In groups that can interact with former

In
conclusion, I believe this essay has shown that it would be fair to blame
European colonialism for the current instabilities in Africa to an extent. Like
all things there are anomalies within different African states as to how they
now perform as a state, for example,
Ghana maintained remarkable resilience and adapted well through the colonial
period having “traditional political units” and having active “autonomous
micro-level” groups that can interact with former political systems but still
maintain their political independence, however, on the other hand, Zambia
attempted to create a centralised state but faced backlash from “peasant opposition”
which eventually meant that the effort to do so was ineffective (Forrest, 1988). Two-thirds of what is now Ghana was colonised
by the British, the rest by the German, whilst Zambia was wholly colonised by
the British. This brief analysis shows that there must be more reasons for the
current instabilities in Africa than just European colonialism as both these
countries have had very different futures but were colonised by the same power.
However, it would be wrong to disregard colonialism as a reason entirely as we
still see the impact it had on African peoples lives today and still see the
obvious suffering caused by such childish actions of claiming land’s, so another
may not.

Finally,
the essay is going to discuss colonialism as a brief ineffective interlude. Bayart
comments on how short the African colonial rule was in comparison with other
times in history, however despite the
short duration the colonial powers were present in Africa the European
occupation radically transformed the running and day-to-day lives of the
continents native people. Introducing new methods of payments, such as money,
and goals in social situations. Creating private property rights and bringing
in firearms as a central aspect of military technology and law enforcement (Bayart & Ellis, 2000). Bayart and Ellis
also put forward the point that the authorities within the countries maintain
violence as a form of punishment for wrongdoings within the countries, for
example in Zimbabwe the ZANU-PF fighters inflicted violent punishments on
villagers they believed to have broken a law. This example could allow one to
draw a conclusion that it would be fair to blame European colonialism for the
current instabilities in Africa as ZANU-PF are simply following the example set
by the coloniser’s enforcement. The
colonial powers caused disruption to the African
way of life, destroying their ‘traditional’ society, however, ultimately
colonialism did little to fundamentally reshape the people and their traditions.
As there was and still is continued influence of chiefs and leaders within
communities, although the disruption of the colonial powers through their
creation of African states exacerbated ethnic and regional tensions, creating
war and violence in areas that had once been stable, one reason could be due to
the fact that some African groups have attached material and symbolic
significance to certain plots of land, the significance of which mean a great
deal to these different groups causing tension. In Zimbabwe during the late
1890’s the country, Rhodesia was split into two separate areas. Southern and
Northern Rhodesia, the South became present-day
Zimbabwe and the North is now Zambia, Britain then consolidated both parts with
what is now Malawi which became dominated by African nationalism and was
dissolved a decade later. The quick succession of changing boundaries within
this area will have created unrest and the African nationalist movement grew with Zambia and Malawi’s independence
whilst Southern Rhodesia enjoyed minority rule. Also due to the cost of having
to run African nations many European powers were quite reluctant about getting
involved within the area however circumstances forced their hand when other
countries attempted to make the move to increase their own personal powers, due
to the cost of administration being so high and the doubt of finding anything
worth counter-acting this cost, for Great Britain the cost of annexing a
country meant that there must be a well-established
administration to control and oversee the state (Herbst, 2014). Therefore, it could be argued that it
is fair to blame European colonialism for the current instabilities in Africa as
the colonial powers entered something they knew they would struggle to afford
to maintain effectively, hence it could be claimed that this has had a domino effect on the way these powers left these
countries that are still felt today.

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Thirdly
the essay will now look at colonialism as an agent of change, whether
modernisation attempted by colonial powers could be to blame for the current
instabilities in Africa. The European colonial powers created demarcated
territories within the African continent, this drew lines through communities
and groups already established within the continent, brutally imposing a European ideal causing tension and unrest
within these communities and areas. It is also worth noting that these powers
attempted to impose upon their colonies what Europe grew into, as the States
grew out of an already formed society over long periods of time creating their
own space to grow as communities and their own political institutions.  This long process of growth and development
is something that the colonial powers of Europe dictated to the various African
colonies they inhabited. Divided up during the Berlin Conference in 1884 due to
the European powers ‘Scramble for Africa’ these colonisers deemed it necessary
to ensure that they could establish a sphere of influence in which to ensure
there new state would exist, therefore they would enter into “treaties” with
many African leaders before attempting to build up their colony as these
“treaties” would help ensure that the colonies had a better chance of becoming
a functioning state as they could prove to have the support of African leaders (Ajala, 1983). Another way that
colonies acted as agents of change to divide the continent is that some African
country boundaries are centred on European powers rivalries between each other,
and it is due to the near break of peace within Europe during the establishment
of African borders that some borders were rushed, with no regard for those
already living in the area. The result of this carelessness by the colonisers
undoubtedly led to conflict within these areas and an increased hatred towards
these powers which still exist today, therefore it would be fair to blame the
European colonialism for current instabilities. Another way that colonialism
could be seen as attempts to modernise Africa could be through the attempted
implementation of governments within these states and democracy, for example
Zimbabwe, since independence calls itself a democracy (Bayart & Ellis, 2000) and had potential
for development , and it cannot be disputed that in the first decade of
Mugabe’s rule that the country was prosperous and had a period of economic
growth, however the Mugabe government then attempted to adopt IMF and World
Bank policies that they had no knowledge of which resulted in a significant
drop in the economy, resulting in Mugabe’s tightened grip on his power and a
suppressed true democratic state. This example shows that it would be unfair to
blame current instabilities on European colonisers as Zimbabwe spent ten years
becoming prosperous and growing, then the country’s government made decisions
that resulted in the current instabilities that the country now face.

“…The
name of Bula Matari signified terror.” (Lusibu
Zala N’kanza, 1976, cited in Young, 1994) a representation of the
colonial powers as an “intrusive alien authority”, the name Bula Matari also
used interchangeably as a nickname for
the state used by the Belgian officials in the Belgian Congo (Young, 1994).
In his article, Crawford Young puts
emphasis on strong, coercive colonial states, such as the Belgian Congo, where
the ruling colonial state, Belgium, would use their colony, Congo, to extract
what they want and exploit the country for their own strategic and economic
needs. Looking at colonialism as exploitation we can see that borders and
infrastructures of African States changed reflecting the short term nature that
the colonial power used them for, as in Europe during most of this time the continent
was going through many economic problems, therefore it is obvious to see that
the conquest and colonial rule of most of Africa was done to benefit the
European powers in resolving their economic problems, similar to a reason for
European colonialism in the Middle East which could also be economic reasons,
as having power over certain Middle Eastern countries would allow colonial
powers control over specific and regularly used trade routes within that region
that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire, therefore the colonial powers often
exploited their colonies for trade use. In fact, most European colonies started
by colonising non-landlocked countries in Africa and making their way inland,
such as the British colonisation of Cape Colony, also referred to as the Cape
of Good Hope, which was done to control the Middle East trade routes, so to
help ensure good economic prosperity for the British, over 30 years the colony
became peaceful and prosperous and created an elected parliament, though
executive power still fell firmly within British authority until it joined the
Union of South Africa in 1910 (The Readers Digest Association, 1992). This proves that
colonialism was used as a tool to exploit. In Zimbabwe, from 1903 onwards the
colonial state intervened to create a workforce for the mining industry that
was rather a large economic plus for the country, the result of this
intervention was poor working conditions, bad diets, high mortality rates,
slave labour and physical abuse of the workforce, as mentioned previously, the
resulting points reflect the short term nature of the colonial powers
intentions as the powers did not provide an infrastructure with the ability to
create labour reproduction but created
one that increased short term ability to achieve maximum economic gain­­­­ (Makambe,
1994).  Therefore, this discussion would heavily
suggest that colonialism could be to blame for current instabilities in Africa
as some African countries may still be recovering from the economic
exploitation they suffered at the hands of the colonial powers, as countries
such as Zimbabwe, will have to recover and rebuild their workforce after they
worked in such conditions that will have depleted their numbers.

In
1988 Joshua B. Forrest wrote an article about the “Quest for State “Hardness”
in Africa” (Forrest, 1988), he claimed that
contemporary states within in Sub-Sharan Africa have, since achieving their
independence, been attempting to achieve state “hardness”, through which they have
to attempt to increase the political and economic power of the state. However,
there are many limitations that these post-colonial country’s face in achieving
state “hardness” with most being more “soft” than “hard”. For example, in
Zimbabwe, Mugabe began his political career in the limelight by being a leading
figure in the revolutionary movement for legitimate independence for Zimbabwe. As
a well respected teacher in possession of three degrees in 1960 Mugabe was
invited to talk at a National Democratic Party demonstration which led to him
very quickly becoming the party’s publicity secretary and chairing the first
NDP congress (Holland, 2008), a year later the
party was banned by the government leading to the creation of ZAPU, Zimbabwe’s
African People’s Union, by the past members of NDP, Mugabe’s affiliation with
his party and his roots as an activist were still very present in his daily
running of Zimbabwe during his time in Political office, maybe the most obvious
time being during the election campaign in 2008 when he ran, what many western
political writers called, a dirty campaign against his opponents, using
blackmail and his influence at grassroot levels to intimidate the opposition.
This counteracts the states movements towards trying to create an autonomous
state government as it shows that state officials may be open to being
influenced by outside factors that may seek assurance from these state
officials for their future interests, however, similarly to Kenya, post-independence
government officials reinforced the governments control through centralizing
measures, such as being a one-party state, therefore taking control from
village and tribal leaders and elders, creating a nationally recognised
leadership that assert their control over the different socio-political sectors (Forrest,
1988).
The reality of this though is very different, Rothchild concludes that states
are only partially on their way to achieving this sought after autonomy as
though some African states may appear centralised and bureaucratised tackling
their new post-independence responsibilities they must often negotiate with
local leaders or interest groups to ensure the survival of their state (Rothchild, 1987). It is also very
obvious to those who look that most African elites have very close and personal
clientelist relationships with people and groups in wider society and to some
extent these elites are dependent upon them, in Zimbabwe Mugabe’s original
relationship with Britain was one that was prosperous for both countries as
after the Rhodesia’s UDI Britain quickly reinstated themselves as a leading
foreign partner due to their interests in Zimbabwe’s mining and financial
sectors. This process of trying to achieve state hardness is very slow in
establishing itself within some African states, and is a process that even some
Western states struggle to get right, as we can see clientelism as a big
problem in states in the West, therefore it could be claimed that state
hardness is a process that all states must aim for, if so it is not fair to
blame European colonialism wholly for the current instabilities in Africa.

 This essay is going to explore whether
European colonialism is responsible for current instabilities in Africa. It is
widely accepted that many African countries governments become unstable after
independence and there are multiple factors why this may be an outcome, but at
least for Zimbabwe, one main factor I believe played a key role is a lessening
productivity of the country. This essay will focus on Zimbabwe as a case study
bringing in examples from across the continent and the Middle East to compare
and contrast certain points.  This essay
will start by delving into Joshua B. Forrest’s theory of State Hardness and
exploring what impact this concept might have on answering this question,
secondly it will explore how powerful colonialism was and the use of such tactics as an avenue to exploit its colony,
thirdly it will look at the use of colonialism as a system to modernise, an
agent of change. Then finally the essay will look at colonialism as a brief ineffective
interlude before concluding to answer the question that the essay poses. The
main case study that will be referred to consistently within this essay will be
Zimbabwe, the country achieved independence relatively late in comparison to
other countries within the continent, being granted legal independence from
Britain in April 1980, fifteen years after the white minority government of
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, announced a
Unilateral Declaration of Independence, which resulted in the UN enforcing the
first mandatory trade embargo on an independent state, a guerrilla war arose
when two political parties arose to fight against the country’s predominantly
white minority government.