|Bottle-necks of Development in Africa (HABITAT)|
Peace and security are a prerequisite for development and all human beings aspire and deserve them. All people also aspire for happiness and a quality of life devoid of poverty and indignity.
Yet for the last three decades many African states have hardly enjoyed internal peace and security. State oppression by dictatorial rulers, especially during the Cold War, precipitated a prevalent culture of fear and silence which gave a semblance of. peace in many countries. The outcry of citizens over gross violations of human rights was minimized against the background of civil wars which raged in countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Mozambique and
Liberia. Oppressive governments elsewhere in Africa were portrayed as benign and progressive and their countries were projected as secure, peaceful and prosperous islands even as their dissenting citizens were silenced in detentions, police cells and torture chambers. The Cold War was used by the superpowers and their allies to justify the tolerance of political and economic oppression and violation of the rights of citizens who dissented.
But those were the days of the Cold' War and misinformation and misrepresentation of Africa was part of the War. This misrepresentation gave an excuse to those who imported arms and land mines which have been used to detroy millions of lives in Africa. The carnage goes on in Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia and in the streets of many cities. People of Africa continue to be sacrificed so that some factories may stay open, earn capital and save jobs.
The Cold War was not cold in Africa. There, it precipitated some of the most devastating internal wars as African friends 'and foes of the superpowers fought it out for economic and political control. Support for the wars came from the superpowers-and their allies, with much of the support coming in form of aid.
When the Cold War ended in the late 1989 many African rulers did not change with the wind. As is evident in many .countries, authoritarian rulers are still holding onto power tenaciously, with some dragging their citizens into internal conflicts, wars and terror thereby diverting human and material resources towards the wars and internal security of those in power.