|Battles broke out between protesters and soldiers|
in Nigeria's northern city of Kano as President Goodluck Jonathan
was declared the winner of the 2011 elections
By Honourable Saka
Case study: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Ethiopia…
The 20th century saw many conflicts in Africa, breaking out along ethnic divisions. For instance, according to an African researcher Abdalla Bujra, it took only the Ibos to start a major civil war in Nigeria – a highly fractionised society. The Ibos were cohesive and well organised. Besides, the civil wars in Uganda, the Sudan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone were and are being carried out by rebel movements which are organised across ethnic lines. Therefore the influence that tribalism and ethnicity have had on many conflicts in Africa some years ago, cannot be in doubt. Yet, many researchers hold different views about the true nature of conflicts in Africa today.
Dr Anke Hoeffler, a researcher at the Centre for the Study of African Economies, at the Oxford University suggests that from the 1990s, Africa has seen a reduction in the prevalence of civil war and that some countries with long and devastating civil wars are now at peace. Angola, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda are said to be such examples.
However, in the past few years, conflicts and bloodshed are beginning to show up their ugly heads across the continent once again. The causal factors have been attributed to the search for “democracy”, the holding of political elections, bad economic policies, boundary and territorial disputes, among others.
Some causes of conflicts in Africa
It is believed that political and economic development failures have been the root cause of Africa's political instability. Others also suggests that the rising conflicts in Africa are as a result of bad economic policies which are often imposed and directed from abroad, notably Washington, London and Paris.
|Oil in flames: Thousands of Nigerian protesters clashed with|
police during a fuel subsidy removal protest that led scores
dead and many others wounded
An example is the recent IMF imposed policies of fuel subsidy removal which almost threw Nigeria and other West African countries into chaos. Although the situation was finally put under control at some point, it can be remembered that the clashes between the people and the security forces left scores dead and many others wounded.
Conflicts have also broken out between many African countries as a result of the artificial boundaries created by the colonial rulers which often put some neighbouring countries at odd with each other. Some examples include: the Eritrean–Ethiopian War that took place from May 1998 to June 2000. The tension between North Sudan and South Sudan, Africa's longest civil war, where countless people have died is another clear example.
In spite of these, the globalist and their corporate mainstream media, also try hard to link conflicts in Africa with climate change. The BBC recently reported: “Climatic factors have been cited as a reason for several recent conflicts. One is the fighting in Darfur in Sudan that according to UN figures has killed 200,000 people and forced two million more from their homes”.
Even though some of the above-listed views regarding conflicts in Africa are to some extent credible, they are just a tip of the iceberg, especially when one critically looks at the emerging bigger picture: wars of democracy and electoral disputes in Africa.
The Bigger Picture
For the past 15 years, the most dangerous and most frequent cause of conflicts, divisions and wars in many peaceful African countries have not been as a result of tribalism nor ethnic divide as the media would have us believe.
|Ouattara's rebel forces massacred an entire|
christian community at Duekoue, Ivory Coast, 2011
However, many of the civil wars recently seen in Africa have been as a result of “democracy”, electoral disputes and political clashes which often left tens of thousands of people dead and many others wounded. A few list of the countries which has experienced electoral disputes/clashes where many people were reported to have lost their lives are: Ethiopia (2005), Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), Burundi (2010), Guinea (2010), Ivory Coast (2011), South Sudan (2011), DR Congo (2011) Uganda (2011), and many more.
Nigeria's elections that were held in April (2011) were hailed by many as the fairest in the nation's history. Yet, at least 800 people were killed in campaign violence. The presidential election set off rioting amidst sectarian killings in northern Nigeria that left more than 800 dead. Also in Rwanda, intolerance of political opposition was unchanged since the 2010 elections. Many were reported to have died as a result of the electoral violence.
|Obama, a strong force that stood behind his |
cousin Odinga in the 2007 Kenyan elections
|Election violence in Kenya left thousands dead|
Honourable Dr Saka
The author is a regular writer and a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African affairs. Please visit his blog at: http://honourablesaka.blogspot.co.uk/ He is a strong Pan-Africanist, a youth activist and the founder of the “Leaders of Tomorrow”, a transformational and inspirational group of possible future leaders. He can be reached on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org