What Underlying Factors Led Liberia and Ivory Coast into Civil Wars?

What Underlying Factors Led Liberia and Ivory Coast into Civil Wars?

Submitted By: Amie Mendscole

Professor: Dr. Stevenson

Submitted For: Senior seminar paper


The civil wars witnessed in Liberia and Ivory Coast had causative factors. Most of these factors are the usual and obvious factor that rock such countries. However, there was more to the wars than the common causes. For example, in Liberia, Charles Tailor who represented the population of the former slaves brought in towards the end of Slavery in America, was opposed to Doe, who represented the indigenous communities in the country. Liberia had been used to a rule by people who were slaves but Doe, an indigenous person rose to the top seat in the early 1980s. This did not go well with the likes of Charles Taylor and they started an armed rebellion to his rule.

In Ivory Coast, almost the same script happened. The technocrats were opposed to be ruled by people they considered outsiders. This pitted Alassane Ouattara against Laurent Gbagbo because they considered Ouatarra an outsider. Together with other immigrants, they were targeted and several people were killed as a result. Comment by Linda Stevenson: In a civil war, usually the numbers are more accurately described as “thousands” or “tens of thousands.”


Abstract……………………………………………..……………………………………….. 2

Executive Summary…………………………………….…………………………………….4

Chapter 1: Introduction………………………………………………………………………6

Chapter 2: Social Disputes……………………………………………………………………7

Chapter 3: Government and Rebellion Movement………………….…………………….12

Chapter 4: Religious Affairs…………………………………………………………………14

Chapter 5: Literature Review…………………………………………………………………16

Chapter 6: Research Design…….………….………….……………………………………..18

6.1. Research Questions………………………………………………………………..19

Chapter 7: Findings………….………………………………….……….……………………24

Chapter 8: Conclusions………………………………………………………………………33


Executive Summary

Civil wars have occurred in many countries in the world. While the starting of the wars is seemingly spontaneous, many civil wars are caused by various factors that come at play either deliberately or as a result of the war itself. The civil wars in Africa particularly are caused by many factors. These factors range from differences in political background, poor economies, intolerance among members of different communities among others. There is even blame on their former colonial masters and other Western countries. The result of these wars is a dilapidated country, infrastructure, loss of lives, increased number of refugees and internally displaced persons among others. What could be the cause of the wars in Africa? What is the way forward to stopping these wars? The paper particularly focuses on two countries, Liberia and Ivory Coast. What is the estimated cost of the wars in the two countries and the estimated number of people who died? The figures are shown below.

Liberia [First Civil War ] Comment by Linda Stevenson: What years? Comment by Linda Stevenson: Put in a comparative table. Hard to read this.

Number of people killed – 100,000 – 220,000

Number of people displaced – over 1,000,000

The monetary cost to the country is hard to estimate but it was huge and its economy was completely brought to its knees Comment by Linda Stevenson: Numbers?

Liberia [Second Civil War] Comment by Linda Stevenson: Years?

Number of people killed – more than 100,000

Number of displaced persons – More than a million

Many children used in the war as soldiers became traumatized

Ivory Coast [First Ivorian War] Comment by Linda Stevenson: When?

Number of people killed – about 2000

Number of displaced persons –more than 500,000

Economic impact felt after trade embargos were placed by foreign countries. Comment by Linda Stevenson: Which? Why?

Almost the same effect was felt in the Second Ivorian Crisis Comment by Linda Stevenson: When?

Chapter 1: Introduction

For the purpose of IPI’s project on Understanding Compliance with Security Council Resolutions in Civil Wars, a civil war consists of one or several simultaneous disputes over generally incompatible positions that concern government and/or territory in a state; are causally linked to the use of armed force, resulting in at least 500 battle-related deaths during a given year during the conflict; and involve two or more parties, of which the primary warring parties are the government of the state where armed force is used, and one or several non-state opposition organization(s).

There are many different reasons that countries enter civil war. These factors can arise from anything economic, social, ethnic, cultural disputes or a combination of several of these factors. No matter the number of the reasons, a civil war can be devastating, causing loss of many lives, properties and leaving a country utterly ravished. The aftermath can also present much difficulty to deal with considering the complete destruction of a country’s basic infrastructures, economy, educational systems and sometimes even government. Nevertheless, there is always a reason for an uprising or civil war and I will be looking at some of the motivations behind a country’s civil war.

This paper looks into the causes of civil wars in Africa in general and particularly the factors that plunged Liberia and Ivory Coast into civil wars. The civil wars were propagated by different factions that were opposing the government or were pro-government. The various factors in question here include the religious affairs in the countries, the social disputes as well as the government and rebellion movements (Kieh G. , 2008).

Chapter 2: Social Disputes

Social disputes can be the cause of many civil conflicts in countries all around the world. However, there are factors that give rise to the struggle between or among social classes; and these issues can be related to economic hardship or differences among social classes, religion, cultural social or ethnic differences and many other problems that can directly or indirectly cause social uprising. To explain extant and recent cases of religion-ethnic conflict in Africa, Kaplan seeks to account for them by reference to three main factors: “cultural dysfunction; loose family structures; and communalism and animism” (Kaplan, 1994). Haynes describes Africa’s recent civil wars, like those in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as anarchic and primitive. He claims that they were initially caused by fixed ethnic and cultural realities, limiting the involvement of the Western world (Haynes, 2007)

Despite Kaplan’s theory, Collier and Hoeffler offer another explanation for ‘‘the rising trend of African conflict’’ identified by SIPRI: ‘‘Africa has experienced a rising trend of conflict because its economies have performed so poorly both absolutely and relative to other regions.” (Collier & Hoeffler, 2004). The cause of civil war is not always automatically the result of deep problems within Africa’s social structure; or necessarily from obvious or serious religious and, or ethnic fragmentation. The cause of civil conflict can also be associated with the contingent effect of discouraging economic circumstances and development disappointments. There are two major points that are worth taking a look at with regards to discouraging economic circumstances. First, because of the obvious ethnic and religious divisions in many African nations, it is of no surprise that for most regional states, it has been proven difficult to build nation-states or build a nation in which the citizens share common beliefs, language and culture. Second, African states, are always seeking to build their countries’ struggling economies toward self-sustainability in order to alleviate endemic poverty, have terribly failed. Therefore, it can be argued, that many social disputes in African countries are for economic and developmental reasons, rather than because of Africans’ allegedly anarchic and primitive characteristics, that many African countries have experienced civil conflicts many believe is due to religious-ethnic concerns over the past four decades. According to Collier and Hoeffler, “civil wars in Africa do not necessarily result from the kinds of problems that Kaplan points to; rather, the often deep problems in Africa’s social structure that sometimes result in civil war, are a contingent effect of straightened economic circumstances” (Collier & Hoeffler, 2004, p.567). For instance; there are data showing that some African countries such as Cameroon, Tanzania and Malawi that have high levels of ethnic and/or religious division have not experienced postcolonial civil wars. However, the propensity regarding this seems related to how these states are able to deal with popular concerns, especially ones concerning massive, rapid, social and economic changes that exemplify modernization (Haynes, 2007).

Because of East Africa’s religious and ethnic diverse background, government methods in dealing with potential societal division between religious groups or factions are vague. It has been difficult for any East African state to retain democracy for a long period of time since the early 1960s. The early 1990s civil war broke out in Somalia and around the same time Liberia, another country from the western region of Africa was also experiencing a civil war due to ethnic issues. A few years after, ethnic riots broke out in Kenya October of 1995. It has been observed that economic and developmental failures, combined with a state inability to deal with these issues, have been especially related to the cause of civil war in Africa. In some African countries, ethnic and/or religious problems can lead to or have led to serious political and societal conflicts, even including civil war that can last for decades. Like in Liberia where ethnic scape-goating based on the rationalization that one group is being treated unfairly. The government of Liberia violated basic human rights, including the freedoms of speech, assembly and the press, eliminating all legal avenues for the people to speak and share their dissatisfaction or grievances. Thus, for the dissenting groups, the only option was to turn to armed violence (Abubakarr, 2011). Comment by Linda Stevenson: Need to describe this in more detail.

According to Jakobsen and Soysa, the reason a group of people rebel is different from the reason an individual will result to violence as it relates to the cause of civil war. “Group-grievance explanations contrasted with individualistic, rational choice explanations for predicting civil war.”(Jakobsen, 2009). This can serve as a motivation for civil conflict based on shared grievances against unfair treatment and economic or social injustice. On the other hand, a study by the World Bank suggested that men rebel for private gain rather than fairness which have been seriously criticized. Is civil war violence truly based on injustice, grievance or greed? Is it based for self-serving reasons, or more on justice-seeking motives of the masses as many explanations of ‘ethnic conflict’ suggest? “Models rebellion is an industry that generates profits from looting, so that ‘the insurgents are indistinguishable from bandits or pirates” (Collier & Hoeffler, 2004). These types of rebellion are entirely motivated by greed. Rebels join these movements in order to acquire wealth from looting or taking advantage of the spoils of war ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars in a country’s natural resources. (Haynes, 2007).Collier & Hoeffler debated article about ‘Greed and Grievance in Civil War’, factors related to opportunity and grievance as motivations for rebellion were tested and their findings explained that opportunity had more descriptive power than grievance. He explained that those who rebel do so because of the lack of democracy or simply because they hate another ethnic group or religion. They defined Grievance as “widely shared dissatisfaction among group members about their cultural, political and/or economic standing” (Collier & Hoeffler, 2004, p.572) Comment by Linda Stevenson: Good questions! Good way to respond to the various perspectives in the lit review.

There are two opposing schools that claim to explain collective violence, deprived actor and rational actor schools. These approaches to understanding violence related to civil war are very different. Deprived actor (DA) logic, state that grievance is cause by repression, which can lead to arm rebellion. Grievance is rationalized as an initiating factor of rebellion with promise of potential rewards which serves as motivation for rebels. This is called the (RA) Rational Actor.

Another Relative Deprivation explains the experience of an individual being denied something to which he/she feels entitled eliciting violence behavior in an effort to reclaim what is rightfully his/hers. Comment by Linda Stevenson [2]: Citations?

As noted by Haynes “It is impossible accurately to predict or account for ethnic or religious conflict by reference to simple fragmentation models”. Adding, it is very important that the government method of achieving balance of maintaining a fair level of social peace is more important than these cultural or religious divisions. The former British colonies of Uganda and Sudan with significant Christian and Muslim electoral districts are perfect candidates for a case study because each country in varying ways exemplifies the involvement of both religious-ethnic and economic issues that have brought about long lasting grievances seen in the countries by ethno-religious groups (Haynes, 2007).

On the other hand, “(Mamdani 1988, pp. 1170 – 1171) argues that what distinguished Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement from other rebel groups in Uganda during the 1980s was that its leadership did not come from the middle class but from within peasant society” (Haynes 2007). He indicated that the peasantry’s loss of faith in traditional leaders and the inability of the government to come to suitable political resolution or program for area of rising conflicts or offer significant economic development to poor communities such was the case with the Acholi people of northern Uganda and the Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government.

Chapter 3: Government and Rebellion Movement

The objective of rebellion is either to capture the state to implement change or to break away from it. To stage a rebellion one must first decide if it can be accomplished taking into consideration the consequences of a failed rebellion or even victory. We should also take in to account ability on the government to defend itself or fight back. Collier and Hoeffler write about Grossman’s assertion that “the military technology option of rebel factions are limited, whereas the government can mount up a wide range of military equipment if the budget is assessable and available. This can be an issue for rebel faction even if the funds can be obtained. For countries with substantial military power, a rebellion can be almost impossible or extremely difficult. In this condition for the rebels, the longer the war last, the more difficult it is to accomplish victory depending on the government military expenditure as well as the rebels. According to Grossman, in this kind of situation it would benefit the rebels to join forces with other rebel factions for the same cost but seeks different rewards or plan a rebellion that is precise and timely.

Natural resources such as diamonds and oil can be the turning point in fueling civil war. Countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia, have suffered civil unrest that were primarily funded by conflict diamonds. When you take a look into the second Liberian civil war that lasted from 1997 to 2003, you will find no given explanation or analytical framework to explain the reason the war was fought. There are speculations or claims that civil conflicts arise from a confluence of problems including, the distribution of resources, and admittance to power, and contrasting issues of what is right, wrong and unjust. There were also issues relating to human right violations, including many constitutional rights that were taken away from the Liberian people including freedom of speech and press. The result was a second rebellion.

Fearlon uses Suzuki’s model and argues that “a country with poor economy, a large population, and high revenue dependency on the exportation of oil is more likely to experience civil war more so, if it is a newly independent state or country, with political instability, ruled by a weak government, and has borders or territory suitable to rural guerrilla attacks.”

However, it remains the claim by Henderson and Singer as well as Hegre et al, that a lot of political scientists rely on the hypothesis that firm domestic governance can reduce civil conflict. They argue that it contains a legitimate approach for peaceful conflict resolution. Due to the possibility of peaceful negotiations or resolutions and very high cost of rebellion because of democratic constraints, very strong governments are less likely than other political regimes to engage into civil war.

Chapter 4: Religious Affairs

A large number amount of civil unrest in Africa is related to ethnic and religious splits or hatred. Many countries such as Sudan, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda Ivory Coast, Uganda and many more have experienced either ethnic or religious struggle, or both. In this section, we will examine religious affairs as it relates to violence conflicts especially in Africa.

Looking at a third of Uganda’s 23 million population are Roman Catholic, 1/3 Protestant and 16% Muslim, these religions have coexisted for centuries. After Uganda’s independence, a syncretistic politico-religious movement called the Holy Spirit Movement pop out of northern Uganda and stood against the government of Uganda in 1963. In the 1980s, a series of battles were fought between the Holy Spirit Movement politico-religious group and the National Resistance Army of Uganda. The fact that many Africans find religion as a means of altering or changing their striving situations, accepting these Africans revolutionaries hiding behind religions were the perfect excuse to do something to change their circumstances. In 1987 the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was founded following the defeat of the Holy Spirit Movement. (J. Haynes 2007) The LRA was founded with the sole purpose of governing the country in accordance with the Ten Commandments of the bible which had nothing to do with politics.

Sudan is a different story. The institutionalization of Islam has manifested itself and achieved the status of state ideology. The religious conflict in Sudan is primarily between the Muslims and Non-Muslims in a fight for economic resources with respect to religious-ethnicity and the decision of who gets what in the allocation of the region’s resources. Non-Arab partially Christian groups such as the Dinka, Nuer and Nuba have been the victims for a long period of time by the state at the mercy of the ruling Islamic military (Paul, 2010).

The civil wars in Liberia and Ivory Coast also took the same angle of religious affairs. Although as a country, Liberia is composed of mostly Christians and Muslims. President Charles Taylor support the Muslims for his own political reasons. Taylor was an ally of Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi and since the former trained in Libya before returning to Liberia, he still had ties with the Libyan Leader. Evidence is rife of the destruction of religious buildings during the wars. The government and rebel forces destroyed various mosques that belonged to Liberian Muslims which was considered to be an act of enemy ethnic group. In addition, several massacres took place near mosques and Muslim schools. For example, one barbaric act during the wars was the killing of over 400 civilians in Bakerdu where most of the victims were Madingos who are Muslims (Pike, 2011).

In Ivory Coast, the script was the same. However, the religious composition of the country is somewhat balanced with 38.6% of the population being Muslim, 32.6% Christians, 16.7% irreligious and 11.9% being traditional believers(Annan, 2014). The conflicts in Ivory Coast was a by-product of deep-seated cleavages that revolved around nationality, ethnicity and religion. Politicians such as Gbagbo and Outtara tapped into the differences to consolidate powers and in the process drove the country into the civil war (Tom, 2011).

Chapter 5: Literature review

Various studies exist in the causes of civil wars in Africa. However, few exist in the specific area of the cause of civil war in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The authors undertook to carry out elaborate research about the civil wars in Africa. The research span from the causes to the implications that civil wars have on the African countries. In the paper sponsored by African Development Bank, John, C. Anyanwu focuses on the economic and political causes that lead to civil wars in Africa. The article is insightful in that it details the roles played by politicians and the economic status of the citizens in fueling civil wars (Nnoma, 1997).

In their paper, Elbadawi and Sambanis focus on understanding the civil wars in Africa as the first step towards understanding and prevention of violent conflicts in the region. This article gives information on the various solutions that could be applied to end civil conflicts in Africa. The solutions proposed here are important in giving a head start in curing the civil strife in Africa. Abdalla Bujra delves into African conflicts with regard to their causes. The research by this author is important since most of the causes of civil wars in Africa can be specific to Liberia and Ivory Coast (Collier, 2002).

Annan analyzes the violent conflicts as well as civil strife that has taken place in West Africa. Even after the wars, there were challenges faced in overcoming the deplorable effects of the wars. In Liberia for example, there was the effect of forgiving those people that the citizens felt were behind the war. There is always the question of justice for the victims. In his research, Annan seeks to introduce the concept of poor understanding of the causes of the war. He states that if there is poor understanding of causes of the wars in West Africa, there is the likelihood of these countries relapsing to wars again. It is likely to lead to continued suffering from the wars. This research is important as it tells of how resolving the conflict amicably is important to ensure that there is no recurrence of the wars (Annan, 2014).

This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on this topic and focuses on an underrepresented pair of country cases with long histories of conflict: Liberia and Ivory Coast. The two countries faced some of the deadliest civil wars in the history of the continent. They therefore offer a good case study of the continent in the context of civil wars. With the use of the above researcht is possible to carry out further research, this time, being specific to the two countries. Comment by Linda Stevenson [3]: Good lead-in and coverage of a range of factors leading to civil wars in Africa.

Chapter 6: Research Design

In the course of the research to determine, the underlying factors that caused civil wars in Liberia and Ivory Coast, several research methods were applied to obtain data and any other relevant information. One of the ways was to create a survey and ask Liberians and Ivory Coast citizens their opinions about the cause of the war. The survey was distributed via social media, and x number of people participated. To collect data, there was the need to develop several research questions that had to be answered in the research. The research therefore was set out to answer several research questions. An analysis of the data from the research question is also included in the design. The research questions are listed below:

6.1. Research Questions

Research questions used in this research [Indicate the country where it was applicable, Liberia and Ivory Coast]

1. Name

2. Gender

3. Age

4. What was the role of political leaders and elite in fueling civil wars in the country [Liberia or Ivory Coast] on a scale of 1-5. {1-low, 5-high}

5. On a scale of 1-5, to what degree did ethnic differences cause the conflicts?

6. In your own observation, did the natural resources play a role in the war?

7. How many internally displaced persons and refugees did the wars cause?

a) 50,000-100,000

b) 100,000-250,000

c) 250,000-500,000

d) 500,000-1,000,000

e) More than a 1,000,000

8. Do you believe the economic condition of the countries [disparity between the rich and the poor] played a role in starting the war?

9. In your own opinion, did the government in question do enough to stop the war?

10. In your own opinion, did the Western forces [U.N and U.S.A] do enough to end the wars?

11. On a scale of 1-5 did the victims of the wars get enough justice?

12. Of the following answers, from which did the rebels get funding of arms?

a) Libya

b) Nigeria

c) Russia

d) USA

e) Other _____________

13. What was the response of the government to the rebellion movements in the war?

a. Harsh

b. Aloof

c. Forceful retaliation

d. Friendly

· What was the consequence of the answer you have chosen above

14. What is the religious composition in the country?

a. Christianity

b. Islam

c. African tradition

d. Others

· List them as [most, moderate, minority, majority]

15. Are able to operate a Facebook or Tumbrl account? If yes do you have one?

· Yes

· No

16. According to UNHCR, the number of refugees in the country was huge. According to you, comparing the number of refuges and internally displaced persons, which number was more?

a. Refugees

b. Internally displaced persons

In Liberia and Ivory Coast, it was the norm for the political class incited the public in various aspects. As has been stated out, civil strife in most cases is started and sparked of by a combination of factors. The citizens of a country or region must have various reasons that push them to fight other citizens. As has been established or may be established in this research. The types of data used in this research are both primary and secondary data. The primary data collected directly for the purposes of this research while the secondary data is the data already collected (Rotberg, 2003).

The types of data used depend on the nature of the research question. In most cases, the secondary data was obtained from the UN related websites such as UNHCR. Due to the geographical location of the countries, the primary data was limited to interviews through social media such as Facebook and Tumbrl. The biggest source of data was secondary as enough resources are available online to be used in the research. The various data obtained were mainly continuous. They include the population in the two countries before the civil wars broke out, the documented number of refugees caused by the war, as well as the number of internally displaced persons. Further, the number of deaths resulting from the civil wars and data on economic impact were also incorporated in the research (Anyanwu, 2002).

Most of the secondary data used came from the internet where several websites listed such data in a well-organized manner. To collect the data, various key variables had to be established. The variables are mostly independent in nature. They include the number of refugees, political input, ethnic composition, natural resources, conflict resolution, civil conflict, effects of outside forces, and military aid among others. The measurement or assessment of the above variables takes into consideration the research question used in relation to the research variables. In this research, the choice of the variables was carefully considered and undertaken to ensure maximum information or source of data was utilized in determination of the research outcome.

The first hypothesis to be tested is the one that pushes for the source of civil war to be political. It is a widely believed hypothesis that civil wars in the two countries were caused by political reasons. For example, in Liberia, the first civil war was sparked by political differences and coup de tat in the country. These political differences included the continued appointment of people from Doe’s tribe at the expense of other tribes, among others. In Ivory Coast, suspected rigging of elections sparked the 2010 civil war by the incumbent government. Another hypothesis for both Liberia and Ivory Coast is that the civil wars took the form of social disputes where different social classes took arms against each other (Pike, 2011).

Another hypothesis is that outside forces especially from Western countries instigated the civil wars. Evidence exists to show that Western countries played critical role in fuel\ling the civil wars in the two countries. In Liberia, the United States of America is blamed to have abandoned Liberia while it could have played a critical role in ending the war during the starting phase. In Ivory Coast, France is believed to have funded the opposition to fight the government (Rotberg, 2003). There has also been a question of where the rebels got funding from as well as arms. To explore the various hypotheses further, let us look at the various research questions used in the research. This questionnaire helps gather more information in the research (Rotberg, 2003).

Another one is the role of government and rebellion movements in the wars. The governments have had problems in combating rebellion movements. The movements at times toppled governments. The final hypothesis to be tested is that religion affairs played important role in fuelling the civil wars (Zounmenou, 2011).

Further information was obtained from direct interviews with the people from the countries. The data surveys, court decisions such as ICC and local tribunals. The statistical analyses from the UN website give enough details about the wars. They give the estimated number of people that were killed in the wars as well as the displaced persons. Therefore, the research used a combination of all the above methodological approaches. The research into the question can be easily researched through the above methods. This is because the methods offer enough information and can be easily analyzed to support the evidence in this research (Anyanwu, 2002).

In the research design there were some weaknesses realized. One of the weakness is the lack of availability of those people who were directly involved in the civil wars. This is because they are either dead or imprisoned. The only information available is from third-parties where the information could be distorted. Another limitation comes from limited resources. The resources were not enough in giving to conduct the entire research (Abubakarr, 2011).

Chapter7: Findings

The survey was completed by 99 participants aged between 18 years and 45 years.

The table shows a summary of the participants

Age18 – 3031 – 45
Total52 (52.5%)47 (46.5%)

Table 7.1. Shows the ages of the participants and percentage representation

The participant aged between 18 years and 30 years were 52 (N), reflecting a 52.5% of the total number of participants. Participants between the age of 31 and 45 were 47 representing a percentage of 46.5 percent of the population involved. The age of the participants is limited to 45 due to the involvement of social media in which many elderly people have challenges operating especially in the countries involved in the research. In addition, 35 of the participants were females while the rest were males. No respondent indicated to be “other “under the gender. This represents a percentage of 35.6% for female respondents and 64.6% for male respondents. However, due to the use of social media for the interview, the respondents were required to have either the Facebook or Tumbrl account or both of them. All of the respondents had access to either of the social media accounts therefore it was easy to communicate and fill out the form.

Of the total participants, half of them believe that the political leaders played great role in fuelling the civil wars in the two countries. Forty percent of them indicated that the leaders did participate in fueling the war but in a low level while 10% indicated that they didn’t know.

Role of political leadersNumber
Highly participated (3-5)50%
Less participation (1-2.9)40%
Don’t know10%

Table 7.2. Shows the representation of participants who believe the political leaders played a role in the wars

Fig 7.1. Shows a chart of representation of the role of political leaders

On tribalism and whether the wars took the communities dimension, 70% of the respondents said that they believed the war became tribal. Twenty nine percent indicated that the war was non-tribal while only one percent indicated “I don’t know”. This supports the hypothesis that civil wars in Liberia and Ivory Coast were tribal where different tribes fought against each other depending on the side on which their leaders were.

Ethnic differencesPercentage
Highly took ethnic dimension (2.5-5)70%
Lower scale29%

Table 7.3. Shows participants who believe ethnic differences had a role to play in the wars

Fig 7.2. Pie chart on role of ethnic difference in the war

Majority of the participants felt that the Western countries did little to stop the wars. Two of the supporters of this hypotheses cited the role USA could have played to stop bloodshed in Liberia as the world’s superpower and key ally of Liberia. 55 of the participants said that the Western countries had a big role to play in stopping the civil wars. This represents a 55.5% of the participants while 40% didn’t think the countries had any role to play. 4.5% indicated that they didn’t know whether the Western countries had a role to play in the civil wars in the two countries.

Western Countries Role
Had a role55.5%
No role40%
Don’t know4.5%

Table 7.4. Role of Western countries in the civil wars

Fig. 7.3. Chart on role of Western countries

When asked about natural resources, many participants struggled to link the wars with natural resources in the two countries. Most of them (67) indicated that they didn’t know whether the natural resources had a role to play in sparking off the war. This represented a percentage of 67.7% while the rest indicated that they believed in the hypothesis that natural resources in the countries caused the civil wars. This could be attributed to the fact that there is less natural resources that were being exploited at the time. However, Charles Taylor exploited diamond mines in Sierra Leone.

Although the participants did not have a solid number of the number of people who lost their lives as a result of the wars, most of them (59.6%) agreed that the official numbers were greatly reduced and that there were more fatalities than was reported. Further research revealed that around 250,000 people died in the two Liberian civil wars. 36 of the respondents felt that social disputes were the cause of the wars. This represented a 36.4% of the respondents who also suggested that communities took arms against each other when the wars erupted. Another 50% believed that the wars were escalated by suspicions by communities against each other. The remaining respondents chose all of the above as the repercussions. The government is believed to have used forceful retaliation against the rebels which further escalated the wars. This is according to the participants where 72% of them agreed that the government used excessive force against the rebels.

The religious composition of the countries also played a role in the wars. The respondents attributed the differences in religious beliefs to the escalation of the wars. This presented a percentage of 63.6% or 63 of the respondents. The religious composition in the two countries is shown below.

ReligionLiberiaIvory Coast
African Tradition0.5%11.9%

Table 7.5. Religious Composition

Fig. 7.4. Graph of religious composition in Liberia and Ivory Coast

Religious differencesPercentage
Played a role63.6%
Had no role36.4%

Table 7.6. Role of religious differences Comment by Linda Stevenson [4]: Need to correct misspelling in pie chart.

Fig. 7.5. Role of religious differences

The economic condition of the countries, the disparity between the rich and the poor, led to the war. This is because most people felt that the government was not doing enough to improve their economic status. This difference in social classes led to the war. Finally, majority of the respondents were of the view that the conflicts were not amicably solved. 75 of the respondents said that the disputes that led to the wars were not amicably solved and could cause wars to break in the future. This represented a 75.8% of the respondents. They gave varied reasons for their observations but one of the recurrent reasons was that the refugees and IDPs did not get justice for the inhumanities committed against them by the government and the rebels. 24.2% of the respondents though were of the view that the conflicts were solved amicably.

Justice for the refugees and IDPs
Justice [1-2]24.2%
No justice [2.1-5]75.8%

Table 7.7. Table on justice to victims

Going by these findings, it is clear that most of my hypotheses were supported by the research. Among these hypotheses include the cause of the civil wars being religious differences among the citizens, economic disparity of the citizens, political leaders fueled the war among others. This is a strong indicator about these hypotheses that they are a true representation of the real issues that caused the civil wars in Liberia and Ivory Coast. Given that most of my different hypotheses are correct, it suggests the need to carry further research into identifying the causes of civil wars and preventing occurrence of such wars in the two countries under research and in Africa at large. Perhaps this could lead to prevention of such wars before they occur and enhance the social fabrics that ensure peace in African societies. Comment by Linda Stevenson [5]: That is clear. Now, you need to compile the results in a table and show us which one your sample thought was the most important to least important.

Chapter 8: Conclusion

It is conclusively important to remember that all living beings have a sense of territorial protection on their surroundings and as humans, we have developed a stronger sense of ownership as we evolve from tribal groups to nations with internal and external ideological conflicts. The lack of a balanced liberal outlook on novel political views and their contradictory presence with traditional ones and bad economics, social, ethnic, cultural instability and religious fundamentalists resulting from corrupt leadership, are the main contributors to civil wars. Of all these differences, religion has played the majority role in brewing up conflicts.

This is so true when you examine African politics in view that all modern African innovations are an influence from outside the continent; pointedly religious, technological and political. The lack of equilibrium between the outside influential sources and the internal poverty infused in a pot of a political vacuum and an intellectual liquidation; greed and traditional conservatism becomes status quo as a daily breed for hard liners and thereby resulting into conflicts and civil wars never to end. The long standing sentiment that at one time lines were drawn on a piece of a paper that had the map of Africa on it to create nations or protectorates as they were originally called, to benefit former colonial masters without considering the tribal dynamics of their societies and resulting in tribal lands being split between different countries may not look very troublesome in other parts of the world.. But African societies strive on a single social norm of community life. Therefore, sentiments from this one aspect of conflict range from the heads of states to the man who lives deep in the jungle. For an African, belonging is not a geographical factor. It is a community blanket. Comment by Linda Stevenson [6]: Very cool way to explain a deep cultural sentiment/way of being.

The introduction of different religious domains and political styles that were not primarily African simply to the benefit of the foreign influence that introduced them without first paying attention to what works for Africa, but instead impose religious and political ideologies that worked well elsewhere was a mistake like salt patched into a gushing wound for a quick fix, one can conclude.

There is not a discipline or school of thought today that can claim knowledge to a solution to the long standing African struggle for stability. It is well concluded at the present time that the majority of African leader and society as a whole have settled to believing that this gruesome lifestyle of political power imbalances and corruption, poverty, religious conflicts, senseless massacres of the innocent, constant guerrilla movements, warfare and war mangling war-lords is in fact a way of life. That is disturbing.

As in a chronic disease health care undertaking, one keeps hoping that the terminally ill mother will one day bear child to a disease-free son. The hope for Africa is in its youth and what the future holds for them. Let the international community be the constant care giver to the African youth and allow them some avenue to high institutions of intellectual exposure and quality education, thereby slowly creating a new society of liberal thinkers with a common goal to one day save their motherland. Only Africa can save Africa.

References Abubakarr, B. (2011). Cote d’Ivore: Democracy and Civil War-Citizenship ans Peacemaking. Journal of the Royal African Society, 50-62. Annan, N. (2014). Violent Conflicts and Civil Strife in West Africa: Causes, Chalenges and Prospects. International Journal of Security & Development, 3(1), 1-16. Anyanwu, J. (2002). Aconomica and Political Causes of Civil Wars in Africa: Some Economic Results. Addis Ababa: African Development Bank: Economic Research Papers. Collier, P. &. (2004). Greed and Grievance in Civil War. Oxford Economic Papers, 56, 563-595. Collier, P. (2002). On the Incidence of Civl War in Africa. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(13), 13-28. Hayes, W. (2006). Children at War. California: University of Carlifornia. Haynes, J. (2007). Routledge Handbook of Religion and Polittics. New Yolk: Routledge. Jakobsen, T. G. (2009). Give me Liberty, or Give me Death: State Repression, Ethnic Grievance and Civil War, 1961-2004. Civil Wars, 11(2), 137-157. Kaplan, O. (1994). Civilian Autonomy in Civil War. New York: Sttanford University Press. Kieh, G. (2008). The First Liberian Civil War: The Crises of Underdevelopment. New York: Peter Lang. Kieh, G. K. (2012). Neo-Colonialism: American Foreign Policy and the First Liberian Civil War. Journal of Pan African Studies, 164-184. Nnoma, V. (1997). The Civil War and the Refugee Crisis in Liberia. The Journal of Conflict Studies, 17(1). Paul, C. (2010). Meltdown in Cote d’Ivore: Wars, Guns and Votes – Democracy in Dangerous places. Journal of International Conflict Studdies, 155-168. Pike, J. (2011). Liberia: First Civil War – 1989-1996. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 57-80. Rotberg, R. (2003). The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Tom, O. (2011). The Root Causes of the Conflict in Ivory Coast. Backgrounder, 5, 1-10. Zounmenou, D. (2011). Cote d’Ivore’s Post-Electoral Conflict: What is at stake? African Security Review, 20(1), 48-55.

Role of Political Leaders

Highly Participated Less Participation Don’t Know 0.5 0.4 0.1

ethnic differences

Highly ethnic Lower scale others 0.70000000000000018 0.29000000000000009 1.0000000000000004E-2

Western countries role

Had role No role don’t know 0.55500000000000005 0.4 4.5000000000000012E-2

Religious CompositionLiberia Christianity Islam African Tradition Others 0.8500000000000002 0.12200000000000003 5.0000000000000018E-3 1.7999999999999999E-2 Ivory Coast Christianity Islam African Tradition Others 0.32800000000000012 0.38600000000000012 0.11899999999999998 0.16700000000000001

Role of Religious differences

Plaayed a role Had no role 0.63600000000000023 0.36400000000000016



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