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The imbroglio in Cote D Ivoire: A function of servitude, corruption and unpatriotism

By Aloysius AGENDIA

I have read with a lot of interest and in different forums various stance in relations to the recent and ongoing problems in Cote D Ivoire and on the problems plaguing Africa in general. I have read also the insistence that the only solution is for Africans take their destiny in their own hands and stop blaming people.  Quite a good number of those views are true but generally, the positions that seem to apportion the blame on African ordinary citizens are wrong and do not help our cause in anyway. Does identifying the real cause of a problem constitute apportioning blame unnecessarily? I am yet to be clarified on that.  At the end of the article is my response to the stance taken by Dr.  Christopher  Fomunyoh  on the ongoing election imbroglio in Cote D Ivoire. Dr Chris Fomunyoh is  Africa Director of the National Democratic Institute and presidential aspirant in Cameroon for the upcoming polls in 2011.

 I think Africa’s problems are rooted in corruption which has its roots in incompetence, unpatriotism, servitude, gullibility and neo colonialism. I wish to use two concepts to demonstrate that many African intellectuals seem to have got it wrong and have proposed academic, intellectual, theoretical solutions from unafrican perspective but void of any tangible solution for our seemingly unending woes which many seem to refuse the real cause or causes.

 Unless we know the causes and symptoms of a disease, we cannot say with certainly if we can treat it. Antiretroviral drugs do not  treat AIDS but they reduce the impact of the disease and that is the kind of treatment many African intellectuals have been prescribing ( servitude  for food) while knowing fully well but refusing to acknowledge that the disease from which we are suffering can be cured unlike using antiretroviral drugs to treat AIDS or maintain AIDS patients.

Most African intellectuals are versed with the concepts of petty and grand corruption either in economics or political economy of nation-states and especially developing countries. Without going to nitty-gritty, while petty corruption is generalised with common citizenry, grand corruption is generalised with the major players at the higher national and international level.  Petty corruption is a factor of grand corruption and the later is overwhelmingly, if not, totally responsible for the former.

 Some African intellectuals tend to blame African problems on its common citizenry and on petty corruption. No. They got it all wrong. I however admit that common citizenry have a responsibility but which is so small.

 Petty corruption is a function of a weak system of governance which has been terribly infected by grand corruption especially that which is not for the interest of our nation, if we have to go by the adage that there is no corrupt-free society.

Combating Corruption and African renaissance.
Effectively combating corruption in Africa is inextricably linked with good governance and effective governance for the interest of our nations is inextricably linked with independence. Have most of our governments been independent?  That is the question. The answer is of course, NO. And that is where the major CAUSE, PROBLEM and SOLUTION lie.

Since the 1960s, our various colonial administrators who parade as sovereign entities, have made us live on a policy of daily survival without envisaging the future. That daily survival means making ridiculous concessions at the detriment of the masses. And what are these concessions? Ceding our sovereignty through corrupt and imperialist gestures which include economic and political contracts, treaties and agreements. It is suicidal for patriotic leaders to embark on nationalist policies for fear of being branded by the so called international media as corrupt, terrorist, dictator etc. Even Thomas Sankara did testify this.

Many African intellectuals have often looked at issues from the immediate cause of events, the micro and not at the macro levels. Many seem to fail to understand that before an immediate cause, there are remote causes. Looking at issues from an immediate cause is like trying to cure a terminal infection. They seem not to look at the news behind the news.

What drove me to write the personal reflection are the various debates on the current developments in Cote D Ivoire. Most of us are basing our conclusions on the news and not the news behind the news. Basing our conclusion on the news is misleading because, for us to have long lasting solution to our crisis, there is the dire need for a thorough analysis.

Many may see no need for Africa to create its own Independent Monetary Fund and be able to print and control its own currency without any strings to imperialist bodies like the Breton Woods. On the contrary, others think it is ok to rally behind the mafia Breton woods scheme just because we want to have food on the table. But what about good infrastructure, what about real health care, what about quality education for everybody in as much as our resources can provide?

Independence and collateral damages
Africa has to take it own destiny into its own hands and for that to be effective, there would be collateral damage. So far, the collateral damage has hit mostly Zimbabwe.  That collateral damage will come as a result of sanctions and other penalties implemented by the already rich but extremely dubious nations and their institutions in their efforts to stifle any meaning development or independent  thinking of  any African leader.

 Of course, people will die, puppets  opposition movement, terrorist organisations etc will be funded to disrupt such patriotic or nationalistic initiatives and when such puppets are silenced the same so called INTERNATIONAL institutions will parade it in their media as human right abuses without knowing or refusing to acknowledge that the use of their already powerful military and economic might to under develop developing countries is the most horrible human right abuse and crime against humanity

I am not in any way doing a blame game here but, we must be clear. Africa has never been independent. What happened in the 1960s was that the colonial masters left but placed their stooges who have the military and economic might and have been dealing with their people.  If you deny this, then it means you also deny that no under dealings exists under the masonry and destructive imperialist body known as France-Afrique, IMF, World Bank etc.

 Some can call it a conspiracy but note that before the revelations by Wikileaks, any contrary opinion on US policy was considered a conspiracy theory just as it was before the invasion of Iraq. When leaks would be made on “private” discussions between African leaders and CEO of multinationals, foreign politicians etc then the “denialists” will get to understand that virtually all of the continent is still ruled by vampires who masquerade as leaders

Arguments of some African intellectuals corroborate most of the views that since we have something to eat, let us continue to play the second fiddle. I think as an intellectual, one is being dishonest and not serving the continent anyway in adopting such a position.  I strongly believe such line of thought may be IMF-UN Security Council capitalistic line, which may have been influenced by our educational, working environment, elitism, social acquaintance or something like that.

  Any African who thinks towards those lines  may be an intellectual but in my opinion, he or she lacks that spirit to salvage this continent unless one will have to make a 390 degrees turn from the mundus operandi of those institution which is nothing  but  protecting the interest of the rich. I am not saying we boycott these institutions, No. I believe we cannot exist in isolation. However, we can be part of it but make our position known and we apply that position with respect to our national or continental interest. The EU does just that but the AU is still lagging behind because various countries which make up that institution are still not independent.

The case of Cote D Ivoire

Take a look at Cote D Ivoire, the country whose current news sparked this debate.  Since 1960, the country was under a dictator who place the interest of the colonial master (France) first and that of his nation second. The benefit of such a position was that his country was relatively peaceful but to say it was economically prosperous even based on UN facts would be a farce because proof of this, during the more than 3 decade rule of Houphouet Boigny, the country could not boast of any viable medical facilities reason why Mr Boigny himself did his medical consultations out of the country. The country was regarded to be stable and prosperous only based on the fact that the people had “enough” to eat and there was no outside sponsored rebellion to create tension and panic. But in terms of health care, housing, infrastructure, technology etc the country remained as undeveloped as the word undeveloped itself.

 I hardly ever envelop myself in statistics either given by government, UN or related bodies alone. For academic interest, I can do so. However, for pragmatic reasoning, one must read official and unofficial positions and opinions to make any valid conclusion.  It is therefore an aberration to called Boigny a Pan Africanist because he shares the greater blame of what is happening in Cote D Ivoire today and by extension the instability in other African nations like Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso etc.

Different sources claim that although almost dead, Boigny was behind the change of constitution not to allow the PM (Alasane Ouatara) take over the country. Others say Konan Bedie at the time House Speaker was responsible. In view of the   the confusion  between two Houphouetists as Ouatara and Bedie now call themselves (both are essential elements of  France-Afrique and who wanted  or want to continue to France-Afrique relationship with Cote D Ivoire continuing to play the second fiddle)  it was in this confusion that Laurent  Gbagbo had more impetus. So when Bedie was overthrown and Guei subsequently lost the election and fled after a popular uprising, Gbagbo came on stage.

The arrival of Gbagbo on stage meant a break to the France-Afrique privileged relationship. But how could this be stopped? Fund a rebellion. It was at that juncture that a foreign back rebellion with France and Ivoirian Ouatara financed it to destabilise the situation. (The testimony of one of the former Rebel commander Zasso Patrick is there as proof though the so called international community does not want to acknowledge it). During the 10 years that Gbagbo has led Cote D Ivoire he has not been able to implement a single real policy for the full interest of the country because of the presence of the French backed rebels in his government.

 The worst mistake of Gbagbo was to accept UN peace keepers or not to have kicked out the French forces immediately he took over power in 2000. It was within the first two years of his tenure that Ouatara and the French in collaboration with their France Afrique stooge in Burkina Faso ( widely believe to have murdered nationalist Thomas Sankara) supplied the rebellions with, logistics, finance and ammunition.

The United Nations came in but as usual, just as in Congo Kinshasa, in 1960; they failed in their principal mission which was disarmament of rebels. Again I blame Gbagbo for holding elections when the rebels were not yet disarmed. However Gbagbo had been thinking that elections would give him a victory and with such legality and legitimacy, he would then enter full scale implementation of his policies. There, he was short-sighted. His sincerity to organise fair elections was botched by the massive UN/French protected rigging in the north of the country under the framework of bringing Ouatara to power and ensuring a continuity of the Boigny era of government which is France first Cote  Ivoire second.

However, Gbagbo whose Constitutional Council hinged  on the apparently badly planned rigging machinery of  Ouatara and his rebels,  capitalised on the fraud and another error of the Pro Ouatara Electoral Commission to cancel elections in France,  to totally annul both votes in France and North of Cote D Ivoire.  Basing on constitutionality of the Constitutional council itself Gbagbo was declared winner and now does not want to relinquish power.

Even in conducting a rerun, Gbagbo and his allies are still not sure of victory. Not because they do not think that they do not have voters but, because the north is still firmly in control of the rebels and all ingredients are in place to rigged again and give Ouatara his victory even by the slightest margin.

It was very surprising for me to see that US president Barack Obama, a constitutional law professor and former senator himself dismissed the position of the Ivoirian Constitutional Council when in the year 2000 the exact scenario happened in his back yard.  Where was he when opposition manifested against their stolen victories in favour of France in Togo and   Gabon? Against that background I tell you, America, France etc are nowhere to give people lessons on democracy. May be Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, New Zealand or Switzerland may offer some meaningful advice but not any of those blood-thirsty so called super powers.

Now that the issue is no longer at the level of the interest of Ivoirians but by lobbying at the international level and led by  capitalist corporations, Rosicrucians, Freemasons and  the Illumunati,  the sovereign people of Cote D Ivoire may have to end up losing the battle.

The country is now at crossroads. Who are those responsible for the impasse? ...And in that order   they include; late Houphouet Boigny, France,  Ouatara and his rebels, Bedie, the United Nations, Gbagbo and to some extent, the Ivorian citizenry for not standing so firmly for their interest. It is no blame game.

Now, if Ouatara is imposed on Ivoirians, the ramifications would be far reaching and disastrous. Primo, there would be more deaths because of the resistance of Ivorian for the so called international community to impose their choice on them. Secondly in the shortest run, the rebels backing Ouatara now at some point, a group of the rebels will feel cheated and create their own faction. The people of the South especially those of Bedie who are presently in a marriage of inconvenience with Ouatara and his rebels may create their own splinter group. The nationalists of Gbagbo will certainly have their own group or multiple groups of fighters whom we may want to generally refer to all the various groups as rebels with a terrorist and super rebellious government of Ouatara on top at the time. That is how Cote D Ivoire may become a banana republic. Why? Mostly because of the high level of grand corruption perpetrated by Houphouet Boigny and France at the expense of his people.

Solution for the Cote D Ivoire Impasse.

The UN, if this time around should be trusted should in concertation with the actors in the field investigate the fraud allegations as senior statesman Jerry Rawling said. It may well conduct a rerun i disputed areas with extreme measures to counter any rigging. If not, let the legal, constitutional and seemingly legitimate government of Gbagbo reign. Let the UN troops remain with mission to disarm the rebels before the next elections. Let French troops pull out completely. If the UN knows that it will not be able or willing to disarm the rebels, let them leave and allow Ivoirians to take care of the situation themselves.


There is every reason for us to worry in Cameroon because we have a puppet regime just as that of Houphouet Boigny was. ...And if not carefully managed, we may have a similar situation. But what makes us different from Cote D Ivoire is that we do not have any armed rebels in the country. At least as of now, no group has come up.
How can we then prevent any worst situation? First, Cameroonians must say no to any external forces which want to arm any rebellion to get rid of the puppet and super corrupt regime in Yaoundé.  Funders of rebellions are not philanthropists of freedom fighters, they can only destabilise our nation. We must not accept under any circumstance foreign troops in our country be they from any country or UN. For the record, such troops have always caused more harm than good. The case in point is UN troops in Cote D Ivoire and those currently in DRC and even the AU troops in Somalia (Let Somalians form the kind of government they want. If they want Sharia in their country, it is their business).

The day Cameroonians themselves will take over the current neo colonial government without any foreign help is the day we shall get our independence. Then, we must cut the umbilical cord with colonial masters or reduce it to the minimum. We must control the printing and circulation of our currency or we work in unison with a stronger African Union with a better economic vision for the continent. The process is gradual and we shall get there just as France liberated itself from Louis XVI, the Iranians from the Shah regime etc.


My Response to Dr Chris Fomunyuh

Dear Dr. Chris Fomunyoh,
 I want to thank you for your explicit position. For a presidential aspirant like you, your view on issues like this is a MUST READ for people like us. 
However, for you to begin by subtly "castigating" the views of Jerry Rawlings may make some readers sceptical of your approach or, rightly or wrongly believe that you have already taking sides. (Un)Fortunately, that is clearly seen in the presentation of your own facts. Why do I say so Dr Chris? Let's forget the issue of history and externalities which you rightly raised in your post. I have some issues with your approach, stance and presentation of your own facts.

1. For you not to acknowledge that the Electoral Commission was pro Ouatara just as you did acknowledged that the Constitutional Council was pro Gbagbo is also testimony that you give facts which are convenient to you.

2. For you not to even make mention of the error of the Electoral Commission to annul results in France but allow fraud in the North of the country to go ahead again adds to the fact that your approach is problematic.

3. On the certification for you not to also acknowledge that it was clearly stated in the same agreement that the Certification those not substitute Institutions of Ivory Coast is also worrying from my point of view.

4. Instead of siding and declaring Ouatara winner as you assert in your post, ( Not too surprised with your choice though) because I think personal interest and ambition are first, I think you could have concluded that it was better the Electoral Commission to cancelled both elections in some parts of the north of the country and in France.  In that case, the EC would have looked independent.

5. For you not to acknowledge that the Electoral Commission was suppose to work on consensus (as stated by agreement) and not a majority in the EC validating fraud is also perplexing

6.Dr Chris says externalities and history should not be brought in as we look at the current electoral impasse in Cote D Ivoire. However, Dr. Chris himself goes to externalities and history by attributing an old quote to Laurent Gbagbo in which the latter boasts of appointing his personal friend as the head of the country's Constitutional Council . That not withstanding, Dr Chris does not go into the same line of externalities and attribute an old quote to Ouatara in which he had said Cote  D ivoire be placed under the UN mandate and titulage as if Cote D ivoire was still a UN trust territory or a colonial entity. The results are now clear why he preferred the UN just as it can be argued too that the result are now clear since Gbagbo wanted his men at the CC

7. Dr Chris sees absolutely nothing wrong for the EC do delcare the provisionary results  out of the EC headquarters but at a hotel where UN forces, the rebels, Ouatara and Bedie had already taken siege as their strong hold.

8. Dr Chris sees absolutely nothing wrong  for the President of the Electoral Commission to declare the provisionary results without other members of the Electoral Council.

9. Dr Chris sees absolutely nothing wrong  with the mad rush of the UN representative to take side.

10. ( Dr)You would have again added that it would have been better for the Constitutional Council to cancel both elections in some parts of the North of Ivory Coast and in France then organise a rerun. During, this rerun, extreme measures would be taken to make sure that the vote is free and fair. 

All the facts presented by Dr Chris are correct but they are half truths and do not enable someone to make an informed opinion. Such a stance,  though it directly concerns but  Cote D  Ivoire and not Cameroon, may only tear Cameroonians apart  especially those who had some hopes in you. 

I am therefore very disappointed by your stance though not really surprised. 

You know   the esteem to which you are regarded by these international institutions and for you to issue such a stance is beyond my imagination. I suppose it was written by your communication officer and you might not have had time or enough time to thoroughly read through it and think of the ramifications of such a stance.

 Furthermore, i consider your position an international publicity stunt  to garner more support and  attention from those who claim to called themselves the international community However, i would only hope that you make a U-turn when you get to office but i wonder because with such moves/declarations  which may likely cost you substantial voters in Cameroon, you may only get to office through foul play just as Biya has remained there through foul play and also as Ouatara wants to also get to office through foul play..

And as you aspire to seek for the supreme office in Cameroon, I would only give you my support on grounds that you promise to put a halt to deadly, suffocating capitalism and GRAND corruption in Cameroon. Furthermore, that you give back Cameroon to Cameroonians and make sure Cameroon first and the rest of the world second. Any previous agreements that do not seek to benefit Cameroon first should be reviewed

Dr Chris must note that as he vies for the presidency of Cameroon and if he eventually become president and wants to work for the interest of Cameroon, you must carefully  implement nationalistic policies. With the implementation of such policies you would meet very stiff opposition from outside, the press, the opposition and even within his own camp.  You must note that most of those opposition would be sponsored from outside and as such you must therefore develop some think skin to implement policies which will be of beneft to Cameroon first especially in the long.

With the implementation of ruthless or strigent policies for the interest of Cameroon, you would be called a dictator, human right abuser, terrorist etc. You must be ready to even face unjustified sanctions Nationalism is not for frail minds.

Any measures other than these, may just be the continuation of the current Biya status quo with same policies but a change of people at the top.

True and lasting peace can only come to Ivory Coast if a rerun of the disputed elections in areas concerned is made and, if EXTREME measures are taken to contain FRAUD.

Good luck in your efforts.

I thank you.

Aloysius AGENDIA

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