Ivory Coast: Not Another War Please..!

Adeola Aderounmu

Again, Ivory Coast is singing the war tunes. When will Africa be tired of this rubbish?

Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of the election by the Electoral Commission. But now Laurent Gbagbo has been declared the winner by the Constitutional Council after some polls from the North of the country were cancelled.

Like several countries in Africa, Ivory Coast is divided along ethnic lines and there is discrimination (or racism in Ivory Coast). I am at a lost how and why Africans discriminate themselves. South and North of Ivory coast see one another as different and unequal.

This ethnicity problem is one of the greatest problems facing Africans. From Sudan to Nigeria, from South Africa to Ivory Coast, From Rwanda to Uganda and so on, Africans see themselves as people of different races. It’s amazing and the issue begs for the re-examination of the intelligence of the African race.

Fight for power is one thing, the attitude that one group of people have the sole right to power is another. Indeed there are allegations that this is partly due to colonialism. But what has happened to independent reasoning, deliberations and cognitive abilities of the African man since the end of colonisation. Oh, please don’t blame this one on neo-colonialism or some form of imperialism.

Africans should stop complaining. They should sit down face to face and talk sense.

The boiling point that is about to be reached in Ivory Coast is the last thing that we need now in Africa. The country has now shut down its media communication with the rest of the world. That’s a preparation for a show down that we don’t need.

Today Ivory Coast has two presidents. Tomorrow war may break out. These two presidents need to sit down and talk things out. The Electoral Commission and Constitutional Council should get involved in a joint meeting and sort out the anomalies. Votes from the north cannot be cancelled simply because Alassane Ouattarais from the North. That will amount to injustice and a recipe for war.

Alassane Ouattara, irrespective of how this dilemma ends should in the days ahead try to ensure that he uses his position to disarm the rebels in the North. If a country has rebel, the likelihood of war remains constant. Alassane Ouattara should not be seen as a rebel leader but a presidential candidate or a president if he won.

Or how on earth does he want to be a good president if he represents a rebel group and enjoy a stronghold in one part of the country and a dishonourable position in the other parts.

Ivory Coast and Ivorians must do all they can to keep the peace, spread it and enjoy their economic prosperity. Again they cannot rely on foreign governments for peace. Africa must always be told that her destiny has always been in her hands all the time. Creating pandemonium and begging for assistance or inputs from abroad will continue to escalate the woes on the continent.

Mbeki is now on ground but this will not be about him or the talks that may hit the rock. The issues are concrete: electoral processes and democratic institutions in Africa need to have sound foundations. It also involves a form of education that creates the sense of oneness among the citizens that share a common boundary. Where common boundaries are loosely defined the issue of immigration needs to be adequately polished to remove conflicts and confusions.

The future of Ivory Coast and Africa will continue to depend on the type of leadership that we get. It will also invariably depend on the followership.

Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbabgo can be sure of one thing, Ivory Coast will outlive them.