Ethnicity, Citizenship and State in Eastern Africa


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This volume, from an Africa perspective, examines the relationship between ethnicity and citizenship within the framework of nation-state. Its objective and scope engage relational aspects of political integration, awaken public conscience, and motivate civic engagement. It provides a platform that could be considered prerequisite for political transformation. Such a framework is indispensable not only for challenging the politics of exclusion and marginalization, but also for reconstructing fractured social relationships. The test of its validity and relevancy is not whether it accounts for particular traditions, but whether it provides a framework through which we can comprehend the dynamics of ethnic identities as an avenue for promoting participatory governance and democratic accountability. An interdisciplinary study of this kind brings forth practical and theoretical contributions to the evolving concepts of ethnicity and citizenship.



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Published 24 January 2011
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EAN13 9789956579785
Language English
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Ethnicity Citizensh ip and State
in Eastern Africa
AquilineTarimo ,S.J.
Ethnicity, Citizenship & State in Eastern Africa Aquiline Tarimo, S.J.
Langaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIGLangaaResearch & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Distributed outside N. America by African Books Collective Distributed in N. America by Michigan State University Press
ISBN: 9956-579-99-8 © Aquiline Tarimo, S.J. 2011
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
1.Introduction: Institutionalization of Ethnicity
2.Politicization of Ethnic Identities
3.Ethnic Diversity and Political Integration
4.Ethnicity, Citizenship, and Self-Determination
5.Religion, Politics, and Civil Society
6.Foundations of Political Integration
PREFACE he African civil wars have killed millions of people, destroyed T property, and strained social relationships between ethnic communities. Many initiatives were launched to contain the situation, and some of them created lasting impact. Meanwhile, the number of militia groups and refugees appear to be decreasing gradually. In the near future, perhaps, political stability could be achieved. Such a situation suggests that there would be no need of peacekeeping missions and non-governmental organizations created to address the plight of refugees and internally-displaced people. The emerging challenge is how to promote political integration and equal citizenship in a condition where millions of people are unsettled and disorganized.  It would, however, take time to achieve such an objective because of the existing mistrust between ethnic groups and unjust social structures. The situation suggests that the process of peacemaking has already entered another stage, a stage of character formation. If this is the case, then the challenge of character formation and institutionalization of democracy, through citizenship education, has automatically become the task of all institutions. Such engagement will require those institutions that form public conscience, through the cultivation of religious virtues and civic virtues, to play a formative role. Reform of cultural traditions is required because some methodologies of political organization tend to advocate destructive competition and mutual hostility that undermine the effort of promoting responsible citizenship.  There has been a growing need to evaluate the impact of ethnicity on citizenship due to the problems related to state legitimacy and governance. These problems are common among multicultural societies that find it difficult to organize themselves as nation-states. The dynamics of ethnicity and citizenship are also implicated in the phenomena of forced migration, urbanization,
statelessness, and exclusion. The situation has been caused by armed conflicts that dominated the political life of many counties in the last three decades. I am raising these issues to alert the policymakers on the need of acknowledging the demands of citizenship rights as a means of promoting participatory democracy. The discussion unveils paradigms of civic engagement that can promote a new understanding of ethnicity and citizenship, formation of public conscience, and rebuilding of social relationships. From such a perspective I argue that promotion of responsible citizenship is indispensable for political advancement.  To address the challenges of forced migration, exclusion, and conflict I propose to evaluate the impact of ethnicity on citizenship because these variables determine the meaning of citizenship rights. Its role within the public sphere remains ambiguous and problematic. With such a background I argue that the functions performed through the dynamics of ethnic identification toward political integration cannot be overlooked. It is from such a perspective that the study examines the impact of the politics of ethnicity and citizenship on the process of political integration.  This study, while rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship, is not a study in normative political theory; rather, as a study in applied political ethics, its objective is to identify relevant moral norms that could be used to promote political transformation. To gain a perspective about the nature and influence of the politics of ethnicity, the analysis draws concrete examples from Eastern Africa countries as an empirical case to show the extent to which ethnicity influences the politics of citizenship. The analysis, while focusing on the post-conflict period, could enlighten those struggling to resolve complex challenges related to immigration and citizenship rights. The completion of this volume is made possible through the collaboration of many people. Through such collaboration it has become possible to complete this volume, which I believe will be valuable for scholars and students engaged in peace studies, international relations, migration and citizenship studies, political philosophy, and political theology. The volume unveils an academic approach that constitutes an important ingredient in the constant drive to transform the politics of ethnicity and citizenship. In a special way, my hearty thanks are due to Dr. Margaret G. Gecaga, currently lecturing at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. She provided me with valuable critiques, corrections, and suggestions. I ii
am also indebted to Dr. Paulin Manwelo, S.J., the former Director of the Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations at Hekima College, Nairobi, for his academic insights that motivated the idea of writing this volume. I am also indebted to Dr. Felix M. Kiruthu, Lecturer in the Department of History, Kenyatta University, for the correction of the manuscript and critique. Finally, I cannot forget Dr. Laurenti Magesa for his invaluable suggestions.