African history has gone through three major phenomena that are the slave trade, colonization and decolonization. Each has its positive and negative impacts on the people, the shape of the continent and her economic resources. Slave trade robbed Africa of its best brains as those sold were mainly targeted after challenging the chief an action that by then was a preserve for those with the morale courage to question decisions from the highest authority as it was considered to be taboo. Colonization introduced new country boundaries and disadvantaged other ethnic groups in terms of development ranging from education to economic gains. Various draconian laws desired to sideline the indigenous people in participating in the day to day running of their own countries were passed by the colonizers .These were unacceptable to the African people. The positive elements are the introduction of the education system, the infrastructure development, and the provision of health facilities plus the overall improvement of the economy at large, which also brought about a modern standard of living. Decolonization brought independence and the restoration of the rights of the indigenous people. In the process large quantities of Eastern Block, small arms were dumped in the continent that as will be discussed below ignited random fighting causing mayhem in Africa.
Soon after the Second World War, the indigenous people embarked on the confrontational approach to liberate themselves. Negotiations with the foreign rulers started in earnest and majority of countries, were granted their independence. These had strings attached and main ones were the acceptance of the standing borders and the land ownership status quo was to be maintained. Some were denied, and had to take up arms, to liberate themselves. Small wars ensued and these are popularly known as liberation wars. The major suppliers of the arms were USSR, China, Yugoslavia, Romania and the then East Germany. On cessation of hostilities, weapons were not accounted for and later used in the wars under discussion. These wars were meant to overthrow colonial rule that was presided over by presidents or governors from Europe. However, these were justified and needs no examination to justify the circumstances behind them. On attaining independence, some countries experienced some civil wars and thus the aim of this paper is to come up with a critically examination of the major causes of these disturbances from 1980 to date.
Small wars can be defined as those conflicts between the people of one country regardless of external support in which a state of open hostility and suspension of international and national laws exists. It is characterized by the use of non-conventional means of fighting and arms. In this write up small wars and conflict will be used interchangeable. The ultimate target is mainly to remove the government or to cede a piece of land and create a separate state. However, of late some small wars have been fought specifically to plunder resources.
To effectively, examine as to why we have small wars in Africa it is necessary to briefly sample some small wars from the four corners of Africa. In North Africa, the Algerian war started in 1992 when the Army cancelled the electoral process forcing President Chadli Bendjedid to resign and Mohammed Boudiaf replaced him. A state of emergence was declared and in retaliation, a border post at Guemmar was attacked. The situation became tense when Said Mekhloufi founded the Movement for an Islamic State transforming what was simple some banditry activity into a religious conflict. The causes for this conflict are lack of democracy and the advent of radical Islamists who intends to turn the country into an Islamic state. Conversely, in West Africa, the Sierra Leone conflict began in 1991, initiated by the Revolutionary United Front led by Foday Sannkoy. The causes are...