13 April 2018

Africa: What's With Building All These High Walls?

Photo: Pixabay
Israel - Palestine wall.

Cape Town — When the Berlin wall finally came down in 1992, we thought: This was it, no more walls! Well, we might have celebrated too soon because in 1994 Israel constructed its own wall to separate itself from Palestine.

Israel considers it a security barrier against terrorism, while Palestinians calls it a racial segregation or apartheid wall.

And speaking of apartheid, South Africa is now faced with one of the worse crime statistics in the world. Some of the blame for what some call a crime wave is laid at the feet of its neighbouring states because surrounding countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi come to the country for a better life.

So, now there are suggestions that South Africa build walls instead of the problematic fencing at some of its troubled borders - to prevent illegal migrants and criminals from allegedly stealing cars in South Africa and smuggling them over the border. When asked in parliament in 2017 if South Africa is considering building such walls, the now President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa replied: "We are a nation that does not build walls. We do not believe in building walls. And that defines who we are. We are South Africans and we do not subscribe to the building of walls"

Good news for some, but probably not if you share Donald Trump's obsession with building a wall. The man can't stop talking about a wall to stop Mexicans from entering the U.S. and "bringing drugs" to the country. Trump has gone further than his neighbours though, making sure that the borders are tight even for Africans.

Kenya seems to be following in Trump's footsteps. The government is in a process of constructing a security wall at the Mandera-Somalia border. Kenyan officials insist that the controversial measure is meant to secure the town from terrorist attacks by the Al-Shabaab, a terror group operating from Somalia.

Some Somali MPs who were against the construction of the wall called it an "infringement on territorial integrity" and insisted that Kenya is trespassing on their land. But Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta defended the move saying there was nothing wrong with establishing a common border entry point which will help check people who want to engage in activities which threaten peace in the two countries. Once completed the 400KM wall will have a designated immigration and a custom entry points with a two feet tall concrete wall fitted with CCTV cameras.

Staying in East Africa, Tanzania, famous for its beautiful game parks, the tallest peak on the African continent, Mount Kilimanjaro, beautiful Island Zanzibar and the Tanzanite to name a few, have also joined in the high-wall building to fight illegal Tanzanite miners.Tanzanites are the valuable blue and violet gemstones was discovered by Jumanne Ngoma in the Merelani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967. The area where it is found is a small mining area approximately 7 km long and 2 km wide near the Mirerani Hills.Tanzania President John Magufuli ordered the military to build a wall in order to control illegal mining and trading activities around the area. The 24.5km long wall took three months to build and costs the state over U.S. $2 million but who's counting.

Criminals are constantly coming up with inventive methods to break the law. Are building these walls really the answer?

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