The Dark Side of ‘Diasporas’ in Africa’s Great Lakes Region
The diasporas–home development thesis avers that diasporas improve their homelands’ general conditions through financial remittances contributing to home country national budgets; through global–home linkages for social, techno-scientific, professional and business investment opportunities; by showcasing tourism potentials of home countries; by creating pressures for democratisation; and by upholding human rights and peaceful resolution of prevailing conflicts through lobbying and advocacy. This ‘bright side’ signifies the metamorphosis of migrant communities dispersed worldwide – regardless of the conditions under which they migrated, their identities and politico-ideological persuasions -into fruitful nonhome development forces. Beyond this ‘bright side’, another equally significant not so easy to ignore is the ‘dark side’ of diasporas, especially their politico-security dimension. To properly understand the development prospects and implications of diasporas for nation-states, we must appreciate the implications of such communities for national and regional security, in terms of the state’s geopolitically constituted international relations, and people’s safety within geopolitical spaces sometimes characterised by ethno-political security configurations. This chapter applies Zeleza’s (African diaspora. New dictionary of the history of ideas 2005,) insight on ‘new African diasporas’ and Mushemeza’s (The politics of empowerment and integration of banyarwanda refugees in Uganda, 1959–1990. Kampala: Fountain, 2007) thesis on integration of refugees, to examine the security intricacies resulting from Banyarwanda migrants in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. Their role in Rwanda’s and the region’s post-1959 insecurities is demonstrated. Arguably, under conditions of ethno-political uncertainty and vulnerability, amidst state failures, dispersed nonhome communities can metamorphose into significant forces in national and regional insecurity, thereby retarding national and regional development.
KeywordsHome Country International Criminal Court Great Lake Region Home Government Armed Struggle
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