A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
January 5th, 2008
The tribal origins of African politics
Seth J. Frantzman
January 3rd, 2007
In a photo with the caption 'Kenyan democracy' three soldiers are huddled behind a stack of ballot boxes grasping their carbines. Today Luo rioters are torching Kikuyu homes in Kenya's worst slum and over 100 people have been killed. From Khartoum to Cape town African politics is primarily a contest between tribes. Whether it is Hutu and Tutsi, Hausa or Ibo, or Dinka or Xhosa and Zulu the politics of Africa have their origins in the tribe. The religiously divided African countries have religions that have their origins in tribes. Thus Nigeria is divided both by a Muslim north and a Christian south but it is also divided by Christian tribes in the south and Muslim tribes in the North. African politics cannot be understood outside this context and it is one reason that democracy may have a very hard time taking root.
A survey of each African country appears below these findings.
There has been a drift from south to north which has usually resulted in Islamification. Muslims once in power do not relinquish it. Nepotism is common, even Kofi Annan hired his son. Christians have tried to be more inclusive such as in the Ivory Coast or Cameroon. Genocide is reasonably common. Pastoral people are usually in conflict with agriculturalists.
The white minority governments of Southern Africa were in no respect unique. The fact that the Afrikaner tribe controlled South Africa for 46 years is not an outlier when one considers that other African countries have been run by men who represented the interests of minority tribes and also managed to place power only in the hands of their tribe's members. In fact the one aspect of South Africa's Afrikaner rule that was unique was the consistent elections that took place in the country.
Borders are the bane of Africa. Since few borders resemble those of the tribe most countries have ethnic groups that transcend borders. They also have language groups that do so. Thus Cameroon's east is French like the Congo while the west is English speaking like Nigeria. Only the countries of North Africa are completely Muslim and those of the extreme South are completely Christian. Those in the Middle usually contain minorities of one or the other or are split equally. Majority rule is not the norm in Africa. Most countries are run by a tribe that is a minority. This is partly due to the fact that most countries do not have a majority of one tribe.
Because some tribes, such as the Bakongo, have large presences in two states they may find that they will control one state to help the tribe in another resist the central government as was done in Angola. By contrast the Afrikaner involvement in Namibia was no exception to this rule, whereby the minority government of South Africa involved itself in neighboring Namibia to protect the interests of the minority German speaking and Coloured community. Some countries have been luckier. Lesotho, Somalia, Swaziland and Botswana are mostly made up of one tribe and are some of the few homogenous states in Africa. The small island states are mostly the same. But some small states such as Rwanda and Burundi and Zanzibar are split between two or more rival groups and this has led to the most extreme violence. Great diversity, as found in Nigeria, has not helped matter, violence is still the norm there. Tanzania is the one country who great diversity supposedly has been a stumbling block to tribal based violence. However as pan-African idealism and anti-colonial movements fade from the horizon Africa has become increasingly tribal based, rather than less so. Fifty years after independence nations such as Kenya and Zambia are more tribalistic than they were in 1960. Few countries have gone beyond tribalism. Some have worked to share power, as has been done with some success in Djibuti. Mostly, as in other multi-ethnic states such as Yugoslavia and Lebanon, this has been a failure. However attempts by tribes to seek independence have been brutally crushed, going against all ideas of self-determination. In Katanga, South Sudan, Darfur and Biafra the result was the mass murder of people. Why African countries are averse to self determination and why, despite all the complaints about how Europeans ignored the interests of the tribe and drew arbitrary borders, African leaders refuse to allow their countries to split apart is not clear. What is clear is that since the white man drew the borders of Africa the Africans have never altered those borders.
A Muslim website claims: "The colonial and missionary powers left Africa decades ago, but not before planting the seeds of ethnic and religious discord between the locals in their former colonies. Christian African leaders tend to favour the Christian communities while leaving the rest behind, due to religious, ethnic, or political affiliations." http://www.islamselect.com/english/php2/print_art.php?ref=6906&rb=0
Statements like this that claim that whites brought tribalism to Africa or exploited it are completely without substance. Tribal conflict was in Africa before the Europeans arrived and it has been the mainstay of the conflict after Europeans left. Only in a few cases, such as Belgium Rwanda, can it be shown that Europeans actually exploited and encouraged tribal differences. In most cases the jobs offered to Africans by the colonial powers were tribe-blind.
In 1988 James Brooke of the New York Times wrote; ''The South Africans have looked at tribalism since 1948 as a way to make sure they don't have a combined black opposition,'' a Western diplomat based in Pretoria said in an interview. ''When they developed the so-called homelands, the idea was to have as many nations as major ethnic groupings.'' South Africa's policy of creating 'bantustans' was much maligned in the west and no western government recognized the independence of the various Bantustans that South Africa gave independence. However the South African government seems to have been the only government to attempt to create countries based on tribes and grant self determination to tribal leaders. The result of the end of the bantustans in South Africa means almost every political party is based on a tribe, which can hardly be a more equitable system and is sure to lead to more bloodshed, just as the 1994 elections led to thousands of deaths when Zulus fought ANC Xhosa activists. Had Sudan, Nigeria and the Congo offered their people the chance to form a bantustan there is no doubt that millions of lives would have been saved. The same would have been true in Rwanda.
In an oped piece disguised as a news article the BBC’s ‘world affairs coorespondent’, Mark Doyle noted (January 3rd ‘Kenya Stokes Tribalism debate’) “Tribal differences in Kenya, normally accepted peacefully, are exploited by politicians hungry for power who can manipulate poverty-stricken population.” According to his simple BBC logic is simple: “African politicians know this formula [of tribalism] very well and many of them exploit it ruthlessly… there is a problem of tribalism on the continent - or, rather, a problem of the deliberate manipulation of tribal sentiment by selfish politicians… It is still possible for politicians to cheat at elections - for example through the vehicle of ethnicity.” According to this rubric it is now the Europeans or Apartheid South Africa to blame but ‘politicians’. But who are these politicians? They are leaders like tribal chiefs of old and many of them have actually been descended from local chiefs or even major paramount chiefs. The kings of Lesotho and Swaziland and the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party and Botswana are all members of royal households. The west doesn’t like the African democracy seems to have failed because it has degenerated into tribally based factionalism. But democracy has also failed Africans because it has not led majority tribes to control their own destinies and it has led to brutal suppression of minorities. The fact that western countries have not encouraged self-determination in Africa and have instead insisted that African countries keep the borders that were bequeathed to them by colonialism. By dispatching an army of foreign white ‘independent observers’ and by showing posters of the stereotypical starving African child throughout Europe the West is only perpetuating imperialism and increasing its arrogance.
Survey of African countries, their politics, their tribes and the tribal influence on their politics: (Note: Most modern discussion of Africa, outside of Africa and outside of the press, speaks of ‘ethnic-groups’ rather than tribes. Using ‘ethnic’ rather than ‘tribe’ is a submission to anthropology and I have used the term that Africans use to speak about themselves; tribe. The reason Anthropologists and arrogant westerners use the word ‘ethnicity’ is because western social sciences have decided, arbitrarily, that tribe is an ‘orientalist’ term that has no connection to their ‘scientific’ reality. I have preserved the reality.)
Tribes: Wolof 43.3%, Fulani 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Diola 3.7%, Mandingo 3%.
The country is 87% Muslim.
Léopold Sédar Senghor who ran Senegal from 1960 to 81 had a Serer mother and Fulani father. His successor, Abdou Diouf had a Hal Pulaar mother and Serer mother. The dominance of Muslim members of northern tribes led to a rebellion in the southern Casamance region of Senegal that began in 1982 and has not been completely put down. It is led by the Jola tribe which is part Christian, part Muslim and animist and whose leader (of the MFDC) is Abbé (father) Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, a Catholic priest.
Tribes: Malinke 34.1%, Fulani 16.2%, Wolof 12.6%, Diola (Jola) 9.2%, Soninke 7.7%,
The country is 95% Muslim.
Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia since his coup in 1994 has long been accused of favoring his tribe, the Jola, who form only 9% of Gambia. They dominate the government and positions of power. The Jola, who are 9% of the country, have had power far beyond their numbers.
Tribes: Balante 30%, Fulani 20%, Mandyako 14%, Malinke 13%, Papel 7%, European and mulatto 2%.
The country is 40% Muslim.
In Guinea-Bissau president Joao Vieira was from the Pepel tribe, which is about 7 percent of the population, served from 1980 to 1994.
Komba Yala of the Balante tribe was ousted in a coup in 2003. Correia Seabra, a prominent general was also a member of the minority Papel tribe and was killed in 2004. The Pepel, who are 7% of the country, have had a disproportionate amount of power.
Tribes : Fulani 38.6%, Malinke 23.2%, Soussou 11%, Kissi 6%, Kpelle 4.6%.
The country is 39% Muslim.
In Guinea Ahmed Sékou Touré was a member of the Malinke tribe. The current President since a coup in 1984, Lansana Conte, is a member of the Sousou(Susu) tribe who have been Muslim since their conversion in the 13th century. They were forcibly converted by the Fulani (the Susu trace their heritage to the Mali empire). Thus a country that is only 39% Muslim has been ruled by Muslims and minority tribes since its founding. .
Tribes Mende 26%, Temne 24.6%,Limba 7.1%, Kuranko 5.5%, Kono 4.2%, Fulani 3.8%, Bullom-Sherbro 3.5%.
The country is 45% Muslim.
In 1961 when the country gained independence the second president, Siaka Probyn Stevens (he became prime minister in 1968) was a member of the Limba tribe. He relinquished power in 1985. His successor, Joseph Momoh, was also a Limba and he served until 1992. In 1996 Ahmad Tejan Kinga, who worked for the U.N, is a Muslim and is a member of the Mandingo(Mende) tribe. He married a Catholic woman (Patricia Tucker) of the Sherbo tribe from the south of the country. Kabbah served until 2007. The current president, Ernest Bai Koroma is a Christian with a Mende father and a Limba mother. Thus the Limba who are 7% of the population have had a disproportionate influence on power.
The tribes are as follows: Kpelle 18.9%, Bassa 13.1%, Grebo 10.3%,Gio (Dan) 7.4%, Kru 6.9%, Mano 6.1%, Loma 5.3%, Kissi 3.8%,Krahn 3.7%, Americo-Liberians 2.4%.
Liberia was dominated by ethnic Amero-Liberians until 1980 when William Tolbert was killed in a coup. Samuel Doe, who overthrew Tolbert, was an ethnic Krahn. He was replaced by Amos Sawyer, an Amero-Liberian, who served from 1990 to 1994. Charles Taylor, the 'warlord' featured in the film ‘Lord of War’ served from 1997 to 2003 and his mother was a Gola (a tiny tribe of 100,000 people) and his father an Amero-Liberian. The current president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is a Gola. Liberia is a striking example of a country whose domination by one tribe, the Americo-Liberians, led to a brutal struggle for power which resulted, not on power sharing, but domination by other minorities.
Cote de Ivoire
Tribes: Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 26.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (includes 130,000 Lebanese and 20,000 French).
The country is 40% Muslim
The first president of the country was a Baoule tribesmen and a Christian named Felix Houphouet-Boigny who ruled from 1960 to 1993. President Laurent Gbagbo has ruled from 2000 to present and the civil war that has enveloped the country pits his Bete tribe against Guillaume Kigbafori’s Soro tribe. Primarily it is a contest between the north and the south. But although the north is primarily Muslim the leader of the northern rebellion is Mr. Kigafori, a Catholic. The Dioula tribe, a Muslim one, was the main instigator of the rebellion in 2002. However Robert Guei, the 1999 coup leader, was from the south. Ivroy Coast suffered 33 years of dictatorship which naturally led to civil war between the north and south which was split by religion and tribe.
Moor 70% (about 40% black Moor [Haratin or African Sudanic] and about 30% white Moor [Bidan, or Arab Berber]), other black African 30% (mostlyWolof, Tukulor, Soninke and Fulani).
The country is 99% Muslim.
Moktar Ould Daddah, a white Moor was president of Mauritania between 1960 and 1978. He was overthrown because he involved the country in a war in the Western Sahara against the Polisaria front (which is made up of Sahrawi tribesmen including both Beni Hassan and Haratin, the dark skinned former slave population). In the country the Action for Change (AC), traditionally considered the party of the Haratines helped bring down the government. In 2001, the Cabinet of Ministers consisting of 27 members, 20 of whome were white Moors(or white Moor mixed). In the same year out of the 56 member Senate body, 46 consisted of white Morr or mixed roots. From the 81 member National Assembly, 60 members were white Moors or mixed. Thus a country that consists of three ethnic groups, white and black Moors and other black African is governed mostly by White Moors who, according to recent stats, are a declining minority.
Bambara 30%, Senufo 10.5%, Fula Macina (Niafunke) 9.6%, Soninke 7.4%, Malinke 6.6%Tuareg 7%, Dogon 4.3%, Bobo 3.5%,
The country is 82% Muslim.
The president from 1992 to 2002, Alpha Oumar Konaré was the fourth son of a Bambara teacher and a Fula homemaker. Tauregs have long been suppressed by the government. The leaders have mostly been African rather than fair skinned.
Tribes: Hausa 53%, Djerma (Zerma) 21.2%, Taureg 10.4%, Fulani (Peul) 9.8%, Beri Beri (Kanouri-Nanga) 4.4%, Teda 0.3%.
Hamani Diori, the first president who served from 1960 to 1974, limited cabinet appointments to fellow Djerma, family members, and close friends. On the 15th April 1974, Lieutenant colonel Seyni Kountché, a Hausa, led a military coup that ended Diori's rule. Tension between Niger and Libya fuelled Libyan accusations of the persecution of the light-skinned, nomadic Tuareg population and eventually all non-Nigerien Tuaregs were expelled from the country. The President of Libya, Mumar Khaddafi, is a bedouin and sympathized with the Tauregs. In 1996 Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, a Hausa, became president and served until 1999. The country has been governed by southerners and its northern nomad citizens have been pushed aside. It has also been increasingly Islamisized.
Mossi 47.9%, Fulani 10.3%,Lobi 6.9%, Bobo 6.9%, Mande 6.7%, Senufo 5.3%,Grosi 5%, Gurma 4.8%, Tuareg 3.1% (1995) Muslim 48.6%, indigenous beliefs 34.7%, Christian 16.7% (of which Protestant 5.2%,Roman Catholic 9.5%) (2000).
The first President, Maurice Yomeogo, was born an animist or pagan (neither word is suited well to describe non-monotheistic religions). He was a Mossi. He served from 1959 to 1966. With the support of unions and civil groups, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Sangoule Lamizana in a bloodless military coup in November 1980. Thomas Sankara, who reigned from1983 to 1987, was born into a Roman Catholic family, "Thom'Sank" was a Silmi-Mossi, an ethnic group that originated with marriage between Mossi men and women of the pastoralist Fulani people. The Silmi-Mossi are among the least advantaged in the Mossi caste system which is unique to Burkina Faso. The current president since 1987, Blaise Compaore, is a Catholic and a Mossi. Thus the Mossi tribe and its offshoots have governed the country since independence.
Tribes: Akan 41.6%, Mossi 23%, Ewe 10%,Ga-Adangme 7.2%, Gurma 3.4%, Nzima 1.8%,Yoruba 1.6%, other 11.4% (2000)
Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, was a member of the Nzima tribe, and not the Ashanti tribal groups whose members a large percentage of the country and who are descended from the kingdom of Ahanti. Nkrumah, a famous Pan-Africanist and independence leader, served from 1960 to 1966. The second president, who took power in a coup, was Joseph Arthur Ankrah, a member of the Ga tribe. There are about 600,000 Ga speakers, making up about 3% of Ghana's population. Ankrah served from 1966 to 1969. Jerry Rwalings who has served as president of Ghana several times (1979, 1981-2001) was born to a Scottish father and Ewe mother. John Kufuor who has served from 2001 to present is an Akan. Although Muslims make up 20% of the country, living mostly in the north as in Ivory Coast, they have never held the high office. Kufuor and Rawlings were Catholics. In Ghana, it is clear that ethnic Ashantis, for example, tend to vote one way while ethnic Ewes tend to vote another. For much of the country’s existence, until present, the leaders have been from minority tribes. As in Uganda the tribes associated with the African kingdom that once ran the country in pre-colonial days have been pushed aside.
Tribes: Ewe 22.2%, Kabre(Kabiye) 13.4%, Wachi 10%, Mina 5.6%,Kotokoli 5.6%, Bimoba 5.2%, Losso 4%, Gurma 3.4%,Lamba 3.2%, Adja 3%,
The country is 40% animist, 40% Christian and 20% Muslim.
Nicolas Grunitzky, who led a coup in 1963 and served to 1967, overthrowing the country’s first president, had a Polish father (like Jerry Rwalings and several other post-independence African leaders his father was European, something most African nationalist don’t like to talk about). Gnassingbé Eyadéma was president of Togo from 1967 to 2005 and was a Kabre (Kabiye) tribesmen. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, son of the former president has served from 2005 to the present. He has been accused of putting people from his Kabiye tribe in key government and military posts. There are one million Kabiye in Togo and 30,000 in Ghana and a few thousand in Benin. Thus a tribe with only 13% of the population has had a commanding influence on the country.
Tribes: Fon 39.7%, Yoruba (Nago) 12.1%, Adjara 11.1% Bariba 5.6%, Aizo 8.6%, Somba (Otomary) 6.6%, Fulani 5.6%,
The country is 30% Christians, 30% animist and 20% Muslim.
The Fon mostly live in the south. Hubert Maga, the first President from 1960 to 1963 was a member of the Bariba tribe. From 1972 to 1991 the country was run by Mathieu (Ahmed) Kérékou, but as the years passed the northerners (like Kérékou himself) became clearly dominant, undermining the idea that the regime was not based in ethnicity and religion. Born an animist he converted to Islam in 1980 and later became an evangelical Christian. He was a member of the Somba tribe. The three-way political competition between Hubert Maga, leader of the northern Bariba ethnic group, Sourou Migan Apithy representing the southeastern Yoruba and Goun tribes, and Justin Ahomadegbe of the southwest and south-central Fon group, created twelve years of continuous ethnic tensions in Benin (Dahomey). During this period, military officers intervened six times to quell political bickering and calm ethnic and regional conflicts. Emile Zinsou invaded the country in 1977. Born a Muslim, Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, who is now an evangelical, is the current president since 2006 and a niece of Paul-Émile de Souza. The country is split evenly between religious groups and it seems that this as well as tribal tensions have played a major role in its politics and problems. Like most countries in this area colonization led to the country encompassing a sliver of land that has nothing to do with the old tribal boundaries. The country’s border runs north south, taking in coastal tribes, jungle tribes and Muslim tribes in the northern plateau. The reason the borders of these countries were shaped like this was due partly to slaving. European countries built slave stations and inserted their influence further inland as time went by. So the land was carved into small slices like Togo and Benin.
Tribes: Yoruba 17.5%, Hausa 17.2%, Igbo (Ibo) 13.3%, Fulani 10.7%, Ijaw 10%, Ibibio 4.1%,Kanuri 3.6%, Egba 2.9%, Tiv 2.6%, Igbirra (Ebira) 1.1%,Nupe 1%, Edo 1%.
The country is 50% Christian and 40-50% Muslim.
There are 135 million people in the country and it is the most tribally diverse country in Africa. The north is primarily Muslim and the South is Christian. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe who served from 1960 to 1966 was born to Igbo parents in the north and was a Christian. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was an Igbo who led a coup in 1966 and cemented Igbo control of the government, alienating Yarubas and Hausas, the Muslim tribes.Yakubu Gowon was a Ngas(Angas) from the north who helped lead a Muslim coup that subsequently led to the relocation of 1 million Igbos due to persecution and the outbreak of the Biafran war in which the igbo tribe, which was Christian, tried to succeed from Nigeria. Over a million Igbos died in the war and they lost control of the oil reserves beneath their lands. Emeka Ojukwu, an Igbo served as president of the Biafran republic from 1967 to 1970 and still lives in Nigeria. Gowon was suceeded by a Muslim, Murtala Ramat Muhammad who reigned from 1975 to 1976. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yaruba from the west and a Christian, served as president from 1976 to 1979 and 1999 to 2007. Shehu Shagari a Muslim Fulani ruled from 1980 to 1983. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim Fulani governed from 1983 to 1985. Ibrahim Babangida hails from the Gwari ethnic group and served from 1985 to 1993. Ernest Shonekan was born and raised in Lagos, the Nigerian commercial capital. The son of an Abeokuta, he was President in 1993. Sani Abacha was a Muslim of Kanuri extraction and served from 1993 to 1998. Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is the current president and was born into an aristocratic Muslim Fulani family in Katsina. The country’s great ethnicity resulted in a Muslim-Christian split and has led to Muslim-Christian violence. Sharia law is mandated in the northern states and the Igbos have had much of the oil wealth which sits below them stolen by the government and sent north in the form of welfare for the Muslim tribes. Thus, one of the few countries where oil sits beneath the feet of Christians finds that the oil must be taken from the poverty stricken Niger Delta Christian tribes and sent to the Muslims in the country, as if the genocide of 1 million Igbos by Muslims in the Biafran war was not enough.
Tribes: Sara 27.7%, Sudanic Arab 12.3%,Mayo-Kebbi peoples 11.5%, Kanem-Bornu peoples 9%,Ouaddai peoples 8.7%, Hadjeray (Hadjarai) 6.7%,Tangale (Tandjile) peoples 6.5%, Gorane peoples 6.3%,Fitri-Batha peoples 4.7%, Fulani (Peul) 2.4%, other 4.2%, Muslim 53.9%, Christian 34.7% (of whichThe country is: Roman Catholic 20.3%, Protestant 14.4%),animist/traditional beliefs 7.4%
François Tombalbaye who served from 1960 to 1975 was a Sara who are the prominent tribe in the south of the country. Tombalbaye's Africanization program failed to account for the large population in the north and center of the country, who were Muslim and did not identify with the Christian and animist south. Following rioting in 1969 more Gorane were included in his new government. The new movement promoted Africanization: the capital of Fort-Lamy was renamed N'Djamena and Tombalbaye himself changed his given name from François to Ngarta. Christianity was disparaged, missionaries were expelled, and all non-Muslim males in the south between the ages of sixteen and fifty were required to undergo traditional initiation rites known as yondo in order to gain promotion in the civil service and the military. The rites were only native to the Sara but were forced upon other animist tribes. His suceessor Felix Malloum (1975-1979) appears to have been non-Muslim. Goukouni Oueddei who served from 1979 to 1982 was a Teda of the Toubou ethnic group which is itself related to the Daza tribe. He was from north Chad and his tribe is thought to number only 50,000 people who are Muslim. He is close to Mumar Khaddafi, the Bedouin president of Libya. In 1979 he was replaced for a short time by Lol Mahamat Choua (Shawa), an adherent of Islam and a member of the Kanembu ethnic group (650,000 people). He came from western Chad. Hissene Habre who ruled from 1982 to 1990 is a member of the Anakaza branch of the Gorane (Toubou-350,000 and are Muslim living in the north of Chad and Libya and Sudan) ethnic group. In 1990 Idriss Deby came to power. Déby is of the Bidayat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group. He added "Itno" to his surname in January 2006. the Zaghawa, who know themselves as Beri, are Muslims and live in Eastern Chad and the Sudan, where they have suffered the brunt of the Sudanese genocide in Darfur. The country’s history is thus one of Arab-Arican violence, Southern-northern violence based on tribe, Muslim-non-Muslim violence. This cocktail of divisions has led to poverty and civil strife.
Sudanese Arab 49.1%, Dinka 11.5%,Nuba 8.1%, Beja 6.4%, Nuer 4.9%, Zande 2.7%,Bari 2.5%, Fur 2.1%.
The country is 70% Muslim
Ibrahim Abboud (1958 to 1964) was an Arab Muslim and he imposed the Arabic language on the entire country. Ismail al Azhari served from 1964 to 1969. Sayyid Ismail al-Azhari was born in Omdurman as a Muslim and the son of a religious notable. He was also an Arab. Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiry ruled from 1965 to 1985. He was born in Omdorman but his family was from Dongola in the north. Nimeiry continued the Arabization and Islamization of the county, enacting Sharia law in 1983. He also changed the flag in 1970 to conform with other Arab nationalist flags (Red, white black). These policies of Islamization and Arabization caused the southern African Christian tribes such as the Dinka and Nuer to form the SPLA under John Garang, a Dinka and a Christian. He eventually became vice-President of Sudan in 2005 before dying, mysteriously, in a helicopter clash. He frequently feuded with the Nuer. What was known as the Second Sudanese Civil war stretched from 1983 to 2005 and pitted the Oil rich African Christian south against the Muslim Arab north. The North, as in Nigeria, has attempted to take the oil wealth of the south and send it to the north. In 2003 the government began unleashing its Janjaweed Arab militias against African agricultural tribes in the west of the country, including the Beri. Although Muslim these agricultural tribes were targeted for extinction so that pastoral Arab tribes could have their land. The SLM of Darfur is the political revolutionary movement of the African tribes there. However some of those charged with war crimes in Darfur has also been an African member of the government, Ahmed Haroun, a Bargou tribesman and an African. Meanwhile in Eastern Sudan the Beja and Rashaida tribes rebelled against the government and formed the Beja Congress and Rashaida Free Lions in 2004. The Rashaida are a nomadic Arab tribe. One of the Islamist Arab figures in Sudan has been Hassan al-Turabi. Daud Yahya Ibrahim Bolad (?-January 1992) was a Sudanese politician and rebel leader. He came from the Fur people of the Darfur region of the country. In the early 1970s, Bolad was nominated by the Islamist National Islamic Front to be the president of the Khartoum University Student Union (KUSU). He became the first KUSU president who was not from the Arab tribes along the Nile who dominate national politics. The current leader, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir came to office in 1998. he was born in the north of the country. He is a Muslim and an Arab. Sudan is one of the most glaring examples of an African country where religion and ethnicity have played a devastating role. It has led to the genocide of African Christians and Muslims, the one because of their religion and the other because of their black skin.
Tribes: Oromo 31.8%, Amhara 29.3%, Somali 6.2%,Tigre 5.9%, Walaita 4.6%, Gurage 4.2%, Sidamo 3.4%, Afar 1.9%, Hadya-Libide 1.7%,. Ethiopian Orthodox 50.3%, Muslim 32.9%, Protestant 10.1%, animist 4.8%, Roman Catholic 0.6%
Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region
The country was ruled by emperor Haile Selassie who was born in Harrar, from 1930 to 1974. He was descended from the kingly line that supposedly stretches back to King Solomon. The kings of Ethiopia have been members of the Amhara tribe. Selassie incorporated both the Ogadan in the southeast and Eritrea in the east into Ethiopia. Many of the inhabitants of the Ogadan are ethnic Somali and Sunni Muslims. Many of those in Eritrea are Tigrey and Afar. In order to integrate with the imperial power and family, a large share of the Oromo converted to Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity during the last few centuries. As one of the last such developments, in the late 1800s Emperor Yohannes IV ordered the Oromo tribe of Wollo to convert to Christianity within six months at the threat of losing their property. The Oromo live primarily in the center and west of the country. When Muslims demanded a mosque be built in the Ethiopian holy city of Axuma the emperor demanded a church be built in Mecca first. Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Communist leader who killed Selassie, had a Amhara royal mother and a Konso father. He ruled From 1974 to 1991. Meles Zenawi has ruled the country as President and then Prime Minister from 1991 to the present. Meles Zenawi was born in Adwa, Tigray in Northern Ethiopia, to a Tigrayan father and Eritrean mother. He is Ethiopian Orthodox. Despite being Tigray, or perhaps because of it, the independence (Eritrea were taken over by Ethiopia 20th century) of the Tigrays of Eritrea has led to several wars between the two countries.
Tribes: Tigrinya 51.8%, Tigre 17.9%, Afar 8.1%,Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 4.3%, Kunama 4.1%,
The country is: Christian 50.5% (of which Eritrean Orthodox 46.1%,Roman Catholic and Protestant 4.4 %), Muslim 44.7%,
Isaias Afewerki was the first president of an independent Eritrea and he came to power in 1991 and served ever since. He is an Eritrean Orthodox Christian. It seems he has had much trouble with the Afars in the south of the country. He has also had to fight the Saho and Kunama 'liberation' fronts. Eritrea emerged out of a long was against Ethiopia that was based primarily on the desire by the tribes living in Eritrea to gain independence from Ethiopian rule. But the country is split by tribe and religion and given Africa’s history that can’t bode well.
Tribes: Somali (Issa) 46%, Afar 35.4%, Arab 11%, mixed African and European 3%, French 1.6%
Religion: Sunni Muslim 97.2%, Christian 2.8% (of whichRoman Catholic 2.2%, Orthodox 0.5%, Protestant 0.1
Djibouti is a Muslim country and was known by the French who colonized it as a country of the Afars and Issas, its two main ethnic groups who fought a civil war in the 1990s. Both of its presidents, Hassan Gouled Aptidon (1977 to 1999) and Ismail Omar Guelleh (1999 to present) have been Issas. It has had Afar Prime ministers such as Ahmed Dini Ahmed from 1959 to the present except for one year in 1977. The Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy was the political movement of the Afar people who fought the government in the 1990s. The government has traditionally been controlled by the Issas with the Prime Minister being an Afar and that group receiving less power and resources.
Somali 92.4%, Arab 2.2%, Afar 1.3%, Sunni Muslim 99.9%, other 0.1%
The country is 99% Muslim.
Being one of the few homogenous countries in Africa has not saved Somalia from civil war and successionary movements. Muhammad Siad Barre ran the country from 1969 to 1991 and was a Communist sympathizer. Aden Abdullah Osman Daar ruled from independence in 1960 to 1967. Ali Mahdi Muhammad ruled from 1991 to 1997. Since then power has degenerated into chaos with a central government currently run by Nur Hassan Hussein and a country occupied by African peace keepers and the Ethiopian army. Most of the north of the country has seceded from the government and other parts of it, such as Puntland, are autonomous. The Islamic courts union, an Islamist organization briefly seized power in 2006 but the Ethiopian invasion pushed them back. Somaliland in the north, with its capital in Hargeisa, has declared independence since 1991. The major clan family in Somaliland is the Isaaq.
Tribes: Fang 19.6%; Bamileke and Bamum 18.5%;Duala, Luanda and Basa 14.7%; Fulani 9.6%; Tikar 7.4%; Mandara 5.7%; Maka 4.9%; Chamba 2.4%; Mbum 1.3%;Hausa 1.2%; Fench 0.2%
Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo, a Muslim from North Cameroon was president from 1960 to 1982. He was succeeded by Paul Biye, a Christian from South Cameroon who was a member of the Beti-Pahuin ethnic group, and of the Fang tribe. A coup attempt followed in 1984. Northern Muslims were the primary participants in this coup attempt, which was seen by many as an attempt to restore that group's supremacy; Biya, however, chose to emphasize national unity and did not focus blame on northern Muslims. He has also been strongly criticized by the Anglophones, the English-speaking people of Cameroon who live in the region formerly under British colonial rule, for their marginalization and oppression. Cameroon counts over 250 ethnic groups, spread all over the country. For this reason, ethnicity is rife in the country, with the tribe of the leaders of the ruling party dominant in every major field. In general the northern part of the country is composed of Fulani tribesmen and ethnic groups from Sudan, as well as Shuwa (Baggara) Arabs who still live in the country near Lake Chad. The U.S. Department of State claims that some Muslims discriminate against Christians and followers of traditional beliefs in the north. Anglophone Cameroonians are the people of various cultural backgrounds who hail from the English-speaking provinces of Cameroon (Northwest and Southwest provinces). The two English-speaking provinces of Cameroon make up 15% of a population of 16 million approx. The Social Democratic Front, the largest opposition political party in Cameroon's parliament, is headed by an Anglophone. A secessionist movement, the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC-the only secessionist movement in Cameroon), also clamours for the independence of the two English-speaking provinces. Biya is still the president of Cameroon. All the leadrs of Cameroon have been from what was formerly French Cameroon which was the eastern, southern and central part of the country and have thus been French speakers.
Central African Republic
Tribes: Baya (Gbaya) 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%,Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M'Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%
Religion: Roman Catholic 18.4%, indigenous beliefs 15.4%, Protestant 14.4%, African Christian 11.6%,other Christian 23.4%, Muslim 15.6%, other 1.2%
David Dacko, the first President from 1960 to 1966 and again from 1979 to 1981 was born in the southwestern part of the Central African Republica (CAR). He was a member of the Nqbaka(M'Baka) tribe. Jean Bedel Bokassa came to power in a coup in 1966 and served until 1979. His father Mgboundoulou, a village chief, belonged to the M'Baka, a small tribe in the forest south of Bangui, distinguished for contributing an inordinate number of the country's civil servants. As in Cameroon he was supported by France until 1979 when France helped overthrow him and install Dacko once again who was a Catholic. André-Dieudonné Kolingba was President after he led a coup in 1979 and he reigned until 1993. Many members of Kolingba's ethnic group, the Yakoma, obtained lucrative posts in the public, private and parastatal sectors of the CAR's economy during his era. This gave rise to growing tension between southerners (including the riverine Yakoma) and northerners (including the savanna Gbaya) in the CAR which led to violent confrontations between these groups during the Patassé era (1993-2003). Ange-Félix Patassé was elected in 1993 and served until 2003. However, during his first term in office (1993-1999), three military mutinies in 1996-1997 led to increasing conflict between northerners (like Patassé) and southerners (like his predecessor President André Kolingba. He has often mistakenly been assumed to belong to the Kaba ethnic group (of the Baya) who are some of his greatest supporters and which predominates in the region around Paoua. Patassé's father was a member of the Suma subgroup of the Gbaya people and was raised in a small village to the northeast of Boguila, on the road to Markounda. Patassé's mother, Véronique Goumba, belonged to the Kare ethnic group of northwestern Ubangi-Shari. Francois Bozize came to power in 2003 after leading a rebellion. He is a Pentacostal Christians and was born in Gabon to a Gbaya family. Thus the current president isn’t even from the country but is a member of one of its tribes.
Tribes: Fang 82.9%, Bubi 9.6%,Fernandinos, Europeans and other 7.5%
Religion: Roman Catholic 80.1%, Muslim 4 %, African Christian 3.7%, Protestant 3.1%,
Macías Nguema's (dictator 1968-79) violations of human rights during his reign caused more than a third of Equatorial Guinea's population to flee to other countries. The country's instruments of repression (military, presidential bodyguard) were entirely controlled by Macías Nguema's relatives and clan members. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, born into the Esangui clan of the Fang tribe in Acoacán, has been president since 1979. he is a devout Catholic but this did not prevent him from declaring himself god. Severo Moto Nsá is the main oppsoition leader and he resides outside the country. Being of the same Mongomo clan as Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president who ruled from 1968 to 1979, and Obiang, Moto was allowed to participate in government activities during the 1970s and 1980s. The Esangui clan of Río Muni has run the country since its independence.
Tribes: Fang 28.6%, Punu 10.2%, Nzebi 8.9%,French 6.7%, Mpongwe 4.1%, other Africans and Europeans 154,000
Gabriel Léon M'ba, the first president from 1960 to 1967 was a member of the Fang tribe. Albert-Bernard Bongo (El Hajj Omar Bongo Ondimba) converted to Islam in 1973 although only 3% of the country is Muslim. He is currently Africa's longer serving leader, having been in charge since 1967. One of his sons, Alain Bongo, has been foreign minister and defense minister. His wife is the daughter of Congo's president Denis Sassou-Nguesso. Bongo is a member of the Bateke tribe, which, along with the Eshira and Bapounou, are the other dominant tribal groups in Gabon. He has been accused of favoring the Bateke, which is a minority in Gabon but has a large number of members in both the Congos.
Tribes: Kongo 51.5%, Teke 17.3%, M'Bochi 11.5%,M'Bete 4.9%, Punu 3%, Sango 2.7%, Maka 1.8%,Pygmy 1.5%,
Religion: Roman Catholic 49.3%, Protestant 17%,African Christian 12.6%, unaffiliated Christian 11.9%,animist/traditional beliefs 4.8%, Muslim 2%
The first two leaders of the Congo, Fulbert Youlou (1963-63) and Alphonse Massemba-Débat (1963-1968) were from the south while the third, Marien Ngouabi was from the north. Ngouabi was a Kouyou, born in the village of Ombele and he worked to bring northerners into the government. He was also a Marxist. Jacques Joachim Yhombi Opango who served as President from 1977 to 1979 was from the north. Pascal Lissouba was from the south-west (1992-1997). Denis Sassou-Nguesso (1979-1992, 1997-present), is a member of the Mbochi tribe from the north.
Tribes: Luba 18%, Kongo (all Bantu) 16.1%,Mongo 13.5%, and the Mangbetu-Azande(Hamitic) 6.1%, Rwanda 10.3%, Bangi and Ngale 5.8%,Rundi 3.8%, Teke 2.7%, Boa 2.3%, Chokwe 1.8%,Lugbara 1.6%, Banda, 1.4% other 16.6% (1983)
Patrice Lumumba, the first President in 1960, was a Tetela(a Bantu tribe of 750,000 members), born in the middle of the country, Kasai province. His main rival was Joseph Kasa-Vubu who was the from the extreme west of the Congo(Bas-Congo/Kongo Central). Moshe Tshombe, who fought against Lumumba in 1960 was president of the breakaway republic of Katanga from 1960 until 1963 when the province was retaken by government forces under Mubutu Sese Seko. Mobutu was born in Lisala, Belgian Congo, a member of the Ngbandi ethnic group from northwestern Congo. He ruled from 1965-1997 when he was overthrown by Laurent Kabila. He fought off an invasion by Katangan rebels in 1977 (Shaba I) and again the next year(Shaba II). During his reign he became famous as one of Africa’s greatest ‘kleptocrats’ who stole the country’s wealth and gave it over to himself and his family. Mobutu was overthrown in the First Congo War by Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a French educated socialist and friend of Che Guevara, who was supported by Uganda and the Tutsi governments of Rwanda and Burundi. Tutsis had long opposed Mobutu, due to his open support for Rwandan Hutu extremists responsible for the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Tutsi forces in eastern congo in Kivu province allied with the Ugandan president Museveni and the Rwandan president Paul Kagame to take over the country. Kabila was born to a member of the Luba tribe of Katanga. He was killed in a bombing in 2001 and his son Joseph assumed power. It was, in some way, the ultimate revenge for Mobutu’s suppression of the Katanga sucession in 1960 (Dag Hamarskjold, the first General Secretary of the U.N, died in a plane crash trying to force Katanga to be part of the Congo, the first time the U.N tried to colonize an African country. The U.N has not left the Congo to this day). Kabila's source of power has been the east of the country while his rival Jean-Pierre Bemba's power base is the West. Kabila is a speaker of Swahili. Currently Kabila is leading the Congo in a war against a number of rebel groups, one of whome is led by General Laurent Nkunda, a Tutsi from Kivu province, who has been fighting to rid the country of Hutus who participated in the Rwandan genocide and then continued the genocide in the Congo. He is a Benyamulenge, a Tutsi related clan. The presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 divided the country along ethnic and linguistic lines.
Tribes: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa(Pygmy) 1%
The tribal basis for Rwanda's politics are well known due to the Rwandan genocide which pitted Hutus against Tutsis and resulted in 800,000 Tutsi deaths and a million Hutus fleeing the country. Since 1960 every prime minister has been a Hutu. Although Hutu are now 80% percent of the country they used to be only 75% before the genocide. Every president of the country was a Hutu until 1994 when the death of Juvénal Habyarimana set off the genocide and resulted in Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, coming to power. He has ruled every since.
Tribes: Hutu (Bantu) 80.9%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15.6%,Lingala 1.6%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, other 0.9%
Burundi's politics have also been split between the rival Hutu and Tutsi tribes, one of whome is agricultural (Hutu), the other cattle owning (Tutsi), one tall (Tutsi), the other short (Hutu), one 'black'(Hutu) and the other 'fair' (Tutsi), one Bantu (Hutu) and the other Hamitic(Tutsi). Between 1996 and 1993 the country was governed by a Tutsi. For two months Melchior Ndadaye a Hutu ran the country and there was a civil war. Between 1994 and 1996 a Hutu, Cyprien Ntaryamira, ran the country. Between 1996 and 2002 Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi was in charge and from 2002 to present the president has been a Hutu. The Prime ministers have rotated between Hutu and Tutsi. A small genocide that resulted in the deaths of 100,000 Hutu took place in 1972 in response to a planned Hutu genocide of Tutsis. In 1993 the first Hutu president was killed by Tutsis. The U.N claimed a genocide took place in 1993 against the Tutsi minority by the Hutu government that was in power for a short period of time. In neighboring Rwanda a similar genocide was taking place on a larger scale. Perhaps if the colonial powers had been more prescient they would have given Burundi to one of the tribes and Rwanda to the other, but the fact that the two tribes were interwoven economically and demographically probably made such a solution impossible.
Tribes: Baganda 16.9%, Banyakole 9.5%, Basoga 8.4%, Bakiga 6.9%, Iteso 6.4%, Langi 6.1%, Acholi 4.7%, Bagisu 4.6%, Lugbara 4.2%, Bunyoro 2.7%
Sir Edward Mutebi Mutesa II was the king of Buganda (from whence the country derives its name) from 1939 until 1966 and the president of Uganda from 1963 to 1966. As king he was also leader of the Baganda people, the largest of the many ethnic groups in Uganda. Milton Obote overthrew the king and, as profiled in the book 'In a Free State' and assumed control of the country from 1966 until 1971, and was in charge again from 1980 to 1985. He was a member of the Lango (Langi) tribe, a non-Baganda tribe. Idi Amin came to power in a coup in 1971 and was a dictator until 1979. He was born to a formerly Catholic family in the Kakwa tribe (his father covnerted to Islam in 1910). During Idi Amin's rule, members of the Kakwa tribe held many important government posts. He slaughtered another 100,000 or more people and expelled the Indian and Asian minorities who lived in the country. His bodyguards were also from the Kakwa tribe. After Amin was deposed in 1979 (by Julius Nyerere of Tanzania), many Kakwa people were killed in revenge killings, causing many to leave the area. Amin’s tribe also lives in the Sudan. Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986 and has been in power ever since. He was born in western Uganda and is a Nyankole (Ankole, Nkore). The Ankole is actually a tribe of two peoples related to one of the four kingdoms of old Uganda. The pastoralist Hima (also known as Bahima) established dominion over the agricultural Iru (also known as Bairu) some time before the nineteenth century and they became the Ankole.
Tribes: Kikuyu 17.7%, Luhya 12.4%, Luo 10.6%, Kalenjin 9.8%, Kamba 9.8%, Kisii 6%, other
Jomo Kenyatta was president of Kenya from 1964 to 1978. He was a Kikuyu. Daniel Arap Moi came to power in 1978 and ruled until 2002. In 1955 Moi entered politics when he was elected Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley. In 1960 he founded the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) with Ronald Ngala to challenge the Kenya African National Union (KANU) led by Jomo Kenyatta. KADU's aim was to defend the interests of the small minority tribes, such as the Kalenjin to which Moi belonged, against the dominance of the big Luo and Gĩkũyũ(Kikuyu) tribes that comprised the majority of KANU's membership (Kenyatta himself being a Kikuyu). The current president, Mwai Kibaki, who assumed powers from Moi in 2002 is a Catholic Kikuye and his election has caused rioting by Luo. Members of the incumbent (and controversially re-installed) President Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe have been pitted against other smaller tribes. The rioting has resulted in the looting of shops that belong to Kikuyus and Kisiis. At a campus in the rift valley one professor recalled that “then they broke into the rented off-campus houses of some students and then a crowd of about 1,000 people surged to the university gate and shouted that they wanted to storm the university. They demanded that all Kikuyus, Kambas, Meru, and Kisii people leave the university within two hours. That was the only way to save the university from being stormed.”
Tribes: Black African, Comorian, Arab (279,935), Indian (18,334), European (507), 99% Muslim
Sheikh Muhammad Shamte Hamadi, became the first Prime Minister of Zanzibar in 1963. Sayyid `Abd Allah ibn Khalifa was the sultan from 1960 to 1963 and a descendent of Arab sultans who had governed the island since the 16th century. He was succeeded in 1963 by Sayyid Jamshid ibn `Abd Allah who was subsequently overthrown in 1964 by John Okello, Sheikh Abeid Amami Karume, leader of the Afro-Shirazi (which is so named because the Shirazis believe themselves to be descended from Persians who colonized the island more than a thousand years ago) party and Abdullah Kassim Hanga. Okello’s coup was based on black Africans who wished to assert the power of the Black African majority who were descended from former slaves brought to the island by Arab slavers. Between 8,000 and 20,000 wealthy Arabs were killed in the uprising known as the Zanzibar revolution (prior to it the Sultan had tried to have the country join the Arab League). Okello, who was born in the Lango district of Kenya had moved to the island of Pemba, another nearby former Arab slave station where he joined the Afro-Shirazi Party of sheik Abeid Karume. This party opposed the domineering position of the minority Arabs on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. He later moved from Zanzibar to Uganda later in life and was probably killed by Idi Amin. Abdulrahman Muhammed Babu of the (Arabic) Umma-(Massa) Party became Prime Minister in 1963. In 1964 Zanzibar was united with Tanganyika, creating Tanzania. Skeikh Mwinyi Aboud Jumbe ruled Zanzibar as a ‘president’ or governor from 1972 to 1984 and was a member of the Afro-Shirazi party (ASP) until it merged with the Julius Nyerere’s Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1977 to form the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). Amani Abied Karume is the current head of Zanzibar and a member of the CCM and he is an Afro-Shirazi. He speaks Swahili and English, rather than Arabic as the old ruling elite used to. On Pemba there is quite a large Arab community who immigrated from Oman and there were riots when the Afro-Shirazi leader Karume won in Zanzibar in 2000. The population is a mix of Arab and original Waswahili inhabitants of the island. Oman also controlled nearby Mafia island and it once had Arabs on it until in the mid 1820s, when the town of Kua was attacked by 80 canoes filled with Sakalava cannibals from Madagascar, who ate many of the locals and took the rest into slavery (a suprisingly effective way of ending the presence of Arab-Muslim slavery).
Tribes: mainland- native African 99%(of which Nyamwezi 3.6%, Sukuma 9.5%, Hehet and Bena 4.5%, Haya 4.2%, Makonde 3.3%,Gogo 4.4%, Nyakyusa 5.4%, Chagga 3%, Ha 2.9%), other (Asian, European, and Arab) 64.6% (2000)Zanzibar- Arab, native African, mixed Arab and native African
Religion: mainland- Christian 46.9%, Muslim 31.8%, traditional beliefs 21.3% (2000) Zanzibar - 99% Muslim, 1% other
There are 130 ethnic groups in Tanzania. Julius Nyerere, an influential African socialist, was the first president of the country and served from 1962 to 1985. He spoke Swahili, a mix of the Bantu native language and Arabic. He was a descendent of the chief of the Zanaki tribe which today numbers 62,000 people. E Ali Hassan Mwinyi became president of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985-1995. He was born on the 8th May, 1925 at Kivure Village in Mkuranga District, Coast Region, on the Tanzania Mainland. He joined the Shirazi party and was a Muslim. Benjamin William Mkapa, born 1938, in Masasi is a Christian and served as president from 1995 to 2005. Jakaya Kikwete, the current president since 2005 who comes from Bagamoyo on the coast is a Kwere who are a tribe of only 98,000 members. He is a Muslim. According to those who are knowledgable on Tanzanian politics the presence of so many ethnic groups has caused less conflict in Tanzania.
Tribes: Malagasay 95.9% ([Malayo-Indonesian] Merina 26.6%, and related Betsileo 11.3%, Cotiers [mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry] - Betsimisaraka 13.4%,Tsimihety 7%, Antaisaka, Sakalava 5.9%, Makua 1.1%), French 0.6%, Comorian 0.5%, Reunionese 0.4%, other 1.5%
Religion: Christian 49.5% (of which Protestant 22.7%,Roman Catholic 20.3%), traditional beliefs 48%, Muslim 1.9%,
Philbert Tsiranana, first President of Madagascar from 1958-1972 was a Sakalava, a tribe which numbers 700,000 and live in the west of the island. He was suceeded by Gabriel Ramanantsoa (1972-75) who was a member of the Merina ethnic group, and came from a wealthy family. Didier Ratsiraka was president from 1975 to 1993. He exploited ethnic tensions between lowlanders or coastal dwellers and highland Merina people. Ratsiraka was a lowlander, a côtier belonging to the Betsimisaraka ethnic group, a former Admiral and a socialist. Marc Ravalomanana (2002-present) is a Malagasay from the Merina tribe. The Merina and Betsileo are referred to as a Malayo-Indonesian and occupy the highlands and since the 1970s there has been tension between them and the lowlanders.
Tribes: Ovimbundu 25.2%, Kimbundu 23.1%, Bakongo 12.6%,Lwenea (Luvale) 8.2%, Chokwe 5%, Kwanyam 4.1%, Nyaneka 3.9%,Luchazi 2.3%, Ambo (Ovambo) 2%, Mbwela 1.7%, Nyemba 1.7%, European 1%,
Religion: Christian 94.1% (Roman Catholic 62.1%, Protestant 15%), indigenous beliefs 5%
The first president of independent Angola was António Agostinho Neto, a Methodist and Kimbundo, who founded the political party Movimento Popular da Libertação de Angola (MPLA). His accession to power led to civil war between his communist backed government and the Frente Nacional de Libertação para de Angola (FNLA) which was run by Holden Roberto and was primarily made up of northern tribes such as the Bakongo. Roberto received close support from allies in the Congo due to the fact that the Bakongo tribe is in both countries. Roberto married Mobuto Sese Seko’s sister in law. Beginning in 1961 he began to fight the Angolan government and only returned legally in 1991 to contest Angolan elections in which he received 2.1% of the vote. Jonas Savimbi founded União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) in 1964 and was an anti-Marxist and leader of the Ovimbundu people who made up much of the peasantry of central Angola. They are a Bantu people. Jose Eduardo Dos Santos who succeeded Neto in 1979 eventually ended the Civil war and reoriented his country towards the west. But as a Kimbundu, like the first Angolan President Neto, and having been born in Luanda, the capital, he perpetuates the tribalism of the country.
Tribes: Bemba 39.7%, Maravi (Nyanja) 20.1%, Tonga 14.8%, northwestern peoples 8.8%, Barotze 7.5%, Tumbuka 3.7%, Mambwe 3.4%, European 1.1%, other 0.9%
The African national congress in Zambia was founded before independence in 1951 and was run by Harry Nkumbula, a Tonga by tribe. Kenneth David Kaunda ruled Zambia from 1964 to 1991 and was a Bemba and although he was from Malawi he was deeply involved in Bemba ethnic agitation in the copperbelt, Luapula and the northern provinces of the country. Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba who ruled from 1991 to 2002 was also a Bemba. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is a leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) which ousted Kaunda’s UNIP. The MMD is increasingly divided along ethnic lines (Bemba vs. non-Bemba) while power struggles inside UNIP have become more intense as political contenders seek to fill the power vacuum left by the departure of Kuanda. Mr. Mwanawasa has insulted the biggest voter population of the Bemba people in the North and the Luapula Provinces of the country. According to one commentator “he has described them as dirty and stinking people. He has told the workers that he can do without them.” Tribalism in Zambia is politically motivated—a political contest among the Tonga, Lozi and Bemba for ethnic domination. Today the Tonga and Lozi vote for the UPND while the Bemba vote for the MMD.
Tribes: Chewa 34.7%, Maravi 12.2%, Ngoni 9%, Tumbuka 7.9%, Yao 7.9%, Lomwe 7.7%, Ngonde 3.5%, Nyanja, Sena, Tonga, Asian, European and other 17.1% (2000)
Hastings Banda was born to poor parents of the Chewa tribe in the Kasungu District of Nyasaland, a British protectorate. He was reputed to have suppressed the northern tribes of Malawi during his rule from 1966 to 1994. The Banda regime pursued a policy of systematic ethnic discrimination, especially against Malawians of northern origin and, to some extent, against those from selected immigrant ethno-linguistic groups in the southern region. Between the 1970s and early 1990s, the civil service, the university, and important government departments and state-aided parastatal organizations were purged of northerners. In 1989 a quota system was introduced in university selection to restrict the numbers of northerners attaining higher educational qualifications. Thus the Northern and southern tribes supported the AFORD and UDF in the 1994 elections. Elson Bakili Muluzi, a Yao from the south, candidate for the UDF, got 75 per cent of the votes from the most populous southern region, as against 23 per cent in the centre and 7 per cent in the north. Bingu wa Mutharika formed the United Party in 1997 which he led to power in 2004. He is a Catholic and a member of a southern tribe.
Tribes: 99.66% African(Makuana 15.3%,Sena 8%, Makua 14.5%, Tswa 5.7%, Tsonga 8.6%, Lomwe 7.1%,Chwabo 8.6% and others 31.8%), Europeans 0.06%,Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%
Religion: Traditional beliefs 50.4%, Christian 38.4%(of which Roman Catholic 15.8%, Protestant 8.9%,other Christian 13.7%), Muslim 10.5%
Samora Moisés Machel was president from independence in 1975 to 1986 and all politicians since independence have been from the FRELIMO party. Samora Machel was born in the village of Madragoa (today's Chilembene), Gaza Province, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), to a family of farmers. He was a member of the Shangana(Tsonga) ethnic group who live in southern Mozambique and eastern South Africa. He is Christian. Joaquim Alberto Chissano led the country from 1986 to 2005 and was also born in Gaza province. Armando Emílio Guebuza led the country from 2005 to present and was famous for expelling many of the Portuguese residents within 24 hours in 1975. The RENAMO resistance to the socialist government of Frelimo was based in the center of the country.
Tribes: Ovambo 34.4%, mixed black/white 14.5%Kavangos 9.1%, Herero 5.5%, white 6%, Damara 7%,Nama 4.4%, Caprivian 4%, San [Bushmen] and Bergdama 7%, Kwambi 3.7%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%,other 1.5% (2000)
Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma (born May 12, 1929) was the first President of Namibia. He was inaugurated in 1990 and was subsequently re-elected in 1994 and 1999, serving until 2005. He was an Ovambo, a Bantu people who have a million members in the country. He was a member of the SWAPO political party. Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba served from 2005 until present and is also an Ovambo. He is an Anglican.
Tribes: Tswana (or Setswana) 66.8%, Kalanga 14.8%, Ndebele 1.7%, Herero 1.4%, San (Bushman) 1.3%, white/Afrikaner 1.3% (2000)
Religion: Christian 64.13% (of which African Christian 30.7%other Protestant 10.9%, Roman Catholic 3.7%), traditional beliefs 34.4%, Muslim 0.28%
Sir Seretse Khama, born in Serowe, in what was then the Bechuanaland Protectorate, was the grandson of Khama III, king of the Bamangwato (Ngwato) people, a sub-group of the Tswana. In 1948 he married a white Englishwoman named Ruth Williams and caused offence among both his tribe and to the Afrikaner government of South Africa. He was suceeded by Quett Ketumile Joni Masire who ran the country from 1980 to 1998 when Festus Gontebanye Mogae, who is another Bamangwato, was elected. The Vice-president and heir apparent of the country is General Seretse Khama Ian Khama (Ian a Seretse) who is the paramount chief of the Bamangwato. As a country that is dominated by one tribe it is no surprise that this tribe’s elders have provided much of the leadership for the country since independence.
Tribes: Sotho 80.3%, Zulu 14.4%, white, Asian, and other 5.3% (2000)
Lesotho is a kingdom run by the king of the Sotho people. Moshoeshoe II ran the country from 1960 to 1990. Although the Prime minister, Chief Joseph Leabua Jonathan, was overthrown by the Lesotho military under Justin Metsing Lekhanya, all the leaders have been Sotho. The current king, Letsie III has served since 1996.
Tribes: Swazi 82.3%, Zulu 9.6%, Tsonga 2.3%,Afrikaner 1.4%, mixed 1%, European and other 3.4% (2000)
Swaziland is another imperial state run by the Swazi tribe. Mswati III is the current king and has been since 1986. Interestingly these two tribal states, Lesotho and Swaziland, were created by the British in the second half of the 19th century, partly to show them protection against the Zulu and to enforce British power against the Afrikaners who were emigrating into the area. The creation of these tribe-states led to some of the only country’s in Africa that are tribally based and whose borders resemble those of the tribe.
Sao Tome and Principe
Mestico 79.5%, Fang 10%, angolares(descendants of Angolan slaves) 7.6%, European (primarilyPortuguese) 1.9%,
It was run by Manuel Pinto da Costa from independence in 1975 to 1991. Miguel dos Anjos da Cunha Lisboa Trovoada served from 1991 to 2001. Both leaders were dark skinned. Fradique de Menezes, a lighter skinned politician ran the country from 2001 to present and is the son of a Portuguese man and a local woman.
Comorian (a mixture of Bantu, Arab, Malay,and Malagasy peoples) 97.1%, Makoa 1.6%, French 0.4%, Arab 0.1%, other (Antalote, Cafre, Oimatsaha, Sakalava)0.8% (2000) 99% Muslim.
The Comoros have had a long relationship with Bob Denard, a French mercenary who overthrew four of their governments, converted to Islam and married 8 times. Neighboring islands Anjouan and Moheli have declared independence and fought against the government and France has intervened in the country’s affairs many times. In 2006, Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, an imam who studied in Iran became president.
Seychellois Creole (mixed African, Asian,European) 93.2%, British 3%, French 1.8%, Chinese 0.5%,Indian 0.3%, Arab and other 1.2%
Roman Catholic 82.3%, Anglican 6.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.1%, other Christian 3.4%, Hindu 2.1%,
France-Albert René ran the country from 1977 to 2004. He is very fair skinned. ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, a mercenary, invaded the island in 1981 at the behest Ian Smith of Rhodesia. Wavel Ramkalawan, a priest, is the main opposition leader.
Tribes: Zulu 23.8%, Xhosa 17.6%, Pedi 9.4%, Tswana 8.2%, Sotho 7.9%, Tsonga 4.4%,Swazi 2.7%, other black 4.4%, Afrikaner 6.6%, white-British 3% colored 8.9%,Asian 2.5%, Jewish and other 0.6% (2001)
Beginning in 1910 with the election of Louis Botha to the Prime Ministership, the government of South Africa was dominated by the Afrikaner tribe. Its most influential leaders were Jon Christian Smuts (1910-1919, 1939-1948), Daniel Malan (1948-1954), Hendrik Verwoerd (1958-1966) and F.W. De Klerk (1989-1994) among others. In 1994 Nelson Mandela of the Xhosa tribe, and President of the ANC was elected and followed by Thabo Mbeki who has served since 1999. The Opposition has been led by members of the Jewish people, Tony Leon and Helen Zille. The current President of the ANC is a Zulu, Jacob Zuma. Many leaders of former Bantustans or Homelands have had a role in South African politics since their abolition in 1994. Mangosuthu Buthelezi was chief minister of his kwa-Zulu himeland from 1976 until 1994. In post-Apartheid South Africa he has served as President of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Bantubonke Holomisa, who was a general in the homeland of Transkei from 1987, has served as the president of the United Democratic Movement since 1997. General Constand Viljoen an Afrikaner who served as chief of the South African Defence Forces sent 1500 of his militiamen to protect Lucas Mangope and to contest the termination of Bophuthatswana as a homeland in 1994. He founded the Freedom Front in 1994. Lucas Mangope, former chief of the Motsweda Ba hurutshe-Boo-Manyane tribe of the Tswana and head of Bophuthatswana is President of the United Christian Democratic Party.
Tribes: Shona 67.1%, Ndebele 13%, Chewa 4.9%, British 3.5%, mixed and Asian 1%, other 10.5%
Ian Douglas Smith a member of the English tribe was Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979. Canaan Sodindo Banana was the first president of the renamed Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987. He was a methodist minister and his mother was a Ndebele, while his father was from Malawi. Robert Mugabe became President in 1987, having served as Prime Minister since 1980. He was raised a Roman Catholic and was a member of the Shona tribe. Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, a Nedeble, founded the ZAPU in 1961 and was a minister in the government from 1980-1982, it was aligned with the Soviets. In 1982, under the pretense that Nkomo was plotting a coup against Mugabe’s ZANU, Mugabe unleashed his North Korean-Chinese trained fifth brigade against the Nedeble living in Matebeland and killed between 10,000 and 30,000 of Nkomo’s tribe. Mugabe is still president and has caused the mass migration of Nedeble across the border into South Africa and has thrown out most of the English. Over three million people, a quarter of the country, have left. Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the opposition MDC is a Shona.
Egypt and North Africa:
Egypt: Egyptian Arab 84.1%, Sudanese Arab 5.5%, Arabized Berber 2%, Bedouin 2%, Roma (Gypsy) 1.6%, Greek, Armenian, other European, Nubian and others 4.8% (2000) Muslim (nearly all Sunni) 84.4%, Christian 15.1% (of which Orthodox 13.6%, Protestant 0.8%,Roman Catholic 0.3%), nonreligious 0.5% (2000)
Algeria: Algerian Arab 59.1%, Berber 23.2%,Arabized Berber 3%, Bedouin Arab 14.5%, European less than 0.2% (2000)
Libya: Arab 87.1% (Libyan Arab 57.2%,Bedouin 13.8%, Egyptian 7.7%, Sudanese 3.5%,Tunisian 2.9%), Berber 6.8% (2000)
Tunisia: Tunisian Arab 67.2%, Bedouin Arab 26.6%,Algerian Arab 2.4%, Berber 1.4%, European andother 2.4% (2000)
Morocco: Berber 45% (of which Arabized 24%),Arab 44%, Moors 10%, other 1% (2000)
Egypt is 85% Arab with a 15% Copt minority. Since independence one half Nubian, Anwar Sadat, has been president, the rest have been Arab Muslims. In Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco there is a split between Arabs and Berbers and Arabs have always run the government. In Libya the President, Qaddafi, is a Bedouin. The Kings of Morocco are descended from an ancient line. Algeria expelled 10,000,000 French Pied Noir in 1962 along with 250,000 Jews. Egypt expelled and nationalized all the Armenian, Maltese and Jewish owned businesses beginning in 1952 and this resulted in the forced flight of 500,000 people. In the Western Sahara the Moroccan government’s 1975 invasion and subsequent colonization has led to the creation of many Sahrawi refugees and led to an ongoing war with the Polisario liberation front. In 1974 there were 74,000 Sahrawis and today there are an estimated 267,000 who are of Berber heritage and speak Hassaniya. Like the referendum for South Sudanese independence this is another place where a promised referendum will split on ethnic lines with Morocco trying to insert as many Moroccan Arabs as possible to keep the W. Sahara as part of Morocco. Although tribe and clan is an important part of North African society, and the Berber-Arab-Copt differences are as great as any ethnic cleavage in Africa the history of these societies is quite different from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Comparing the political map of Africa. with the tribal map (Murdock 1959) :