In This Review

Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization
Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization
By Alice Hills
Lynne Rienner, 2000, 212 pp.

Studies on the role of the police in Africa are rare, so this is a welcome effort to piece together some of the available research findings, including information from the files of foreign-aid programs. The author, a British security expert, fleshes out the often skimpy data by developing an analytical model of police systems and then using the model to draw contrasts in policing among a variety of African countries. The picture is a gloomy one in which crime prevention, respect for law, and citizens' rights take a back seat everywhere to the internal security needs of incumbent regimes. Political liberalization cannot succeed in Africa, Hill observes, as long as leaders remain above the law and continue to regard police forces as instruments of personal power. Yet this long-entrenched pattern shows few signs of changing in the countries surveyed, which include Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Somaliland, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.