Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cote d'Ivoire: News from Abidjan

So, I am not Ivorian, but Cote d'Ivoire (also known as Ivory Coast) has a very specil place in my heart, as it is a place where I had sme of the best times of my life. Cote d'Ivoire always was like a beacon of hope, and an example to follow, in ethnic harmony, and path to economic development. And then, someone had to come up wth this - IMHO - ludicrous notion of "Ivoirite", which basically started somewhat of a hunt against those Ivorians of Mandinka, Malian and Burkina Faso descent - and generally Muslim. Someone had devised that somehow they were less Ivorian than the Akan, Bete, Baoule, and other coastal - and generally Christian - people.

And all this started because people - I will namely point at the government of Henri Konan Bedie, who was president at the time - were afraid of their potential defeat against a person of Mandinka descent: Former Ivorian PM Alassane Ouattara, and his RDR party. And so they started a witch-hunt against him, and it blew out of proportions, to include all the people, that make up much of the North of the country. To cut the story short (learn more here), this led to a military coup, the election of a regime that pursued that pursued the "Ivoirite" policy, and an insurgency that divided the country in two zones: The south controlled by the government of Laurent Gbagbo, and the north controlled by the rebel New Forces of Guillaume Soro. The latter had refused to go to Abidjan, due to a fear for his life, despite the fact that his movement is technically a member of the current compromise institutions. This has just changed.
BBC NEWS | Africa | Ivorian rebel returns to Abidjan

"Ivory Coast's New Forces rebel leader Guillaume Soro has travelled to the country's economic capital for the first time in more than a year.

Mr Soro controls the northern half of Ivory Coast after he launched a rebellion in September 2002.

Abidjan remains in the hands of forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo.

Mr Soro had refused to return to Abidjan since he fled when his rebels came under attack from forces loyal to Mr Gbagbo in October 2004.

He said that his security could not be guaranteed, but was persuaded to change his mind by a slight improvement in the political situation in Ivory Coast."
Also in the news, former President Bedie (cited earlier) has been given a mandate by his party [in FR], to run for President. Present at the ceremony... none other than Alassane Ouattara!! Now, they are officially allies, under the banner of both being recipients of the legacy of the country's founding father, Felix Houphouet Boigny.

I appologize in advance to all the Ivorians for immiscing myself in their matters, but this just goes to prove that the "Ivoirite" policies are exacly the kinds of "divide and conquer" situations that make it possible for such neo-colonial powers such as France et al, to continue to have a stranglehold over our economies, and our resources. From a beacon of hope, Cote d'Ivoire has now become a cause for concern and apprehension. Something tells me that is not a good thing. When one knows how Africa's borders were drawn, and how Ivory Coast was built, such "xenophobic" policies are extremely misguided, very counterproductive, and should be sent to History's shredder.


Brian said...

I'd like to thank you for naming Konan Bédié's regime as that responsible for opening the Pandora's Box of xenophobic Ivoirité that's destroyed the country. I truly believe Konan Bédié should be tried and imprisoned for treason.

His alliance with Ouatarra is ironic since when he was head of state, his harassment of Ouatarra and the RDR was a major cause of the alienation that lead to the civil war. That Ouatarra has aligned with him sadly demonstrates that's he's as much an unprincipled opportunist as the rest of the lot.

TheMalau said...

Well, one has to survive politically, right?..

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