Articles and Analysies
Is there any comfort in tribal or regional politics? BY: Dr. Anthony Lupai Simon, SUDAN
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May 21, 2009 - 7:29:25 PM

Is there any comfort in tribal or regional politics?

BY: Dr. Anthony Lupai Simon, SUDAN

It has become a common habit in most African countries that politicians and those aspiring for political positions press the buttons of their tribes or regions of origin in order to climb to any cabinet positions in their respective nations. They rush to campaign at times of their dire needs in their localities with only one common language, i.e.” I am your son or daughter and is here to represent you”.

On the other hand, people have been made to understand that unless you have a representative from your region or tribe in the government, you are worthless. Well, all sides are either right or wrong.

Why should a politician embark on his tribes mates to gain their sympathies and be given the leadership ticket even if he is incompetent? Is it that they are exploiting some weaknesses in their societies by spreading the message of tribal or regional politics?

Or is it because they lack some leadership qualities but are forcing their way through to the leadership arena?

Indeed all have already confirmed that here is some degree of weaknesses our society possesses. The higher levels of illiteracy and poverty in the continent have provided some greener grazing places for the politicians.

They work their ways by causing divisions among communities in order to assume power. The content of their messages does not carry any sound programs besides only blames thrown to their opponents.

What do you expect illiterate persons to do when a useless politician addresses them without providing any plan for his policies? And what do we expect from poor and hungry men when bribed to rig an election for another rich man to represent them? Any answer to the above just explains why there are no positive changes in the continent.  

The poor and illiterate look at some of the politicians from their tribes or region as people that would give them some of the changes they need. In a way there are some justifications to that as people are still in the era where a particular

What exactly is tribal or regional politics?   They simply entail a practice in a nation where politicians look into their tribes or region first before the whole nation. Embodied in it are the campaigns carried out in criticizing other tribes or a region to gain favor instead of just saying what vision one has for his people.

It also includes regional representation of people in a government, the so-called government of national unity. Every now and then crises arise in a region and people voice out that a government of national unity be formed. And what even appears to be an inclusive government does not deliver any services to the nation as expected of its name.   

One may simply say that it is just because a group of selfish incompetent power hungry politicians have ganged up to satisfy their own interests other than working for the good of their country.

As regional polity was coined with the aim of proving equal representation, it has failed to solve other primary grievances. And the failures are mainly due to the fact that unable men are incorporated from other regions just to cover up some deficits.

Instead of people standing up strongly to reject the sorts of tribal politics which has caused more harm than good to the continent, they round up themselves to create inclusive governments which are thought to be the solution for the former.

As people go out to collect representatives from one particular region, the need for a very sharp boundary becomes very strong. Also proper definitions of some vague tribes within a particular region need to be tackled.

In this case the vague tribesmen may prefer themselves to be affiliated to a side which suits them in all aspects be it politically economically or socially. And once such needs are not met then the result is instability among those societies.

This is how tribal or ethnic conflicts are politically promoted in the continent. A group of people allow themselves to be called a particular tribe ruling simply because they have failed to be inclusive.

 Where the nomenclature of representation in a government is based on tribal and regional grounds it becomes very difficult to eradicate tribalism and regionalism. Unlike the former, in the latter case it is plainly preferable for each of those regions to exist on its own.

If people from one region are not content with others from the other regions, why then force themselves to a single state? The primary aim for the existence of every state is to have a group of an organized people with a common goal that are able to deliver services effectively among themselves without any discrimination.

If there are two heads in a state like that of Fatah and Hamas in Palestine then why can’t the world give a blessing for each group to be alone so that peace prevails in people’s hearts?

People everywhere are happy when the tone of democracy sounds within their state and admire some democratic transformations practiced by other countries like the United States . But on the contrary, they refuse the practical exercise and outcome of the very democracy in their own countries if they happen to be African politicians.

The exact event in democracy where every individual is supposed to be himself digesting the candidates and freely expressing his desires in a secret vote is not being observed. So many selfish men often organize some people to interfere with other people’s choice either by force, deceit or bribery and distorting the so-called act of democracy in the continent.  

And where there has been some degree of fairness in the conduct of a democratic election, the loser turns gloomy. He goes back to mobilize his tribes mates or region of origin to stand up and cause chaos. This is simply because the actual tone of leadership is misunderstood and most often mismanaged.

The mismanagement is mainly attributed to the fact that at the back of the mind of every leader or beneficiary is the swinging of tribal or regional politics masterminded by the fact that the shortest road to wealth in the continent is through leadership.

Politicians are only fighting to get tickets of enriching themselves with the states resources instead of just going there to serve their nations. This explains why they find it bitter to swallow any loss of an election. No one is in the position of accepting that his personality or policies have been rejected by the people he is intending to serve.

Tribal or regional politics is a danger to our societies by promoting division and enmity among the people with consequent outbreak of disputes that are difficult to resolve. Leaders should liberate themselves from the mentalities of looking at the citizens along tribal or regional lines.

And the best leader is not always that person with whom you share the same language or region, but one that is able to deliver services required of him. Let all people gear themselves towards universality so that no man will still clink to the face of his tribe or region. And eventually no one will require the so-called government of national unity as there had been nothing that had broken them apart.

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