THE ROLES OF LAISSEZ FAIRE AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN AFRICA’S CONFLICT RESOLUTION

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In the past, Africans used to solve their conflicts by observing two key guiding principles. First, that conflicts will not, and should not, lead to serious injuries or death of the parties involved. Secondly, that community participation and involvement in conflict resolution are paramount.

In fact, Africans used a constitutional system of real self-government by the people through their representatives, the Council of Elders (Williams: 1987:96). This meant that the parties to the conflict are not allowed to portray any form of individuality to it. And this applies to the outcome of conflict resolution as well. That is to say, the idea that winner takes all is totally out. In other words, there is no personal gain. This effectively means that, whatever the case may be, conflicts will not be handled in a commercial way.

However, since the invasions of Africa from the north and east, the above cultural egalitarianism has since diminished or totally been destroyed. Now, most Africans have resorted to resolving conflicts by embracing the cultures of the invaders, which essentially depend heavily on the importance of individuality; winner takes all mentality, competitive attitudes, use of brute force, and the encouragement of commercialization. In other words, when conflicts arise especially in western cultures, the parties resort to the intermediate application of violence. One must fight for his or her survival, kill and if possible loot the victim’s property. This means that regardless of the outcomes of conflicts, none of the conflicting parties think in terms of the African philosophy of firstly preserving another’s life. For those foreign to African ways of life, especially the Europeans, their mentality is usually survival for the fittest, even if this meant my adversary dies.

The above ways of solving conflicts make me refer herein to an interesting article written a few days ago by some scholar entitled: “When the Nile does not flood, kill the pharaoh” Although the meaning to this article’s could be interpreted in many ways, depending on who is doing so, some serious questions need to be asked nevertheless. Why should the pharaoh be killed? Does the pharaoh’s life invariably depend on flooded Nile waters?

Now, when one tries to think further about the above article’s possible literal interpretation of the meaning and linking that to what is happening in South Sudan, it becomes even more profound. South Sudan is still in a civil war, and worst to this, there are also floods.

In the above connection, officials of World Food Program (WPF) say that floods being experienced in the country right now,are likely to hamper the organization’s humanitarian work. In fact, flooding is preventing the distribution of food aid to the needy because land transportation is risky now. WFP officials even go further by observing that if this situation continues, then food shortages may be the real threat and an Aljazeera reporter seems to be saying the same in the above video clip.

Regardless of the current floods in South Sudan, WFP obviously needs to be applauded; but a more serious concern is the global political angle to the civil war in South Sudan. This is because humanitarian work is not isolated from politics and economics of foreign aid. The politics of western governments in terms of control, domination and exploitation have not only remained within the western hemispheres , but also penetrated all sorts of administrative corridors including humanitarian assistance programs.

If one tries to identify the key players in the civil wars in South Sudan, you may be amazed that those in the shadows are the ones doing the real dealings. And in most cases, they are likely to be foreign actors, who in the first place, manipulate internal weaknesses of a country to cause war, and this then leads to the supply of arms, for the circus to continue.

Thereafter, humanitarian assistance programs come to play their roles as well. This means therefore, that the whole game becomes business as usual. It is real business, ladies and gentlemen. In fact it is a global politico-economic paradigm.

The sad thing about this saga is that, those who have nothing to do with this global gluttony, become victims in ignorance–the poor children, the women, agitated youths and the old and frail. What a pity; global economic and political domination also disguising its other cooperative arm in the form of humanitarian assistance.

Consequently, Africans will only get a sense of how to solve their problems by firstly, reflecting on how their forefathers did. They must engage with the relevant stakeholders, while putting aside individual objectives of the aggressors in the conflicts. Secondly, Africans need to understand the psyches of foreign powers that have continued to dominate, exploit and control them. European cultures have in a away become like a virus, corrupting every kind of beings, , including Africans. To counter these problems, Africans in general, and South Sudanese in particular, have to do some mental sanitation, or de-europeanization from their ways of life. Without these, wars in Africa will continue to be crafted, inflamed and financed by foreigners for the pursuits of their politico-economic domination , control and exploitative interests. As usual, these global business strategists ensure that their games run side by side with some “sugar coating” in the names of humanitarian assistance.

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Okumu p'Okech Luryan

Okumu p'Okech Luryan, Managing Partner, Noh-Vald Consultancy.
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