The Rwandan genocide was another example of how elitesmanipulated the tribal differences of their people for their own benefits. Theminority Tutsi population in Rwanda were hated because they were favored by thecolonial powers. The colonial masters had allowed the fairer Tutsis morefreedoms and had put them in positions of authority over the Hutus.
This causedhostility among the tribes. After decolonization, the Hutus managed to gainpower and with this power came anti-Tutsi sentiments which reached a boilingpoint when the Tutsi-led militia, the Rwanda Patriotic Front invaded thenation. The Hutu-led government, in an act of self-preservation started a scaretactic campaign to deceive the Hutu majority of the Tutsi plan to reinstate amonarchy and enslave all Hutus. The assassination of the Hutu president ofRwanda led to an all-out murdering spree of Tutsis. The elite leaders of thenation began to call for the killings of the Tutsi in an effort for the Hutusto retain control of the state (Dallaire, 2005). The murders left an estimated1 million people dead. The Rwandan elites’ insistence on holding on to powerfor their own selfish gain led to them inciting animosity between the two mainethnic groups in the nation.
The South African Apartheid system of governance is anotherexample of the divide and conquer mentality that elites in post-colonial Africaused to further their self-gain. Adopted into law in 1948, the apartheid systemof governance embodied institutionalized racial segregation and discriminationof people. The elites in South African at the time were a minority group ofwhite South Africans, who were of European descent who ran the nation and madethe laws. While they created the segregation laws, it was another black SouthAfrican, Manosuthu Buthelezi who used tribal conflicts to hold on to power.
Where the African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela – a Xhosa – soughtto end apartheid in the nation, Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom party gained fromthe very system that sought to segregate them. The elite whites saw his as amoderate black, unlike Mandela and supported him financially and militarily(Berkeley, 2001). Buthelezi used the fears of his Zulu followers to incite atribal war, claiming that unless there was unity under him, the Xhosa dominatedANC would commit ethnic cleansing of the Zulus. This prompted an agitation inwhich 20,000 Zulus were killed.
Elites in post-colonial Africa were mostly educated,intelligent people who understood the tactic of using people against eachother. The need to stay in power was stronger than the need to maintain unityand thus they used their own people. It can be argued that most of these elitescared very little for their people – even those from their own tribes andthought nothing of using them as pawns in their quest to hold on to power.Illiteracy and African hero-worship aided in the execution of this tactic asmost Africans blindly believed what their leaders say without stopping to thinkfor themselves.