In this article I critique conventional understandings of the international relations’ notion of juridical sovereignty. I argue that these understandings mask the fact that juridical sovereignty is a central governing rationality used to undermine the national self-determination of peripheral ‘postcolonial’ states. Independence has not resulted in the formation of an international community of equal sovereign states. I provide an alternative reading of juridical sovereignty and make a distinction between juridical independence and juridical sovereignty. This article is informed by the decoloniality perspective and draws from the works of Denise Ferreira da Silva and Sylvia Wynter—black women pioneers of the decoloniality framework—to argue that juridical sovereignty is rooted in Western modernity’s conception of Man and, therefore, stands in direct and irreconcilable opposition to the juridical independence and self-determination of African states and peoples. The case study of Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programmehighlights how tensions between juridical independence and juridical sovereignty have affected the country’s international relations and nation-building post-independence. This, in turn, highlights the challenges juridical sovereignty presents to the ‘postcolonial’ state.
|Journal||The Australasian Review of African Studies|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2016|