France And The Ivory Coast-The Empire Strikes Back

By Dr. Gary K. Busch

Currently there is an impasse in the runoff of the Presidential elections in the Ivory Coast. The French-linked and funded electoral commission declared that Allasane Outtara won the election while the Constitutional Court declared incumbent President Gbagbo as the victor.

The ‘international community’ of Western countries, NGOS, UN appeasers, and a variety of Francafrique cowards and bed-wetters support Ouattara even though massive fraud has been demonstrated at the polls in the rebel-held North.

This result should be no surprise to anyone. There has been no effective disarmament of the tinpot rebel warlords of the North and no unification of the country in anticipation of the election. A ‘security’ dividing line between the North and the South has been maintained by the occupying French forces pretending to be U.N. troops. Even so-called peacemakers like Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso pretend to be neutral. Campaore, an unindicted war criminal with a track record of subversion, arms smuggling and war profiteering in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Cost is somehow portrayed as a neutral.

When arms were being shipped to the West African wars by Chirac and Ghadaffi they arrived at their destinations after having passed through the hands of Campaore and Tandja (who both profited on the deliveries), Ouattara, known as the “Father of the Rebellion” in the Ivory Coast was sustained by operating from a safe haven in Burkina Faso when he was not busy maintaining his close personal ties to Sarkozy’s first wife in Paris.  There was no mystery about the Ouattara-Campaore joint effort. Several hours of tapes exist which recorded the meetings called by Campaore in Burkina Faso which garnered support for Ouattara among the Northerners and actively plotted with two French military officers sent from Paris to attempt coups against the Gbagbo Government.

Voter fraud and deception was the rule in the North for over seven years. Even when the AU originally appointed Banny as the interim Prime minister ad Thabo Mbeki as the mediator the frauds persisted. President Mbeki visited the Ivory Coast and invited the warring factions to meet with President Gbagbo in Pretoria where two sets of agreements were made. These Pretoria Agreements achieved a resolution of most of the outstanding issues between the two sides, because President Gbagbo made concessions to achieve these ends. The most important point made in Pretoria was that there would be disarmament of the rebels.

This was, indeed, a requisite of the original cease-fire agreement at Linas-Marcoussis , Article 3 (g) “In order to contribute to restoring security of persons and property throughout the national territory, the Government of National Reconciliation will organise the regrouping and subsequent disarming of all forces. It will ensure that no mercenaries remain within the country's borders.”

This was agreed at Linas-Marcoussis and at Pretoria. However, no disarmament took place. The rebels agreed to disarmament plans, schedules and procedures but missed every deadline. They rejected President Mbeki as a mediator because he insisted that the rebels fulfil their agreement to disarm. To this day there has been no disarmament, despite calls by the UN Security Council.

The UN issued Resolution 1633 which extended the deadline for the election of a President from October 30, 2005 (as written in the Constitution) for another year on the basis that a free and fair election could not be held under existing conditions and created the post of Prime Minister with elevated powers. It demanded that “all the parties signatories to the Linas-Marcoussis, Accra III and Pretoria Agreements, as well as all the Ivorian parties concerned, implement it fully and without delay”. These responsibilities were clearly delineated further on in the Resolution

“14. Demands that the Forces Nouvelles proceed without delay with the DDR programme in order to facilitate the restoration of the authority of the State throughout the national territory, the reunification of the country and the organization of the elections as soon as possible;

“15. Affirms that the identification process must also start without delay;”

Since then there has been no effective progress on disarmament. This is the root of the crisis.

There was a program in place to ‘identify’ Ivorian citizens in an effort to create a current electoral roll. The question of ‘identity’ goes to the heart of the rebellion. Without a solution, there could be no elections and no serious hopes of peace between the armed camps.

Since 1993, when Henri Konan Bédié succeeded Félix Houphouët-Boigny as President, Muslim northerners have struggled to get identity papers; officials have accused them of hiding their foreign origins and abuses linked to constant identity checks have mounted. North-south tensions became personalised in the face-off between Bédié, from the south-west, and Houphouët's former Premier, Alassane Dramane Ouattara ('ADO'), who is both northern and Muslim, and a former International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director. Konan Bédié promoted the nationalist concept of Ivoirité and changed the constitution to allow only '100 per cent' Ivoirians to stand for the presidency. He claimed that Ouattara's family came from Burkina Faso and that he had faked his identity papers to hide the fact. Security agents carried on tearing up northerners' documents or made it impossible to renew them, effectively depriving them of their nationality. Bédié’s first act as President included expelling 12,000 Ivory Coast residents on the grounds that they were really from Burkina Faso. This was Bedie, not Gbagbo!.

 Banny's cabinet approved a fresh identification process, together with new identity cards and a new electoral register. Gbagbo and the FPI disagreed with the Banny program because it did not provide for disarmament in advance of the registration. This was insisted on because under the Ivorian Constitution, registration could only legally be conducted by Registrars appointed by the Institut National de la Statistique who would draw up the electoral roll and issue voters' cards. The INS was run by the Planning Minister, former FPI Finance Minister Paul Bohoun Boubre. Banny's scheme was being run by an ad hoc Office National d'Identification, which is not provided for by the Constitution. Without disarmament it was not safe for licensed registrars to visit the rebel-held North to examine the documentation of putative voters and citizens. Banny has said that a ‘village council’ could meet and make the necessary identification. Since these councils were dominated and controlled by the local rebel bands, this meant that whoever the rebels said is an Ivorian became one on the spot. Fraud becomes the byword.

In fact this type of fraud was widely reported. The National Assembly announced that the police had brought evidence which showed that the RDR (Ouattara’s party) was ‘selling’ registration documents. The President of the National Assembly, Mamadou Koulbaly, held up the purported registration of a man who claimed to be Ivorian and who used the existing documentation of a man, Sanago Aboubacar, to register. The real Sanago Aboubacar is a FPI delegate from Abobo and was very surprised to see someone else’s face on his identity document. The police reported that these false identification papers are being sold for the sum of 15 000 FCFA by the RDR village councillors in the North. The whole process is in disrepute because no one trained and licensed to perform the process of identification is able to attend these ‘village councils’. Any electoral roll prepared by this process is seriously flawed and incredible as a valid electoral roll.

The nub of the issue is that at least over half of the rebel forces grouped under the rubric “Forces Nouvelles” are not Ivoirians and never were. They were gathered as mercenaries and hired thugs by the French from Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and from the assorted other bands of riff-raff engaged in internecine warfare in West Africa. They were transported to the Ivory Coast and armed by the French, with the support and participation of Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Toure and Tandja of Mali and Niger.

There has been a peace treaty in place in the Ivory Coast since 2003. During the interval the ‘international community’ has intervened in the political process of the Ivory Coast. It has wrung concessions from Gbagbo and the FPI Government and made formal agreements with the rebel bands. To date these commitments by the rebel bands have not been implemented or enforced. The international community has been resourceful in pushing Gbagbo but has refused to deal in any meaningful way with the rebels. These rebels have not brought good government to their occupied areas. They have destroyed the infrastructure of the North. They have billeted themselves on a resistant population; stolen their houses, cars, children, jobs and opportunities. All of this has been done in defiance of the law, customary traditions and supposed UN standards. They pay no taxes; they pay no rent; they pay no customs duties. And yet, the UN and the international community has done nothing to stop them or to assist the poor disenfranchised, impoverished and supine citizens of the North

The rebels steal the cocoa, the cotton, the wood and the wool and make small fortunes which they bank in Ouagadougou. The international community, to be fair, has no love for the rebels – they have been led in their deliberations by the French who have a lot at stake in this country.

After 46 years of independence, France still controls most of the infrastructure and holds its foreign currency reserves as part of the 14-nation Franc Zone. The airline, telephone, electricity and water companies, and some major banks, are French-controlled. 'Accords de coopération', signed after Independence by the late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny and France's then Premier, Michel Debré, are still technically applicable. France maintains a stranglehold of Ivorian commerce and currency which vitiates national initiatives towards independence.

This privileged position of France is confirmed by a report from the UN Commission: "The testimony we have assembled has also enabled us to see that the law of 1998 concerning rural property is linked to the dominant position that France and French interests occupy in Cote d'Ivoire

According to these sources, the French own 45% of the land and, curiously, the buildings of the Presidency of the Republic and of the Ivorian National Assembly are subject to leases concluded with the French. French interests are said to control the sectors of water and electricity.” The report only superficially touched the dominance of French interests in Cote d'Ivoire, but they are not hard to find. Below are some of leading players of the French business class in Cote d'Ivoire:

Bollore, leader in French maritime transport and principal operator of maritime transport in Cote d'Ivoire along with Saga, SDV (Switched Digital Video) See switched video.  and Delmas, controls the port of Abidjan, the leading transit port in West Africa West Africa. Bollore also controls the Ivorian-Burkinabe railway, Sitarail. Although it has recently withdrawn from the cocoa business, it has maintained its leading position in tobacco and rubber.

Bouygues (leader in construction and public works public works) dominates Ivorian construction projects, such as highways or dams, financed by public funds and constructed by the government. Since Ivoirian independence it has been the number one company in construction and public works (we also find Colas, third-ranking firm in road building in France). Bouygues also has, through privatisation  has obtained additional concessions, control of water distribution (Societe des Eaux de Cote d'Ivoire), of production and distribution of electricity through the Compagnie Ivoirienne d'Electricite and the Compagnie Ivoirienne de Production d'Electricite. It has also been involved in the recent exploitation of Ivorian oil.

Total (the biggest French oil company) holds a quarter of the shares of the Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage Oil Refinery (number one in Cote d'Ivoire) and owns 160 petrol stations and controls the bitumen supply

France Telecom (seventh in rank among companies in France and leader in the telecoms sector) is the main shareholder of Cote d'Ivoire Telecom and of the Societe Ivoirienne des Mobiles (it holds about 85% of the capital), since concessions were granted in this sector, in the context of the privatisation of public enterprises.

In the banking and insurance sector, there is the Societe Generale (sixth bank in France--the Societe Generale des Banques de Cote d'Ivoire has 55 branches) as well as  Credit Lyonnais and BNP-Paribas. AXA (the second largest company in France and leader of the insurance sector) has been present in Cote d'Ivoire since the colonial period.

The most long-established of the French companies in Cote d'Ivoire is the Groupe Compagnie Francaise de l'Afrique de l'Ouest de Cote d'Ivoire (CFAO-CI). It operates in many sectors (cars, pharmaceuticals, new technology, etc). For a long time, CFAO monopolised exports and the retail trade, and its profits (not a single year of loss, since its creation in 1887) led to it being taken over recently by the Pinault-Printemps-La Redoute group.

There is also "the former boss of French bosses", Baron Ernest-Antoine Seilleres, through Technip (plant for the oil sector) and Bivac (which recently installed a new scanner at the port of Abidjan).

The presence of French capital is a demonstration of the profitability of Cote d'Ivoire. And although French direct investment is only Euro 3.5bn--the most profitable former state enterprises having been acquired at knock-down prices--the annual profits from this investment are enormous.

Despite the flight of some French nationals during the rebel war of recent years, French business presence in Cote d'Ivoire has returned and has recovered its former levels.

One of the most important influences in the economic and political life of African states which were formerly French colonies is the impact of a common currency; the Communuate Financiere de l’Afrique (‘CFA’) franc. There are actually two separate CFA francs in circulation. The first is that of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) which comprises eight West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The second is that of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) which comprises six Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad,  Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon), This division corresponds to the pre-colonial AOF (Afrique Occidentale Française) and the AEF (Afrique Équatoriale Française), with the exception that Guinea-Bissau was formerly Portuguese and Equatorial Guinea Spanish).

Each of these two groups issues its own CFA franc. The WAEMU CFA franc is issued by the BCEAO (Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) and the CEMAC CFA franc is issued by the BEAC (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale). These currencies were originally both pegged at 100 CFA for each French franc but, after France joined the European Community’s Euro zone at a fixed rate of 6.65957 French francs to one Euro, the CFA rate to the Euro was fixed at CFA 665,957 to each Euro, maintaining the 100 to 1 ratio. It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the French Treasury to guarantee the convertibility of the CFA to the Euro.

The monetary policy governing such a diverse aggregation of countries is uncomplicated because it is, in fact, operated by the French Treasury, without reference to the central fiscal authorities of any of the WAEMU or the CEMAC. Under the terms of the agreement which set up these banks and the CFA the Central Bank of each African country is obliged to keep at least 65% of its foreign exchange reserves in an “operations account” held at the French Treasury, as well as another 20% to cover financial liabilities.

The CFA central banks also impose a cap on credit extended to each member country equivalent to 20% of that country’s public revenue in the preceding year. Even though the BEAC and the BCEAO have an overdraft facility with the French Treasury, the drawdowns on those overdraft facilities are subject to the consent of the French Treasury. The final say is that of the French Treasury which has invested the foreign reserves of the African countries in its own name on the Paris Bourse.

The creation and maintenance of the French domination of the francophone African economies is the product of a long period of French colonialism and the learned dependence of the African states. For most of francophone Africa there are only limited powers allocated to their central banks. These are economies whose vulnerability to an increasingly globalised economy expands daily. There can be no trade policy without reference to currency; there can be no investment without reference to reserves. The African politicians and parties elected to promote growth, reform, changes in trade and fiscal policies are made irrelevant except with the consent of the French Treasury which rations their funds.

The key to all this was the agreement signed between France and its newly-liberated African colonies which locked these colonies into the economic and military embrace of France. This Colonial Pact not only created the institution of the CFA franc, it created a legal mechanism under which France obtained a special place in the political and economic life of its colonies.
The Pacte Colonial Agreement enshrined a special preference for France in the political, commercial and defence processes in the African countries. On defence it agreed two types of continuing contact. The first was the open agreement on military co-operation or Technical Military Aid (AMT) agreements, which weren’t legally binding, and could be suspended according to the circumstances. They covered education, training of servicemen and African security forces. The second type, secret and binding, were defence agreements supervised and implemented by the French Ministry of Defence, which served as a legal basis for French interventions. These agreements allowed France to have predeployed troops in Africa; in other words, French army units present permanently and by rotation in bases and military facilities in Africa; run entirely by the French.

In summary, the colonial pact maintained the French control over the economies of the African states; it took possession of their foreign currency reserves; it controlled the strategic raw materials of the country; it stationed troops in the country with the right of free passage; it demanded that all military equipment be acquired from France; it took over the training of the police and army; it required that French businesses be allowed to maintain monopoly enterprises in key areas (water, electricity, ports, transport, energy, etc.).  It is difficult to imagine what the changes were from colonial rule to today that aren’t merely cosmetic.

The civil war which broke out between the North and the South in the Ivory Coast was largely about the efforts of the Gbagbo government seeking to achieve real independence; a breakaway from the colonial dominance of the French which controlled almost every aspect of national life. He had the support of the Ivorian people. However now, after all the fighting and suffering by both sides, the current policy of Gbagbo seemed to veer away from confrontation to a policy of restoring the status quo ante; French neo-colonialism. This didn’t work. It fostered is a level of bitterness and rancour among a people who were watching the yoke placed on their necks again and, despite their current apathy and discouragement after years of fighting and sacrifice, they realised that, North and South, they had nothing to lose by sweeping the board clean of their black Frenchmen and installing genuine Ivorian patriots in their place.

Unfortunately this was not an option in the ballot. The problem with trying to rectify these problems by negotiation was that there has been a government which was at war with itself. After Linas-Marcoussis and the subsequent agreements since 2002, culminating in the Ouagadougou Agreement the Cabinet has been made up of representatives from the legitimate parties of the past (FPI, PDCI, RDR, PIT) and a bunch of jumped up warlord rebel parties. Each has had its own ministry or ministries at its disposal.  Government reshuffles didn’t change much but the cast of characters. There is no Cabinet; there is competitive anarchy. These imposed Cabinet members drew hefty salaries and expenses and rode in chauffeur-driven cars as they plotted the downfall of their Cabinet colleagues and the impoverishment of their fellow citizens. The National Assembly has not been elected since 2000 and many of the delegates are dead, dying or haven’t visited their constituencies in years. They present no hope for the populace.

Just there is lawless theft in the North the South is not much better. In the years since the rebellion the power brokers of the South have found an accommodation with the companies which thrive in the large rich harvests of cocoa and coffee. Even more importantly they have taken large pieces of the burgeoning oil and gas businesses which are expanding rapidly. A new refinery is being built. New pipelines are being connected. The rebels in the North have not had a chance to dine at those tables so feel that what they steal from the public purse is justified in comparison to what the Southern politicians are harvesting. Just as the rebels in the North are not likely to give up their piratical enterprises for a peace and national unity where they go back to being shoemakers and truck drivers; the fat cats of the South are not going to take the fast money from the business community and put that cash into roads, schools, electricity and hospitals. That is why the election is was a sham and without a clear conclusion

The French, buoyed by their successful intervention in Guinea where they managed to advance their candidate, Alpha Conde, to the Presidency, were sure that their manipulation of the voters’ roll and their protection of the Northern rebel leadership would give them an unassailable lead in the runoff election. However, the blatant vote-rigging in several Northern constituencies (where more people voted than were on the electoral roll) and where armed rebel troops surrounded the polling stations making sure that voters voted ‘correctly’ were so blatant that a real count could not be made in the requisite period. The Constitutional Court examined the situation and the voting procedures and declared that President Gbagbo was re-elected. This was in opposition to the Ouattara electoral commission which declared their man as the winner. Now there are, putatatively, two presidents. The Army remains loyal to Gbagbo, despite tasty offers from the French Army and diplomats to the Army higher echelons.

The French were able to convince the ‘international community’ (a euphemism for those who do not really want to be involved and who are satisfied with posturing) that the election results were free and fair. This is, of course, preposterous. In a country divided into two camps, occupied by a group of foreign military ’peacekeepers’ under the guidance of the former colonial master, and armed to the teeth at the same time, what kind of ‘free and fair’ are they talking about? The French used their influence on neighbouring francophone states to parrot their conclusions of ‘free and fair’. This is even more bizarre. How is it possible that the unindicted war criminals of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali who have given open support to the rebel north on behalf of their French masters are taken seriously by the international community. Their countries are economic basket cases; their leaders are despots and they govern without democratic institutions. They survive by French subsidies and what they can steal from the Ivory Coast. The rise of the Assassin of Abidjan, Michèle Alliot-Marie, to the post of Foreign Minister of France gives no comfort to anyone. It was she, as Defence Minister, who ordered the French soldiers to shoot down unarmed demonstrators at the Hotel Ivoire in November 2006 which killed sixty-eight men, women and children and wounded a thousand others.

This situation cannot last. There are always fears that there will be another military confrontation. The international community has hobbled the military preparedness of the Ivory Coast by sanctions and shooting down the Ivorian Air Force. However, there is no need for violence if the new Gbagbo Government decides to take affirmative action in dealing with the rebel North. What is needed is a bloodless and legal retaliation against the current situation. The North survives on the goodwill of the South. The time is ripe for the Gbagbo Government to insist that this is paid for as contracted. Let then shut off the water pipes to the North; let them turn off the electrical power; let the interrupt the communications links to the North; and let them stop the shipment of fuel from the South to the North. The North isn’t paying for them; they are not paying income taxes or corporate taxes; they do not pay customs duties.

Let the government act by shutting down these services to the North. Let the French bring in water, electricity, fuel and telephone links. If they want colonialism let them pay for their colonial ambitions. There is no need for war or conflict. Shut the valves and switches on a commercial basis. That will certainly bring the North and their glove puppeteers to a better understanding. France doesn’t have the funds to do this and desperately doesn’t want Francafrique to be an issue in the electoral campaign. This is the time to act.

Comments
29 comment(s)
Post a comment

Great

Thank you.
This is the only good and most forward thinking commentary of all these hatred-based accusations!

Well done!

After all the suffocating and soporific nonsense from most Western media, we should be grateful to this writer for his insightful analysis.

He has presented us with cogent arguments that should make us sit up and think. We could and should use what he presented here and cross-check them with available historical evidence (Google is our friend) and then make up our minds.

I am personally grateful to the writer because I have spent the past month arguing on my Facebook that the problem in La Cote d'Ivoire is not about evil versus good as the media is presenting it.

It is a classical case of a colonial master that won't let go. France has spent the last year intervening (46 times) to prop up dictators; why should we believe that it's today fighting for democracy for Africans.

And doing so with the likes of Compraore, Tandja and Goodluck Jonathan? Give me a break!

An excellent analysis

As a relative minority of US citizens that tries to keep up with politics in all countries, I was curious whether the corporate media and the western governments that were saying Ouattara won and Gbagbo lost were telling us the truth. When I learned that Ouattara had worked for the International Monetary Fund, I knew he had been serving globalist money powers.

I found this article to be an excellent analysis of the political situation leading up to the contested election. The French control of the African currency seems similar to how the cartel of international bankers called the Federal Reserve to a large degree controls the US economy. Today, like so many Africans most American citizens are increasingly becoming slaves to an economy heavily dominated by global monopolistic banking and corporate entities.

It is not clear to me how good Gbagbo is, but it is now clear that Ouattara is the one the neo-colonialists and globalist predators want.

An excellent analysis

As one of a minority of Americans that likes to follow politics in all nations, I was intrigued with the question of whether Ouattara really won this election, as the western media and western powers all said, or, if like George W Bush in 2000 and 2004 it was one of so many elections that get stolen, both in my country, the USA and in the rest of the world.

It took going through a lot of webpages to finally find this fine analysis of the situation in Cote D'Ivoire.

I confess that I believe that my US government, the French government, the UN and possibly most of the African governments have been corrupted to serve the global corporatocracy. I also believe that most American media, owned by very large monopolistic corporations, almost always serves the interests of the global corporatocracy, so I was suspicious when I heard that all of these western governments were saying that Ouattara won. I then learned that Ouattara had worked for the IMF. The International Monetary Fund is an arm of the global corporatocracy, so it appears that Ouattara was indeed working for the global money powers. In my search for a more accurate analysis of the situation in Cote D'Ivoire I made sure to add "IMF" to my search words.

The world's richest and most powerful bankers control the US economy and enslave the majority of the US population in part by controlling our money with the Federal Reserve. I now see how the French bankers have controlled Africa in part through control of their money in much the same way. None of this was any surprise, as I am aware of some of how neo-colonialism works. The population of the United States is now. more than ever, becoming a victim of these same globalist big money forces.

While I don't if Gbagbo is a "good guy", it is clear that the global money powers want Ouattara. This has me leaning toward the belief that his claimed victory is more likely to be the result of manipulation by western powers than the result of a truly free and fair election process.

Hang in There

Gbagbo should not yield! The french have never been up to any good in Africa, and it is not about to change in Ivory Coast. Sarkozy came to power claiming that he would end francafrique. Bongo in Gabon died, and he wasted no time to intervene and replace him with Bongo's son creating a francafrique dynasty. That was just a few months ago.

SARKOZY, the new head of francafrique, which still thinks Africa is there champs prive. Gbagbo, do not yield.

As I can see 22 comments and

As I can see 22 comments and few very few are really from africans...as I can see the Master most of you named in your comment has won.

We should be all of us united to combat against any external attack. We are not ready but ivory coast is ready for this fight against this new colonization.

Thanks Dr Gary K. Busch for your input, it was brilliant. W can argue on some points but I like the idea to tell the story by following the all process, thanks!!

Colon

As I can see 22 comments and few very few are really from africans...as I can see the Master most of you named in your comment has won.

We should be all of us united to combat against any external attack. We are not ready but ivory coast is ready for this fight against this new colonization.

Thanks Dr Gary K. Busch for your input, it was brilliant. W can argue on some points but I like the idea to tell the story by following the all process, thanks!!

Laughably Mistaken

I'm not sure whether you're merely highly mistaken or if, worse, you're some kind of paid mouthpiece of the Gbagbo regime, but your analysis is almost laughably wrong. The current problem has nothing to do with neo-colonialism; instead, the simple fact is this: his protests notwithstanding, Gbagbo lost the election and instigated a thinly-veiled coup in a vain (I hope) attempt to retain power. His slogan was "on gagne ou on gagne," meaning "we win or we win." This is a man who from the start intended to accept the poll results only if they meant victory. You mentioned a lot of things in an insanely long non sequitur which one can summarize to this:
- The French have long-standing commercial investments in Ivory Coast that they seek to protect
- Gbagbo wanted to free Ivory Coast from French power
- The current electoral mess and the preceding rebellion were both engineered by France, in order to replace Gbagbo with a more compliant pion

Sorry, but the proportion of French investments in Ivory Coast as a share of their GDP or even their total external trade is so infinitesimal that it would make no sense for them to invest so much in preserving them. Because of globalization, there is an inexorable diversification of trading partners across the world and the French are not so imbecilic as to be unable to understand this. They would not finance coups merely because a president was diversifying his country's trading partners. They would have to start lots of wars in lots of different places...

Anyway, lest people be mistaken, let me state that the rebellion was a horrible mistake: it furthered the tearing of the country's social fabric and retarded its economic and human development. But stating that the elections could never be fair because the country was divided is highly cynical at best. Why was this protestation not raised during the first turn, when Gbagbo lost? Why even participate? If there was massive fraud (that could have resulted in Ouattara getting 700,000 extra votes in the North, why did the UN not notice any of it? Or was the UN in France's pocket, too? Even when all of Gbagbo's complaints are tallied, they still fail to explain how such a wide gap in votes could have resulted from small incidents here and there (By the way, there were also many incidents in the south). Gbagbo sent troops in the north to prevent his partisans from being stopped or harassed, why were they unable to stop the alleged fraud?

You allege that the rebels prevented the results from being consolidated, but the truth is that they were known within a day a of election being held and that the presidential faction within the Electoral Commission purposely raised manufactured complaints in order to prevent the proclamation of the results within the indicated 3 days. This was done to give them an excuse to invoke the Constitution Council.

Lastly, on that Council's actions, please do not create a false equivalence between the two camps. Too many people think it makes them seem more intelligent if they proclaim a false neutrality, but the truth is that there is was a winner and there was a loser, and to fail to recognize this does a disservice to truth. But I digress... the Council can normally only be summoned by the president of the Electoral commissioned, but it somehow summoned itself. Furthermore, it can only validate or invalidate the election in its entirety. Whence did it derive the power to cancel specific regions, coincidentally, those where Gbagbo lost? Even if fraud had taken place, the law indicated that the election should be cancelled and do-over held within 45 days. What happened to that part of the law?

I'll tell you what happened. There was from the beginning a will in the presidential camp to retain power by all means necessary and excuses were found or manufactured to justify the means. If Gbagbo had needed to invalidate 1 or 2 million votes in order to proclaim his victory, he would have done so with the same degree of cynicism.

Anyway, I've written enough. Thankfully, the resolution of this conflict will not depend on people of your ilk, but on statesmen who will not condone the murder of democracy in Ivory Coast.

I'm not sure whether you're

I'm not sure whether you're merely highly mistaken or if, worse, you're some kind of paid mouthpiece of the Gbagbo regime, but your analysis is almost laughably wrong. The current problem has nothing to do with neo-colonialism; instead, the simple fact is this: his protests notwithstanding, Gbagbo lost the election and instigated a thinly-veiled coup in a vain (I hope) attempt to retain power. His slogan was "on gagne ou on gagne," meaning "we win or we win." This is a man who from the start intended to accept the poll results only if they meant victory. You mentioned a lot of things in an insanely long non sequitur which one can summarize to this:
- The French have long-standing commercial investments in Ivory Coast that they seek to protect
- Gbagbo wanted to free Ivory Coast from French power
- The current electoral mess and the preceding rebellion were both engineered by France, in order to replace Gbagbo with a more compliant pion

Sorry, but the proportion of French investments in Ivory Coast as a share of their GDP or even their total external trade is so infinitesimal that it would make no sense for them to invest so much in preserving them. Because of globalization, there is an inexorable diversification of trading partners across the world and the French are not so imbecilic as to be unable to understand this. They would not finance coups merely because a president was diversifying his country's trading partners. They would have to start lots of wars in lots of different places...

Anyway, lest people be mistaken, let me state that the rebellion was a horrible mistake: it furthered the tearing of the country's social fabric and retarded its economic and human development. But stating that the elections could never be fair because the country was divided is highly cynical at best. Why was this protestation not raised during the first turn, when Gbagbo lost? Why even participate? If there was massive fraud (that could have resulted in Ouattara getting 700,000 extra votes in the North, why did the UN not notice any of it? Or was the UN in France's pocket, too? Even when all of Gbagbo's complaints are tallied, they still fail to explain how such a wide gap in votes could have resulted from small incidents here and there (By the way, there were also many incidents in the south). Gbagbo sent troops in the north to prevent his partisans from being stopped or harassed, why were they unable to stop the alleged fraud?

You allege that the rebels prevented the results from being consolidated, but the truth is that they were known within a day a of election being held and that the presidential faction within the Electoral Commission purposely raised manufactured complaints in order to prevent the proclamation of the results within the indicated 3 days. This was done to give them an excuse to invoke the Constitution Council.

Lastly, on that Council's actions, please do not create a false equivalence between the two camps. Too many people think it makes them seem more intelligent if they proclaim a false neutrality, but the truth is that there is was a winner and there was a loser, and to fail to recognize this does a disservice to truth. But I digress... the Council can normally only be summoned by the president of the Electoral commissioned, but it somehow summoned itself. Furthermore, it can only validate or invalidate the election in its entirety. Whence did it derive the power to cancel specific regions, coincidentally, those where Gbagbo lost? Even if fraud had taken place, the law indicated that the election should be cancelled and do-over held within 45 days. What happened to that part of the law?

I'll tell you what happened. There was from the beginning a will in the presidential camp to retain power by all means necessary and excuses were found or manufactured to justify the means. If Gbagbo had needed to invalidate 1 or 2 million votes in order to proclaim his victory, he would have done so with the same degree of cynicism.

Anyway, I've written enough. Thankfully, the resolution of this conflict will not depend on people of your ilk, but on statesmen who will not condone the murder of democracy in Ivory Coast.

Respect for the Rule of Law

No sane person or African will read Gary Busch's piece and still not understanding and appreciate his depth of knowledge and handiness on the facts of the imperialists' policies of domination, exploitation and divide and rule in Africa.

How the heck in world can any sane man accept and support the extremely controversial and partisan dicision of the US Supreme Court in the 2000 US election but still question and reject another election decision by the Ivorian Supreme Court that is also extremely controversial and equally partisan?

Who ever told them that when a court renders a decision and said decision is considered as controversial or partisan, then it means all hell should break lose and the country turns to chaos? Should that prove that Americans love their country more and are more patroitic to honor a controversial election decision by their Supreme Court but that African are ignorant enough not to love their country and be equally patroitic to honor a controversial election decision by their Supreme Court?

Com'on fellow Africans, read Professor Gary Busch's piece over and over and see with your own eyes the vested economic and business interest France has rooted in the Ivory Coast.

B. Arthurson

You can blame whoever you want, meanwhile CIV is suffocating

Your blaming France, the US and the UN doesn't help anyone. Clearly roughly half the population wants Gbagbo and roughly half the population wants Ouattara+Bedie. I may believe the UN, you may believe the Constitutional Council but both is irrelevant. It's interesting to note that Abidjan was split half-way with this decision.

What's happening now is that your whole country is suffocating and you should ask no less of your would-be leaders than that this must come to an end, that a solution is found and that life in CIV can resume in a fashion that appeases both groups. And that is obviously really difficult, but it's even more important.

If the situation stays the way it is, CIV will be hit by sanctions and internal fights that will make life and a reconciliation ever harder for everyone and in the meantime Ghana's output of cocoa will grow over the next few years until your economic relevance has finally reached 0, with just a bit of oil and gold left to sell off. And that won't grow back once it's gone, you see.

The French opened fire on the

The French opened fire on the crowds in front of hotel ivoire in 2004 not 2006. A very basic error.

mulsims and islamims

Northerners and muslims all the time.

It will be better if the

It will be better if the country is split into two. I know people will be yelling that is this a bad move and it will be sending bad signals, I do not see any sign of reconciliation here.

Similar faith applies in Nigeria, Sudan. Marriage of convenience by the colonialist. What is exacerbating the issue in this country is religion intolerance as well.

South and North should go their separate ways. They are different people. Can anyone out there tell what the North and South of Ivory Coast have in common?

The day our colonial masters

The day our colonial masters decide that there will be peace and progress in Africa so it will be. Just like in Nigeria and other African countries the internal regional conflicts are a reflection of the devide and rule poilicies of their colonial masters. And they invariably take sides not out of true love for the 'lucky' section of the country but out of selfish considerations. Nigeria is what it is today becuase at independence Britain handed power not to the individuals who fought for freedom and knew how to move the country on the part of progress, but to those who actually fought against it. The reason being that by empowering the incompetent,visionless,unambitious and ofcourse docile individuals or sections of the country a stranglehold is mentained on the resources of the nation. That is why great men and true leaders like Nkrumah,Lumumba were removed by their colonial masters using non-entities and unprogressive elements. That is how men like Nnamdi Azikiwe and Awolowo, highly educated fighters for independence had to give way and Nigeria was led by Tarfawa Balewa, a grade two teacher from a section of the country with the psycho-sociological profile reqiured by the departing masters. That also is why Biafra was seen as a potential engine for the technological and economic emancipation of black Africa. Biafra was a victim of the global conspiracy against the black race,hence it was possible for cold war antagonist like Britain and Russia could work together and crush Biafra. The Ivorienes can never reconcile outside the interest of France. That is the fate of a colonized people,until a revolution occurrs like in Ghana that is now truely free.

What "lawfully elected"

What "lawfully elected" President are you talking about? The law as interpreted by the western countries (cronies of France) or the law of Cote D'Ivoire? When will Africans give more credence to their national institutions than to the media manipulations of the West? The West will always support the leader likely to do their bidding. Every leader in Nigeria that tried to carry out policies independent of the West was either assassinated (Murtala Muhammed) or quickly overthrown (Buhari/Idiagbon) with western connivance. Africans shine your eyes well wellooo.

THE UN WAS INVOLVED IN THIS

THE UN WAS INVOLVED IN THIS ELECTION,EUROPEAN UNION HAD THEIR OBERVERS PRESENT,AFRICAN UNION TOO,ECOWAS TOO,EVEN CLOSE ALLIES OF GBAGBO,and they all said ''sorry Gbagbo it is 90% free and fair''
Gentlemen and ladies,when will african heads of state or presidents so-called understand that the presidency is for all not one.
MEANWHILE,GBAGBO HAS SPENT 10 YEARS ON THE SEAT WHICH IS ALREADY TWO TERMS AS THE IVOIRIEN CONSTITUTON STIPULATES.
Think about it.

Know your history

@Mohammed Nalya and Ardoibrahim...
It is best to always know your history before you make comments. Everything this writer wrote about is absolutely true. And I can assure you, if you ask an Ivorian for their honest opinion, they would agree with him....unless he is in support of the Northern Rebels..

Only a wise man thinks about what he speaks, a fool speaks what he thinks

KNOW YOUR HISTORY!!!

Straight to the point

From wikileaks we have been able to find out that westerners preaching their own brand of democracy dont care much about the African people. Imagine Shell VP telling the American Ambassador in Abuja that they have seconded their employees to all important Nigerian Federal Ministries to determine where govt policies should be heading.
I think it is daft for Ouatara ( A Breton Wood alumnus and former Deputy MD of IMF) to have appointed a rebel commander from the same North like him as Prime Minister.
The French should be asking for the disamarment of the rebels and pull out their troops (claiming to be UN soldiers)from CIV.
I cant imagine that the South will leave the country in the hands of undisarmed rebels and their leaders as president and prime minister. Hey! common sense should be put into play here. I dont support Gbagbo anyway; but their should be a give and take situation here between the North and South and Africans should not be decived by Western imperialism and neo colonialism being spearheaded by France in CIV.

Know your history

@Mohammed Nalya and Ardoibrahim...
It is best to always know your history before you make comments. Everything this writer wrote about is absolutely true. And I can assure you, if you ask an Ivorian for their honest opinion, they would agree with him....unless he is in support of the Northern Rebels..

Only a wise man thinks about what he speaks, a fool speaks what he thinks

KNOW YOUR HISTORY!!!

The French are the worst!

THE FRENCH ARE THE WORST OF THE "PAST" COLONIAL MASTERS.

TOO MUCH OF THEIR BOOKS

Africans have read too much of whiteman's book so much so that we do not see our problems because they are inbeded in their books. We should start writing our own books, in our own language which the white man will take time to understand, We should develope our human resource which will inturn develope our nations. For how long do we need france to control our Treasury, for how long should our brothers see us as enernies just because the white man says so? for how long will we continue to die and fight the whitemans war to capture our resources, for how long will we be used and doomped? Ignorance, poverty and illitracy are holding us bound.
AFRICANS STOP, THINK AND ASK QUESTIONS

WHO IS SUPREME?

In nigeria the court is supreme cos many elections declared by INEC as winners has been nullified and in ivory coast the electoral commission and the highest court who should have the final decision on electoral matters?

@Dr. Gary K. Busch you are lying.

@Dr. Gary K. Busch, you are 100% die-hard Gbagbo supporter and you does not wish Cote D’ Ivoire well. Because if you do you would have mentioned how your man Gbagbo came to power in 2000. For your information the result was being read out in RTI and the military came and stop it and later the Gen. Guei was sworn in as President and rather Gbagbo had to call out the citizen in the street to reclaim his stolen mandate as he said. 10 years after the samething is repeating itself again, let the truth be told, if sitting-President are allow to contuine behaving as they are the lord then Africa is going nowhere. Your name sound more of an European and who you write such nonsense as you just wrote if by tomorrow Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron loosed election and refuse to leave power. Talking about non-indigene, we all know that Obama is from Africa and Sarkozy is from Hungary and you did not mention them, so talking like stupid person. The problem of Africa is being caused by the West because you people do not want us to develop.

This is the simple reason why

This is the simple reason why The Abiolas will always continue to 'Drink Tea', The Idiagbons will always eat 'special mango', the Gani's will have their cells 'Flitted' and the sankaras 'overthrown'. Instead, the David-Marks will become senate president and the IBB's contenders. May Africa wake up to know whom their real friends are.

The north are always the

The north are always the problem in west africa,the country should be divided are let see how the northern musilims we survive.

Rubbish!!

THe whole point of this revisionist garbage is to sit logic on its head. What has Gbagbo's criminal and treasonable act of usurping the Presidency from the lawfully elected President got to do with the history of France in Ivory Coast?

IVORY COAST'S POLICAL CRISIS

A disappointing commentary indeed. It seeems the writer is a die-hard Gbagbo supporter and does NOT wish the Ivory Coast well. Yes, there are foreign troops but what was the genesis of their presence? It was precisely the spectre of Gbagbo's divide and rule tactits that led to the civivl war.
THE French and indeed most of the Western powers have had their own motives but the whole mess was the result of the ambitionsns of Gbagbo, that at least was clear from the start of the civil war.
It is puerile to argue that the elections were NOT fre and fair just because there are foreign troops in the nation. What led to the second round of voting that Gbagbo is disputing? Certainly if the elections were not reasonably fair he could have objected to the first round. To now turn around and carry out a military coup and blame some external forces is simply neither accptable nor fair. African countries must not be held to ransome by the blind ambitions of one man!

Well researched.

TO ALL MY AFRICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IF THE FRENCH AND THE SO CALLED UN AND THE REST OF THESE SPECIAL INTEREST INSTITUTIONS ARE INTERESTED IN DEMOCRACY, THEY CAN START FROM EGYPT, TO CONGO, TOGO, NIGER, CHAD, GABON, BURKINA FASO, ETC....,

LET THEM FINISH THEIR JOB THERE, THEN COME TO IVORY COAST. THERE IS A NEW WIND BLOWING ON THE CONTINENT, AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. BOB MARLEY SAID YOU CANT FOOL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME.

WITHOUT TRUE FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF A PROBLEM LIKE IVORY COAST, YOU WILL THINK GBAGBO IS CRAZY. THEY SAID NKRUMAH AND LAMUMBA WAS CRAZY TOO.

REGARDLESS OF THE MATTER, THE BOTTOM LINE IS YOU CANT HAVE AFRICAN COUNTRIES RICH IN NATURAL RESOURCE THAT SHAPES THE GLOBAL ECONOMY DAILY BE THE SAME COUNTRIES WITH THE POOREST PEOPLE! BECAUSE SOMEBODY IS BENEFITING FROM THESE RESOURCES.

YOU CANT TELL ME THAT 100% OF THE NATURAL RESOURCE PROFITS ARE GOING STRAIGHT INTO CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS POCKETS. BECAUSE WE KNOW CURRENTLY IT HAS NO VALUE MARKET IN AFRICA, WE HAVE NO FINISH PRODUCT INDUSTRY FOR OUR RESOURCES, IF WE DO, IT IS NOT CONTROL BY US.

UNTIL THEY CREATE A SOCIAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM THAT TRANSLATES TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA, SITUATIONS LIKE IVORY COAST IS JUST THE BEGINNING. THE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY HAVE, AND THEY ARE SLOWLY UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING VALUE WITH THEIR GOD GIVING BLESSINGS(RESOURCE WEALTH). THE MONEY DEY FOR HOUSE BUT WE DEY RUN GO OYEBO MAN IN COUNTRY. WHILE DA OYEBO MAN DEY YOUR HOUSE. THAT MEANS SOME PEOPLE ARE COSTING OUR DOWNFALL FOR OUR HOUSE, AND THEM FOR CORRECT THEIR ASSES, OR THEY WILL GO.