By Dr. Abdul Karim Bangura, USA.
There has emerged a small but very vocal group of Africans who are trying to convince others that the push to get Laurent Gbagbo to stand down after losing the Ivorian presidential election is being orchestrated by Western propaganda. Indeed, that the West has committed many sins in Africa is hardly a matter of dispute; but to blame the West for Gbagbo’s sins is share hypocrisy. The following is a list of Gbagbo’s one dozen major sins and why he should be forced to stand down by any means necessary:
1. Gbagbo is responsible for the massacre of hundreds of people who are buried in several mass graves and hundreds of others whose bodies lie in morgues awaiting burial.
2. Gbagbo is responsible for the massacre and disappearance of Muslims, other Africans and French citizens.
3. Gbagbo is responsible for the Duvalier-style tonton macoute death squad led by his wife Simone that eliminated a countless number of political opponents in the south.
4. Gbagbo is responsible for the abduction, torture, rape and sodomy of political opponents.
5. Gbagbo is responsible for the assassination of about a dozen people, including the former President Robert Guéï and his entourage in the south, in a treacherous orgy.
6. Gbagbo accepted money and facilitated the massive dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan, recklessly endangering the lives of countless “southerners,” many of who are yet to be compensated.
7. Gbagbo rigged the first round of the presidential election against Henry Konan Bédié, prompting Bédié to ask his supporters to vote for Alassane Ouattara in the run-off election.
8. Gbagbo got his hand-picked Constitutional Court to annul Alassane Ouattara’s votes before the Electoral Commission had even transmitted the tally to it and declared Gbagbo elected. The Court violated the law by not nullifying the entire election and ordering a re-run had it found credible evidence of vote rigging. It cannot annul the election partially.
9. Gbagbo undermined the credibility of very respectable and honest observers that included President Jimmy Carter of the United States and his team, President John Kufuor of Ghana and his team, European Union’s Romanian MEP Cristian Preda and his 120-member team from across the 27-nation EU bloc plus Norway and Switzerland, the United Nations team, and the ECOWAS team.
10. Gbagbo took a second wife, Nandy Bamba, a northerner in charge of his communication, while polygamy is illegal in Cote d’Ivoire; he also recruited as counselor Issa Malick Coulibaly, a member of the very influential family of Gon Coulibaly, founder of Korhogo, the major town of the North, and a former close ally of the late Houphouet-Boigny; but Gbagbo continues to fan the flames of north-south divisiveness.
11. Gbagbo claims to fight against the machinations of France, but he gave the concession of Abidjan’s autonomous port to a Frenchman, Vincent Bollore in 2003; Gbagbo maintained links with Robert Bourgi, the protégé of Jacques Foccart, Francafrique’s key supporter in the French presidential office and unofficial adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy; and Gbagbo appealed to France to stop the rebel troops in 2002 as they were about to defeat his troops, asking for the 1961 defense accords to be applied.
12. Gbagbo has money stashed in Switzerland while claiming to be a Pan-Africanist and African Nationalist.
It is imperative that people come to realize that xenophobia is futile, counterproductive and irrational, and is very often used as a tool of manipulation by an elite determined to hold on to power by all means. Gbagbo’s xenophobia threatens to engulf the entire West African region, given his attack on citizens from neighboring countries. He did not invent Ivorian style xenophobia, but he certainly has taken it to new levels of depravity. Gbagbo should therefore be forced to stand down by any means necessary!
Editor’s note: Abdul Karim Bangura (photo) is professor of Research Methodology and Political Science at Howard University and Researcher-in-Residence of Abrahamic Connections and Islamic Peace Studies at the Center for Global Peace in the School of International Service at American University. He holds a PhD in Political Science, a PhD in Development Economics, a PhD in Linguistics, a PhD in Computer Science, and a PhD in Mathematics. He is the author of 63 books and more than 500 scholarly articles. He was president and United Nations Ambassador of the Association of Third World Studies, and he is a member of many other scholarly and civic organizations. The winner of many teaching and other scholarly and community service awards, he is fluent in about a dozen African and six European languages, and is studying to strengthen his proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew, and Hieroglyphics.