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The first democratically imposed “President” in Africa.....The New Trend?

March 12, 2011

By Aloysius AGENDIA

On March 10, 2011 Dramane Alasane Ouattara, the Ivorian unofficial rebel leader since 1999 ( father of the 1999 coup d' etat and the 2002 rebellion), and the one time closest ally of the former Ivorian dictator, Felix Houphouet Boigny entered history as the first democratically imposed ruler in Africa, to take charge of Cote D Ivoire. This was the outcome of the meeting of an AU Panel after months of intense lobbying, campaigns and interest negotiations following the controversial second round of presidential elections of November 28, 2010 in the West African country. The AU thereafter urged the Ivorian Constitutional Council which had been rejected by the rebel leader to again “constitutionalise” Ouatara by inaugurating him. The  Constitutional Council headed by a confidant of  incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo had annulled provisional results published under controversial circumstances by a confidant of Ouattara who headed the Electoral Commission. On April 004, 2011 over 1500 French soldiers and 7000 UN troops alongside 10.000 rebels supported by UN and French helicopter gun fire  bombarded Abidjan and kiilled several hundreds in the process. This was the last move to finally imposed Ouattara as president of Cote D Ivoire.

Most presidents or better still rulers in Africa beginning from Nigeria to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Gabon, DRC, Mali, Niger, Central Africa Republic, Madagascar, Togo, Guinea etc are either outright dictators or dictators in civilians clothing with no vision for the continent.  They have largely been uncommitted to the continent. Most are still representatives of colonial administrations which have been using their incompetent   but repressive strategies in connivance with poverty aggravating corporations and so called international lending organisations to suppress and kill their own people.   

However, the accession of any of the above countries’ successive dictators or extremely corrupt rulers to power, have had somehow varied backings from different major countries which still wield wide power in various countries in Africa.

 The year 2011 is ushering a new trend on how most developed nations and especially the aggressive, exploitative and war oriented developed nations can be united in their strategies in securing and maintaining their interests in Africa or support the interest of their fellow brother countries with the hope that they can support them in return, during other period of difficulties.

For example, unofficially France needed to support US in Iraq/Afghanistan so that the latter could support the former in Africa, Cote D Ivoire. Britain needed to support France in Cote D Ivoire and USA in Iraq so that they could help them too in Lybia. The chain continues given that everything is not guided   by any values for human rights and democracy as preached, but purely by economic, geopolitical and geo-strategic interests.

After the Ivorian elections and inauguration of President Laurent Gbagbo, and subsequent self-swearing in of Ouattara under the auspices of the UN, Cote D Ivoire came at the brink of war with two presidents. Normally, the decision of the Constitutional Council which is not subject to appeal was widely questioned just as that of the Electoral Commission which is subject to appeal.  In a bid to prevent war the Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, breached the law disregarding the decision of the CC abut as the constitutional leader,  urged for an investigation of the elections or a recount of the votes to clear the doubt and for both camps to take their responsibilities after the exercise for the sake of peace.

This was the easiest and the most pacific solution to the crisis. However, it was out rightly dismissed by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon who described Gbagbo’s suggestion as an act of “injustice”. The supposed victory of Ouatara had been certified under controversial circumstances by Ban Ki Moon’s fellow compatriot and UN Representative in Cote D ‘ Ivoire, Mr Choi.  Ban who holds no explanations to anybody and whose decision cannot be appealed has never explained how this recount or an investigation was tantamount to injustice against Alasane Ouatara. Paradoxically, Mr Choi will survive what he did in Cote D Ivoire in 2010 just as Dag Hammarskjold paid with his life for attempting ride certain wrongs in the DRC in 1961. Here we meet two UN diplomats with diametrically opposed views to nation building and conflict resolution.

Following the imbroglio in Cote D Ivoire, moves and counter moves were made by both camps to seek justice but  Alasane Ouatara assured of his international support due to his Breton Woods connections and close ties with French president Nicholas Sarkhozy, was adamant, intransigent and determined not to capitulate at any cost.  France, the colonial powr has officially 900 troops in Cote D ivoire but eh official and hardly reported figure stands at over 5000 armed to the teeth trigger happy men.

On the other hand, Gbagbo who rightly or wrongly believed that he had the population behind him equally decided not capitulate since he was backed by the constitution and the nation’s forces of law and order. As a result the debate was therefore was moved from ..who actually won the election to that of a serious media war and lobbying.

Before the “final verdict” was given by the AU, some members of the AU had visited French President Nicholas Sarkhozy before the decision was made.  Blaise Compaore, the Burkinabe dictator, fellow belligerent in Cote D Ivoire crisis accused of equally arming and hosting rebels but mostly known for his role in the murder of Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, had visited Sarkozy. On March 4, 2011 South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who had been the lone moderate voice in the panel equally visited Sarkhozy to seek French help on nuclear energy. It is unclear if Sarkhozy actually influenced Zuma but it is unlikely.  The President of Tanzania, Jalaya Kikwete was also received in Paris to that effect and it is reported that Mr Jakaya Kikwete  was convinced by what the French President told him. After such meetings the AU panel which failed to make any suggestions based on investigation voted by 3 against two and simply confirmed the decisions that had been made by the ECOWAS and the UN Mission in Cote D ivoire.

The troubling trend

There is a new wave of strategies currently being unfolded by some developed nations and their allies which consist of recognising regimes of rebels which represent their interest, as the legitimate governments of African some nations.

This trend has brought about what is now called the democracy among military and economic wielding nations to impose civilian dictators or imperialist agents in Africa.  In that case Africans may vote but they will not decide. The latest case, of such unity at diplomatic levels and even physical aggression in Africa has been the imposition of long time rebel financer and unofficial brainchild of the “ungovernable Cote D Ivoire”, Alasane Ouatara as the “democratically” imposed President of Cote D Ivoire.

 If Africa has been this divided, and thereby being very venerable, it has mainly been because incumbents have always rigged elections with the support of stronger nations to remain in power. However, the trend seemed to be changing in when in Cote D Ivoire democracy began gathering steam 2000. The rebels, whose sources of arms and finances have never been investigated or by so called human right bodies, successfully divided the country into two in 2002. When elections were held in 2010 the rebels successfully and overwhelmingly rigged in favour of their candidate Alasane Ouatara who has been made as the first democratically imposed president of an African state.  Alasane Ouatara did not win any elections since Cote D Ivoire since the supreme body on elections annul the massive irregularities and the adjustment of voters’ participation rate which had propelled Alasane to “victory” as announced by the EC. Africa can only standout be resisting and defending their continent.

Just as in 1961 when the UN woefully failed in its mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (Former Zaire) and the complicit assassination of peace loving and truth seeking Dags Hammarskjöld which turned the country into an ungovernable banana republic till date, the UN Mission in Cote D Ivoire successfully imposed Alasane Ouatara, the IMF technocrat and former PM to the Ivorian dictator, responsible for the one of the most crippling IMF reforms on African continent. That can only be the beginning of more trouble since Alasane has never been democratically elected by the people of Cote D Ivoire.

As a continuation of the new trend, the French rushed to recognise the tattered and disorganised Libyan rebels challenging the overdue authority of Muammar Ghadaffi, as the new legitimate government of Libya. This to say least was ridiculous and confirms more suspicion after the British failed SAS spy mission in the country in March 2011. Though the  French and British move has not won unanimity, Britain, USA and other nations have pressed similar moves of recognising rebels , although The Netherlands described the move as “crazy” and Sweden’s foreign minister said they not recognise “regimes but states” implying that they do not buy the Franco-British idea for the moment.

 However, could we just say that the British and French method was to officialise the new strategy since the rebels causing untold damage in Africa still covertly receive arms and other support from these supposed developed nations?  It may be a new strategy to openly fund rebels and support them henceforth  with the excuse that they are the legitimate representative of the people. If that were be the case all illegal immigrants in Europe have the right to stay because they are legitimately here since no one will leave his country if the situation was better.

In the same domain, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tshangarai who had hitherto been opposed to the holding of elections in his country suddenly changed and immediately voiced his interest in elections. His hope is that after the elections and irrespective of the outcome Britain may then lead the race to recognising him as the president of Zimbabwe.

 

The Troubling roles of AU and regional Organisation and others

Back to the issue on Cote D Ivoire, Africa’s pseudo Pan African organisation, the Africa Union, headed by a certain Jean Ping, a product of France-Afrique and onetime closest associate of one of Africa’s most corrupt dictator, late Omar Bongo, endorsed the imposition of Alasane in total violation of the report send by its own observer mission. The same applies to the West Africa Regional Group ECOWAS with various dictators like Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal,  Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso,  and other extremely corrupt neo-colonial but not necessarily dictatorial regimes like those in Nigeria ( the country ruled by oil companies),  corrupt, weak and divided nations Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The decision of this organisation could only surprise those who do not know the history of Africa. The only nation to have expressed reservation on the activities of ECOWAS was Ghana, which happened to be the only budding democracy among members of that regional organisation.

In pure contrast to EU solidarity, the African Union often described as the toothless bull dog which can hardly agree on anything for the development of the continent; simply endorsed what had been decided by the UN. This is essentially because the different leaders in various countries, represent different colonial interests and can’t agree on any common decision for the good of the continent. The decision of the AU can only pave the way for an immediate bloodbath or a future bloodbath given the fact that the rebel leader Alasane Ouatara’s imposition would remain one of the most controversial issues in Africa.

When will Africa’s Al Jazeera Arrive?

In this new age, another fierce war is being fought by the media, with various media outlets spewing verbiage in support of their candidate. Here again, there was “democracy” among the largely western media organs like BBC, CNN, AFP, Reuters and their relay channels in Africa like Vox Africa, Africa 24, Mail and Guardian, Jeune Afrique etc in labelling the incumbent president of Cote D Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo as the bloody dictator and attributing all violence in the country on him whereas vindicating the rebel financer and brainchild of the chaos in Cote Ivoire rather as the victim of violence.

Hundreds of people are said to have died in Cote D ivoire, almost more than the number from direct violence after Alasane Ouatara’s allies bought the former’s calls for boycott on import and export to and from D Ivoire. As a result, patients in critical conditions in Cote D Ivoire could not receive medicine which is imported mostly from Europe. No mainstream international media organ reported about this. No international human right organisation reported about this, yet they were quick to give Africans lessons on human rights and democracy.

 Ahead of the Ivorian elections, some companies especially link to Ouatara had known of the latter’s plans reason why they bought enough cocoa and coffee beans and stocked. This is the case of the one of the companies called Amajaro Company which belongs to a certain Anthony Ward whose Africa director, Loic Folloroux is said to be the step son of Alasane Ouatara.  This company had in July 2010 reported bought over 240 thousand tonnes of cocoa beans and stocked. Ouatara suspension of export by the Ivorian government was therefore a well calculated move to make huge profits for these associates at the detriment of “his own people”.  No mainstream international media reported this. In fact, until Africa has a media organ which will speak in support of popular opinion, the voice of the continent will hardly ever be heard.  The media accompanying colonial masters agents will always give someone a bad name for justify his hanging.

 

I called Mr Alasane Ouattara the rebel leader and democratically imposed president of Cote D Ivoire base on these grounds.

1.       The November 28, 2010 elections results’ which gave him victory were only provisional results and were later annulled due to fraud which was were not disputed by Alasane himself.

2.      The CC of Cote D Ivoire, the competent authority charged with final electoral matters in Cote D ivoire duly declared the winner of the elections.

3.      Ouatara “won” the final battle due to his diplomatic connections and the media other organisational offensives in his favour.

4.      In 1999 Ouatara described the coup d ‘etat that toppled Henry Konan Bedie as “a peoples’ revolution”. Ouatara had fled to France before the coup and returned thereafter. While in out of Cote D Ivoire he had said he will hit the regime of Bedie and three months later, there was a coup d' etat.

5.      Upon return, he was again behind another failed coup d etat of 2002 as the undisputed testimony of the one of the rebel commander, Zakaria Kone attests to this. He however, successfully divided the country into two in order to well prepare his game.

6.      Undisputed press reports quoted him as saying he would make Cote D Ivoire ungovernable at least he succeeded since the 2002 failed rebellion or better still since the coup d’ etat of 1999.

7.      One of Ouatara’s closest ally and longest serving Burkinabe dictator, who is also his fellow compatriot, is said to have vowed to work with French president, Nicholas Sarkhozy to make sure Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo be sent to The Hague for trial

8.     Alasane was imposed because civil but political and corporate organisations like Human Right Watch and the UN Human Right Mission in Cote D ivoire deliberately failed to mention the atrocities committed by Ouatara followers during the violence. They focused mostly Mr Gbagbo in a bid to give a dog a bad name and hang and arouse international emotions for Ouatara. At least they succeeded to cajole those who seem not versed with the history of Cote D ivoire or Africa.

9.      The political organisation as The Hague known as International  (Criminal) Court of Justice headed by the Spanish judge Ocampo, had on several occasions warned Mr Gbagbo of the crimes being committed by his followers as if Alasane’s supporters were the victims of crimes.

10.  Alasane and his allies were against any investigation of the electoral process or a recount of votes because they feared it could turn sour. Confident to the foreign military support and his diplomatic offensive he was intransigent and preferred to killed several Ivoirians just because of his quest for power and injustice. The days ahead would be very rough except he will have to spend huge sums of money on the same French and foreign secret service to give him protection.

11.   Alasane unlike Gbagbo failed to mobilise popular support from the people just like Gbagbo did and sent away the military junta of Robert Guei fleeing in 2000.  Being unable to mobilise such support, he could only rely on his international connection, violence and the supposedly killing his own supporters to arouse international sympathy.

 

I have absolutely nothing against the rebel leader Alasane Ouatara. I am just angry because had it been Gbagbo’s proposition of investigating the elections or recounting the votes were accepted, it could have been the easiest way to settle the crisis in Cote D Ivoire and make sure that the loser get well punished for the violence. The decision of the AU/UN/ECOWAS is a recipe for long-term instability in Cote D Ivoire.

Lessons from Cote D Ivoire imbroglio

1.       Africa’s revolutionary leaders must unite and be more innovation in their actions.

2.      There is the need for Africa to diversify its trading partners so as not to be taken hostage by a group or buyers or importers.

3.      There is the need for various African countries to be able to print and control their currency. They must speak against the wanton printing of money by developed nations and sending to them as loans just to end up strangulating them with printed pieces of papers.

4.      Africa must strive at transforming its raw material so as to end being only as a place where raw materials are exploited at no cost

5.      The African Union must be headed by a die hard pan Africanist even if various countries head remain under colonial regimes. This will make it better for solid debates and better actions.

6.      Africa must educate   its children properly especially on science, technology and patriotism. There are good managers already just that the present aristocratic and “kleptorcratic” class would not give any chance to them.

7.      Africa must make sure there is no selective justice applied because this has also been breeding ground for a lot of hatred.

8.     Those engaged in future cases of election rigging should not only have all their votes cancelled, but they should also be charged for inciting violence and killings because most election rigging  have largely resulted to violence and killings.

9.      Africa must patronise their own businesses while not ignoring foreign enterprises. The closure of foreign banks in Cote D Ivoire was indicative of the fact that Africa needs to patronise their affairs but also fight corruption in those affairs.

Listen to this.

Go Back

First, the man's name is Ouattara,not Ouatara.
Second, the rebellion started in 2002 and not 1999. Before talking of another country's issues, get your facts straight!



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