September 20232023

From Colonial Legacy to Democratic Aspirations: Africa’s Ongoing Quest for Stability

Eman Fatima
Staff Writer 

The interpretation of a country’s history is influenced by external and internal factors within the region. However, what often goes unnoticed is that many internal factors, such as flawed institutions, power-hungry leaders, and persistent corruption, can be attributed to post-colonial effects, which are essentially external factors. The presence of corruption and the insatiable hunger for power are not solely driven by self-interest but are rooted in deep psychological motives. The leaders of Africa are following a similar pattern of greed and annihilation that the colonizers left behind, affecting the region and its people. Historical and current studies on Africa continue to reflect the long-standing effects of an incredible catastrophe of the colonial past. It is crucial to recognize that Africa was not always in this state; the result of European colonialism and international intervention has shaped the region into what it is today.

As Vox mentions, most attempted coups recorded were found to be in Africa in which 214 were attempted and 106 were successful. It is no surprise that a region like Africa is the victim of such a large number of coups. Sure, Africa has its own internal conflicts, but is trapped in a complex web of geopolitics and internal struggles for a reason. Al Jazeera also goes into detail about the statistics of the coups, stating, “Based on data compiled by American researchers Jonathan M Powell and Clayton L Thyne, at least 45 of the 54 nations across the African continent have experienced at least a single coup attempt since 1950.” 

Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post, four days following the controversial presidential elections in the central African nation of Gabon, which reported an electoral victory for the incumbent Ali Bongo, army officers took to state television to declare the nullification of the August 26 election and the dissolution of the nation’s institutions. This speaks volumes about how democracy is valued within the nation. 

The nation’s history and current challenges can only be understood in light of the impact of external factors such as colonialism and international intervention. The legacy of European colonization, along with the division and manipulation tactics employed by the colonial powers, has left deep socioeconomic and political tensions within African society. 

Foreign Affairs and Voice Of America write about how these tensions were further exacerbated by the interference of superpowers during the Cold War era, leading to the proliferation of armed conflicts and the influx of weapons into the region. The internal struggles faced by Africa, including military coups, power struggles, and economic hardships, are the deep determination of the people to forge a better future, free from external interference and internal divisions. Africa’s path to stability and progress ultimately lies in acknowledging its historical context, working towards genuine democratic reforms, and granting the people the power and agency to shape their destiny. 

Through such efforts, the African continent can overcome geopolitical challenges, heal internal wounds, and build a more inclusive and prosperous future for all its citizens. The people of many African countries have been denied the opportunity to govern and determine their fate, with their aspirations for democracy often betrayed by those in power and the international community that pledged support. Overcoming the post-colonial effects and the flawed institutions they left behind is arduous. It requires addressing internal issues and challenging the structures of power and corruption deeply ingrained in many African countries. 

Image courtesy of Flickr

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