Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Notes on an (African) political crisis

This country has been without a national government since elections in June. Tensions are running high. Political issues appear insurmountable. Some observers have even called for breaking the country up.

Underlying this lingering political crisis may be the fact that Europe's imperial powers invented this country without respect to its different peoples, history and traditions.

This issues manifest themselves in:

  • Deep divisions amongst the country's regions, which continue to be separated by different languages and histories;
  • Unequal distribution of economic gains amongst those regions;
  • A weak national identity because government institutions don't serve the entire nation, but the country's various regions;
  • Political parties representing tribal, not national priorities;
  • Regions pushing for greater autonomy;
  • Opportunistic politicians advocating break up;
  • A tribal king with no formal powers.

It’s a good thing this crisis is taking place in the Cradle of Democracy and not Africa, where people are just learning to grab hold of the mantle of representative government.

But if it were…I could see the headlines already.

No comments: