AFRICAN ETHNIC CONFLICT – BY OGUNLEYE OLUWAKOREDE
In Africa, there is more to a nation’s diversity than just language or culture. Factors range from European control like Amalgamation to the principle of Assimilation and Association or Apartheid system in South Africa. Historians have based the issue of African underdevelopment on ethnic conflict. The genocide of Tutsi by the Hutu in 1994 during which about 700,000- 1million Rwanda civilians were killed is one of the causes of a major setback in the Rwanda economy till today. Every African state is unique with her culture and tradition. Ashanti of the Ghana coast known for her wealth and love of cloth or the brightly coloured cotton of the Swahili region can be used to improve the condition of other weaker African states. There should be a form of inter dependence among African states to move the continent forward. We sometimes believe that one of the ways to show the beauty or strength of our culture is by showing dominance or oppression. The Xenophobic attack on other Africans in South Africa since the early 90’s has been a baffling and disturbing issue. Assaults on immigrants, especially from Malawi, Mozambique and some parts of South and Eastern parts of Africa during the late 90’s and recently on citizens from West Africa particularly Nigeria has been on the increase, they blame this act on competition caused by foreigners which has led to unemployment, high prices of commodities. Who are we to blame on this issue; the indigenes or foreigners? Everyone has different answers to this question but the bottom line is that ‘’BLACK LIVES MATTERS’’ no matter the circumstance that is faced. The life of an African should not be used as an excuse for a nation’s development.
The African nation is filled with 54 nations excluding some nation island; enriched with beautiful Island, Low lands, Mountains, Valleys and many more. Some African revolutionist have been able to make the ethnicity as a basis for a stronger nation like when Houphouet-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire evenly shared political offices after independence among the different ethnic groups in Côte d’Ivoire. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana reducing ethnic groups and political parties based on tribalism. If Politicians and African leaders can try to involve most ethnic group in Political activities, it can foster African unity. The establishment of Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Economic Commission of West African States has also been a driving force for African Unity. We still question the credibility of these associations if they do affect the continent’s economy positively. Issues of ethnic conflict cannot be totally stopped but Africans’ ethnicity and diversity can be used to build a better continent. One thing we should just try to make clear to each other is, everyone is born equal and should be treated equal.