When you seriously engage in African politics, or try to read all that is written about Africa, you will find that there are WAY TOO MANY theories on what should be and shouldn’t be. Again, one uses the word “theory” cautiously here. Albeit, each continent, each country has its own share of crazy “theories” but Africa seems to run with them, and have monopolized the existing world of crazy theories.
But even more than that is the contrasting opinions that really make for a good read.
Recently, there was an article that was written G. Pascal Zachary on South Sudan and the need for the rest of Africa to Divide and Conquer. Now, Mr. Zachary’s opinions are well taken into consideration but lets us examine his sources. He is an educator who teaches on Sub-Saharan Africa, although to one’s understanding he has not spent any significant amount of time in Sub-saharan Africa to understand the conundrum of problems that afflict this region, let alone stand to be an adviser on Africa for the Gates Foundation- although to be fair, the Gates Foundation and the many other western foundations have lacked the wisdom to actually acquire significant and experienced African experts to be their advisers.
But that is the man, what about the content of this article? He suggests that African countries, specifically Nigeria, Somalia and Congo, should learn the lesson of seceding. in other words SPLIT! To his credit (or maybe not) he quotes Alex Perry, and Pierre Englebert to be his supporters of his theory that Africa should indeed split. There are too many problems in African countries that are as he says “too large”. He has several examples, and while his argument stalls on the Scramble for Africa, he does not seem to offer a solution on how these African countries are to exactly split from each other.
The theory of “there are too many problems in Africa so let us chop it into pieces” does not really stand. Neither does a theory of “it is happening here, so it will succeed there also” apply. Let us not forget, South Sudan just separated. Before that, Bashir was raining bombs and shelling bullets to these southerners while they were preparing for independence. Furthermore, the problem of Darfur still persist. So how is this country that is, well… barely 6 days old, to be the shining example of what Africa should be? And how is Mr. Zachary’s suggestion better than the Scramble for Africa that divided these nations in the first place?…The only difference is that the Africans will be holding the saw that divides the nations. Lets be honest, if Nigeria was to split, the egos of many would deflate, the economy will be in shambles, and worse that it is now. They are so loyal to their “tribes” and homelands that what would have been an “ideal” solution would turn into a nightmare for a lot of people. Congo? why split them again? Didn’t Leopold do enough damage? Oh, and for the lack of sensitivity, Zachary points Belgium as a shining example. Belgium, whose economy is thriving at the expense of that of the Congo. Somalia might be a good example for the argument for splitting…but then again, who is going to solve their issues?
But then again, Africans are not really helping in the matter; are they?
Sure, there is the OAU that turned into the AU…but that “unity” is much a joke than a reality. Africans have lost the concept of unity, and probably while turning the blame on the rest of the world, there should be some self-analyzing.
Lets take one instance and one region: African Organizations in NYC. Each person has the great idea to create an organization that someone else creates an idea or forum for. At the end, you have Nigerian and Ghanian with at least least 10+ organizations…and then the other countries have maybe 1, if not two. There is no communication, and collaboration is a pipe dream.
But there is something else occurring. As South Sudan celebrates independance, there is a sense of hope, yet, let us not rejoice too fast. For lurking in the shadows is another Scramble for Africa. In this world of new colonization and debauchery, one can certainly agree with scholars like Mamdani and Amin. Indeed, Africa is being divided and raped of its resources openly, all in the name of peace and development.
So please, lets not be too fast to divide Africa into pieces…wait until we see what exactly happens to South Sudan. It is too early to use the new nation as example of what Africa should be.