Ethnic Conflict In Africa

748 Words3 Pages
Apart from constructing artificial hierarchies in Africa, colonialism has also contributed to ethnic conflict by establishing institutions, borders, and practices that create an unstable environment where ethnic conflict can emerge. Ethnic conflicts tend to occur in regions with weak, authoritarian governments that fail to meet the basic needs of the population. This creates frustration within the society and will create conditions that allow conflict to thrive. Moreover, it is also important to recognize that post-colonial states are characterized by weakness, resulting in the inability to change their governing structures from the institutions imposed by colonialists. Therefore, colonial policies, practices, and institutions tend to continue…show more content…
Following decolonization, there was no attempt to educate "the elites" to pass on the transition of government. Colonizers simply handed down their institutions and practices to the locals of the region. Consequently, the incoming governing powers were left with little knowledge of running a country aside from the oppressive practices of colonizers. Consequently, Congo did not see its first democratic election until after the end of their ethnic conflict in 2003, over 40 years after decolonization. This demonstrates how reliant Congo's political elites were on colonial methods of governing. Moreover, analysis of the Ituri conflict demonstrates how colonial practices during a time of conflict can exacerbate the situation and prevent peace from being achieved. The Ituris commonly looked to "colonial wisdom" to help them overcome societal conflicts. In parituclar, the militant groups of Ituri called for an apartheid style solution to the conflict between the Hema and Lendu. The idea was that following the ethnic segregation envisioned by the Belgian colonizers would bring peace to the region. Evidently, practicing further segregation amidst ethnic conflict would not bring about a solution. However, due to Congo's colonial past and the lack of education amongst the political elites, the Ituri turned to colonial solutions which only heightened the tension between ethnic groups. Evidently, Congo's decolonization process simply ensured that the new political elite would be reliant on colonial practices and institutions. This ultimately continued to drive ethnic tension within the region and contributed to the conflict between the Hema and
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