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Tribal Bigots, A Bane To Africa’s Development-Mulumba N Songsore

In contemporary times, it is thought-provoking how the concept of globalization has surfaced and is deep rooted in the world civilization making it a global village. Global borders have become more and more reduced, the concept of tribalism still seems to have gained substantial impact on the political and social agenda that characterize African nation states. This tribalism canker has degenerated to the point that we are deeply uniformly ethnic people. You ask an African ‘’who is he/she is’’ and you will get an ethnocentric response: ‘’I am an Ashanti, I am Akan, I am Ewe.’’  If you were to ask most people why ethnicity is so salient in Africa, they will tell you that it is because some Africans are so ‘’backward.’’ Education is the antidote to seek so as to purge our minds from derogatory tribal remarks born out of myopic narcissistic individuals parading their worth out of a particular ethnic group to which they belong.

PLO Lumumba in one of his speeches said something that I paraphrase this way; When an African is in the position to support another African, he asks not only for the first name of the one in need but their  Last name as well. He intentionally asks for the full name not because he wants to know him/her better; but because it affords them the opportunity to ascertain their tribal/ethnic affiliation which will be the basis for deciding the quantum of generosity to express. That is the Tragedy in gigantic proportions we have subjected ourselves to.

This display of backwardness among some Africans is made manifest on a national scale when the measure of intelligence and the interplay of ideas is weighed and better appreciated if one comes from a particular ethnic group. The display of superiority among certain ethnic/tribal groups is a worrying trend to lament about.

Furthermore, this trend plays out in politics where citizens vote for their leaders based on tribal lines and nothing else. And even if is evident that such and such leader who is supposed to be a leader for all and accountable to all syphon’s state resources, his, and less often her, tribal/ethnic companions collapse all morality and jump to their defense.; In Africa, the tribe and ethnicity of our Presidents is best known by all than their personality.

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We have lost the way as Africans, it should have been evident to us in modern times that there is only one African nation just as there is one African worldview/culture and just as genetically we are all one despite the many tribes we have. Tate Cheikh Anta Diop writes that ‘’the entire peoples of Africa are divided by ethnic barriers, which are extremely rigid out of ignorance. This impedes the feeling of unity required, more than ever before, by the historical circumstances in which we find ourselves.’’  The fundamental point here is that we as Africans are one people. Among the nation states that exist in Africa are tribal bigots parading their actions and inactions which serve to leave us snarling at one another and thus ever exposing ourselves to exploitation by the wider world. . I assert this myopia evinced in tribal/ethnic pride are instruments for Eurasian (that is Europe and Asia) violence and manipulation couched in euphemistic phrases like Globalization or new imperialism as Jangalekat Wole Soyinka called them. In other words, the African continent and her Black inhabitants are by far the only ones who stay in fragmented tribal/ethnic/colonial boundaries and allow Eurasia in their consolidated cultural blocks (America, China, Britain, India, etc) to import their culture (music, food, dress, art, thought systems, religions etc) into the continent and export our resources back to their homelands. Our liberation is a matter requiring urgent action and our cultural unity and consolidation is the key. As Nana Marimba Ani States, “your culture is your immune system”.

This is the time for us to unite as Africans, we must as a matter of urgency do that which is in the best interest of our motherland by respecting the many tribal groups and their unique languages and practices. The divine instruction from God to Man was to go out and subdue the earth by working on it to the betterment of all but not to engage in primitive demeanor of diversity in tribes. We are one people and no tribe is superior to the other regardless.

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