The International Solidarity Committee of the Pan-Africanist International calls upon all Africans and friends of Africa, lovers of Peace, Freedom, and Justice, to boycott the investiture of the leader of the Western-backed rebels and the alleged winning party of the Ivorian civil war, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who recently confirmed that he will be officially inaugurated as La Côte d’Ivoire’s new President on May 21, 2011, in Yamoussoukro, the country’s administrative capital.
We urgently call for:
1. Africa to commit diplomatic and other resources to demand respect for Ivorian sovereignty, constitutional legitimacy, and to demand the exclusion of neo-colonial political and military interference, specifically, demand withdrawal of all French troops from Ivorian soil;
2. A phased disarmament of all irregular forces and unification of the entire country under an interim government preferably composed of national civil society leaders and statesmen willing to forgo participation in elections for at least 10 years;
3. A popular national political process that seeks to develop Ivorian solutions including a democratic and inclusive national constitution, social reconciliation, a free press, and stronger national institutions;
4. A credible election system and fresh elections in La Cote d’Ivoire within a reasonable period.
We must say a big “NO!” to what the President of the Gambia correctly calls “Western Neo-colonialist sponsored agents in Africa who owe allegiance only to themselves and their Western Masters” who “are ready to walk on thousands of dead bodies to the Presidency”!This energetic impunity risks spreading from country to country! NOW is the time to stop it! We need to draw a clear line between the urgency of putting our own house in order, and rejecting all forms of interference by former colonial powers. These former colonial powers continue to be aggressive imperialists addicted to our resources, and ready to use existing problems, or create new ones to advance their selfish and murderous interests.
Africa will appear weak and foolish if this outrageous performance of the imperialists in the Ivory Coast culminating in the bombing of the Presidential Palace of an independent African country by French Special Forces, produces a government that Africans consider acceptable. The greedy imperialists will not end there. Thousands, if not millions more innocent Africans are going to die at their hands in the future. The international Solidarity Committee of the Pan-Africanist International strongly fears that this method of installing leaders may become the norm. We may not know how to halt it in the future if this precedent is allowed to stand without challenge to its legitimacy.
It needs to be said from the onset that we consider that neither Alassane Ouattara nor Laurent Gbagbo are capable of healing the wounds in Ivory Coast. Both are responsible for conflict and it is unworthy of anyone who wants a proper solution to the Ivorian crisis to respond positively to this invitation. Why should one potential war criminal be installed as a President of a country whilst the other is being denied the right to speak, even to his own lawyers? Is that the best way to guarantee peace and stability in the region?
At the very beginning of the recent Ivorian political impasse, progressives cried out: “It is clear that both leaders enjoy significant support and that their supporters genuinely believe that others seek to cheat them out of deserved victory. The imposition of either leader on Ivorians can only escalate the conflict. La Cote d’Ivoire deserves better.”
To avoid doubt, we reject the argument that all those opposed to the war in La Cote d’Ivoire were supporting Laurent Gbagbo. The reason why many of us opted for dialogue and negotiations was based upon the nature of the Ivorian political crisis, the official reports from independent monitors from Africa who were on the ground, and the very ridiculous and statistically impossible results declared by the President of the Independent Electoral Commission at the Hotel du Golf. Himself a member of Alassane Ouattara’s party, he announced Ouattara’s victory at the headquarters of Ouattara’s party, accompanied by the French and US ambassadors, with no Ivorian media present.
The Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG), as far back as 21st December, 2010, indicated in a statement that: “The truth is that neither the results declared by either the Independent National Electoral Commission nor those declared by the Constitutional Council can be said to reflect the will of the Ivorian people. All the evidence (and this is widely available now) suggests a fatally flawed election. This in turn is the result of a badly flawed electoral process superintended by a UN bureaucracy with little commitment to the rights and aspirations of ordinary Ivorians or willingness to confront the deeper crisis of Ivorian society.”
The SFG further made the appeal: “We have no illusions that this [call for a peaceful resolution] can be achieved overnight or without a major commitment of scarce financial resources. We are clear however that the ultimate political, human and financial costs to Ivorians and Africans of a complete breakdown in Ivorian society or a return to conflict will be much higher than the costs of a protracted peace project.”
Since then there has been much bloodshed in which both belligerents competed with impunity to commit crimes of war, death and destruction on a massive scale.
We note with dismay that following a briefing from Mr. Choi Young-jin, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Ivory Coast, the ECOWAS Communiqué proclaiming Alassane Ouattara as the winner, declared Mr. Ouattara’s win “non-negotiable.” We condemn in particular the roles played by three individual: Blaise Campoore of Burkina Faso, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, and Abdulai Wade of Senegal, in this sordid business. This was a deliberate effort to exclude critically needed dialogue. To call such a flawed election non-negotiable is to deliberately insult the Ivorian people and carefully engineer the war that followed.
On April 29, Ex-President Thabo Mbeki, published an article: What the World Got Wrong in Côte D’Ivoire, with the subtitle: “Why is the United Nations entrenching former colonial powers on our continent? Africans can and should take the lead in resolving their own disputes.” He writes:
“Many things have gone radically wrong along the road to this result.
Agreements relating to what needed to be done to create conditions for free and fair elections were wilfully and contemptuously ignored. The Ivorian Constitutional Council (CC) is the only body constitutionally empowered to determine the winner in any presidential election and to install the president, with the Electoral Commission (IEC) mandated to forward its provisional results to the CC. However, the very people who insist on the sanctity of the rule of law as fundamental to all democratic practice, elected illegally to recognize the provisional result announced by the chairperson of the IEC on his own, as the authentic outcome of the presidential election.”
We strongly believe that much of the current mischief was the work of the UN SG Representative to La Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Choi Young-jin. We challenge Mr. Choi directly: where did he get his authority to override the constitution of the Ivory Coast? Where did he get his numbers? How does he explain his certification of electoral results in which the total number of polls far exceeded the total number of registered voters as certified by himself?
“For instance,” Mr. Mbeki writes, “reporting on the elections in the north, the election observer mission of the AU led by Joseph Kokou Kofigoh, former prime minister of Togo, the independent civil society Societé Civile Africaine pour la Democratie et l’Assistance Electoral led by Seynabou Indieguene of Senegal, and the Coordination of African Election Experts (CAEE) from Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Morocco, Gabon, and Togo led by Jean-Marie Ongjibangte of Cameroon, all sounded the alarm about the elections in the north.”
The CAEE said: “After sharing information with other national and international election observers, we hereby state that the second round of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire was held amidst major problems in (various northern) regions…
“These problems were stealing of ballot boxes, arresting of candidates’ representatives, multiple voting, refusal to admit international observers to witness counting of ballots, and the murder of representatives of candidates. To that effect, we hereby declare that the second round of voting was not free, fair and transparent in these (northern) localities.”
Why, to this day, has the ECOWAS election observer mission not issued its report on the second round of the presidential election!? Has the report been suppressed?
Choi’s mischief increased after “convincing” the ECOWAS Heads of State to take a strong and uncompromising stand against Gbagbo, he then flew to New York with the ECOWAS Communiqué in his pocket, asking the UN Security Council to respect the views of the regional body of which the Ivory Coast is a member-country!
We are appalled at the thought that he must have done that to diplomatically check-mate the Russians and the Chinese who were complaining that the UN was interfering with the internal affairs of a member country in an improper manner. This man should be declared a persona non grata on the whole continent of Africa.
The investiture of an obvious stooge of imperialism like Alassane Ouattara, who literally comes to power by means of imperialist bombing, is exactly the kind of thing we must oppose in order to discourage neocolonial imperialists in the future. The message must be clear and loud to the Libyan rebels what awaits them at the end of the road if they are agents of illegitimate imperialist whims and stratagems.
The increasing militarization of diplomacy and the side-lining of peace-makers must be stopped. We are most concerned about Ouattara and about the CIA-led rebels in Libya, both of which appear designed to weaken and break Africa, African sovereignty, and any inter-African cooperation that is not filtered through US/NATO agents and interests.
We therefore condemn in the strongest terms the imposition by the international community of Alassane Ouattara on a deeply divided society. We know that this will not solve La Cote d’Ivoire’s crisis. What it will do is advance the overall cause of neo-colonialism. It will set the scene for further conflict between France, the US and allied regional powers for control over La Cote d’Ivoire. Conflict over regional resources, particularly oil and gas, will escalate and harm the Ivorian people, and the sub-region.
This call for a boycott is therefore a re-affirmation of our road-map to a durable peace, to affirm respect for the fundamental human rights of all Ivorians, and to strengthen democratic institutions and the Rule of Law in La Cote d’Ivoire. The so-called champions of democracy in the world, who cannot wait to descend into Yamosoukro to install their puppet must note that they are not being observed by African and the rest of the world, but by their own citizens of their respective countries.
And we hereby inform all the citizens of the world to take notice of anyone they do know who attends this event and make them answer the following questions, just for starters:
Are you going to install a man whose rebel army of which he is the leader, has been accused of massacres and the crimes of war?
How do you account for the obvious lip-service to peace and reconciliation and current spate of confiscation of assets of political opponents by the new regime without due process, and the looting of the rest by the rebel army? In what name of the game did the new regime refuse visa and deport the French lawyers of a man they claim they are questioning for an impending trial?
What about the Freedom of the Press? See the latest Report Tuesday 10 May 2011, from the Reporters Without Borders: “Press in turmoil after Gbagbo fall“.
What happens to Alassane Ouattara’s part of the war crimes committed on his behalf, by the rebel army?
How do you reconcile a nation with injustice and the abuse of the fundamental human rights of political opponents?
We call upon all those who have received invitations to attend the May 21 inauguration of Mr. Ouattara to treat such invitations with the fullest contempt that they deserve.
For further information and links to the issues raised in this statement, please visit: http://www.panafricanistinternational.org/
Long Live the good people of La Cote d’Ivoire!
Long live the Pan-Africanist solidarity!
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International Solidarity Committee,
Credit: Pan-Africanist International