The The minority Tutsi population in Rwanda were

The Rwandan genocide was another example of how elites
manipulated the tribal differences of their people for their own benefits. The
minority Tutsi population in Rwanda were hated because they were favored by the
colonial powers. The colonial masters had allowed the fairer Tutsis more
freedoms and had put them in positions of authority over the Hutus. This caused
hostility among the tribes. After decolonization, the Hutus managed to gain
power and with this power came anti-Tutsi sentiments which reached a boiling
point when the Tutsi-led militia, the Rwanda Patriotic Front invaded the
nation. The Hutu-led government, in an act of self-preservation started a scare
tactic campaign to deceive the Hutu majority of the Tutsi plan to reinstate a
monarchy and enslave all Hutus. The assassination of the Hutu president of
Rwanda led to an all-out murdering spree of Tutsis. The elite leaders of the
nation began to call for the killings of the Tutsi in an effort for the Hutus
to retain control of the state (Dallaire, 2005). The murders left an estimated
1 million people dead. The Rwandan elites’ insistence on holding on to power
for their own selfish gain led to them inciting animosity between the two main
ethnic groups in the nation.

The South African Apartheid system of governance is another
example of the divide and conquer mentality that elites in post-colonial Africa
used to further their self-gain. Adopted into law in 1948, the apartheid system
of governance embodied institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination
of people. The elites in South African at the time were a minority group of
white South Africans, who were of European descent who ran the nation and made
the laws. While they created the segregation laws, it was another black South
African, Manosuthu Buthelezi who used tribal conflicts to hold on to power.

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Where the African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela – a Xhosa – sought
to end apartheid in the nation, Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom party gained from
the very system that sought to segregate them. The elite whites saw his as a
moderate black, unlike Mandela and supported him financially and militarily
(Berkeley, 2001). Buthelezi used the fears of his Zulu followers to incite a
tribal war, claiming that unless there was unity under him, the Xhosa dominated
ANC would commit ethnic cleansing of the Zulus. This prompted an agitation in
which 20,000 Zulus were killed.

Elites in post-colonial Africa were mostly educated,
intelligent people who understood the tactic of using people against each
other. The need to stay in power was stronger than the need to maintain unity
and thus they used their own people. It can be argued that most of these elites
cared very little for their people – even those from their own tribes and
thought 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 as
most Africans blindly believed what their leaders say without stopping to think
for themselves.

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