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Violent Conflict and Civil War - Essay Example

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Violent Conflict and Civil War (Name) (University) (Course) (Tutor) (Date) African political environment is characterized by strong selfish needs by would be leaders as opposed to public or societal goodwill. The devastating truth is that the very people entrusted with the custody of good leadership by the people and for the people, turn out to be the very enemies of the nation…
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Violent Conflict and Civil War
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Violent Conflict and Civil War African political environment is characterized by strong selfish needs by would be leaders as opposed to public or societal goodwill. The devastating truth is that the very people entrusted with the custody of good leadership by the people and for the people, turn out to be the very enemies of the nation. They squander resources at will, amass wealth through corrupt means and use these resources as vehicles to the next political stage during elections. It is common to African states to find the revolutionaries turn into dictators and savages. Many African leaders including Taylor, Mugabe, Mobutu, Moi, Gadhafi, Kibaki, Museveni, and others came to power with the good promises that lured the trust of the public. However, they turned into political cannibals. This is why most if not all African elections are characterized by mass post-election violence which in most cases has led to civil war. The best examples are Kenya and Zimbabwe, where the two incumbent presidents refused to relinquish leadership to the winners after they lost the elections. Todd Moss (2011) argues that such African leaders have been the cause for massive losses, high poverty levels, poor leadership and very unstable governments within Africa. Of profound criticism is the Zimbabwe government led by Robert Mugabe. Moss argues that this country is one of the an unusual case in which a country is led into very advanced levels of total collapsed State by acute deliberate actions of its own leaders as opposed to the natural disasters or international war. Many first presidents in Africa had a chance of taking over power from the colonialist at a time when the countries were undergoing good industrial growth and diversification in their economies. However, due to plunder and long years of misrule, the countries have been turned into empty baskets with huge numbers of unemployed and poor begging people. Some of these cruel and insensitive leaders have had to stay in power since independent (Moss, 2011). When people look at Africa they see a continent in which its leaders are engaged in self-destruction practices and where civil wars and other violent conflicts are the order of the day. It is true to a greater extent when we look at the ever falling GDP figures presented by Moss. He states that many countries in Africa including Zimbabwe have seen economic collapse and this can be proved by looking at their GDP figures. There are many countries still entangled in civil wars such as Darfur. The major sources of conflict as identified by Todd are scarcity for resources, poor leadership practices where leaders are not willing to give up power leading to military rule by these tyrants, poverty levels which are high and alarming, tribalism and tribal affiliations, and cross-border conflicts due to shared resources as it is the current case with Northern and Southern Sudan States (Moss, 2011). The dawn of independence in many African states meant that the new leaders were to choose various modes of leadership, philosophies and economic concepts. Many who were opposed to capitalist practices by the colonialists chose socialism and vice versa while others like Kenya chose to tore the thin line and combined both coming up with African socialism. These goals were not achieved and what resulted was a collapse of the systems of governance. This has been to a greater extent the highest undoing of African states. Many of these African states that are faced with civil war and violent conflicts do little to change the situation. Instead, they have resorted to evolving tactics which are most characterized by state denial of the real situations on the ground. And to many tyrant rulers, suppression of civil uprisings has been the short term solution (Moss, 2011). Roessler (2011) gives us the clear view of what causes civil wars and violent conflicts in Africa. Much as Todd Moss’s comments are true and applicable to most Africa States, Roessler (2011) brings out the true picture without fear or favor. African leaders and rulers employ ethnic exclusion which in turn light up civil wars. He argues that we have commitment problems, which are borne out of personalist regimes that are held hostage between those elites that possess the joint control of some of these African states’ coercive tools. Due to mistrust, these elites end up maneuvering power and tactics geared towards protecting their authoritative positions and would do their best to safeguard against any form of internal threat. In this regard, they strategize and carry out elimination actions through ethnic cleansing and full blown civil war where they arm their cronies and tribesmen (Roessler, 2011). Ethnic relations are endangered and the possibilities of future and worse civil wars and violent conflicts become so high. Much as moss looks at the economic downfall and other aspects, Roessler considers ethnic power relations data as a good indicator for civil war and violent conflicts. When such rulers get hold of power, they sideline their allies and cronies putting to test the higher risk of outbreak of civil wars in future and the cycle continues. New political alliances and alignments are crafted with the sole aim of grabbing power (Roessler, 2011). Indeed the two authors have almost similar views on the causes of violent conflicts and civil wars in Africa. The only difference comes in the analysis where Moss uses such measures as GDP and poverty levels while Roessler employs the ethnic power relations data as a contributor to this problem. One thing is very clear from their views: the African states are ruined by their own leaders who turn out to be tyrannical rulers and do the best they can to amass and stick to power under all costs. Violent conflicts and civil wars work in their favor since these are tools and techniques of intimidation. List of References Moss Todd J. (2011). Chapter 4- Violent Conflicts and Civil War from the book African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors. Lynne Rienner Pub Roessler Philip (April 2011). The Enemy Within: Personal Rule, Coups, and Civil War in Africa. World Politics, Volume 63, Number 2, pp. 300-346 Read More
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