Kenya is aflame with internecine tribal warfare. Sudan is split between the Arab controlled government, the Dinka, Fur, Nuba, and Nubian peoples. Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Congo, and Chad have been equally faced with violence and warfare. Namibia battles separatist tribes in the northeast, and Zimbabwe’s government promotes division and violence against Zimbabwe’s various peoples. Nigeria violently attacks and imprisons advocates of the Republic of Biafra lead by Igbo, Ijaw, and Ogoni nations.
Violence between indigenous nations in Africa’s states boils with vengeance. At the core of all of these conflicts are three major irritants: corrupt control over the state apparatus, uneven distribution of natural resource wealth and denial of access to land.
Most African states were officially decolonized in the 1960s and afterward. European colonial domination was replaced by neocolonialism and black African recolonization where corrupt tribal leaders, corporations and other financial interests maintained a grasp on natural resources (land, diamonds, oil, minerals, precious wood), made newly empowered African state leaders into corrupt puppets and impoverished millions of indigenous African nations. State boundaries were imposed on populations by those who thought the state system was good for Europe and would be good for Africa–they weren’t and aren’t. Whole peoples have been prevented from accessing their traditional territories and lands necessary for the the production of food and natural wealth.
Europe’s state system in Africa has fundamentally failed to benefit Africa’s hundreds of different nations. Corruption, the use of state force against differing nations inside the boundaries of a state, denial of access to life supporting land and denial of shared wealth are all symptomatic of failed African states. The states have been bankrupted while individual families and dominating tribes have been enriched. The state system has failed!
Corporations have battered African natural resources by plundering raw materials and undermine social and cultural stability of tribal peoples through de facto slave trading. Single sources of wealth have contributed to impoverishment of whole peoples and enrichment of a few. The few control access to the natural resources and businesses deal only with them to gain access. This imbalance reflects the blind profit motive that fails to recognize the social, cultural and economic imbalances caused by outside economic demands for energy, minerals, wood and even animal parts like ivory tusks from elephants and the hands and feet of gorillas.
European-based land tenure systems have disenfranchised whole peoples and removed them from access to life-giving lands. The wealthy and the powerful control the best lands while nations starve. Lands that produce food are used to produce exports to other countries resulting in the enrichment of those who control the land.
Kenya is inflamed by the reality of corrupt states’ governments, the failure of fair natural wealth distribution and denial of land access. Kenya is only the most visible of festering violence being done in Africa.
How to remedy the current violence? There is no way to stop the violence now. States will be broken up, violence will be done to businesses that steal raw materials (like Shell Oil experiences in the Delta Region of Nigeria), and land will be reclaimed through violence. The original nations of Africa cannot and will not be denied as the violence, the famine, the disease and hatreds gripping unstable and bankrupt states foretells. The state system will be replaced with something more appropriate to the history and realities of the African continent.
Africa’s indigenous nations have been too long denied their place in their own countries. They have been denied the benefits of enormous natural wealth and life giving land and water. Africa is not a poor place. It is a corrupted place that needs cleaning out. The corrupt and bankrupt neocolonialism and black tribal recolonization must be replaced and apparently Africa’s original nations are now, however, chaotically, moving to reclaim their destiny.
(c) 2008 Center for World Indigenous Studies
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