Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can A Nation Destroy Herself? Cote D'Ivoire On My mind!

We have a proverb in Nigeria,that it is in the daytime,while it is light,that you look for a black goat. This is because black goats usually blend in with the darkness.

Some years ago, I was a consultant for the World Bank's mission for one month. I was to do some work that would involve travelling from Lagos,Nigeria, to Abidjan, in Cote D'Ivoire. (It does not mean I am one specially intelligent person,the World Bank,for some queer reason,calls every contractor that works for it,a consultant. It felt good then, but these days I know better than to call myself one)

The trip enabled me to spend one week in CoteD'Ivoire, I remember visiting Bassam,Bonoua,Aboiso, Abidjan, and  other major cities.

Despite the trip being a World Bank affair, we could not visit the Northern part of the country then. That was because of the conflict over Alassane Ouattara's, ban from contesting the country's presidency. 

In Africa,your family could live in a place for three hundred years,and still be regarded as settlers! We never let go of atavistic tags,no matter how ridiculous,and silly they might be. 

Because we have refused to  let go of the past, we are unable to enter the present, let alone the future. We have become like an insect entombed in amber!

We find this at play in many parts of Africa. Some people,in this century, are still regarded as outcasts, or settlers!

They cannot  marry indigenes, they go to a different stream, they buy from a different market. Kenya has it's Luo tribes, and Nigerians in Eastern Nigeria, have the Osu caste.

It is similar to the caste system in India. In Ouattara's own case,he hails from the Northern part of the country,and that had never been an issue. he had worked with the IMF, and the Francophone Central Bank,all appointments that one's country usually has a hand in making possible. 

It was when he sought to become president,that somebody now remembered that he was not from Cote D'Ivoire. They claimed he was from their neighbour from the North,Burkina Fasso! At one point it was claimed that only one parent was from the country,so the mischief makers rushed a law through parliament disqualifying him. The law stated that for one to be president,both parents must be born in Cote D'Ivoire.

The act led to a protracted,and vicious, civil war, and a constant state of war in the country!

Everywhere we went then we saw tanks on the streets, and soldiers in full battle gear!

Our ability to obfuscate the truth, is legendary.   At one point,the country was divided into two,the North on one side,and the South on the other.

It has taken more than ten years of continued injustice,to get to this point:the elections. 

This was supposed to be the anodyne for the crisis,but it looks like this is the final crisis that may lead to the partitioning of our beloved Didier Drogba's country!

The first sign of trouble was when a member of the president's party,in full glare of the world's media,tore the election reports about to be read by the election umpire. The results showed that the opposition candidate,Alassan Ouatara had won the elections. 

Undeterred,the electoral body, went ahead to declare the winner. 

We all rejoiced, but it was a fleeting joy.

The constitutional court, voided the elections in all the major area where Ouatara was strong,this was what finally gave Gbagbo victory.

And there is anger in the land; even foreign heads of governments,have have recognized the election of Alassane Ouatara; Laurant Gbagbo, the incumbent, has been intransigent!

The not so funny part of the whole imbroglio, is the fact that they have both sworn themselves in as president!

Un pays, deux presidants!

Ouatara has been patient for so long, and I doubt if he would yield any ground now.

 As usual, a spineless Africa Union has dispatched Thabo Mbeki, I suspect he would come up with another African solution.  

The original one we have seen many times, share the position. Make Gbagbo President, and Ouatara Prime Minister. 

Does that sound familiar? Of course it should, it was the solution in Zimbabwe, they used it in Kenya, and I bet the template is already out in Cote D'Ivoire!

Why do Africans think it is proper to appease the bully,and deny the just? 

What then is the purpose of an election? Should the African Union not be insisting on the enforcement of the people's mandate, instead of looking for the peace of a crocodile's pool?

Every time we behave like this, we tell the rest of the world that we are not ready yet,to join the civilized world!

(If you are reading this on Faceboo, you can read more at www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

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