Wars and identity conflicts are as old as humanity. But their predominance in Africa seems unacceptable, especially at the beginning of the century of political modernity.
Intercultural dialogue enables everyone to understand cultural differences in terms of the plural unity of the human condition. This does not mean that cultural differences have no consistency.
On the contrary, they are important in the sense that they are a source of mutual enrichment. Intercultural dialogue leads them to learn to manage cultural diversity in the dual dynamics of differences and the right to similarities.
It means integration in the sense of complementarity rather than pure and simple assimilation.
Civil and ethnic wars often originate from the manipulation of ethnic groups, cultural entities by African political egoists.
In the face of what is known as “political powerlessness” in Africa, tribalism is being erected as a weapon at the service of African political leaders who are unable to establish democratic principles in their country. They thus become dictators capable of sacrificing their people for their own interests.
As elections approach, African politics is often reconciled with its base of mainly male and female members of its ethnic group. Hence the often used expressions such as: “it is our power” “we are in charge” “and you have to wait your turn”.
In Africa, when a dictator contests the verdict of the ballot boxes, he takes refuge in the tribe and ethnic group.
The creation of armed militias follows this logic. And when he seeks the votes of his people, he corrupts the members of the ethnic group from which he comes.
He then surrounds himself with courtiers chosen not for their competence but first and foremost for their ethnicity. The creation of armed militias follows this logic.
In political discourse, they do not hesitate to call for tribal hatred and devaluation of members of another ethnic group. Hence the fact that tribalism also appears as a negation of others.
Political discourse, they do not hesitate to call for tribal hatred and devaluation of members of another ethnic group. Hence the fact that tribalism also appears as a negation of others.
At the end of this reflection on tribalism, we can say that this scourge appears to be a violation of human rights, in that it dehumanizes and denies all the inherent dignity of others, subjects of law like me.
In conclusion, it must be said that Africans must recognize that an “ethnic group”, a “tribe” is first and foremost a cultural and social entity that allows a people to be identified.
This notion is certainly fragile and can be manipulated by politicians, but the peoples of this continent must remain vigilant so that the “desire to live together” prevails over tribal hatred.
In a continent where kinship is sacred, this effort requires citizenship and respect for human rights, which are also and above all the rights of others.
This problem introduces us to the heart of the question of the other person who is different from us. If the other person as me who is not me, to use Martin Heiddeger’s expression, is not from my ethnic group or tribe, is there a valid reason to destroy him?
The author Alexis Sebatware Byicaza is the leader of Innovative Forces for Union and Congolese Democracy.