Ivory Coast & Tunisia- Africa in its latest tantrum
Much ink is being spilled over the cradle of humanity again as Tunisia and Ivory Coast headline the news. This almost forgotten continent desperately continues to aspire for a sustainable stability of its governance and eventually a perpetual peace. But instead turmoil and political instability remain the emblematic figures in the African news. Is there an invisible hand that operates in clandestine to destabilize the African continent? Or it is simply the African himself who is the main cause of his constant misery?
Precarious peace is one of the major characteristics of the African continent. Yesterday was Rwanda, Sudan and Congo, to name a few, today in the frontline we have Ivory Coast and Tunisia. Electoral period is a time of high tension in many countries with a fragile democracy. The famous football player Didier Drogba’s country has shown no exception to that. Accepting defeat is not just a sporting act, but also rather a democratic act, especially in politics. Today Africa has gotten its first and only country with legally two officially sworn presidents: Ivory Coast. On one side the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, who categorically refused to concede defeat, and on the other side, the unfortunate winner and newly elected president, Alassane Ouattara, who is so helpless and powerless that he can barely count on assistance from the international community and Ivory Coast’s local supporters. But his aspirations face fierce resistance from Gbagbo’s camp.
As Ivory Coast is on the verge of bursting, in the Maghreb, the Tunisian number one citizen has abandoned power and run for his life. This time not an issue regarding election, but people suddenly forced the regime into an immediate change of institutions. Indian religious and national apostle, Mahatma Gandhi, once declared: ”When people become aware that the laws that govern their society are unjust and arbitrary, the have the duty of revolting and fight them”. Hence an unusual outcry shook the Tunisian nation. Knowing that history may repeat itself, a careful man should see danger from far. Thus, to probably avoid the same fate as for example the former Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, on Christmas day 1989, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali amply packed his belongings and escaped to Saudi Arabia.
There is indeed a common point in these two quandaries that currently is prevalent in the black continent. In both cases the West is being accused for involving itself in these two countries political affairs. Gbagbo’s side accuse the West, as part of their neo-colonialism strategy, of willing to appoint a marionette president as head of the Ivorian state so that they can manipulate him in the benefit of their interests. Large demonstrations among Ivorians of diaspora was organized to support President Gbagbo and protest against the violation of the Ivorian national sovereignty. On the other side, Tunisia is simply depressed of a president who has clung to power for over two decades (5 mandates through rigged elections). Who for them is a protégé of the West like many other African marionette leaders placed in power by the West for the interests of the West, while their own countries sink into misery. But what about the outcome of the elections in Ivory Coast? Was there any fraudulence about the result? About Gbagbo’s shenanigans as he wants to circumvent the article 35 of the Ivorian constitution which states that a president may not serve for more than two terms?
The Bible says ”the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), I also find that the love of power is the source of most conflicts that are prevalent in Africa. We can well deplore the American hegemony, which I even see as similar to ancient Rome. It is obviously evident to condemn the West tempering with Africans nations sovereignty. But the African himself has to learn to build a solid democracy and be able to meet the core values of democracy such as justice, freedom and equality, among others.
by Serge Mukiele