Blood of the Ancestors
THE I990s WERE THE MOST significant period of political change in Africa since the early 1960s. The end of one-party rule, and the challenge that democracy posed to former single-party rulers, revealed as much about the relationship between the traditional and modern African political systems, as about the appropriateness of Western- style democracy to the Africa of the 1990s and beyond. The decade has been one in which dictators have sought to wrench the continent up by its roots, to exploit its vulnerabilities as a means of setting enemies against each other and thus to ensure their own survival. In doing so, politicians such as Juvenal Habyarimana in Rwanda, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, and Daniel arap Moi in Kenya sought to prove both that democracy would fuel tribalism and that their own continued presence as heads of state was essential, if the stability of the nation state was to be maintained. Their readiness to sabotage the stability of their own countries by using their countries' tribal makeup as a political tool is the major proof of their betrayal of all the authority they sought to draw upon. Their actions starkly exposed the urgent need to revolutionize African government and made clear the importance and urgency of strengthening the fledgling democracies that have been established, slowly and painfully, in the past decade.
The "modernization" of government will fail, however, if it is not inspired by and reflective of broad social change and development, out of which a new form of rule may naturally emerge. Thus, the delicate process of marrying the traditional and the new, the known and the unknown, has dominated