By two decades from 1880, imperial powers of Europe had already petitioned and occupy Africa. Twelve years after the Second World War, Kwame Nkrumah had sent an act now message to all potential African leaders that Independence from Colonial masters is attainable. Africans, particularly those in the West were beginning to breathe a new air of leadership. Delayed anticipation which made Nkrumah cry with the ever-blithesome chanting of the already toiled and thwarted people of Gold Coast in the nights of March 1957. New stratums of epoch were about to be unveiled. A vessel of reminiscent history has been waiting to serve her demoralized Black people. Unforgettable moment it was; though with whispering signals that the journey wouldn’t be that of merry-making. Coup d’états and bloody civil wars suddenly ripped off the smiles of Africans. From 1960s through to the end of 1990s, inferno was Her status quo.
Was Africa expecting ethnocentrism, tribalism raged with hate, killings, rape, hunger, and diseases after colonial rule? Was she expecting her political parties who had 15 years earlier sang the melodies of Freedom, peace, prosperity, and justice to beat the drums of war? Or the concert of anti-colonial period was just a one-night show?
Political jurisdiction is the answer; Freedom fighters would turn to be tyrants, oppressors, and imperialists. The reason being the political adoptions they made.
What happened to the politics in Africa before and after her Independence? How did their emergence affect the societal change of her good people? What political systems did they adopt, and for what purpose?
From the 1940s, two ideologies dominated the Liberation of Sub-Saharan Africa, Nationalism, and Socialism. The tenet of Socialism was widely read across Europe and America. Contemporary African scholars were influenced by Marxism, hence political leaders who would emerge shall strongly embrace Socialism. It was seen as the solution to exploitative capitalism used by the imperial colonialists. Of course, socialism had always appeared to be fixing damages caused by capitalism, but in the end, causes more unbearable damages.
Kwame Nkrumah hated capitalism with passion, in other words, he was anti-imperialist “We want socialism because socialism is what we needed to fight the imperialists” says he. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania also added, “Capitalism encourages individual acquisitiveness and competition, we don’t want that, we want social justice”. Their acrimonies towards socialism meant the State’s participation in the economy. To Nkrumah “state participation in the economy must be taken to a point of complete ownership of the economy by the government” he then nationalized all foreign companies, set up state enterprises, and turned Ghana into One-Party State. All the successive governments in other countries who had won Independence would follow suit.
National unity and cultural cohesion needed in a wholesale development of a nation were proved by Africa political parties (after independence) as an obstacle to their political ambitions. Sub-nationalism which before the anti-colonial sentiment appeared to be an inevitable mechanism quickly encroached into their political upbringings. One thing was certain before this; that political leaders were more interested in the departure of the Whites than systematic development of their political discourse. It was clear from the ripples of Nkrumah’s energy that Political parties should be organized to win elections. Which they did by any means. Hence, the identity of the people wasn’t articulated. Segregated interests from different ethnic groups, tribes, individuals (who needed vengeance) were embraced by political leaders with ill promises and incitements. National interest was lost from the fight against colonialism. Political parties would follow suit by continuing to keep fragmented society for their political needs.
Countries like Sudan, Nigeria, Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and Uganda would wait to be torn apart by ethnicities at the expense of their attained independence. Obsessions of Ethnic power, powered by their Political leaders would materialize to cascade their progress into civil wars. Sub-nationalism politicized ethnic groups, which energized the already peaceful divisions in African indigenous groups. It turned them to ethnopolitical enemies which brought Africa on it knees. African political parties, after the departure of the colonial masters, fought against each other on the basis of tribal superiority and inferiority. Minorities tribes were resented by their political leaders to feel oppressed by the ruling Majority tribe; the results had always been civil wars.
Interest Groups with no Ideology
The embodiment of African political parties during the anti-colonial period was far from an ideological compromise. Associations, clubs, trade unions, who supported the then highly-animated political parties had no ideological alignment. They didn’t have any political or economic ideology. Trade unions in particular were highly beguiled by the socialist rhetoric’s which they knew nothing about. Students and other clubs will follow any charismatic individual who with feeble education can mobilize a large group of people. This visionless fellowship became an unlikely tool for African political leaders. It saturated their political operatives and became a legitimate mechanism needed to achieve political goals.
This is a powerful machinery withing the African political enterprise. It is one of their many devices which covers their corruptions and exploitations. Both literates and illiterates follow them sightlessly; not knowing their political ideologies whether suitable to their discourse or not. African politician, on any platform will incite, provoke and resent his followers with or without sensible words of which would be taken into action without questions.
Formalist View of Political Party
The formalist view of political party states that “party-building has a logic on it own”. Either politicians trying to control government or government elites trying to control the masses. In Africa, the politicians who control the government also control the masses. They are the Elites. The formalist view also states that “in competitive system, parties are organized by politicians to win elections while in authoritarian systems, parties are organized to affect the attitudes and behavior of the population”. African political parties win elections and at the same time control the behavior and attitudes of the masses. They capitalize the flaws of democracy and constitutional operatives to win elections then they use government power to control the behavior and the attitudes of the people. The consent and freedom of the people are always manufactured by their demagogic spree. They stimulate the people with thought-provoking rhetoric, radicalizing their minds towards their empty ideological inceptions to serve their cold revolutions.
Their authoritarian governance starts to ignite during inaugurations. The provoked people are made to feel alright only on their presidential installment. The rest of the governance would be them and theirs only.
The political attitude and behavior of Africans are nothing to write home about. African political parties by adopting the formalist view of political party also forge organizational structure, they raise money in obscure way, peculiar officers who agree on internal procedures of governing are selected. These officers satisfy internal coalition groups at the expense of the general population. The internal coalitions turn to create factions which turns to be more competitive than national elections. In Africa, presidential candidates have more mandates within the political party than what they have for the whole Nation.