Time for Africa to harness the intelligence in our traditional systems

Intelligence is something that most people associate with espionage work



By Donald Mushove


Forensic science can be defined as the application of all faculties of knowledge or science in criminal, civil and regulatory matters. However, it is pertinent to not that forensic science generates intelligence.

Intelligence is something that most people associate with espionage work but in actual fact is something that is very critical for development.

So forensic science has also found a niche in sustainable development. Forensic science aims at establishing facts merited on tangible scientifically acceptable evidence.

This then means there will be reasonable belief of a particular situation which can lead to concrete decisions.
Africa in particular needs the application of forensic science in development in order to catch-up with the rest of the world and change the narrative.

While for a fact it is known that Africa has abundant resources, it is pertinent to quantify the resources, the cost of extracting as well as the overall contribution of the exploitation of these natural resources to the African economy.

Agriculture and food security is one major which has the key to economic recovery in Africa, but the unfortunate reality is that there is less investment in security issues around agriculture.

Farmers are supposed to move a step further to make sure they are protected from theft. Countries like South Africa already have DNA profiling of cattle herds in some farms.

This makes it easy to trace stock theft cases even if the animals are stolen and sold alive or sold as meat products.

Using DNA profiling and bovine databases the stolen cattle can be traced. Such initiatives help protect the farmer while also ensuring that he can be eligible for insurance.

African governments, farmers, farming professional bodies and stakeholders should thus come together to develop such system to ensure reduction of crime.

Microbial forensics and forensic plant pathogenesis are emerging areas which are enhancing research and the fight against diseases in agriculture.

These discipline can assist to track agro-warfare and source of diseases. Such applications of forensic services also ensure that farmers can get more factual information and plan wisely.

Policy makers also well informed and thus can react accordingly. Seed fraud has so been one of serious crimes in agriculture, where unscrupulous traders sell counterfeit seeds with fake particular company packages which then deceive farmers to buy unyielding seed while tarnishing the corporate image such companies.

Forensics will not only identify the seed as fake but traces the origin of the seed a d the distribution line also providing solutions.

These are examples that are bringing out the scope of the application of Forensic science in agriculture and developmental issues for the benefit of Africa and the world at large.

It thus becomes clear that the development process requires a thorough investigation in current trends, facts and or intelligence and security in order for it to be a success.

A country without a sound security system especially in the corporate set-up is a risk to development a d investment. Africa has always been a risky continent through lack of stability at government level and corporate level.

Investments in Africa are always under threat both from natural events and man made skirmishes.
It is high but time that forensic science, not in the context of auditing but in the full context of forensic investigations is harnessed in development issues. Forensics bring with them clarity and transparency, which is key to development.

There are a lot of issues which are of sustainable development in nature which can be better dealt with from a forensic science perspective.

Agriculture, food fraud, insurance, tourism and many more are such issue that can be tackled from a forensic point of things.

However the purpose of this article is to give an overview of the area, but more articles will follow which tackle each area thoroughly.


Donald Mushove is a Forensic biologist, Forensic journal editorial team member, published poet, writer and consultant. He is a sustainable development enthusiast and writes in his own personal capacity. Contact him at +263 77 747 9781


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