Department of Public Administration
Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma
Centre for Strategic and Development Studies
Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma,
Edo State, Nigeria.
The International world has been described as a failure. This is because the world has been experiencing unprecedented levels of crises arising from bad governance. The implication of bad governance is general discontent which results in terrorism. It is the aim of this work to emphasize that, governance is not about the maintenance of sophisticated paraphernalia of coercive security apparatus but the issue of broad public participation in public affairs. The paper also looked at the problem arising from the definition of terrorism, as African and International political leaders see critics of their self serving policies as terrorists of the slate. The paper also examined how vulnerable Africans are to terrorists by using historical^ methodology in the analysis of some terrorists attack in Africa. In the same vein, the work relied on secondary sources in the presentation of African states as victims of International terrorism. In addition, the work suggests that African states should no longer be undermined particularly with the event of military technology and the miniaturization of weapons of war and \ other instruments of violence, since modern terrorism is no longer a function- of big economics. Lastly, the paper concludes that the only way to eliminate terrorism or reduce it to the barest minimum by various governments to address national and international injustices and respect to humanity
Governance is a controversial concept, especially to the governing elites in Africa. Governance may be defined as the running of the affairs of government in positive and progressive manners beneficial to the governed, and which delivers the public goods. It is a relative term to which there is no consensus to the governance. It is the use of state’s resources for their personal consumption. But most will agree that is characterized by democratization, maintenance of law and order, accountability and transparency, responsiveness on the part of government, due process, the rule of law, competence, separation and devolution of powers, a free press and a free virile civil society arena, competition for power and the existence of a credible opposition, the respect for minority rights among other human rights, etc (Shedrack, 2006:102-103). It is imperative to note that good governance cannot emerge in the absence of peace and security, accountable public institutions, a system of justice that provides for the peaceful settlement of disputes, rule of law that protects and serves all; and popular participation aimed at the airing and redress of grievances. Good governance requires a fair distribution of the national resources, access to education and basic health, access to employment and freedom of speech and movement. All these are enshrined in the constitution. In addition, Media must be developed because without a pro-active media, it will be difficult for democracy to flourish.
It is on this idea, (Imobighe, 2003: 7-8) puts it, that the minorities have always been motivated by the fear of exclusion and deprivation, denied equality and legitimate rights, to resort to violence. Because the nation’s public affairs are not conducted to promote the general good, but rather to satisfy elitist taste, there is a very high level of alienation in the system. Apparently due to this alienation, it has been difficult to generate a sense of patriotism. In a broad term governance entails the issues of broad public participation in public affairs, resource allocation, resource management and respect to human rights. It is to be observed that most countries divorce good governance from the wider conduct of public affairs to the maintenance of sophisticated paraphernalia of coercive security apparatus and nothing more. In other words, governance means coercion. But governance built on coercion alone is not just deceptive but also counter-productive. Unless such coercive effort is associated with a deliberate effort to satisfy basic human needs, it cannot but generate its own resistance mechanisms that will further complicate the nation’s governing efforts. As (McNamara, 1998:27) remarked, any society that seeks to achieve adequate coercion (military security) against the background of acute food shortages… low level of productivity and per capital income, a higher rate of illiteracy a fragile infrastructural base for technological development, inadequate and inefficient public utilities and a chronic problem of unemployment, has a false sense of governance. It is poverty not inadequate coercive military hardware that is responsible for insecurity. The implication of bad governance is general discontent which could easily lead to internal strife which eventually gives rise to what the governance regard as terrorism. In many African countries, terrorism is state and government-generated, as a result of the insensitivity and in competence of the regimes on the continent. Also there are many dictatorial democracies in Africa and the international system. Such regimes do not promote and practice good governance. According to Imobighe, [1998:10). Good governance must be predicated on the needs of the generality of the people, which are the ordinary men and women in the society. When the focus of a good governance’s efforts is on the ordinary men and women in the society, then such efforts become all-inclusive and truly national, because it will take care of everybody both the government and the governed, both the strong and the weak, as well as the rich and the poor.
It is unfortunate that governance in Africa is influenced by conventional security efforts. The wrong assumption is that once the territorial integrity of the state is protected and the regime in power is taken care of, the governance spin-off will trickle down to the ordinary citizen. In fact, the outcome has been the opposite. To them they see the resources of the state as their own; theirs to satisfy their consumption habits and those of their close associates, while the security apparatus of the state are put in place to perpetuate them in office. Given the above character of the political leadership in most African states, the targets of their security deployment become critics of their self-serving policies, and these critics of government policies are branded as enemies and terrorists of the state. And this is why it is difficult to have a clear cut definition of what terrorism means. Bad governance and terrorism are two sides of the same coin. One is a reaction to the presence of the other. In other worlds, it could be said that terrorism derives its tentacles from bad governance, The question now is what constitutes terrorism? Is it those fighting against dictatorial policies, perpetration of regime security, misallocation of state resources with reckless abandon, misrule, corruption, nepotism, suppression of opposition? Or the governance who see the state as their own and who are1 not prepared to use available state’s resources to provide human security or peaceful negotiations to redress perceived grievances but relied solely on the sophisticated security apparatus of the state to bring their critics and opponents to submission. .
PROBLEM OF DEFINITION OF TERRORISM
There is no universal definition of terrorism. For instance, where human misery has attained unbearable levels in many countries due to corruption and bad government, it would be so easy to label as terrorists those who fight against tyrannical and oppressive rule. Also, when a violent act is committed against a particular country, the country not affected may refer to the perpetrators as freedom fighters whereas if it were done to itself it would be label those involved as terrorists. For instance, the Afghan Mujahedeens whom Ronald Reagan referred to in 1986 as freedom fighters are today seen by another American President, George Bush as terrorists, simply because of the change of the target of their struggle from soviet to American interest. Even the present “arch terrorist”, Osama bin Laden and his Taliban fighters (the Mujahedeen) received a lot of support and sustenance from the U.S. during their struggle to free Afghanistan from Soviet occupation. It is on record that the same Osama bin Laden was trained by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (Imobighe 2006:13). Due to the lack of comprehensive acceptable definition, the Black law Dictionary defines Terrorism as the use of violence or threat of it, to intimidate or cause panic especially as a means of affecting political conduct (Black’s Law Dictionary, 1999:1484) it will be adduced that the controversies in the definition of terrorism is attributed to the reason used to explain it. Thus the inability to pin down on a definition of terrorism has been aptly captured thus by Walter Laqueur: [1987: 11-12) as “The use of threat of serious violence’ to advance some kind of cause…
From the general observation is it pertinent to define terrorism as the tactical employment of violence and intimidation to coerce a government or community into acceding to specific political demands. From the foregoing, it is imperative to give specific examples to have a clear and general meaning of the definition of terrorism, these include: Kidnapping, bomb attack, hijacking, arson, public execution, armed attack, hostage-barricade and other heinous or serious threats to lives and property.
From the various definitions above, it could be said that terrorism is either organized by the “opposition” to discredit or overthrow a regime, or mobilized by state officials as a tool of political oppression. It could equally be seen as an act of giving a “minority” group a voice in a society Stohl, (1988:5) notes that “violence of the terrorist act is not intended simply to destroy but also to be heard. For a regime, the terror is a message of strength, a warning designed to intimidate, to ensure compliance without the need to physically touch of each citizen”. Similarly a regime could use the reaction of terrorist as an excuse for arbitrary arrest; military build-ups etc. Because of the controversies as to what terrorism is, we shall look at some specific cases and see what they are branded to be. In 1948, Court Folke Bernadette,a UN mediator for Palestine was murdered by an Israeli underground group, a member of which later became Prime Minister. As far as the UN was concerned, Bernadette was killed by “a criminal group of terrorists” (UN, 1948). In 1960, a German, Adolf Eichmann, was kidnapped in Argentina by some Israeli secret agents. Israel immediately admitted she had formally violated the sovereign rights of Argentina, but argued that what was done had to be done as a way of bringing to justice a terrorist who participated in the genocide against six million Jews. The resolution of the Security Council on this particular case was blank, Members could not answer the question of whether or not terrorism should be used in arresting terrorists. In 1969, Guinea Bissau alleged that the Portuguese forces based on her soil committed some acts of aggression against her. To resolve the case, the Security Council called on Portugal to release the crew of a detained Guinean plane and the passengers of a captured Guinean barge. Portugal insisted on carrying out the order of the Security Council on the condition that Guinea release 24 of her soldiers who were serving terms in Guinea. This means Portugal wanted her soldiers to be treated as “hostage” ie victims of international terrorism. (UN, 1969). During the Gulf War, Iraq used some hostages as “human Shield”. This was condemned by the UN as a terrorist act. The “Ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia was condemned by the security council in 1992 as “act of Terrorism”. To buttress further more examples abound. United States was accused of pursuing a policy of terrorism by (Libya) when she violated Libyan territorial waters and airspace in 1983. The US interference with the shipping off the coast of Nicaragua in 1984 was interpreted by the Soviet Union as constituting “state terrorism” (Bailey, 1994:92) All these confuse one as what really constitute terrorism. For the purpose of this chapter, we defined terrorism as an act used to induce regimes to act in unintended direction for example, hostage taking, hijacking, and murder of diplomats, military personnel sabotage, nuclear blackmail etc.
VULNERABILITY OF AFRICANS TO TERRORISM
The first terrorism in Africa occurred in September 1970. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PELP) hijacked four passenger planes. In the process one of the planes was forced to land in Cairo, the passengers were held hostage and the plan was blown up. In the same vein, the other three aircraft were forced to land in Jordan. With the I, timely and swift response of the UN the passengers and crew were released in batches over a period of three weeks, again the aircraft was blown up. These act paid up for the terrorists as their seven PFLP prisoners serving jail terms in Britain, Germany and Switzerland were released. (Bailey, 1994:94).In 1976, the second incidence occurred at Entebbe, Uganda. Air France plane with some 250 passengers and a crew of 12 were hijacked by the PFLP. The aircraft was forced to land first in Benghazi, Libya when one of the passengers, an Israel, nurse, feigned illness. She disembarked and the plane was routed to Entebbe where some Arabs supporters joined the hijackers. Again, they asked for the releases of their members imprisoned in Israel. France, Germany, Switzerland and Kenya. Israel under the leadership of Netanyahu Jonathan made a rescue mission and over 100 hostage and the crew of the French airliner were rescued. Unfortunately the leader Jonathan Netanyahu was killed in the process. Also, six of the hijackers, 20 Ugandan, Soldiers and three hostages were equally killed. South Africa was accused of being part of terrorist, as some mercenaries hijacked an air India aircraft with which they escaped to South Africa, following the failed invasion of Seychelles in 1981 to depose President Albert Rene.
Another incidence involved an Egyptian aircraft flying from Athens to Cairo, which was hijacked by four Arab in 1985. The hijackers were fought by the Egyptian security operatives. This response forced the aircraft to land at Luga airport in Malla. [Bailey, p. 106) notes. “The hijackers released 13 female passengers and crew, and then asked that they would shoot one hostage every hour. The Egyptian commando unit stormed the plane, which caught fire. Fifty-seven of the passengers and hijackers died during the rescue attempt”. The next took place on 4 February 1986. A Libyan passenger aircraft flying from Tripoli to Damascus was intercepted by an Israeli fighter plane and forced to land at a military base in Israel.
From the cases historically reviewed above, it is clear that Africans were simply victims of terrorism. Although by the early 1980s, Libya was engaged in some activities interpreted by the Western world as constituting terrorism. The sour relationship started in 1 September 1969 when king Idris 1 was overthrown in a bloodless coup d’etat, led by Muammar al Ghaddfi, whose political ambition was to rid Libya of Western influence. In October 1970, 20,000 Italian were expelled and their property confiscated by Ghadafi and demanded for compensation from Italy. Ghadafi, equally supported terrorist groups operating in Italy and threatened to strike disproportionately Italian/NATO Military installations within the precincts of Libya. To make his threat credible, in September 1973, an Italian navy corvette was strafed by two Libyan jet fighters. In August 1980, an oil-drilling rig- “Sacpem 11 “operating off Libyan waters was forced to halt their operations by two Libyan warships (Pisano ,1987:133). The declaration of “Jamahiriya” by Ghadafi which in Arabic means an” era of the masses” or in other words, an era of democratic governance, the relationship between Libya and Western powers became that of cat and dog.With this, Libya was entered into the black book of US. The Department of State Office of the Ambassador-at-large for counter-terrorism.
(1988:325) expresses Ghadaji has made terrorism one of the primary instruments of his foreign policy generally through the support of radical groups that use terrorist’s tactics. Tripoli has operated numerous training sites for foreign dissident groups that provide instruction in the use of explosive devices, hijacking, assassination…
MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AND TERRORISM: AFRICAN POSITION
Terrorism has marked a foot print with the September 11, 2001 bombing of New York and Washington D.C by agents of Al-Qacdaterrorists movement. Since then the world has not been the same, because of the fear of possible attack on any nations of the -world. This is particularly exacerbated by the recent development in military technology leading to miniaturization of weapons of war and other instruments of violence. Most writers believed that Africa having weakest economy in the world and is engaged in many social economic, political and environmental crises cannot play a meaningful role in international terrorism. And again, that African state is too involved in basic survival issues to have the time and resources to sponsor terrorist activities. These ideas will lead us to illogical conclusion of the debate. One must realize that, the evolution of information technology, sophisticated banking system and miniaturization of weapons have given rise to an unprecedented proliferation and dispersal of small arms and light weapons. This miniaturized small arms and light weapons are so easy to carry about that they are easily smuggled across national borders undetected. Again the miniaturization of weapons and instruments of violence has also brought about the phenomenon of child soldier. More worrisome, is the ease with which the science and technology governing the making of explosives and other weapons of mass destruction have increasingly spread through the use of internet. The outcome is the use of explosives by terrorists with merciless abandon. For example, with the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack by Aumshinrikyo in 1995, the Oklahoma “fertilizer” bomb also in 1995, and the 2001 anthrax outbreak in the U.S (Imobighe, 2006:22-23). In furtherance of these assertions, the director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Stated. “Chemical weapons can be manufactured in almost anybody’s garage, as long as you have a little high school chemistry behind you”. (Awake, 5-8.2003:7-8)
Similarly, information technology has greatly improved global ability of small groups in a decentralized manner to have access to fundswhich present banking system guarantees. The electronic banking en that terrorist do not need to carry huge sums of money around which c attract attention of money laundering. (Imobighe, 2006:23). Fron corollary of the above, it is pertinent that small states like African Cour should not be underrated and can play a prominent role in Internal terrorism since it appears that terrorism is no longer a function o: economies.
Terrorism is generated by bad governance. Our leaders should present a comprehensive policy framework anchored on good governs conflict management and popular participation in the political system nations in Africa and the international communities as bedrock to political stability, national building and accelerated development to get rid of terrorism.
Again there should be genuine support for African development the developed world. In the same vein, African states must work tow evolving a political system that would enable groups to become disenchanted. Similarly, African and international leaders should cover the root causes of terrorism and be committed to democracy, human rights economic development to address the problems of poverty and injustice
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