Letters Readers’ views
Why the UN role in Côte d’Ivoire lingers In reference to the article by Vijay Nambiar on page 14 of your October issue, (“The United Nations vs Mbeki”), I am not convinced the UN was impartial. It is a tribute to the standing of NewAfricanthat the UN gave a reply from such a distinguished diplomat as Mr Nambiar, but he does not disguise the fact that the UN was used by some of its permanent Security Council members to impose their choice of government in Côte d’Ivoire. Mr Nambiar says that [the former Ivorian president Laurent] Gbagbo and the Constitutional Council (CC) were disenfranchising “a large portion of the population”. This is true; it was done because so many people who were in the north of the country were NOT Ivorian citizens, and so were NOT entitled to vote in the elections and therefore, these people needed to be disenfranchised for fair elections to proceed.
This was the main basis of the dispute, and it had been agreed to resolve this question before elections. Sadly it was not resolved, instead the “international community” pressed for the holding of elections, knowing they would be unfair/rigged to give “their” candidate a win.
Which European countr y a l lows outsiders to vote in its elections? Would France, USA or Britain allow rebel or foreign troops to occupy any part of their territories, and still proceed with elections? For Mr Nambiar’s benefit, would India allow elections in Kashmir, if Pakistani troops had occupied that province? Such situations are totally unsatisfactory, but as far as the “international community” are concerned, that is good enough for Africa.
The intention of the West was to replace Gbagbo with a pro-Western government, and to this end no progress was made between 2002 and 2010 on disarming the rebels and the militias, and the country was not reunified. Gbagbo had to proceed with elections, or be accused of staying in power without a mandate, and at each stage he was swindled – not only by the West, but also by ECOWAS. Effectively the north of Côte d’Ivoire was under foreign occupation, with many of the “militia” forces not being Ivorian, but a foreign invader’s. Therefore, it was no surprise that the north voted for Outtara, and inevitably the result was open to question.
Charles Darwin, whose Theory of Evolution is under fire
In my own country there were years of violence in Northern Ireland, and regular elections did not solve any problems – in fact the green community elected greens, and the orange community elected orange representatives. The elections held probably made things worse, and peace was only attained when all communities were obliged (by the outside influences of the London, Dublin, and Washington governments) to work together. This type of approach was what was needed in Côte d’Ivoire, and was what the UN did not provide.
It was also hypocritical that the Western media described every offensive carried out by Ouattara’s forces, the UN, or by the French as being done “to protect civilians”, while action by the then-government troops was to “hold on to power”.
However, Mr Nambiar actually admits “the (UN) special representative also determined that the results produced by the Constitutional Council, which gave ‘victory’ to Mr Gbagbo were not based on facts”. I must ask, was it within the UN mandate for its representative to overrule the Council? The CC, as Mbeki stated, was the only body constitutionally empowered to determine the winner of the election, and it was overruled by the illegal intervention of the UN Security Council.
Keith Hallam London, United Kingdom
UN peacekeepers patrol the Abobo neighbourhood in Abidjan
Home values vs foreign interests Onyekachi Wambu is the most little written-about columnist in New African, yet he often raises key issues. In the November 2009 edition he posed a fascinating question: “We all know we live in interesting times. Will we as Africans seize the moment, or will we be devoured even more in the next cycle?” The part about whether Africans will seize the moment has been giving me sleepless nights since. This is what I want answered; especially by South Africa, after being buttressed by fellow African states over the years of struggle by being given sanctuary and now, being regarded as the gateway into Africa.
In “Home values, foreign interests” (Nov 2011), Wambu throws the spotlight on South Africa and notes her attempts to keep a balance between her values and foreign interests. The writer refers to “African solutions to African problems” as one of South Africa’s four attempts to “anchor herself in the global architecture”.
This is my point exactly. African solutions to African problems! Is this view prevailing in Africa or are African minds, after ridding ourselves of a physical colonialism, still enchained politically, economically and through educational philosophies to their colonial masters abroad? How did the South vote for the No Fly Zone over Libya?
Other scribes in pan-Africanist magazines seem to share Wambu’s views expressed in his question. It should engrain a pan-Africanist excitement in us, and resuscitate the ideals of our deliverers from colonial servitude, for us to achieve. We must agree that Africa has lost a leader that kept her glued together and we should hang our heads in shame that we even voted for a No Fly Zone over Libya, which was abused to bring Gathafi down and mercilessly and cold-bloodedly kill him. This barbarity makes us so un-African and is an insult to our norms and values.
Let’s keep the spirit of pan-Africanism alive and kicking. Let’s be African in body, mind and soul and rid ourselves of xenophobia and hidden hatred for one another. Let’s bury our stupid pride and arrogance.
Riverside, Qwa Qwa, South Africa
6 | Januar y 2012 | New African King Baudouin African Development Prize
The King Baudouin African Development Prize rewards individuals or organisations making an outstanding contribution to development in Africa.
The Prize strives to spotlight innovative initiatives which improve quality-of-life and empower local communities to take development into their own hands.
Value: € 150.000 Deadline for Nominations: 15th February, 2012 Nominate a candidate on our website: www.kbprize.org.
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