Two ways: Tribalism or Democracy in Africa


Tribalism is very strong in Africa despite after 500 years of colonisation. When Europeans landed in Africa 500 years ago they realised two things: There were not countries borders in Africa but there were invisible ethnic group borders. But for Europeans to dominate and conquer Africa they used one tribe against another tribe because there were already rivalries among tribes in Africa.

Europeans managed to achieve their goals and some Africans were captured and sold as slaves with help of some tribe's chiefs. But at end white men killed all African tribe chiefs and occupied all Africa, divided it into countries and created new borders with diverse tribes in each country that we see today in Africa such as Ghana, Nigeria or Uganda.
map of Africa with different tribes
Some of Africans big tribes borders before colonisations

There is nothing wrong for Africans to know about the origin of their tribes. But why tribalism still creating new conflicts in Africa!

Nowadays, African politicians are using tribe issues to get vote from people, we saw what happened in Kenya, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, etc. When people vote for the President of a country, you must be the President of all the people and not of a particular tribe. It's happening so often in African countries when the president of country come from some particular tribe, people from that tribe believe they're superior to rest people of the country. Because they are from same origin of President tribe, therefore that it's wrong mentality, it's creating conflicts among Africans.

Africa is not moving toward democracy. Whenever there is an election in any African country always ends up in controversy. It's just happened in Ghana and Kenya, we saw what happened in Ivory Coast, in Kenya where one tribe turn against another tribe because the President Candidates were promoted themselves to get vote according to their tribes.

More than 1,000 people died in the violence which swept through Kenya after the 2007 election. African politicians could diminish the tribe problems in Africa by promoting nationalism or Pan-Africanism in their country, but tribes matter it suit them well because many African politicians get into power by using tribes issues. The same system Europeans used in past, now African politicians are using the same system to divide Africans for their own interest.

So many innocent people are killed in Africa every time there is an election because African people don't have really politicians they still have tribes chiefs like Jacob Zuma President of South Africa what he can offer for next Africans generation, he stuck in past with his tribe mentality. In 2009/10 Jacob Zuma received a budget of 1.2m for "spousal support". Why state funds should support his 4 wives instead they're millions of black South African caught up in place like Soweto where no running water or electricity.

Tribes issue is one of traditional is holding Africans back, it's time to begin to think more about black people and Africanism then thinking about tribes that it's creating division among Africans. It's time to push for democracy, human rights, good education system based in African values and the basic conditions of living, no more famine or civil wars in Africa . The true is most of African population are living below poverty line and the politicians and their family members are living in palaces as the kings of tribes. We're in 21th century and there are some children are still studying under trees in place like Ghana so called one of most advance democracy in Africa. But the children of politicians are studying in private schools in Western countries. Something must be wrong with that type of democracy! Those children who are studying under trees are the future generation of Africa without a good education system, Africa never will improve it always be exploited by internal and external forces.
 Kenya election
After 2007 election in Kenya. Kenyans killing
kenyans according to their tribes

African politicians have mentally of tribes chief they don't see the future; they don't ask themselves how Africa will be in 50 years. Can it have better democracy based in Africa value! Better education system, better condition of living for ordinary Africans! Where it can have better housing system and not shanty towns, better infrastructure in Africa, where Africans can travel from North to South Africa by fast trains or by cars! How Africans can have the ownership of their mineral resources! At moment mineral resources are in Africa soils but it doesn't belong to Africans because someone else is telling Africans how many percentages they should get for their mineral resources when it sold.

It's time for Africans to have change of mindset, forget about division of tribes and focus more in united Africa, human rights and kick out useless politicians in power. There are individuals in Africa who are greed; they only get into politic because they believe that the quickest way to get rich and not to defend interest of African people.

Africans should let go some of useless traditions that it holding them back. Africa divided; it is more difficult to control their mineral resources and to fight against corrupted politicians and external exploitation that it's being occurred in Africa for last 500 years. Currently in Mali, it was former master France who took the lead to liberate the people from North of Mali that it was occupied by some Islamite extremist. Why AU (African Union) didn't take initiative to liberate Malians from north because Africa is no united, Africans politicians were having conferences and after conferences without result to send in troops to Mali.
Dr. Kwame Nkruman
Dr. Kwawe Nkruman was a
Pan-Africanism and a leader of
African Unity organisation

Only when they saw former or currently master France sent in troops and begin to fight Islamite extremist then they decided to follow to sent in troops. That it's illustrated, so called African leaders they're followers and not leaders that it also creating confusion in Africa because there is lack of really leaders in Africa at moment. Leaders who can find solutions for Africa problems and who can defend Africans interest. African are missing leaders such as Patrice Lumumba or Kwame Nkruman, may be Nelson Mandela but Mandela was worried more about protecting his legacy instead to lead Africans.

Africans need change of mindset not just from corrupted politicians but also from all Africans. At moment it seems they have wrong state of mind that it's causing all these problems about tribes and others. Africans must trust each others, increase trades among African countries before started trading with the Western or Chinese.

Cooperation among Africans is very important, the meaning of been Africans not just people who are in Africa but also black people in North America , South America and Caribbean all these people have their root in Africa therefore they're Africans. For Example, any Jew person can go live in Israel in disputed land and doesn't matter where he or she come from as long as you're a Jew.

When someone from African union invited Haitian or Jamaican politician to participate in debates in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) where African Union organisation is based! Mindset change very important for all black people if Africa to become a good place for all black people.


Tribalism and Democracy

Your comments


This article is eyes open for all us black people and not just Africans in Africa. Yes, We missed really African leaders. If see leader like Hugo Chavez people are crying streets because they'll miss him. But I don't see any African leaders where people will be crying when they are dead included Nelson Mandela.
Kanu , Ghana, Accra


Tribalism is not helping Africa to develop.In 2007 election there were many innocents killed in Kenya cause of tribes. But the same thing happened this month again in Kenya's election about 19 are dead cause of tribes matter. I would like one day to go back to Africa and feel at home. It's time for us to start changing ideas among Black people and how to improve how motherland. Peace
Jean , Haiti,Port-au-Prince


It's showing that Africa new generation are tired of useless traditionals that it holding them back. Africans have hope you'll get there. Even Europeans had dark days where were famine, civil wars, dictatorship. Thanks My continent to create a good platform where we can learn about young African opinions about their Continent.
John , USA, New York


Great analysis about the causes of misery in Africa mainly tribalism and the lack of proper Leadership, The MAJORITY of Africans has no EDUCATION & Leaders are so CORRUPTED; Part of the SOLUTION is to make primary school free & compulsory, secondary school affordable, Job creation programs, strict control for those Investors, Eradicate corruption & Elect only Leaders with heart for the People.
Dixon F.W. , Royaume KONGO


yes thats what all africans should focus at.But we need to intergrate all humans in africa to have a common goal which can be done by our politicians
igni , kampala


This indeed is the problem Africans have.We as younger generation should stand up and fight this revolution for one time. And we do not attack each other,we only attack those who sell out our land and our resources for theire own benefit.. We can talk about this issue for hours.. As long as we do not stand up and fight within 60 years we still have this same problem.. Stop democracy in Africa..!!!
Isha , Suriname


Thank u so much 4 dis great reminder,I will say Nigeria is d worst of all our leaders r hypocrites,dey r silent about d important issues of d nation while dere wives n children r @ overseas squandering our nation's wealth,I agree with u all d so called godfather's should b wiped out we nid a change!we v 2 speak wit one voice!Africa is a great continent!we v 2 do somtn d youths sud com out n make a change!
ummulkhair , Nigeria


there are issues in Africa that generate so much emotions in Africa. Ethnic politics is certainly one. However, even those who are emotional about the negative trend of ethnicity in Africa are the guilt ones. It s ok. To air our thoughts on such issues, but acting right when the moment present itself is more important. How do the man who is complaining now view his neighbour.
Ogboma , Nigeria


Africa before the arrival of the white-man on the continent. We had it (home grown)! Clan elders were elected and these represented their people in an assembly. In communities where there were no kings, clans were loosely held together in a confederation and each clan ran their own affairs. The problem today is Poor leadership, Poverty, ignorance, greed, kleptomania, and sheer stupidity. In Ugan
Sunday , UK


The Problem in Africa is not about Tribalism or Democracy. Its deeper than that. Let nobody deceives you that we didn't have democracy in Africa before the arrival of the white-man on the continent. We had it (home grown)! Clan elders were elected and these represented their people in an assembly. In communities where there were no kings, clans were loosely held together in a confederation and each clan ran their own affairs.
Sunday , UK


The problem today is Poor leadership, Poverty, ignorance, greed, kleptomania, and sheer stupidity. In Uganda MP's were bribed with $5000 to change a constitution and in Nigeria, Legislators took $50,000 as a bribe to change the constitution but then still voted against changing that Constitution. Money is the least common multiple (not the least common denominator).
Sunday , UK


The economies of Africa are heavily dependent on Foreign aid and grants. Whoever pays the piper, calls the tunes! A classic case is Rwanda. In Rwanda, people ought to realize that the genocide there was planned, organised, coordination and funded by the USA government and the UK government from the State House in Entebbe with Museveni as the man behind that operation. It was a war of the Anglopho
Sunday , UK


That exploitation was a monopoly of France and Belgium in that area for a very long time. Today, Uganda and Rwanda are net exporters of diamonds even when we don't have diamonds extracted in those countries.
Sunday , UK


So while the USA and UK are happy to call Museveni their man and a democrat they continue to call Mugabe a dictator even though he too is elected; they refuse to recognized the democratic right of Hamas in Palestine to govern even though they were voted in power overwhelmingly. We know that while the West is trying to get closer to each other like what's happening in Europe, they are busy creating rifts among the people of the world by selling arms to warring factions in any conflict.
Sunday , UK


When Museveni came to power in 1986, he said Uganda (and Africa in general) is poor because we have people who want to be presidents for life. He promised a fundamental change. Fast forward...today, the man is still in power and don't want to leave. A Labour Foreign minister under Tony Blair asked a journalist at one time that: "You are calling for Museveni to go. Who do you want to replace place him?" That clearly shows the source of our problems!
Sunday , UK


People should be proud of their Tribes....Tribes are part of our heritage. You don't fill a form to apply to be a member of a specific tribe. The problem is those insecure leaders who always want to set one tribe against the other; give jobs & national resources to their own tribes men without due process hence promoting corruption.
Sunday , UK


In the UK for example, people are proud to be Welsh, Scottish, Irish (of Northern Ireland) and English. These are their tribes but the prefer to call them nations because they are white. Not long ago we had IRA and Loyalists throwing bombs at anybody and everybody. Dialogue prevailed and there is peace in Northern Ireland and on the mainland. The men behind the bombs (Jerry Adams and Martin McGuinness) are now MP's in the Irish Parliament having realized that the local people don't want war
Sunday , UK


Taking cases to Courts where you think you might have been cheated in an election is a good thing. Political greivienves must never be settled by bullets and bombs. Credit goes to the Opposition in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. The only man who don't believe and never believed in that process in President Museveni of Uganda. He waged a war in 1986 even when he had been beaten in his own constituency by Sam Kutesa (Mbarara North). The only UPM elected MP was Dr C.W.Kiyonga for Kasese North. I was not surprised to hear Museveni saying that had Dr Paul Ssemwogere won the elections in 1996, the army was going to take over power. in the USA, Al Gore took George Bush (Jr) to court when he felt that he was robbed of his victory
Sunday , UK


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=414249448660211&set=a.414248051993684.96520.100002254792912&type=1&theater
Sunday , UK


@Sunday, You forget something welsh and Scotish or Irish aren't tribes but are states that are apart of UK. How many Scotish or Welsh politiciens that citated to kill English people. Let promoted Afracanism and not Tribalism. Please many innocent Africans are killed every day because of Tribes issues.
Rode , Jamaica


@Rode>>> I am sorry, I live in the UK and have grown up in Africa. Africa is a continent made up of many different groupings of people. In Uganda for example there are only 4 main groups - thus the Bantu, The Nilotics, the Hamites and Nilo-Hamites. The rests are just sects of these main tribal groupings. If you read what I said above, the White man wants you to believe that the Welsh/Scottish/Irish and English are nations but yours in Africa are mere tribes (pure chauvinism). I don't subscribe to that myopic paradigm.
Sunday , UK


@ Rude>>>In Africa, people have killed each other for many centuries before because in tribal conflicts. Today, they are killing each other not because of tribal conflicts but because a very few elite group of Africans who are mainly politicians are exploiting the ignorance of their people to wage political wars camouflaged as" tribal wars" whose sole aim is: political & military supremacy, stealing of national resources, employment for themselves and creating stupid political fiefdoms for themselves. We must create enduring democratic systems and structures within the current boarders before dreaming of a united Africa. That calls for strong education, R&D, the Judiciary, the civil society, Healthcare, an impartial civil service, a neutral police force Army. Get that right and the rest will follow.
Sunday , UK


@ Rude. Did you know that they are fighting over water, land, jobs, and power? Eg. Cattle-keepers and cultivators are fighting over land and water. Yet with R&D, good science and technology you can drain endless cubic liters of water from the ground and turn a dry (arid) place like North Kenya into a very green area for vegetables throughout the year; with improved stocks of cows/goats that would give you 1000% more milk and meat than the sick animals these people are rearing. The politicians wouldn't want to do that becoz that effectively makes him more vulnerable to attacks by the masses. It is easy for these stupid African politicians to control & manipulate the poor and uneducated...becoz among the blind, suddenly you are an eyed man!
Sunday , UK


@ Isha>>>>I don't mind if African resources are exploited by a black/Asian/White/Chinese person as long as (a) contracts are issued transparently (b) the right price is paid for the resources (c) the right taxes are paid in full (d) the government uses those taxes to improve the lives of the people buy building & funding schools/hospitals/universities/roads/airports/ICT hubs/a corrupt free civil service, police, army, judiciary, etc (e) as long as the company extracting these resources employ 80% of the local people...and lastly have these companies forgotten something called Corporate Social Responsibilities to the communities they are operating from?
Sunday , UK


this article is straight forward and is talking about the things that are happening around us especial in my country south africa thank you for mentioning it. I think is only south africa where you will find a president having more than 1 wife. Zuma is my president he is a Zulu i am a Zulu but he suppose to be the president of south africa a president of all people but he not doing any of that he only think of himself he just built a240 million rand house but her neigbours are in porvety and i dont think he will staep down anytime soon from being the president
nkosingiphile , south africa


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