Political Instability in Modern African State

Topics: Africa, African Union, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 9 (2793 words) Published: July 23, 2012
The constant drumbeat of headlines about Darfur, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia as well as the other states in Africa that are beleaguered by political instability have made the causes of failed states and intra-state political conflicts a major issue, both academic and practical. The International Day of Peace which was established by a United Nation resolution in 1982, and is marked every year on September 21, is a global event whose activities are significant in highlighting the worldwide efforts towards conflict resolution and peace building. This day is however more relevant to the continent of Africa where most conflicts have taken place, with some running into decades, with limited solutions. Therefore seen from the perspective of political instability and as a “drifting continent”, many questions come up, which demand more than just simple answers, or repeated mythical notions about Africa’s problems, as purely inherent in the African way of doing things. That there are problems in Africa for several decades even after many countries in the continent went through transitions from colonialism to independence, is not a deniable fact.

However the African situation is not as bleak as portrayed in the media or by Africanists. In terms of political instability in Africa, it is also undeniable that the continent has had some difficult moments during the last fifty years or so. But what is still unexplained in the many analyses that have been looking at events in Africa is the fact that in almost all the cases of political instability in Africa, it is evident that the major problem is leadership. In this context, Africa has seen its freedom heroes turn into dictators, while plunder of natural resources, politics of exclusion and deprivation to tilt the balance of power continues to dominate the public sphere. Moreover, these problems have been pointed out and fought gallantly by ordinary Africans who have over the years, expressed their discontent with regimes imposed upon them, through the complicity of the international community. To-date, almost every country in Africa is still haunted by historical injustices and oppressive structures that were bequeathed to the post colonial leadership. This is an aspect which informs the weak institutions of the state, flawed legislative systems and constant struggles for political power to the detriment of the well being of many nations, which could have moved on a path of development as part of modern societies. While the international community, whose geo-security and resource interests seem to benefit from the status quo in Africa, has not been pro- the establishment of functioning systems in Africa, instead, their involvement, continue to undermine Africa’s stability through the militarization of conflicts for accumulative purposes. Political instability in Africa may owe much of its cause to internal factors, however the interpenetration of internal and external factors especially geo-political and economic interests of the international community constantly play a significant role in undermining the very processes and institutions that are expected to nurture democracy and to instill a sense of stability for societal development in Africa. In combination to such factors as unequal development, poverty, disease, violence and the manipulative tendencies of the local elite, political and economic stability in Africa is constantly under threat. This threat is however not emanating from within the continent but from external interests whose thirst for African resources, continue to shape the dynamics in areas related to governance. Resources in Africa if well managed are capable of providing for its entire population, hence the potentials for a more stable environment, however, it is well documented that stolen wealth from Africa often end up in banks abroad, be it money stolen by the...
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