This paper interrogates and rejects the effectiveness of consensus building as a mechanism for conflict resolution in Africa. Drawing from the conflict/consensus theoretical debates of the 1960s, the paper argues that because of the inherent character of power, and considering the nature of the state in Africa which is subordinated to private interests, the political leaders will not readily bend to consensus. Instead of consensus the paper suggests a reform of the state. But beyond the reform, the paper points out the compelling need for the development of a virile civil society and a corresponding need for the re-invention of a nationalist ideology both of which will induce as well as facilitate the relative autonomy of the state. Thereafter, a reformed state in Africa will be better placed to adequately manage power and conflict.