Power Struggles in Colonial Africa

April 10, 1959

Report Outline
Variations in African Nationalism
Problems of Central African Federation
Nationalism in the Congo and East Africa

Variations in African Nationalism

Conflicts in Newly Independent Countries

Violent Outbreaks in a dozen countries and colonies of sub-Sahara Africa in the past few months have given the world sharp notice of the deep struggles for power now going on all over that immense and diverse region. Political warfare between black and black, conducted along personal, tribal, or religious lines, crackles under the surface almost everywhere and has blazed into the open in the newly independent states and in territories scheduled for early independence.

Africans in the Congo Republic spent three days battling one another last winter. Balloting in Senegal, like the Congo Republic an autonomous state within the recently created French overseas community, was marked by violence and intimidation. More than 40 opposition politicians were “detained” in Ghana, and in the Sudan democratic processes gave way to a form of military dictatorship. Abdoulaye Diallo of Guinea declared on March 17 that his country's one-party system afforded the only efficient method of government for new African nations.

Such developments may foreshadow conditions and problems that will have to be dealt with by native governments when more of the territories of what may be termed colonial Africa gain independence. Attainment of that goal will make it harder to preserve native unity and may well release pent-up personal and tribal hostilities. However, experts on Africa think a more immediate threat to human life and foreign interests may arise in the event of failure to work out equitable policies in the white settler colonies south of where the independence drive has made greatest headway. Below the equator, which cuts Africa at its waist, lies the world's last major stronghold of colonialism. That vast mineral-rich, strategically important bastion has been badly shaken by recent events, and observers agree that it will be difficult to keep tension and bitterness between the races from mounting.

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Conflicts in Africa
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Africa
War and Conflict