African Conflict Case Study

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Can we use identity and citizenship to explain Africa’s conflicts? (How best can we explain it?)
For many decades Africa has encountered many wars and conflicts with majority of them being intrastate. Nations have either been under threat, in the midst of civil war or on the road to negotiating peace. The effects that come with armed conflicts have been damaging to nation’s growth and security (Akokpari, 2008: 92). This essay is going to argue that the question of citizenship and what it means to be a citizen is closely associated with African conflict and therefore one of the ways to explain its causes. However this does not reject other causes that are a result of African conflict. I will start by briefly explaining the concept of citizenship
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Much of this is because of Africa’s colonial ancestry which has led to unequal citizenship. He says people become divided in the absence of rights and privileges under citizenship and that usually ends with conflict. The struggle of citizenship rights can be demonstrated either through the taking up of arms or the declaring of democratization (Adejumobi, 2001: 163). Like Mamdani, he also says colonialism created two sets of people; the native and the citizen. Rwanda is a nation that is close-packed with its ethnic groups speaking the same language and sharing the same cultures. This meant ethnic groups would less likely encounter inter-group conflict. However the Rwandan genocide contradicts that. The tension between the Hutu and Tutsi was far from being a cultural issue but instead it had to do with racial and political identity Before, Hutu and Tutsi identities were fluid not until colonial structures created rigid distinction between the two. Tutsi were “first class natives” (Adejumobi, 2001: 165) with delegated power and resources while Hutu became subjects that were brought under the domination of the Tutsi. Tutsi had wealth power and influence and this led them to being the standard measure for other identities. This showed how colonialism’s construct of identity remained in the structures of the state system. Colonialism introduced the notion of race by declaring Hutu as indigenous and Tutsi as non-indigenous and putting that into law. And so through these racial identities, the Rwandan genocide is better understood because the Hutu saw themselves as descendants of the land killing settlers that benefited at their expense (Mamdani, 2002: 499-500). After colonialism the new republic of Rwanda did not change the system that colonialism left behind, it simply embraced it and the politicizing of indigeneity; it mirrored it. The Hutu

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