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Tribalism and the Nation in the African Continent - Essay Example

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Tribalism has in many cases been seen to emerge as one of the major factors that impede growth in the continent of Africa. While the continent of Africa is composed of many countries, each of those countries comprises many different tribes. …
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Tribalism and the Nation in the African Continent
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"Tribalism and the Nation in the African Continent"

Download file to see previous pages This often accompanies accusations of primitiveness that are leveled against institutions that have their origin in tribal collectives. Tribalism in its jingoistic form is harmful for the unity of a nation and its overall development. This paper shall argue against tribalism and the effects that it has upon the modern state. It shall not however, argue for the modern state in its present form which is a creation of European culture and has been imposed on the African cultures that they once had colonized.
One of the main reasons as to why certain states are unable to achieve a certain kind of unity is the persistence of tribalism. This tribalism then leads to the establishment of the tyranny of a certain tribe over the other despite the existence of democratic procedures that are established with the intention of ensuring the equal distribution of power (Jason). Over the past few decades, one has witnessed an alarming rise in the number of governments that are dictatorships in Africa. This has a lot to do with tribalism as it actively promotes tribal loyalties during elections and this then takes precedence over issues of development. This then results in most parties feeling a certain kind of disillusionment regarding the very process of elections, something that would then further tip the balance of power in favor of the ruling tribes. Tribalism thus represents a conglomeration of forces that seek to topple the forces of democracy that seek to provide for a country certain forms of development. Such incidents have happened as late as in 2008 during the Kenyan elections. Such incidents are often violent and further mar the social fabric of the nation (Africa: Talking about "Tribe"). They then cause great economic and social damage that needs to be rectified through great efforts on the part of the state. This then sets the process of development back by many years. This backward step is then taken not just at the level of the economy but also at the level of the social relations that exist between the different tribes living within the same country. Writers like Ngugi wa Thiongo identify tribalism as the problem that plagues Africa. He advocates the establishment of a single collective that would then have a more or less homogenous identity. This identity would be created following an elaborate process of decolonization that would result in the establishment of a more authentic identity (Thiongo). Even within such a framework, development is envisaged in a rather Western framework. This is not to say that there is no African framework of development but to demonstrate the woeful lack of research in this area. If one is to posit arguments against such a thesis of nationalism against tribalism. Writers like Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni attempt to complicate the problem by introducing pre-colonial and colonial perspectives that then serve to absolve tribalism of the guilt that it would have to shoulder as far as the lack of development is concerned. Ndlovu-Gatsheni looks at the different factors that affect development in areas that are affected by tribalism and ascribes the underdeveloped states of these areas as products of history (167-9). Such analyses fail to locate the root of the problem and consequently only manage to create a sense of the inevitable as far as the existence of the problem is concerned. The historical angle of the problem, while it needs to be argued, also needs to be looked upon as something that leads to a solution and not just presenting an analysis of the situation as it arrived. It is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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