You are on page 1of 7

Question 1 a) Using irrefutable examples in Africa, examine the sources of conflict

Introduction Conflicts refer to disputes, disagreements, quarrels, struggles, fights, and wars between individuals, groups and countries. All over the world, there is no complete agreement as to how wealth, among other issues like power and status among individuals and groups should be shared and how to use it to effect the necessary changes and reforms. Since we all have diverse interests both as groups, nations and individuals, our aims are bound to differ with one another. Conflict s occurs when the deprived group, nation or individuals attempt to increase their share of power and wealth or to modify the dominant values, norms, beliefs or ideology. Gesiye A (2003). Conflicts involve more that one person, groups, multinationals or nations. Issues becomes a Conflict when disputes or disagreements cannot be resolved and that should be avoided

Conflict could be viewed as a triangle with structure, attitudes and behaviour as it vertices. Conflict with reference to structure means the conflicts situation, the parties, and the conflict of interest among them. Conflict arises where the parties come to have incompatible interests among them. Conflicts arise where the parties come to have incompatible interests, values or goals. Attitudes refer to the tendency for the parties to see conflict from their own point of view, to identify with one side, and to diminish the concerns of others and lastly, behaviours includes gestures and communications, which can convey either a hostile or a conciliatory intent. Galtung (1996). Irreconcilable differences as an avenue for Conflicts is established but no matter what the problem is, there is a need to pursue the side of peace

Sources of conflicts
The roots of social conflicts are associated with the struggle for maintaining or challenging a dominant power status Dahrendorf (1975), frustration generated by relative deprivation (Gurr, 1970), repression of basic needs Burton(1982), and differences in cultural norms and values Avruch, et al (1991); LeBaron (1997). The need for one to be able to meet his daily basic needs is very essential. Living a life of fulfilment and contentment is non negotiable to man hence where the daily bread is threatened, there is bound to be Conflict.

The causes of conflicts in Africa are numerous, interconnected and interrelated, ranging from individual to group violation, to structural inequality and injustice. Some causes of conflicts in Africa are local while others are the result transformations in the international structure since the end of the cold war. Continuing economic decline and material insecurity are accompanied in many countries in Africa by increase in political instability and conflicts. Poverty: Both poverty and conflict are related. Poverty can cause conflict while conflict can lead to poverty based on the state of insecurity and bad governance Draman R (2003). Many communities in Africa most especially the conflict torn areas are suffering from hunger and starvation. Africa as a continent is seen as a poor continent

In much of Africa, very little economic growth has occurred over the past fifty years. Some countries are even poorer today than they were thirty years ago. Sub-Saharan Africa has had the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for decades. Statistics confirm that Africa has a population of about 600 million, more than double that of the United States, yet it is estimated that average real GDP per capita growth is 11% in Africa, which is lower today than it was in 1970. Evidence shows that 200 million Africans have no access to proper health care, and proper hygiene. Another 47% are without access to safe water. In some parts of Africa the power supply is constantly interrupted or almost non-existent (Marke, 2007: 1). The Economist (in Wrong, 2004) estimates that 40 percent of the regions privately held wealth is held outside the region. Green and Seidman (1968) argue that there has been structural imbalance in African economies, compared to other regions. It may be contended that this view has been overtaken by time; yet, The World Bank (2005) notes Sub-Saharan Africa is the worlds poorest continent, with nearly half of its 719 million people subsisting on less than dollar US $1 per day. The statistics from the latest MDGs Assessment (UN 2007) that poverty has declined in a number of African countries, does not exonerate Africa from being far the most poverty stricken continent in the world.

The Legacy of Colonialism: European nations were bickering over themselves about the spoils of Africa which has began to be a lucrative business in order to prevent conflicts between them, the historical Berlin Conference took place between 1884-1885 in Berlin to lay down the rules on how they will partition Africa between themselves. Between 1870 and the beginning of the famous World War 1, Europeans scramble for Africa. Colonial administration started to take hold. In some areas, the Europeans settled and thus creating a dominant minority societies. France even planned to incorporate Algeria into the French State; such was the dominance and confidence of the colonial rulers at the time. In most areas where they dont have manpower or resources to fully administer the territory they were forced to rely on the local power structure to help them. Throughout Africa, Europe stake claims Shah A (2009).

Fig 3: Africa Maps Showing Modern and Pre-Colonial Areas Courtesy of Black Studies Library (BSL)

Colonialism ended as European countries started fighting themselves during the World War 1and in effects weakened them in the process. The extent of the damage done to Africa was irreparable.

Slavery and colonialism in some part of Africa had almost erased culture and community with an education and civilizing program that gave African only a minimal skill set that served the European colonial interests. Formalisation of Expansionism: The British pushed their boundaries in Southern Sudan and Kenya until they met with resistance from Ethiopia, France and Italy, all whom were busy widening their rule concurrently. This trend continued after independence with Somali irredentism, Ethiopia annexation of Eritrea, claims on French protected Djibouti. This further led to what we have today as countries.

Resource Control and Competition: The central role of states in determining resource distribution makes it a major target and, when power is over-centralised, it becomes a reason for conflicts. Resource scarcity and control in Africa arise from the natural resources base, population pressures and environmental degradation. Ethnicity: This is a tool leaders use to gain and consolidate power. These divide and rule system created enduring ethnically linked economic and political inequalities which help fuel continuing cycles of rebellion and repression. Leaders emphasised differences rather than similarities among ethnic communities. Demand for liberation and ethnic self determination are often rather a form of elite advocacy representing particular organised movements on behalf of an entire nations and people. External Military Aid: Conflicts in Africa have been fuelled greatly by external military aids to government and rebel groups. At the apex of 1980s arms transfers, USSR was providing Ethiopia with $1 billion per year in arms, while USA underwrote a significant portion of the defence budgets of Sudan,

Somalia and Kenya. France, East Germany, Cuba, Israel, Iran and Libya have all been significant arms providers to combatants in Africa during the past decade. The private arms dealers have also been active in Africa also Base of the War: This has to do with the rich natural resources Africa have. Timber, oil, diamond and copper to mention but a few, compounded in many cases by the foreign extractive industries presence, their opaque, unreported payment to the government and the government unreported use of the money. War serves as a distraction Economic Reform Programs: June 2002 G8 summit pointed out as cause of conflicts in Africa to include the legacy of colonialism, the support of the G8 for repressive regimes in the Cold War, the creation of debt traps, the massive failures of structural adjustment programs (SAP) impose by the IMF and World bank and the deeply unfair rule of the international trade. Introduction of fees for free services can promote social tensions, as has the removal of certain producer and consumer subsidies. Austerities measures have caused food riots and other forms of instability in a country like Nigeria in 1989 Shah A (2009). Dysfunctional State: Political exclusion through single party, state dominated authoritarian rule has been an important cause of Africas deepening crisis. One state party exhibits various gradations of exclusionary rule, from fascist fundamentalist to narrowly base authority Election processes are manipulated, flawed or tightly controlled. Oppositions political parties are often not inclusive in the government as they have the monopolistic control of the machinery of the state. Examples of few are Arab control of Sudan, Issa Somali control of Djibouti, and former Amhara control of Ethiopia and presently Mugabe control of Zimbabwe. Competition for the state power: There has been a profound demographic shift from post Cold war era in Africa, stemming from contests over state power and also from the transfer of states assets and resources that result in changes in government. Fundamentalist backed by the Sudanese government have gained control of the productive infrastructures and marketing channels in Northern Sudan and are penetrating

the North and southern part of the country, pursuing policies of ethnic cleaning with great economic potentials such as Nuba Mountains and Northern Bahr al-Ghazar. Development: This also has contributed to conflicts in Africa through states decision about investment in export sectors, especially in Agriculture and livestock. It is common in African states to steer investment in areas controlled by the ruling elites: resulting investment patterns led to extraordinary disparities in economic opportunities from region to region. The most conflict areas in Africa are generally places that were excluded from the fruits of the state investment. Example of this can be seen from the Ogoni land in Nigeria where they have nothing to show for the dredging of oil in their community. Problem of Political Liberalisation: In Africa, attempt to liberalise political processes with multi party elections have been incomplete and fraught with difficulties. To Africa, liberalisation is risky as change of any sort can cause instability. During the process for political liberalisation, new elites and old ruling groups, fighting over public support, often resort to nationalist appeals as winner takes all approach to democracy often cause conflict. These increase conflict between different political, economic and identity interest groups as it is prevalent in Africa. Militarisation: Military rule was prominent in Africa. Well organised primitive weaponry can be devastating as seen in Rwanda. Access to arms is becoming easier day by day considering the level of conflicts that has degenerated to war in Africa. Militarisation has continue to improvish Africa, $1 Million is spent per day by Sudan to finance war in the South while Mengistu Halle Mariam is spending over $700 Million per year on arms.

b) With the help of international approach, state and explain strategies that can be used to solve conflicts