Preventing Civil Unrest: The Sixth Element

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Based on logic and experience, especially on this ever changing continent of Africa, there are several specific reasons why people rise up against governments and/or each other.

Meaning that these are the typical causes of civil unrest: The inability to afford food – rising food prices, for example (such as the 1979 Rice Riots), which may be caused by rises in other commodities in the value chain such as transportation costs; When livelihoods are threatened – land seizures or encroachment, for example; Marginalization or oppression – when one group is subjugated or oppressed by another along racial, ethnic, religious or socio-political lines, not having equal access to rights; Political foul play – when a leader of any kind fails to play by the rules and/or tries to change said rules in the middle of the ongoing, agreed upon political process. Such changes usually will violate a country’s constitution, for example. This would include rebel leaders and other military juntas attempting to seize power in any other ways than the constitutional, democratic process; sitting presidents attempting to extend their hold on power by way of manipulative machinations (e.g. referenda); or the manipulation of the existing rules of the democratic process in any way; Action or inaction that causes bad faith – any action or inaction that causes bad faith between parties is perceived as a threat of willful injustice, especially if the aggrieved party (ies) has (have) made their grievances heard but to no avail. And people have and will exercise their inherent right to self-preservation and self-defense; Cause and effect is an absolute law of nature – if a tree falls in the forest, it absolutely makes a sound, whether people are around to hear it or not. That notwithstanding, the sound is not the only evidence of the tree falling. Said tree will be found lying there in the morning (like Harry Greaves’ body). And even if said tree is removed, its very absence from the place where it stood will be the greatest evidence that it either fell or was cut down, especially to those who ate of its fruit and sat in its shade. And it is easy to tell whether a tree fell or was cut down. No autopsy required.

In the same way, corruption and other vices characteristic of poor governance will absolutely have their effects. Whether said vices are immediately detected or not, the law of cause-and-effect (rooted in the biblical principles of sowing and reaping and inevitable exposure) will take its course. In other words, what’s done in the dark will come to light.

For this reason, this element encompasses all other elements of civil unrest listed heretofore, because we now understand that if foul play is afoot, it is not a matter if but of when its effect(s) will begin to show, uncovering the deed.

We tend to treat all civil unrest as though “it just happened” and as though the solutions are as complicated as Calculus IV. Thus, in the aftermath, hundreds of thousands of lost lives later, we focus on reactionary, short-lived remedies (peace talks, ceasefires and power sharing deals that reward perpetrators), where foresight and prevention could have saved the day.

Let each country on the continent of Africa, yea the world, examine itself by these principles and determine its standing.

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