The world today is experiencing all manner of wars. From insurgencies, to terrorism, to civilian coups, to military coups, to ethnic conflicts, to guerrilla warfare, to proxy wars.
Africa, to some extent, has found herself chained in this dilemma. Most of the time fingers being pointed at her leadership and her people.
From the Boko Haram insurgencies in West Africa, to Alshabaab terrorism in the East, to Civilian coups in the North. And today the soldier vs soldier war fast transforming into soldier vs civilian war. Best cases being the ongoing conflicts in Burundi, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Northern Mali, among others.
All these examples confirming Samuel Huntington’s Praetorian state. As the role of the military in politics keeps on increasing by the day.
Just a few days ago South Sudan marked her second anniversary of civil war. At least 8 million people are in need of aid, 4.6 million on the edge of starvation, Over 600 thousand people have already fled the country. All these crisis remaining 100% man-made.
The government of Burundi on its part has decided to openly kill her own citizens. And this is fast degenerating into a genocide. One similarity between South Sudan’s war and Burundi’s war remaining the ethnic cleansing approach.
In the world of politics, politics revolves around three issues, POWER, INFLUENCE and WEALTH. And the means of acquiring the above does not really matter. At least from a realist perspective. And those subscribing to the likes of Machievelli and Hobbes will hence understand why the Politics is being militarized…..or is it military being politicized?
Any sitting head of state today will always seek to ensure that his/ her military can be trusted. And most of the time, due to Africa’s heterogeneous nature, they equally ensure that the military is simply headed by their tribesmen. People will tend to trust more individuals whom they have something in common with. There is nothing wrong with that. At least do it for the good.
Although the military is simply trained to destroy and to kill for the sole purpose of protecting the state, killing of her own citizens should not be misconstrued to mean protection of the state. Simply because a state ceases to be a state with the absence of her citizens.
Yesterday we talked about South Sudan, today we have already forgotten about the killings that are still going on. Today we are talking about Burundi, tomorrow we would have already forgotten. As Africans we have perfected the art of living by the moment. We never really take the initiative of addressing the root causes of our problems. The Hutu-Tutsi war in Burundi is not new to us. Their civil war lasted for more than a decade between 1993 and 2005.
This part of the African culture reminds me of PW BOTHA’s 1985 infamous speech……..In part, “By now every one of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the Black man is the symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence. Isn’t it plausible, therefore that the White man is created to rule the Black man?”
I do not wish to agree with this comments, but I have no option but to accept that a part of it still reflects what is happening in Africa today. Even in relatively larger economies such as Kenya, in the political palance, majority cannot hold a conversation beyond the next general election. The only political knowledge they have is who will be the next president.
This continues to make Africa vulnerable to both internal and external forces that seek to keep her in Poverty albeit rich resources she boasts.
On Burundi, regional leaders will tend to shy away from addressing this issue. They’ve never addressed South Sudan’s anyway, what makes you think they will address Burundi’s?
The best they can do is to negotiate a power sharing deal between two antagonists and pose for some photo session. And then wait for the next patient.
Only Africans can emancipate themselves from this form of slavery. And they need to act, act very fast.