>Written by Alex Yallah
….Instead of Initiating a Blood Bath.
Some Western and African Leaders have raised the issues that Gbagbo’s policies contain a push for disunity, which I think, is a very unfair dissection. If such assertion is true, Gbagbo wouldn’t have convinced other Ivoirians who were resistant to be persuaded of his proposed political reformation of the constitutional backings on Ivorian nationality.
Constitutionally (before the amendment), an Ivorian national vying for the country’s highest office (president) or appointed to the second and important position of a Prime Minister must be an individual borne unto the union of a born Ivorian mother and a born Ivorian father.
Mr. Ouattara was borne unto a Burkina Faso Mandingo immigrant father and an Ivorian Mandingo mother. National identity has been the root cause of Ivory Coast civil conflict. Ouattara allegedly incited the northerners (Mandingo tribe of Ivory Coast and the huge population of Mandingo speaking people from Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea) against the constitutional provision on the Ivorian nationality when he was barred from contesting for the presidency in the past election that brought Gbagbo to power. He was barred on grounds that his father was a Burkinabe immigrant. He allegedly mentioned that if he could be barred from running for president, the Northerners, mostly, Mandingos like himself, could definitely be marginalized and possibly driven out of the country by the Southerners. He allegedly master minded the rebel incursion, which up to date has split the country into two halves. Ouattara has since then denied such allegations. As we well know, the North of Ivory Coast consists of the Mandingo tribe of Ivory Coast and a huge population of foreign Mandingo immigrants from near-bye Burkina Faso and other African nations like Mali and Guinea. These immigrants have lived and enjoyed the ‘Ivorian dream’ (owning cocoa and coffee plantations, real estate investments, owning shares in the multi-million dollars transport investments and etc) through hard work, perseverance and diligence.
Both Ivorian Mandingos and the Mandingo immigrant descendents see Mr. Ouattara as their precious jewel and bacon of hope; the Ivorian Mandingos bought into Mr. Ouattara alleged propaganda as a way of echoing their already legitimate nationality, while the immigrant Mandingos bought into his alleged propaganda as a way of solidifying their claimed nationality. Gbagbo, as the elected president from the previous elections that brought him into power, wrongfully allowed the influence of Charles Ble Coude (a self professed patriot) into his legitimate leadership of the country during the onset of the rebels’ attack. Yes, Gbagbo elected government was attacked by the New Forces Rebels from the north in 2002, but giving credence to Ble Coude incitement and luring young Ivoirians into militias’ activities helped to put more fuel into a situation already ablaze. The used of militias to fight along side the legitimate army reduced Gbagbo popularity amongst many typical Ivorian Mandingos from the North. On the other hand, allegations of inciting the Northerners and supporting the New Forces Rebels reduced the popularity of the once powerful and well respected Prime Minister, Allassan Ouattara amongst the Southerners of the country. Prove of these allegations has somewhat been manifested in Ouattara’s appointment of Soro (New Forces Rebel Leader) as his new Prime Minister after been pronounced the winner of the poorly arranged and monitored elections.
Realistically, with due respect, Felix Houphouet-Boigny is the instigator of the whole nationality debacle in Ivory Coast. His economic policy for Ivory Coast was fantastic and firmed. It left many big cities in the country including its capital Abidjan with lot of modern infrastructures including sky-scrappers, decent free-ways, well paved inner city streets, roads, avenues and boulevards. However, his political legacy wasn’t that much pretty as those mentioned infrastructures. He built and left a time bomb that was foreseen long time ago during his reign by many politicians including Laurent Gbagbo. Hoeupheut blatantly ignored the constitutional provision on Ivorian nationality; he appointed Mr. Ouattara to the position of a Prime Minister with factual knowledge of Ouattara not meeting the constitutional criterion for such a position. Hoeupheut ordered the arrest and detention of then, History Professor Laurent Gbagbo for publically cautioning him of his abuse of the Ivorian constitution and the future disaster he was creating. Historically, up to date, there has been no condemnation from the West (France, Britain and the US) against such behavior of Felix Houphouet-Boigny. Gbagbo and other far sighted Ivoirians worth some commendation; they pushed and succeeded in amending the constitutional provision on nationality. Such advocacy by Gbagbo and other well meaning Ivoirians, legally allowed Ouattara to be part of the political process. The civil war initiated by the New Forces Rebels allegedly organized by Ouattara, placed Ivory Coast in a quasi-civil war state. Countless lives and properties were destroyed by both rebels and government forces. The state of quasi-civil war left the cocoa rich West African nation divided into two halves.
The nationality issue had since been put to rest by the amendment of the constitutional provision on nationality. The multimillion dollars question that is yet to be answered is: why the so-called world body (UN, EU, AU and ECOWAS) allowed Ivory Coast to go to elections knowing that the New Forces Rebels in the north were still in possession of arms and also the incited and recruited young militias in the south were also seen along side the military carrying arms? It is a shame on the part of the entire International Community of its failure to begin and complete the October 24, 2004 disarmament in Ivory Coast. The West leads the International Community (UN, EU, AU and ECOWAS) and masquerades as police that effects equal justice and equal services in protecting lives and properties around the world. But, the actual and true behavioral exhibits of the world so-called governing institution (International community) headed by the West, are partial emphasis, unequal justice and unequal services in protecting lives and properties when it comes to political and arm conflicts in Africa. We will have no space to write on this public forum if we begin to list political and civil unrests that were ignored or down played by the International Community, which have send a good number of the human population on the face of the continent Africa to their early graves, and have left billions of billions of dollars worth of properties ruined. As it is done in other countries or other continents so should it be done in Africa; the so-called International Community needs to be more assertive and proactive toward perceived civil and political conflicts in Africa rather than employing reactive strategies after the damages have been done. Let equal justice and equal services in protecting lives and properties be done to all mankind.
Throwing seeds of discord on the African continent by some Western powers just to get their puppet leaders in power have got to stop. The puppet leadership style instituted by some so-called world leaders is what killing Mama Africa. The consideration of any Leader as an outsider simple because he or she does not play to the puppet leadership style and rules, is wrong and detrimental to the well being of the poor and innocent people of that leader’s country. ‘Big Powers’ of the International Community, please think about the lives of innocent people, especially women and children that are in jeopardy in the middle of all these greed and stop encouraging your puppet leadership style in Mama Africa.
Please apply moderation in resolving Ivory Coast’s crisis Instead of initiating a blood bath. UN and EU, please listen to the cry of the innocent people (women and children) of Ivory Coast and don’t spend tax payers’ money to support invasion; that will be completely wrong. Given the complicity of the controversial elections and its results, you, as the world so-called supper power should encourage both Ouattara and Gbagbo to step aside from the presidency to enable them prepare for a free, fair and peaceful re-election after the world so-called governing bodies (UN), shall have carried out a total and complete disarmament of militias and rebel forces within the entire country. The monies we individually contribute to the United Nations through our tax payments to our various countries’ governments should be used to finance UN and ECOMOG peace keepers in Ivory Coast for total disarmament and free and fair re-election. This solution may be financially and time consuming if implemented, but it is far better than the blood bath and destruction of more lives and properties if military invasion is to happened as supported by some mean spirited and ignoramus leaders in both Africa and the West. Pumping in financial resources to start a war in a country with a simple elections dispute, will reduce the so-called International Community and African Union or ECOWAS to nothing but a bunch of Human Rights abusers. Please use the money that you want to finance the invasion process for total disarmament of both rebels and the militias.
The African Leaders with their AU and ECOWAS should follow the wise advice of Ghana former president, JJ Rolling, which is to chart a peaceful course in giving succor to the people of Ivory Coast through the means of peaceful dialogue to avoid blood shed. If Ivoirians are up to the task in respecting their own constitution, which provides the rules and regulations by which they are governed, then, they should not succumb to the whams of some mean spirited and ignoramus so-called leaders of Africa and the West. Bravo to the Ghanaian Nation; she has made her position clear of not willing to play any part in any planned invasion of Ivory Coast. Nigerians, Guineans, Togolese’s, the good people of Benin, Sierra Leoneans, Gambians, Malians, Senegalese and Liberians, please do not allow you anybody to lure you into any form or shape of military invasion of Ivory Coast as been pushed by who-so-ever. Please think about your fellow brothers and sisters who lives will be destroyed in such a wrong process.
Nigerians, the entire world and the sub-regional Africans know very well how your government is the worst on that part of the continent as regards leadership role. She has all those conflicts sparked by the high corruption levels and partial distribution of the country’s wealth, which are the bed-rocks of the Delta region numerous and consistent rebellions, and many other uprisings in other parts of the country, but yet still, she carries herself as a stable and good government and also the Police for West African governments. Nigerians, please do the right thing by telling your president to use your human potentials wisely. If you will be sent to Ivory Coast, please agree to go as peace keepers but not political invaders for the greed of few selfish so-called world leaders.
If the West and who be ECOWAS members are interesting in Africa peace building and human dignity, I suggest that they make available all resources for a free, fair and peaceful re-election in Ivory Coast after the New Forces Rebels and all militias are completely disarmed. Mr. Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary General), I am very optimistic that the peace loving people of Ivory Coast will not refuse to peacefully go back to the ballot box and vote in their preferred presidential candidate, if they are afforded such opportunity. Please call on Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara to designate people from both sides to form an interim government. Ask them in the name of regional and global peace, to step aside from the leadership and prepared themselves for a much transparent elections within two years from now. While the interim government of inclusion is stirring the affairs of the country, you, as the leader of the world security body (UN) should be able to approve of all resources (human and financial) needed to be used for total disarmament and a better monitored election. I suggest this because it is openly known by both Gbagbo, Ouattara the Ivorian people and the entire world that the second round of the elections went wrong. Gbagbo’s supporters in the north were subjected to fear and humiliation; some lost their lives while at the same time, some of Ouattara’s supporters in the southern strong hold of Gbagbo, received reciprocate actions. The venue (Ouattara’s Campaign Headquarters) at which the election commission chairman announced the run-off results was wrong; Damana Adia Pickass, who served as one of Gbagbo’s representatives on the election commission, wrongfully altered results from three other regions of the country for reason best known to himself. All these ugly events occurred only because the entire elections process was vulnerably left in the hands of the very players of the conflict, while the international monitoring group played a very low profile and give a blind eye to those ugly unfolded events.
Mr. Secretary, please do not be afraid to spend the money and to mandate the UN envoy to do the right thing Ivory Coast. As we all known, the people of Ivory Coast deserve any shed of what the UN is expected to offer a member nation in difficult times like these. Please, for peace sake and for the sake of saving the lives of innocent people, especially women and children, do not put the entire burden of saving Ivory Coast from blood bath on the shoulders of the Africa Union and ECOWAS. I admired your stand of not pulling out as Gbagbo ordered, but the decision of your envoy to allow the rebel army along side UN peace keepers in guarding Ouattara is outright wrong. To all big so-called peace lovers of the West and those puppets African Leaders masquerading as peace advocates and also to UN, ECOWAS and African Union: please think of the lives of the women and children that will be destroyed if you choice to militarily invade the Ivory Coast. Please apply moderation in resolving Ivory Coast post elections conflict other than initiating a blood bath. May God safeguard the people of Ivory Coast and soften the hearts of the key players that lasting and genuine peace with be ushered in.