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Congo 1961- Cote D’Ivoire 2011: Lessons from the UN, European backed coup d ‘etat

By Aloysius AGENDIA

Just as in 1961 when the Congolese nationalist and Pan Africanist Patrice Lumumba was arrested with the complicity of Belgian forces and UN troops and handed over to  Moise Tshombe, and subsequently killed under the auspices of CIA, Belgian forces and neo-colonial agent, Mombutu Seseko, on April 11, 2011 the president of Cote D Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo was overthrown by French troops in an assault at his residence that also included UN troops and rebels forces of Alasane Ouattara. This coup d ‘etat was the completion of the earlier failed coup d’état of 2002 and 2004.  Just as President Laurent was being humiliated on television, two French ships were already about leaving Abidjan sea port with millions of barrels of oil. And that is just the beginning of another drama that risk making Cote D Ivoire take the shape of DRC today i.e. a banana republic.  That is certainly not my wish.

It was definitely a very sad day for me and all those who have been longing for an end to servitude, to see an elected president humiliated by allies of a bloody power hungry man has been behind the instability in Cote D Ivoire since the death of Felix Houphouet Boigny.  After the November 2010 disputed polls, if a recount of the votes or was done as suggested by the Laurent Gbagbo the Ivorian crisis would not have prolonged. However the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ki moon Ban described any recount as “injustice”. This reaffirmed the resolve of the UN and France to imposed Ouattara as the leader of the junta in Cote D ivoire.

France with over 5000 troops in Cote D Ivoire though officially said to be only 1600, piloted the arrest which had been preceded by weeks of air strikes and bombing of both civilian and military targets. The strikes led to the death of thousands of people. France and UN troops had initially helped the rebel forces of Alasane Ouattara pushed from their north strong hold to the south of the country.

In their assault on the south, the rebels massacred thousands of people in Doukoue and its environs. The UN some political oriented human right organizations and other allied media like BBC, France 24, AFP tried to cover up the massacre but they were exposed by the Catholic NGO, CARITAS. Since then, they have been struggling to share the casualties between Laurent Gbagbo and Alasane Ouattara.

The arrest of Laurent Gbagbo still creates a vacuum because he is the legitimate, legal and constitutional president of Cote D Ivoire. The UN and France are making moves to brush aside the constitution of Cote D Ivoire and install the civilo-military junta led by Alasane Ouattara, a former IMF cadre.


The end of President Laurent Gbagbo is definitely tragic because throughout his life he has represented peace and democracy in Cote D Ivoire. He was certainly not a saint but his vision for his country clashed with the hitherto servitude role his predecessors had played. That was the start of his problems with the colonial master France.  For eight years, he was not power but no in power and the 2010 elections were supposed to clear the dust. It against this reason that France was bent on either seeing Gbagbo out or his presidency tainted again as had been for the last 8 years.

However, there is one thing that African countries especially Francophone African countries must learn from the tragic events in Cote D Ivoire. African countries must immediately leave or think about leaving the CFA legal tender which has been taken hostage by France and being used to exploit Africa countries.

African countries must not accept the continuous presence of foreign military bases in their countries as France has used it military bases in various African countries to arm rebels to oppose regimes which do not respect it offers. In some cases, they have used their military presence to support oppressive regimes which “comply”.

African countries must diversify their trading partners beyond EU. The ban by EU on trade with Cote D Ivoire after the sanctions proved damaging for Cote D ivoire because even essential medication could not be bought.  Many Ivoirians died because of lack of medication which the EU refused to sell. African nations must then diversify their trading partners to include several Asian and Latin American countries. No area, country or region should be made indispensable. African must improve economic cooperation among themselves.

African countries must work towards moving from suppliers of raw materials to suppliers of semi finished products or even finished products.  Cote D Ivoire was badly hit because of its total reliance on foreign made products. We understand that the desire to begin transforming cocoa products was among the many grievances France had against Laurent Gbagbo.

African countries should never allow any form of military intervention in its various nations be they UN or regional bodies. The UN has woefully failed to help the world maintain any peace and that organization needs to be seriously overhauled.

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