has shown profound interest in the economic
development and social well-being of African States, especially its closest neighbors of West
African sub-region. In West Africa, Nigerias foreign policy goals were closely linked to

considerations of national security and economic development. Its abundant natural resources
gave the country enormous responsibility for peace, security, and stability in the sub-region.
Nigerias intervention in Sierra Leone helped the country to re-establish itself as the hegemonic
power in the sub-region (Jega and Farris, 2010). One can notice that the major reason why
Nigeria has been on the spot and has acquired international spotlight is because of its
involvement in the conflict transformations in Sierra Leone. Again Nigeria has gained
international value and recognition amongst other African states enabling it to have greater
chances of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and therefore enhancing its economic situation and
Sierra Leone was able to gain some political stability. In summation, it can be noticed that
violence and conflict are viable for state building.

Call, (2008) asserts that, the primary goal of state building is on developing effective
government, based on law and general consent. State building is a long term, political process
that does not necessarily follow a linear path. These processes should be participatory and
internally driven, although external actors can play a role in facilitating and enabling
environment for reforms. However, efforts to end hostilities and consolidate peace can also
undermine state building. Peace settlements can institutionalize divisions in politics. They may
also strengthen the role of repressive rulers where there is need to appease spoilers. This can also
be the case of Zimbabwe at the moment, as the beginning of the year 2016 has been an episode
of climate change and a beginning of poverty and people failing because of hunger, livestock
dying and even humans. It is reported that in some parts of Manicaland and Masvingo provinces
livestock has been failing and decreasing at a fast rate resulting in poverty. Poverty as one of the
major components or factor to conflict has led the government and the nation at large to focus on
one aspect of development. Therefore one can say that conflict and violence are not the viable for
state building since they can also escalate the fragility of states in many ways.
Conflict and violence are believed to be the major factors in economic depreciation and political
instability. Conflict and violence have been the major causes of deaths in Africa and the world at
large over famine and pandemic diseases. For instance Nigeria like any other developing
countries has been enmeshed by series of domestic intricacies which adversely affects state

building. Nigeria since independence had been battling with domestic crisis which consist of
insecurity, political violence, economic predicament, insurgency and corruption. The crisis has
thrown major challenges to the countrys desire to achieve security, economic development and
mostly state building at both domestic and international levels despite its human and economic
potentialities. Hence, one can conclude that in the presence of conflict and violence it almost
impossible to achieve state building and therefore the assertion that conflict and violence are
viable means to state building might be deemed wrong.
The trademarks of the Boko Haram are gratuitous destruction of lives a property with reckless
abandon, through bombings, abduction and slaughtering of human beings, principally in
Northern Nigeria. This has created flagrant fear and sense of insecurity in Nigeria (Adebayo,
2014). Since July 2009, more than 15,000 people have been killed in bombings and gun attacks
by Boko Haram
(Agbiboa, 2013). Since the emergence of Boko Haram from the shadows about six years ago,
one of the first obvious economic concerns was the almost immediate drop in Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI). According to the World Investment Report (WIR) 2013, FDI flows into
Nigeria dropped by 21% in just one year from $8.9 billion in 2011 to $7 billion in 2012. The loss
of $1.9 billion for a country in desperate need of money such as Nigeria was a staggering blow.
A scientific study revealed that a unit increase in FDI into the Nigerian oil sector will increase
the countrys GDP by approximately 16 units (Gillespie, 2015). Adebayo (2014), lamented that
the activities of Boko Haram are causing an incalculable damage to the nations economy.
Though it is difficult to quantify the damage in absolute terms, the level of insecurity occasioned
by the sects activities is preventing the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the
country. If there is anything foreign investors are scared of, it is insecurity. Boko Haram with the
recent bombing of United Nations (UN) building in Abuja has put Nigeria on the group of
terrorist nations (Titus, 2012). Clearly one can testify and denounce the assertion that violence
and conflict are viable means to state building given the economic situation of Nigeria and the
consequences the state of Nigeria is likely to face because of the inflow of FDIs.
In conclusion, state building is lightly dependent on conflict and violence. This is because
conflict and violence contribute less in the nations building in the 21 st century. Given the case

studies above, one cannot deny the fact that indeed conflict and violence are a viable means for
state building. However, conflict and violence in the 21st century has seen the fail of African
economies, politics and social fabric of Africa as in the case of Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Sierra
Leone. Some of these countries have also lost their Foreign Direct Investments shafting to other
priorities as in the case of Nigeria and its involvement in the peace agreements of Sierra Leone.
Therefore, one can say that conflict and violence are not a viable means for state building in the
21st century.

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