At the start of the new millennium, the configuration of Africa was more varied than at any point since the Scramble. In some countries, democratisation led to a reinvigoration of politics and to an alleviation of political tensions. In others, the grim determination of incumbent regimes to cling to power at all costs, raised the real prospect of endemic civil unrest and renewed military intervention.1 More seriously still, the viability of the state itself was thrown into question across much of the continent, as armed factions carved out their own territorial niches. In most cases, they aspired to ultimate control of the centre, but where no faction commanded a decisive advantage, there was often a de facto fragmentation into competing fiefdoms. Whereas the international community had once worked on the assumption that the globe was naturally composed of sovereign states, there was a greater willingness to live with the possibility that states might fall off the map altogether — even if the termination of sovereignty remained the ultimate taboo. In this chapter, we examine the playing out of the national question across the continent from the 1990s. We start by revisiting some of the political unions that had been forged around the time of independence (see Chapter 3). We then consider the experience of countries plagued by a long history of civil wars. After that, we turn to the contagion of warfare in Central and West Africa. Finally, the book concludes with some general observations about the pursuit of national reconciliation and the acceptance of diversity at the start of the new millennium.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Millennial Africa: The National Question Revisited
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number