Good Example Of What Role Does Ethnicity Play In Politics? Critical Thinking
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1) Identify and briefly discuss two points made by the author (Raila Odinga) of the article «What role does Ethnicity Play in Politics» as to why ethnicity is such a key factor in African politics.
Africa has suffered a lot during its history. Such phenomena as slavery and colonialism influenced the consciousness of its people deeply. That is why some issues such as ethnicity play more important role in this region than in Western societies, for example.
Raila Odinga makes two points why ethnicity is such a key factor in African politics. Firstly, there is an understandable psychological association between certain ethnic groups and political parties in the divides society of Africa. Elites who share common culture and language now bandy together to form single organization and gain complete political power and control over the natural resources. People are mobilized on the basis of common culture and language even more than of common territory of living. Secondly, ethnicity remains one of the most daunting obstacles to democratization in Africa. As colonialists were to divide and segregate human beings, communities and different ethnic groups often find themselves in the state of civil wars attributed to the contest for political power.
2) Research and briefly discuss an example of how ethnicity has been (or not been) a factor in the politics of your designated 'Expert' country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a perfect example of the politicization of ethnicity. It resulted in formation of ethnic political parties each preserving its own point of view on governance. This process was facilitated by the absence of national elite that could suppress the emergence of nationalist parties on the wave of independence. Moreover, the size of the country contributed to the regional formations more than to the united political force. That is why it led to the crash of two political ideas, namely Lumumba's good governance and Mobutu's communism. As the idea of global communism failed, the true war was waged against the Mobutu regime. The irony of the situation is that the removal of Mobutu from power added more to the problem of ethnicity than solved it. The power become a reward for the numerous ethno-regional leaders. This led to the major political crisis and granting independence to the country by Belgians. However, the situation had an effect of spilling over to the nearest countries.
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