Could dictatorship dry the rivers of blood and halt the rampant insecurity?
Last updated on 19 Sep 2012 11:24
By Peter Nguli
Even with the 2000 strong police contingent being sent to Tana River Delta after weeks of turmoil and tribal bloodshed, the river is still flowing with blood.
We are reading in the press that there are mass graves currently under investigation and that houses are being torched. Just over a week ago, almost ten policemen and tens of civilians were killed.
And as this happened, the Republic of South Africa was shooting its protesting civilian miners. There is war in DRC currently.
Contrary to popular belief, Africa's civil wars are not due to its ethnic and religious diversity only. War in Africa is not just due to the ethno-linguistic fragmentation of its countries, but rather due to high levels of poverty, failed political institutions and economic dependence on natural resources like water. The Tana Delta is a prime example of this as communities are fighting over water and pasture.
War destroys a society’s social fabric and coping mechanisms when civilians are direct targets or affected bystanders. Returning to normal community life can take years following the deliberate destruction of social institutions and ways of life.
War disrupts the support provided by wider family and kinship systems, exacerbates divisions between groups, increases intra-group insecurity and hostility. Moreover war disrupts inter-group economic relations and promotes disease. For instance, after the killing subsided in Rwanda in mid-1994, deaths continued as refugees and the internally displaced fell victim to disease from lack of food and potable water.
Dictatorship vs. Democracy
But as this happens, Uganda and other African countries under dictatorship continue to enjoy peace and stability. When Kenya was under dictatorship, security was high and there were no amorphous groups like MRC or Al Shabaab, they were quickly nipped in the bud by the establishment. The status quo applied a heavy iron hand. Kenya was at peace.
Now that there is democracy, people think that democracy is killing the police with grenades, demonstrating with machetes, throwing stones, killing people and torching houses.
Western countries must be careful when introducing democracy in Africa. Because democracy in Africa will never be understood as it is in the west. People in the west demonstrate with dignity but in Africa, we demonstrate with violence and death.
When civilians in Kenya are killed, the so-called human rights organizations and civilian groups are so quick to condemn the police. Interestingly, when police are killed, none of these human rights groups or NGOs condemn the perpetrators.
These human rights organizations never condemn terrorists when they blow bombs and kill our beloved KDF soldiers in Somalia, policemen in our country or innocent civilians blown by terrorists in their hundreds.
Is this what democracy means in Africa? Perhaps, we may need to consider dictatorship as an essential necessity and alternative in Africa. We may soon need dictatorship especially if it will bring peace and stability, for that is better than violence and death for innocent civilians in the name of democracy.
Peter Nguli is Kenyan citizen residing in the United Kingdom. [firstname.lastname@example.org]