Created: 11/6/1967

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Nigeria and the Congo: Implications for Black Africa






SUBJECT: Hlgorla and tba Congo: Implications for Black Africa

The bloody clrll war In Hlgorla and the racial and security crises associated with the mercenary revolt in Congo (Kinshasa) have caused seen African and foreign observers to express fears that ccfspareblo troubles are Likely to bo prevalent throughout black Africa. Certainly these crises lay bare fundamentalof tribal antagonisms and administrative and militarythat are present nearly everywhere in black Africa. In most states, however, those problems ore not as intense as la Nigeria and the Congo, and the threats to national unity and order are not now as acute. Thus, though political Instability and economic Malaise will continue to be widespread over the next couple of years, we believe that fragaoctatloc. of stetes, civil vara, ud racial crises will be the exception rather than the rule.


1. The crises of the past year indicate that Algeria and Congo (Kinshasa) are fumbling badly their attempts at nation building. Like nearly all other aevly independent African states.


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Hlgeria and the Congo ara "colonial creations:" thoir bouiidaxies vers determined by political claim and military conquest, with more cnoalderatlon (Ivan to administrative convenience and eom-morclnl prospecta than to lines of tribal demarcation. of national unity baa proven particularly difficult for Hlgeria and the Congo because their populations are larger anddiverse than those of other new black African states, and because the political institutions and Instruments of control each Inherited with Independence vera Inadequate to cope with the political and economic problems posed by their also and dlTerelty.


2. The sticking point in Blgerle he* been the Incapacity of tha political eystea to accommodate the strongly-held tribal Identities of the population, or to reconcile tho bitterengendered by the growing contacts among the diverse tribal and regional groupings within the country, under colonial rule and even after Independenceew Algerians developed ouch sense of national consciousness to replace or supplement the

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comfortable assurance of tribal membership. Indeed, increasedamong tribes in the rapidly expanding urban areas of Hlgerla generally reinforced tribal allegiances and intensified tribal rivalries. Tribal Identity, token for granted la the villages, took on greater meaning for the colonies of "foreign" Xboe In northern Nigerian cities and of "foreign" Kansas in Logos. The uprooted strangers tended to live opart and to follow their own customs and traditional beliefs. The generally better-educated Xboe from Baetern Nigeria filled most of the better Jc;r. in government and tho public services and dominated commercial life In sueh of the country. They displayed condescendingtoward the acre tradition-bound Hausa-Fulanl of the Berth, and the more relaxed Xorubas of Western Nlgcriu. Most non-Ibos ia turn developed conaidereble antipathy toward the pushyeasterners, ranging free Toruba resentment of the Ibo superiority complex to the Houaa view of Ibos as "slave material."

3. The founding fathers, both British and African,nemo of the obstacles barring the way to Algerian unity.

The British did notingle administrative unit of present-day Nigeria, and the outbreak of Worldelayed any substantial developmententralised administration untils.

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ederation in which each of tho three major tribal groups couldegion which embraced its own homeland as veil ae those of lesser tribes. ajor weakness in the arrangement, however, was the parliamentary system of control of the central government. By weight of numbers the northerners wore virtually assuredermanent majority at tho center. As the scope and importance of the central government increased, Its domination by the conservative Moslem north became Intolerable to the moresoutherners. After efforts to loosen the northern grip by constitutional moans foiled, Ibo army officers in6 snuffed out the parliamentary system by assassinating key Bousa-Pulani leaders, which led to the estabUshnect of aregime. econd military coup, this one by northern officers against the Ibo military chief,eries of bloody massacres of lion and other easterners living in the North sat tho stage for the secession of the Eastern Region aa the "Republic ofnd for the subsequent civil war.

k. Tho massacres and the Lack of remorse displayed by the northerners convinced moat Xboe that they could not live In any Nigerian state dominated by northerners. The civil war has, if anything, intensified mutual animosities. In recent weeks aa the

tldo of battle baa turned against them, naay Ibos have come to believe that tho invading Federal forcea are Intent uponthem, or reducing thorn to permanent subjugation. The slaughter of civilians by Federal troops advancing through Ibo settlements in tha Mid-West and the East and the bellicose state-munts of some Federal cceroandore give new substoneo to Ibo fears.

5. If, as now seems likely, the Federal forces continue to prevail militarily, they vill probablyerritorial rupture of Hlgeria, but the aggravation of tribal hatreds will further complicate the task of nation building. It is difficult to seeitterly resentful Ibo people, now hated more than ever by the northerners, can be reabsorbedeconstructed Hlgeria. Furthermore, recent events have not provided such basis for establishing tribal or political peace In non-Ibo parts of Nigeria. The plan of the Federal Military Government fortrong central aoveinment withubordinate states will be very difficult to implement, even if Imposed by military authority. Some of the proposed state boundaries cut through tribal lands, and others bring together in narrow compass traditionally antagonistic tribal groupings. After two years of strife and political vacuum, the modern sector of the economy la

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in disarray, lawlessness baa Increased, and local officials are unsure of their authority. Finally, there is no political leader or group In sight which could gain the broad popular acceptance necessary to carryolitical reconstruction, though various tribal and regional spoke anon and some northern militaryalready are maneuvering to gain control of the postwar central


6. The misfortunes, disabilities, and incapacities of the Congo since Independenceake It tho epitome of Africa's difficulties. Other African states suffer similar troubles, but not all at once, and usually not as acutely. Perhaps the major obstacle to Congolese nationhood Is the government's inability to administer and provide securityast primitive state with several widely dispersed center* of modern economic activity. Lubunbashl and Bukavu are bothiles from the capital, with tenuous transportation and communication link*. Heretofore, most of what has passed for public administration and security, to say nothing of modern activity la all other sectors, has been provided by white expertise.

President Mobutu's dilemma is that he feels impelled to deavxurtrate the Congo's independence and bis African nationalism by pushing for greaterhe elimination of non-African administrators and advisors and the reduction of foreign (mainly Belgian) economic interesto. But each major step In that direction places la bolder relief Congolese incapacity for ruling their country, by further napping governmentalpublic security, end economic viability. Mobutu's plan to dismiss the white mercenaries In his amy before the OAU chiefs of state mat In Pnshasa last September, backfired. The subseouen: mutiny revealed again not only tho impotence of the Congolese Notional Army, bet Ita tendency In crises to destroy the public security it is supposed to protect. Typically, Mobutu exacerbated the breakdown In order byhrilluropean propaganda

Whatever the final outcome of tha difficulties In the eastern Congo resulting from the revolt of the mercenaries, or of the recent Incursion of sjercenorles from Angola, the prolonged disorders have accelerated the departure of Belgians and other non-Africans from the countryace Mobutu probably had not intended. Certainly Belgian public opinion now la weighted

heavily against continued support for the Congo, and many Belgian business interests in tha Congo how cither cut back or been forced out. The Belgian government would probably prefer to slash its aid program substantially, but is deterred mainly by tho fact that0 Belgian nationals in the Congo areense hostages. onsiderable numbor of those are likely to stick it out. In some cases the Congo is the only borne they know and prospects for equivalent emoluments in Belgium ore dim. But it is unlikely that Brussels will again provide much military or juristic personnel, or permit its technical advisors to assume poets outsideew major cities. Thoso gape are not likely to be filled as effectively by other foreign sources and inevitably willurther decline in public services, especially In the hlnterlsnd.

9. Particularly important to the Congo arer so Bolglan contract technicians who operate the copper Industry of Katanga. Host have no roots in tho Congo, and each outburst of antl-Belgian sentiment weakens their wilUngness to remain. If many or most of them suddenly quit, replacement would be very difficult, and mineral exports, the mainstay of Congolese public revenues, would decline or ceaee. This would not necessarily

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affect tho bulk of tho rural Congolese engaged In subsistence forming, but wouldonsiderable impact on the civil sorviee tho security forces, and ell who depend on stato aalarice. In these circumstances, vhethor or not the Congo survives as astate, it would probably lose much of its remaining modern character.


10. As Nigeria's bloody struggle drags on, and as tho Congo gropes for relief from the racial and security problems associated with its chronic revolts, what ore the dangerspread of similar crises throughout the continent, either as an Immediate spillover of violence from the current crisis, or as an eventual development from like basic weaknessesT

U. It con hardly be denied that tribal frictions and administrative incapacity arc hacporlng nation buildingblock Africa, or that political instability and occtiomic malaise will continue to be widespread. Yet wo think the Nigeria and Congo crises will not In tho immediate future have profound repercussions in other African countries, if only because the populations of most states, including tho troublesome elements.

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ire too preoccupied with their own daily worries to pay much attention to foreign developments. In most statos, moreover, the threats to national unity and order are not now as acute as in Hlgeria end the Congo: populations are smaller and culturalesser problem, tribal antipathies are less Intense, the white presence less Irritating, and the hinterlands less Important economically. Thus, oven over the next couple of years, we think that fragmentation of states, civil wars, and racial crises will be the exception rather than the rule in Africa.

A. tribalism

18. In the final analysis, each African state will have to cope In its own fashion with the fundamental problems laid bare by the Iflgeiian and Congolese crises. At this stage in African development, tribal afflnltlos are paramount; nationalInn can be superimposedribal system, but cannot readily supplant or suppress it. ar, moot African rulers hove proved fairly adroit at balancing tribal Influences, largely by bestowingproportionately among tribal claimants. This is notdifficulttate like Tanzania, where no single tribe predominates andharismatic leader commands allegiance beyond his own tribal base. It is more difficult in Kenya, where


Klkuyu political dominancerudgingly accepted by the Luos and other*. Here tho popular acceptance of Kenyatta ae both Kikuyu chief and national leader is the keystone of political stability. It Is also difficult In Cameroon, vhere the large, relatively advanced Boalleke tribe Is often et odds with the nationalparty and tha central government end vhere traditional tribal Jealousies are easily aroused. President Ahldjo'e firm hold on power and hie Judicious application of rewards and puniehmenta maintains internal peace.

13. We cannot foresee whether the leaders of tho new states can continue to manipulate divergent tribal aspirations and eventually weld them into national goals. Certainly, tribal rivalries will slow progress in sodg coses and upset stability In others. The passing from the scono of tho aged Kenyatta, for example, couldesurgence of tribal tensions which would set back Kenya's political and economic progress, though, oven then, we think it unlikely that prolonged violence would

la. The specter of tribal warfare at this time really hauntsew Africanhose In which an important tribe believes Itself excludedeasonable share of the national

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benefits. Preoldent Oboto of Uganda coulderious Internal crisis if he is unable to win the cooperation for his nevly-inpoocd contrailrod government of the large and proaperoue Boganda tribe, the dominant element in the former federal system. Recent actions by President KaBSunba-Debat of Congo (Brazzaville) favoring his own Lort tribal brethren to the detriment of other Important tribes could bring on an internal conflict in that weak caricatureommunist state, in which tribal considerations still carry greater vcight than ideology. In Burundi, the Hutu majority may eventually rise up against the Tutsi ruling class; or the Totals, as In the past, may move to exterminate the Hutu leadership to preventising.

15. Elsewhere, Insurgencies In Chad, Sudan, and Ethiopia are variations of this theme. These rebelliona have their roots in ethnic, religious and historic antagonisms. The rebelsMoslem nomadic tribes in Chad, Christian and pagan negroes In Sudan, end Moslems In tho Eritreen province of Ethiopiaesent ruleistant capital by an "alien" regime. Any meaningful reconciliation of thoeo long-ataading disputes will re quire-greater leadership skill0 than now available, and new incentives toward cooperation.


B. Adaini atratlva Deficiencies and Racial Problemi

16. Baca relatlona throughout most of black Africa have bean surprisingly aaooth since independence. Colonial rulers generally retired from tho scene gracefully,esidue of white doctors, engineers, teachers, and technical advisors, whose services were needed and velccned. What was not readily apparent at independence was that persistent African deficiencies la administrative and military ekllla scantonsldorabln, If not on increasing, number of expatriates would be requiredong time. Both the African deficiencies and theand security requirements were most obvious in the Congo. In most of the other states the hinterland has lose economic Importance and fewer security requirements, and could be safely left to Its own devices, while scarce livJigonous admlnlstrativa talent and military force wero concentrated in the capital -

IT. Tet In nearly all states, foreign experts continue toey role in essential services and the modern sector of tho economy. Even Ghana, whoso African!catIon begun early and proceeded rapidly, relies uponeace Corps volunteers for staffing its secondary schools. In Kenya and Northern Nigeria,

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whites bold half of the senior administrative positions in govcm-nent; while in noat former French colonics the French continue to monopolize oducatlco, medicine, finance, and commerce and to fill say poets In civil administration and In the security forces.

16. Popular pressures for African!tatIon of Jobs held by non-Africans are universal but uneven, depending partly upon tho flow of students from foreign and domestic universities andschools, and partly upon the level of internal frustration and envy of the white man's status. African rulers find ithazardous to ignore these pressures, but realise that to capitulate to them couldrastic decline of efficiency or security. In practice most leaders have been able to accceaodste domestic demands for jobs through gradual Africanization, without seriously disrupting tho functioning of the state end economy, aa has happened In tho Congo.

19. Host African rulera bnva also been able thus for to avoid the xenophobia of the Congo, partly because, unlike Mobutu, they do not feel threatened by the whito presence, or humiliated by continued dependence upon white expertise. Zambia say prove to be another exception. Antlwhito feollngs ore not far beneath the surfacearge body of expatriates bold the most essential


n tho copper industry, tho railroads, and other public services, and retain scon high administrative and military poets. Moreover, if Zambia is to follow its national development plan, an even greater number of whites will be required for professional and technical jobs in tho next few years. let pressures for Africanization of Jobs, res^rdloss of qualifications, are likely to rise, as frostratlone over Rhodesia and envy of the whites in Zambia increase.

20. Similar pressures exist in East Africa against the large Asian conn ml ties, which dominate retail trade and bold many middle posts In the bureaucracy. Thus far national leaders have boon able to pace the rate of Africanization of positions hold by Asians and to avoid major racial conflicts, but only by forcing more end more Asians to emigrate. This Involves some costs to the economy, as the Asians take their skills and capital funds with them.

a. For black Africahole, we cannot Judge whether tho rate of training of Africans in the multiplicity of skills required to manageodest twentieth century state and economy will provide the necessary indigenous cadres before popular iapatlonce manifests itself in xenophobic pressures.


Indeed, tie very proeeee of modernisation will generate new social tensions which Judicious policies of Africanization alone will not alleviate. Conditions which nourish political and economic instability are certain to persist, and in some caeca,racial tensions may make the presence of whites insecure. Nonetheless, the white man will probably bo welcomed in most of Africaong time.




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