Africa and the Nation State: Ethnic and Religious Tensions

Africa and the Nation State: Ethnic and Religious Tensions
Pierre Leblanc, Kanako Itamae, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

South Sudan is a relatively new nation state but just like other older nations throughout Africa, you have countless serious issues. Events that are leading to brutal massacres in South Sudan are all too familiar in many countries on this shared continent. Indeed, new turmoil is always just around the corner because Ethiopia is increasingly facing severe internal issues and Nigeria remains on course for fresh convulsions. Therefore, potent ethnic issues, religious tensions, power and control mechanisms, corruption, control of resources, poverty, and other factors, blight many nations in Africa.

Sunni Islamist Takfiri forces in Nigeria are spreading mayhem to regional nations including the Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and some sources stress that ISIS (Islamic State – IS) seeks to spread militancy to Senegal. Similarly, the nation state of Sudan continues to kill internally in places like Darfur – while also spreading radical Sunni Islamist forces to an array of nations based on religious indoctrination. Likewise, the role of Gulf nations in spreading Sunni Takfiri sectarianism and usurping indigenous Sunni Islam is a growing problem.

In modern day Africa, it is clear that nations like the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and others, are beset by perennial problems related to central forces being too weak. Of course, the ideal is the creation of genuine democratic nations whereby politicians are accountable. Yet, for many citizens, the nation state is too weak and poverty is a fact of life – based on a plethora of factors. Therefore, it is essential that the main emphasis is put on respective infrastructures, educational facilities, strengthening the nation state at all levels, increasing the power of the central state, tackling political corruption, developing the armed forces in order to contain destabilizing forces, utilizing respective natural resources – and other important areas.

Another essential issue to address is the role of regional and international nations who continue to meddle in the internal affairs of so many nations.  For example, in the Central African Republic, it is clear that outside players were involved in the chaos. After all, overnight a powerful Muslim force called Seleka was created in order to overthrow the leader of this nation. The knock on effect in 2017 is perennial religious and ethnic animosity, vast numbers of people fleeing, greater drains on the economy, and never ending bloodletting. Overall, in the Central African Republic, it is abundantly clear that Chad played a murky role in supporting the initial Muslim onslaught of Seleka against the majority Christian population. Further to the role of Chad are the shenanigans of France – an important ally of Chad – because political elites in Paris only entered the fray when Christian militias fought back and began to push Seleka out of many areas.

Turning back to South Sudan then this nation is plagued by political elites who seek to preserve respective power and control mechanisms. Sadly, this means that ethnic massacres erupt quickly and the same applies to political divisions that may be outside ethnic dimensions. Sudan, a perennial nemesis to the various black African ethnic groups of South Sudan is also viewed negatively because divide and rule are endless games played by political elites throughout history.

South Sudan is blessed with oil but this fact also means that outside intrigues emanating from Sudan could be instigating events that are rocking this nation to a higher level. Elites in Khartoum may deny this but given the brutal history of Sudan whereby Arab elites tried to enforce Arabization and Islamization – then clearly many in this nation are still smarting about the independence of South Sudan. Alongside this, the energy factor is also a very important issue for other nations and mass corporations. Therefore, negative forces know that the weak spot in South Sudan is the ethnic issue and the arrogance of political elites who are threatening the freedom that so many fought and died for.

Sadly, with so many problems in parts of Africa along with sinister policies being implemented by regional and international powers – then nation states need strengthening and the same applies to political due process. If not, then internal political tensions and failed states will continue to blight the continent of Africa. Indeed, the geographical reality of so many problems blighting Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Zimbabwe – and other nations – highlights that all regions of this continent have serious issues.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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