Africans need prosperity by other means, not only fighting for powers

05Jan 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Africans need prosperity by other means, not only fighting for powers

POLITICAL stability in Africa is constantly under threat because changes that are seen as normal and democratic spell disaster to those in power for a long time, the political and ethnic sources of their holding power.

While a modern state can only be founded on a constitution, and it has to contain elements of the people electing another leader or another political party to take over at some point, in reality the fight revolves around how much things would change under a new regime.

The less systematic such change is likely to be, the more accommodating it is, and finally the less effective such change will be.

Questions of who ought to get employed have usually been the bone of contention as those who hold power also protect those in the bureaucracy, and others group elsewhere to try to dislodge them.

This is expressed in all sorts of upheavals, including denial of citizenship for strong opposition leaders if the need arises or that argument looks plausible, like in the Ivory Coast after polls in 2010.

In that case, as Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza rallies his troops against opposition, it is to this issue of employment quotas for the principal ethnic groups in the country that he has picked as an instrument, perplexing diplomats.

An international organization based in France, Avocats Sans Frontiers (Lawyers Without Borders) is reported to have quit the country following introduction of an employment rule where 60 per cent ought to be Hutus abnd 40 per cent Tutsis.

This method is in contrast with the kindred state of Rwanda where all reference to Hutus and Tutsis in relation to public matters is strictly prohibited, in an effort to dissolve the formal expression of such differences as this is what led to genocide in 1994.

The Burundi situation is different as oppression of Hutus there was long and bloody in over four decades; they redress inequalities.

It is evident that under conditions of this sort, liberal democracy is not possible as another government would overrule that formula, plunging the system into disarray, but from a situation where vertical climb in society via trade is blocked, redressing inequality in this manner is not surprising.

What many people do not see is that the poor (in this case Hutus) stand a good chance of making it in life if they were given their ancestral land rights as private property, and surrender the land to buyers from the region and beyond.

When the majority of them become small entrepreneurs via those revenues, they will not need the rule about jobs, both in the civil service and any other organizations working in the country, viz, Burundi.

In Tanzania there has been some basic leveling up action via land transfers from the native people of the Mzizima area which became Dar es Salaam, who sold land across generations twice or thrice as the city expanded.

There are no poor Zaramo communities in the city or in the vicinity, and neighburhoods also sell land. Traditional communities are now traders; it is up-country immigrants who are poor.

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