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April 2020
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Ivory Coast: More Than A Test of Democracy. How About Respect For The Will of The people?

Laurent Gbagbo, what a marauding masquerade of a leader? That sounds unfair to the ears right?

But I have  come to the conclusion that politics is not a fair game neither is it for the faint-hearted, and those who go into it do know what they are getting into. They are fully aware that they are on the battle ground and must be ready with their arsenal of weapons to take on the pack of wolves, which come after them politically and in all aspects of life. They have their strategy and contingency plan should the unexpected happen, even though, they mess that up sometimes. Nevertheless, it is the ordinary citizens, who cast their votes in the hope that change is coming their way, who always end up in the cross-fire between two warring political factions like we have observed in Ivory Coast since the result of the November 28 elections was announced. An outcome, which has seen Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner become president and prisoner in a hotel.

Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president has been in power for 10 years. In my opinion, that is a long time to be president. How about you let someone else rule and take the country in a new direction? I don’t think for a second that would be a bad idea, do you? The ability to let go of power is one of the biggest challenges African leaders have. They feel entitled to it. Guess what, you are wrong. The throne is not yours forever. Our leaders must learn to raise other leaders not create corrupt political dynasties with close friends and family members, who bleed the coffers of nations dry without accountability to anyone.

How chaotic is it for one country to have two presidents and two ministers for its different ministries? Without a doubt, we all appreciate a bargain, two for the price of one but this bargain is a costly one, which stands to rob us all and I bet Ivorians would not buy this even if it was sold to them for free. In my opinion, Gbagbo has missed the mark and should rightly step down. You are no longer wanted. Your eviction notice has been served and your actions make a clean case that you are bad news for Ivory Coast. And to think that Gbagbo has such power over the different arms of government, from the Judiciary to the military, beggars belief.  In fact, the military should not be involved in this mess, they should be in their barracks or the Congo, doing something useful with their guns. I hope after this hullabaloo, a new constitution which puts checks and balances in place from the Judiciary to the Executive comes into play.

I don’t care what the vested interest of France, the UN, the AU, ECOWAS or any other nation as suggested by a few quarters so far is. I read this on the Africa Advocacy Network, “Alassane Ouattara was a faithful servant of France’s imperialistic and economic interests in Ivory Coast when he served as Prime Minister of Ivory Coast under President Houphouet Boigny, more than a decade ago.  Ouattara, during his aggressive privatization policy, as part of IMF structural Adjustments programs, gave French corporations, exclusive monopoly of the Ivorian economy. There is no doubt, that if Ouattara were to rule Ivory Coast, the French will have total ownership of the oil under Ivorian soil.  But under Gbagbo, American, Russian, Canadian, Chinese, Australian and any other developed nation will have equal opportunity as the French, to do business in Ivory Coast. It, therefore, makes no sense for President Obama, to be pushing for Ouattara, the French valet, and next African Big Man, who will not open the Ivorian economy to Americans but will make it an exclusive French dominion.”

This is not about colonialism or control by big brother west, an idea I hate passionately myself. I also want them to mind their bloody business and stop interfering in Africa’s business. We don’t need them babysitting us. It is time we grow up if the likes of Gbabgo would stop acting like political prima donnas. For me, this is about what is right for Ivory Coast as decided by the citizens of Ivory Coast.  Gbagbo or any other politician, including Quattara, cannot and does not have the right to circumvent the will of the people. If the electorate has decided Quattara won, surely that counts for something and says the obvious, Ivorians have rejected Gbagbo like a lady rejects her lover. If he is hell bent that the results of the election were unfair, then let us do a recount, it will be costly but it is better than this current stand-off which tethers on the brink of a full blown civil war. That we can all do without. Ivory Coast cannot afford another civil war. Africa cannot afford another civil war. I am in fear over South Sudan breaking away from the north because that too has conflict looming and as we all know, Omar Bashir, Gbagbo’s blood brother is unpredictable. Eastern Congo is burning. Darfur is raging. It is time this political child’s play and charade ends.

As pointed out by Patrick Wilmot, when asked by Inside Story, Al Jazeera’s current affairs news programme in the clip above, Gbagbo has been corrupted by power.  He is so drunk on it, the very idea of walking away leaves him lifeless. I wish someone would help me tell African leaders that being a president/leader of their nation is not a God-given mandate or their birthright. Laurent Gbabgo is neither the Joseph that will deliver Ivory Coast from famine or the the Moses that will take the nation to a promise land of bliss, prosperity, peace and stability. In contrast, his current actions will do the opposite. Civil war looms over Ivory Coast and just yesterday, Youssoufou Bamba, Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the UN voiced his concerns about genocide. Ha! That word scares me. Please, not another one. Rwanda should serve as a good example about the abyss of darkness that the country would descend into if that were to happen. Fair to say Bamba was appointed by Quattara, and one can understand the close alliance and need to fight for him but this is not a false alarm. Ivory Coast in past times has been under tense ethnic divisions and this election was viewed as a way forward. An opportunity to rebuild the nation after civil war, a chance to start all over but the political drama boy, whose sweetie has been taken from him won’t let that happen.

Gbagbo’s decision to stay means he has become a thorn in the flesh of Ivorians and does not care about the people, he believes want him to stay. This is not the best of analogies but I have heard people people say when a woman says no to a man, she means yes, how wrong can you be?  NO means NO.  Unless of course, you need someone to dissect a simple word like NO for you. Laurent Gbagbo does not understand the language of NO and is robbing and raping the the people of Ivory Coast of their decision. This is political rape. When he does not heed the call of the people, then he has no respect for them but what’s sad is that anyone would support him based on emotions and some twisted ethnic/tribal alliance, not practicality or respect for the democratic process. This is why I say, we Africans, we are our own worst enemies. Yet, we would gladly line the streets to blame the west for the misfortunes we bring on ourselves. This is not to say i deny the fact that the West is an interfering busy body, who needs top spend more time dealing with their own issues.

We have a bunch of Political Area Boys, from the Mugabes to the Kibakis of Africa, who think it is okay to ignore the will of the people and then use the platform of power-sharing as a means of holding on to power. After all, we always say as long as there is peace, all will be well. Wrong, Zimbabwe demonstrates how power-sharing can cripple a nation and is sometimes not possible due to opposing ideas about how the nation should be governed. Though Kenya and its power-sharing government has been good, it remains a questionable coalition government.  It is time we call a spade a spade. If the election was in anyway fraudulent, let’s go for a recount under supervised eyes and find out for sure. In fact, another election is better than the current situation. Expensive it may be but surely, war will prove more expensive for Ivory Coast and the continent. Enough of this political deadlock which will only lead to an inconvenient marraige. If I were Quattara, I would refuse the whole idea of power-sharing, we are not in boarding school or young kids who need to share a room. No, no more should our politicians be allowed to rain on our parade and at our own cost. Why should Ivorians foot the bill of Gbabo’s greed? It is more than a financial cost, its is costing lives and will continue to do until this mess is resolved.

A true test of democracy this may be but it is also time we ask why our political leaders, who have no ounce of respect for us the people, though we are the ones who keep voting the lame ducks and vagabonds into power, why they think they can ignore our vote and do as they so please? Or am I wrong and naive to believe that democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. Hence, our wish should be their command!


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