Autochthony in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo & Africa essay

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In Fratani Marshall’s article, the Ivorian crisis represents an emergence of a political situation, which leads to the occurrence of power struggles between indigenous Ivoirians and others who are excluded from the autochthony. The indigenous people consider themselves as being eliminated by outsides from key decision making functions prompting an uprising among ‘people of the greater west.’ This fundamentally leads to the creation of a union among the people from the great west. This creates a tribal war against the Akan people through the occurrence of potential collision with the Doula/Mossi.

The autochthons are charged to the point that they can longer accommodate the presence of the others considered to be extroverts in this society. “The 24 December 1999, God, in giving the power to one of our sons, wanted to show us the way” (Fratani 10). This leads to the occurrence of numerous events of ethnically motivated violence between the autochthons and those labeled as outsiders. As a result, a continent once representing the pillar of piece finds itself in unavoidable violence marred according its geographical entity. These events occur amid calls for ethnic cleansing in the regions falling in the central and southwest territories, which essentially expresses the growing ethnic minority grievances and development of extremist ideas leading to 3 years of civil war led by ‘Front Populair Ivoirien’; hence causing a rebellion (Fratani 11).  Ideally the explosion of violence is appears to an effect of autochthony producing a triumphal effect on one tribe, who appear to be targeted by a majority

“Autochthony, Natural Resource Management and Conflicting Rights in West Africa” by Fokou Gilbert et al.

In this journal article, the violence depicted in some nations in West Africa depicts the enhanced level of a struggle of some autochthons that are fighting earnestly to safeguard the so called ancestral lands against occupation from communities to be from other areas.  In most cases, national citizenship is a combination of local and non locals, which can also be referred to as nationals and foreigners respectively (Fokou et at 62). However, in the West African setting, foreigners or non-locals are increasingly facing rising incidents of attacks amongst themselves. The new comers to place are essentially driven by the need to maintain their livelihoods regardless of the effects that may occur. However, the opportunistic tendency pursued by the outsiders fundamentally leads to their characterization as having nothing to lose in the event the resources become depleted (Fokou et al 62). Hence, in the West African context, the essence of the ethnic wars is motivated by the need to protect resources, which are seen as being beneficial to foreigners at the expense of the local communities.

The west African cases of conflicts are deeply rooted in political and socio-economic roots. The application of autochthony is used as a tool leading to national development in the presence of a reward scheme targeting different segments of the population for sustainable management of the scarce resource (Fokou et al 63). The author identifies that human relations are essentially characterized by different dichotomous categories representing varying ethnic dispositions by virtue of the inhabitants’ ancestral connections. In as much race, territory, lifestyle and history are important in identifying indigenous qualities of persons; these are overshadowed by political role and access to decision making centers (Fokou et al 64). As a result, this leads to the emergence of an occurrence of colonization of the local inhabitants who represent the minority against a majority of outsiders. Hence, by virtue of the autochthons’ primary settlement on an area they are thought to wield the sole right to regulate access and utilization to resources (Fokou et al 64). Religion has also contributed greatly to the polarization of individual identities; bring in element of a religious war. For instance, this can be seen in Ghana where there were potential religious fault lines (Fokou et al 65). In addition, the local authorities played a significant role in encouraging outsiders to explore cocoa production producing, which made the indigenous community become incensed by the need to protect their territories.

‘Sons of which Soil? The Language and Politics of Autochthony in Eastern D.R. Congo’ by Jackson Stephen

The present rebel wars seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s vast geographical zone formally represent the rise of distinctive autochthons fighting to control DRC’s resources. The groups exhibit political affiliations, which have effectively contributed to the creation of distinct military groups. These groups end committing some of the heinous animosities on members of communities considered to be from outside.

There appears to be a constant struggle to gain control of the government by the specific groups that are militarized and dangerously armed. As a result, the political units play a significant role in the emancipation some of the potentially criminal activities. The autochthons are expressly divided into distinct units through creation of regional logical geographical boundaries, which are considered to be representative of a community’s resources. This leads to the authors phrase ‘sons of the soil’ to establish the fundamental importance given to territorial control and political nature of violence. There is an impending problem in establishing the precise owners of the so called ‘soil’ leading to the occurrence of a distribution problem.


First, the creation of the autochthons in the African setting is mainly driven by the need to establish ancestral connections among individuals considering themselves to be natives of a particular geographical setting. This leads to the derivation of a feeling of belongingness among members of the so called native community. Due to the occurrence of common lineages, the individuals find common patterns among themselves leading to the creation of a boundary around it that is essentially aimed at preventing potential infiltration from the outsiders. Another perspective is that, the natives of an area initially trusted the entrance of outside amongst themselves. As time goes by the outsiders infiltrate the natives in such a manner that their cultural characteristics become the representative trait of the overall community. This has the effect of demeaning the fundamentals of belongingness previously upheld by the native community of the area; thus creating a potential source of conflict among themselves.

Secondly, religion represents a major factor leading to the emancipation of autochthonic struggles towards freedom. In this case, outsiders bring along new religious affiliations such as Christianity and Islam. The adoption of the new religious belief systems becomes a determinant factor on account of dominance and geographical spread. With time, one religion tends to practice demonstrate more influence compared to the counterpart especially when it comes to making key decisions affecting the community. Consider the fact that religion has the ability to change a community’s cultural framework through infusion of new values derived from the newly acquired religious entities. In essence, the creation of a mass of followers in a religion also has the ability to influence the psychological dispositions through creation of a group mentality. This implies that members of the religious groups have the potential of becoming charged along ethnic lines leading to the occurrence of significant events of self inflicted violence.  As a result, autochthons affiliated to a particular religious entity will tend to subvert those who appear to be having domineering tendencies as seen in the West African states case.

Finally, the most fundamental need leading to the involvement of autochthons in some of the most disastrous ethnically driven animosities, for instance, as seen in the case of Democratic Republic of Congo, is the drive for resources. The resources mostly entail land, minerals, food, water, fishing, and other important resources which communities derive their livelihoods. The existence of varying levels of socio-economic status different communities potentially leads to the emergence of competition among them. The need for one community to sustain its members soon leads to the discovery of the impending unfairness in terms of resource allocation, access and utilization. For instance, a minority community whose members represent the native members of the population may find it hard to access the most beneficial community resource, land, which may spark feelings of exclusion and a need to protect overexploitation of the resources. As a result, should they be unable to address the arising issues in an amicable manner due to lack of representative authorities capable of fronting their needs, this may lead to the occurrence of violence. For instance, the formation of rebel gangs in Democratic Republic of Congo gives whose role is to control access and utilization of the mineral resources, provides a good example of the problem brought about by resources. 

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