The big bang introduction of Westphalian models of statehood in Africa truncated the organic evolution of indigenous African governance structures into dominant structures for the African people. Despite the truncation, however, the traditional African state has continued to exist alongside the modern state. The resultant bifurcation has created a unique duality of statehood in which the traditional state runs parallel to the modern. This paper interrogates this phenomenon within the context of the continent’s contemporary security burden. It argues, among others, that the duality of the African state splits the loyalty of citizens to the modern state and undermines the ability to harness citizen support for crime prevention and nation building and has also presented an interaction of factors that facilitate the politicisation of ethnicity with enormous security consequences.