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Contents NEW AFRICAN The bestselling pan-African magazine, founded in 1966
FEBRUARY 2011 ISSUE 503 WWW.AFRICASIA.COM
8 CÔte d’Ivoire
The reporting of the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire by the international media has, as usual, skirted the crux of the matter – the quiet struggle behind the scenes between President Laurent Gbagbo and the former colonial ruler, France. Here, we tell the story behind the story.
LETERS 5 Your news and views
Côte d’Ivoire 8 The story behind the story 14 What others say 16 The UN has failed Côte d’Ivoire
FEATURES 20 Tunisia: Lessons from the uprising 24 Tunisia: The Facebook revolution 26 Tunisia: A welcome revolt 28 Nigeria: The gladiators finally emerge 30 Sudan: The people can’t wait REFLECTIONS 34 Losing my soul THE INTERVIEW 36 Paul Boateng:
‘One day, Britain too will get its own black PM’
NA MARKET 44 Zimbabwe: ‘Come and invest with us’
FOCUS 46 Africa emerging as oil and gas superpower 47 Ghana: Making oil a blessing
GUEST COLUMNS 50 ‘I am not black, I’m brown’ 52 Why Africans want the
WHO director-general position
NEM TRE 54 Taking on Usain Bolt
SPORT 56 CAF Awards: Hail the king of kings! THE ARTS 60 Africa celebrates at
World Festival of Black Arts 64 The witches of Gambaga 70 Nollywood: Pirates beware! TRIBUTE 72 Goodnight, Harold Smith
BACK TO THE FUTURE 74 Côte d’Ivoire: Strange bedfellows Readers’ views Letters
Nigeria: Is Jonathan blundering on foreign policy? As a concerned Nigerian living in the diaspora, my attention is drawn to President Jonathan’s recent foreign policy blunders.
Soon after the World Cup, he naively announced that he was pulling Nigeria out of all FIFA engagements for two years. He disgracefully backtracked on this decision a few days later. At the very onset of Côte d’Ivoire’s political stalemate, following the recently disputed presidential elections, Jonathan, as ECOWAS Chairman, again naively committed himself to backing a military ousting of Gbagbo. Ghana, with greater wisdom, has refused to support the military option.
Recently, a UK-based Nigerian said he was part of a diaspora organisation that supported Jonathan on the grounds that those who are out there (in the West) know who Western leaders want to do business with. This sounded like a revelation that the West is willing to do business with Jonathan because he has not shown the capacity to challenge them.
Last October Jonathan’s vice-president, Namadi Sambo, while on a visit to the United Kingdom said it would be right to make Nigeria a G20 member. Sambo submitted that the G20 consists of the most industrialised economies of the world but fell short of admitting that Nigeria is clearly not so industrialised.
Nigeria needs a leader who can stand up to the West so that recent unscrupulous deals such as those of the Netherlands’ Shell, Germany’s Siemens and the US’s Halliburton on the back of government infiltration could be prevented. Thus far, President Jonathan appears a long way off from demonstrating this capacity.
At a time when the global balance of power is changing comprehensively and given Nigeria’s interest in becoming a UN Security Council permanent member, representing Africa, Nigeria cannot afford to take such foreign policy blunders for granted!
Zionson Eyo via email adly ignorance still exists The reader who wrote in response to your article on “The Asian Tigers” made the supposedly enlightened point that the US at that time [in the Cold War era] was more preoccupied with combat-
President Goodluck Jonathan speaks at the UN
ing the advance of communism to worry about “out of the way” Africa.
May I enlighten him in turn by reminding him that the US was very much busy and hard at work in Africa at the same time, as it was hard at work in the Far East. Busy with exactly the same agenda.
What does the writer think apartheid South Africa was all about, or the UKbacked Ian Smith-led Southern Rhodesia government? Does he know what was behind the proxy wars in some African countries, which were conducted in the name of “fighting communism”? Didn’t the US and UK in fact join forces with white South Africa, not only to “fight communism” but to suppress the freedom and sovereignty of the country’s majority black people. The agenda was no more, and no less, present on the African continent than it was in the East.
I draw comfort from a young Tanzanian friend of mine who recently returned from a visit in Europe, where he says white people routinely asked him if he was from Jamaica because he was black. That is the level of ignorance that still exists among the people of this so-called “first world”.
lan Barnard Dar es Salaam, Tanzania et Africa revisit some OAU principle In his commentary piece, “Mediating Peace” [NewAfrican,December2010], Onyekachi Wambu made reference to the fact that some of the key founding provisions for the OAU and its sibling current organisation the AU are becoming irrelevant to the current state of Africa’s physical and economic decolonisation/ neo-colonial emancipation. He then cites Western Sahara as being the final state within Africa pending decolonisation. But here he has erred: what about the situation in places such as Zanzibar, the Comoros, la Reunion, Puntland and the Diego Garcia–Chagos archipelago [aka the British Indian Ocean Territories], which have not attained their physical emancipation?
All of these areas share some of the same current dilemmas as Western Sahara in terms of terra firma liberation. Despite recent political elections in two of the states mentioned above, their physical integrity and their presence within the African Union sphere is still quite questionable. In the Comoros, Mayotte considers itself more a part of France than the Comoros islands and has elected to become a French overseas territory similar to Reunion. Anjouan island was only recently forced to remain within the Union of Comoros via an AU intervention force and the removal of Mohamed Bacar, who was attempting to destabilise the government of Ahmed Abdallah Sambi. Reunion is not more than 500km from Mauritius and sits between Madagascar and Mauritius, but it is tied to France. Why? Reunion is an African nation in all but name, governance and monetary instruments of exchange. How can Africa maintain and control its East African maritime border security given this French presence in what are definitely African territorial constituencies?
Having made this assessment, I do not think as Africans we should abandon some of the OAU founding principles just yet as they still have more palatable fruits to bear for the benefit of the people. Perhaps, once we have achieved total liberation, both physical and economic, we [as Africans] might be in a better position to mediate peacefully with all African countries for the good of the continent as a whole.
K Felix Mjumbe
New African February 2011 | 5