African states have secured ‘independence’ but have yet to achieve internal stability due to the failure to organise internal peace. No one can conceivably deny that post-colonial Africa’s internal systems have largely failed to address serious matters of socio-political inequality and the instability that it brings. Diffusion of power has yet to be genuinely placed on the agenda across the continent; the continental international bodies are essentially social clubs that massage the egos of the leadership. Protecting civil liberties is never a serious agenda.
The most poisonous factor of African politics is the State enhanced and maintained ethnic and/ or religious divisions within society. Access to power and resources is regulated along ethnic lines and that alone causes internal instability and threatens the integrity of national boundaries. There are far too many groups fighting for their independence internally and we know the barbaric nature of most of these domestic wars. Testimony is the current internal wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, among others where rape and/ or mutilation of women is routinely used as a military strategy.
Africa’s biggest political weakness lies in the poor quality of the political debate across the continent. Highly politicised education systems do not teach young people how to think opting instead to teach them what to think. The result is academic and political graduates endowed with one side of the argument but who cannot be trusted to adequately explain what their opponents believe. The natural response to any opposition is reduced constructive political debate and increased adoption of more violent interventions that may include protracted illegal wars.
Children are quite deliberately psychologically and emotionally manipulated and raised in a contextual absurdity of ethnic purity. It is sad that from infancy Africa’s children are trained in errors, ethnic superiority is a stupendous doctrine based not on facts but subjective perceptions based on insidious bigotry. It is often impossible for many young people to examine sincerely and dispassionately any evidence that may seem to challenge the validity of ethnic superiority.
The result is a debilitating entrenchment of socio-political polarisation. People generally do not vote quality but only those candidates they can identify with in terms of ethnicity or religion or race. When products of ill-balanced education systems are recruited into positions of power, their objective is never to correct the system but to further strengthen the systems; their ignorance knows no bounds. Resource allocation reflects religion, ethnic and racial bias and that has remained a source of African internal conflict.
Africa needs socio-political sanity to address its internal affairs before the continent can see the proceeds of its independence. Until Africa starts deploying people to positions according to the content of their character, their skills, experience, among other factors and not ethnicity, race, gender, political allegiance and religion, the region will continue to lag behind in every development measure.