The Ever Evolving Ethnicities in Africa

The politics in East Africa are constantly being shaped because of ethnicity; and the change is rather predictable, as well as unexpected at the same time. According to George Gathigi, the question about ethnicity is something that arises in nearly every conversation. A podcast named Evolving Ethnicities talks about Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, as well as South Sudan. However, somewhere else in Africa as well as on the global level, there is a difference way ethnic groups, or affiliations with these groups are understood. The best way to create peace and stability is by coping with the differences with an open mind.

According to the experts in the podcast, attempts like the devolution of government in Kenya, as well as ethno-federalism in Ethiopia are just attempts to control the dynamic nature of ethnic affiliations, all the while keeping the exclusive rights of the post-colonial state of the nation.

Solomon Dersso, and Ethiopian scholar thinks that Ethiopia’s mix of leftist centralism as well as federalism based on ethnicity is something is like a fragile balance to achieve. What he is trying to say here is that balancing both of these factors is not an easy task.

Just like Ethiopia, Kenya has been taking the power away from the capital, and giving it to the local governments. This policy was put in effect in order to ensure that the concept of ethnic competition that is fighting for power in the capital is reduced.

According to Rashid Abdi, if the devolution works well, it does have the potential of making these countries stable, and making them walk a stable path. Abdi continues the statement, and says that in more ways than one, Africa is going towards a regression which is taking the country back to the old rules of handling politics through ethnicity.

For many, ethnicity is seen as a constant, however, Jok Madut Jok contests this – according to Jok, the tribes are becoming stronger as the state is failing to protect the citizens. This has resulted in the tribes helping the people, and creating a strong affinity between them as well.

Something similar can be found in Somalia as well, but at the same time, Somalia is the country that has managed to stay on the map of the world without having the central government play an important role in its existence on the map.

The Podcast from Peacebuilders is one of the best I have heard in a long time, it comprises of nine episodes revolving around East Africa with the second one being on international interventions, and as for the rest of them, they are all about everything that is happening in Africa. This basically means that African Union, as well as immigration, media, and elections are being talked about in the podcasts.

The podcasts are broadcasted every week on Tuesday mornings, so if you are someone who prefers staying up to date with everything happening in Africa, do check these out to stay up to date.

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