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Redraw Africa’s Map

Redraw Africa’s Map

(Map of Africa in the late 19th century)




 Redraw Africa’s Map

By Muniini K. Mulera

August 31,1998


 One of these days, the guns in Congo will fall silent, leaving the cities, villages, forests and rivers strewn with bodies of dead Africans, many of whom will have been non-combatant victims of a conflict they hardly understood.


Even if the corrupt presidency of Laurent Desire Kabila survives, he will be even more discredited than he was before he precipitated the current conflict by spitting in the face of those who, a year earlier, "had interrupted his gold-and-ivory-smuggling existence to make him President of the Congo Free State."


In the event that Congo's current borders survive intact, Kabila or his successor will be faced with a more deeply divided country where the Banyamulenge, the Katangese and many others will still be seeking to get out of their forced marriage called Congo.


Kabila's supremely foolish act of calling upon the other Congolese to take up arms against the Banyamulenge revealed a deep-seated hatred for the very people who gave him power in the first place. So he may as well kiss them goodbye. Even if the Banyamulenge and their Congolese allies lose this war, it will only be a matter of time before we witness yet another orgy of blood-letting.


When the guns fall silent, Kabila's Angolan allies will retreat to their equally unstable country, where the present lull in hostilities may soon give way to renewed violence. It is a safe bet that Jonas Savimbi's UNITA forces and the Angolan government troops which are now fighting on opposite sides in Congo will continue their battles inside Angola.


When post-war Congo begins to count its dead, Ugandans will still be faced with the vulgar violence on the plains of Acholi and the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains, where rivers of blood continue to stain the Pearl of Africa.


Some Ugandans will continue to toast the evil deeds of terrorists like the LRA and the ADF in the false belief that these murderers' crimes are directed against Museveni's government rather than against fellow human beings.


When the Congo guns fall silent, Rwanda's Bahutu Interahamwe will continue to murder and mutilate their Batutsi cousins and the latter will respond in kind. The beautiful highlands and valleys of Rwanda will continue to echo with orchestral voices of weeping men, women and children, in a tragic cycle of violence whose genesis is a deep-seated hatred that defies logical explanation.


In the Sudan, Negro Africans will continue their fratricidal war against the Arabs of the north, in a conflict whose end is nowhere in sight. Experts and other observers of the Sudan will continue to pontificate on the origin of the Sudanese conflict without offering any workable solution to Africa's longest running civil war.


Likewise in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and the nearly forgotten Somalia, inter-ethnic tensions will continue to periodically erupt into bloody violence, even as Africa's leaders and intellectuals proclaim an African Renaissance.


While poverty, economic disparity and meddling by foreign interests are often mentioned as major causes of the blood-letting in Africa, they are but part of the problem. An obscene disregard for human rights by corrupt and undemocratic regimes is at the core of the conflicts in Africa.


Lacking legitimacy, regimes such as Kabila's seek to entrench themselves through coercion and oppression of their citizens. In a futile attempt to muster support from "their own" people, they preach hatred against fellow Africans from other nationalities (tribes).


To complicate matters, fascists masquerading as leaders of political movements and parties, religions, tribes and clans, cleverly manipulate the masses in their relentless mission of spreading an ideology of genocide which is steadily penetrating Africa.


That is what Bahutu and Batutsi did to each other in Rwanda, resulting in the holocaust of 1994, and that is what Kabila has been doing in Congo. It is the agenda of those who are using Islam as an excuse for their terrorist crimes against humanity. It is the agenda of those who claim to be crusaders for democracy, yet quietly support fascist organizations like the LRA and ADF simply because they share a mutual hatred for the so-called "Nyankore" rulers in Kampala.


It is the agenda of those who perpetuate the myth that Uganda's Kaguta Museveni is at the head of a "Tutsi empire-building project" and those who lie that the Nyankores want to grab land from the Acholi and Baganda.


Unless we raise our common voice in opposition to these fascists, they will continue to corrupt the minds of our young, and Africa's pain will grow deeper.


Another probable cause of Africa's conflicts is that our multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nations might not be viable as constituted by the white man 114 years ago. Our religious adherence to the sacred principle of the inviolability of the colonial boundaries, so ably championed in the Organization of African Unity's Charter, may be part of the problem of Africa.


The nature of the white-man's boundaries is such that it created countries where some od the component nations (tribes) were as incompatible as blood and milk. Like forced marriages, the people of some of these countries have no hope in hell of ever sharing a marital bed. Such is the depth of their differences.


I think now is the time for Africa's intellectuals, politicians, business leaders and all of us who care about our continent to re- examine the viability of our countries as currently constituted. While we could redraw our borders with guns and bullets, it may be cheaper to discuss and debate the matter openly, and subject the question to referenda to decide who wants to stay in which country and who wants to go.


Those who fear that this would lead to the balkanization of Africa should ask themselves whether our current forced marriages have served us well. Our countries' component nations may need to go through voluntary divorce before entering into more meaningful and, one hopes, viable marriages.


I personally believe that most of Africa's countries are already too small to compete in the modern global economy, and I would much rather see larger nations and economic federations emerging out of the current states of Africa.


However, it may be necessary for some of Africa's countries to be dismembered first, and then voluntarily re-organized into viable nations of people who are willing to live together in peace and mutual respect. The alternative, of course, is for us to continue shooting.


Surely if a bunch of European diplomats could sit in Berlin in 1884-5 to reorganize Africa's pre-colonial nations without consulting with a single African, then we Africans owe it to ourselves to at least examine our chances of undoing the damage done by the Europeans.


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