When we talk of Africa's distortions, we come across a lot
of conceptions to be dealt with to uncover the true state of
Africa's political, social and economic forces and the depth
of distorions that occurred to them.
One of the conceptions to be dealt with is the intense desire to transend
ethnic, tribal and regional loyalities as
expressed by Cedric. This led Cedric to propose to do whatever is possible to
develop consensus within existing
boundries rather than to attempt to alter them. I totally
agree with this approach. I do not propose to make the changing of boundaries
the central goal of our effort. In
fact our effort must be to build viable nation-states that will be responsive
to the developmental needs of our peoples. In doing so if the post colonial
state and its boundaries need to be changed, then we should do so.
Cedric mentioned the concept of ethnic purity which has been the outcome of
fascist articulation of ethnic concerns. We should , of course, guard
ourselves when we advocate the recognition of legitemate ethnic interests that
we will not ,even for a second, compromiz the accumualted and universalized
democratic and human rights of individuals and national groups.
Cerdic correctly asserted that there were tribal conflicts long before the
advent of colonialism. This is true even for the tribal groups in Europe. But
while the European tribal differences found their balance in the creation on
nation states mainly on the assertion of their feudal forces without
colonization, the African tribal differences were redirected to serve the
dominant colonial interests not the African ones. Thus the denial of the
African forces to map their futures according to their endegenous interests.
Just imagine why nearly a million Rwandese pershised in a genocide perpetuated
by Hutu fascists. Could not these million have a governmental structure to
protect them. If they did not have such a structure to defend them, why were
they made incapable of rudementary security arrengements ?
Which ever way we look at it, the post colonial Rwandeses
nation-state was unhealthy and artificial. Had we recognized this in the past
and addressed the fundamental problem of creating a responsive and viable
nation-state in Africa, probably we would have avoided such genocides.
The generation of refugees in Africa can be traced directly to conflict of
intersts in the African societiies. The natural mecanism to resolve conflict
of interests is the search for the democratic aleignment of interests in
viable nation-states. In post-colonial African nation-states where the
indegenous forces have been ignored, all conflict of interests tend to express
itself violently. It is this that
has to change.