Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cote D’Ivoire: From grandiose lifestyle to Gbagbo’s madness

Back in the late 1990s, one of the popular countries I often heard about, apart from Nigeria, was Cote D’Ivoire. The French speaking West African country was considered a heaven on earth by most Ghanaian women. Especially ladies from Odumase-Krobo in the Eastern Region of Ghana, it was a luxury to be considered a resident in that country.

And talking about Krobo women, they are the most attractive and sexy looking women whose appetite for Ivorian men was something worth conducting a research into. Every Tom, Dick and Harry from Cote D’Ivoire who steps into Odumase-Krobo is likely to walk-away with a lady-even if he is as broke as anything. After all for these Krobo girls, Cote D’Ivoire offers a lifestyle comparable to that of France, and it was more easy for citizens, foreign residents or even visitors to have a night out stance without being branded immoral. Kissing was very much in the open.

Houphouët-Boigny, the country’s president, has consciously created a little Paris inside both Abidjan, the capital, and Yamoussoukro, the second biggest city, so almost everyone can go out there and enjoy a bit of a French life; openly kissing, sexing up each even at public parks and a big basilica to go with it. a grandiose lifestyle was created by the president whose appetite for opulence, even in a fading age, was well known. His cravings for young and sexy girls to cuddle him at the presidential mansion was very much part of the creation of the little Paris. Whilst people were openly devouring each other’s flesh in naked sleeping arrangements, the deadly Hiv/Aids virus was slowly creeping into people. It was a little known sickness so nobody really gave a thought to. But little by little it began taking lives and by the time Boigny had his last breath on earth, the disease had spread like bushfire and people are beginning to come to terms with that.

As if that was not enough, the era of politics changed. Self centred opportunists from different sides of the divide who had been waiting in the wings and wishing him dead, soon began scrambling for power. A fierce and bitter power scrambling which finally led to a military takeover and after many blockade and international anger, the military handed over power to itself. Unfortunately, the military leader, Robert Guei, was shot dead in cold blood when opponents invaded the palace where he had taken refuge. Laurent Gbagbo, a University professor in history, became president.

But his tenure as a president was very much wrecked by ethnic discrimination against the people in the northern.-they were denied voting rights following the disqualification of their candidate, Alassane Ouattara. Soldiers in the army from the north soon took up arms and battled their way till the end. In the final conclusion, a power sharing government was proposed and a former student activist Guillaume Soro became premier minister. But everyone knew the so-called political marriage was going to collapse someday: Gbagbo is devilishly ready to hang on to power even if that will shut the entire nation down.

And the answer to this is right before our eyes. After losing the general election which was twice postponed, the man has refused to hand over power to eventual winner, Alassane Ouattara. He has gotten the constitutional court to declare him president, contrary to the will of the people. Eventual winner Ouattara is also holding himself up in a hotel where he runs his administration. Gbagbo has his back to the way because the international community is completely against him. He is just an electoral thief who is refusing to hand over power. West African regional leaders prior to the new year proposed a military intervention which Ghana’s President John Mills endorsed but he recently made a 360 degree turnaround. His action surprised almost everyone.

Military intervention will not be the first in such a case. When then Sierra Leone President Tijan Kabbah was overthrown in a military coup Ecowas, then under the chairmanship of blood thirst Nigerian leader Sani Abacha intervened and sent the military into that country. The outcome was a happy one.

Surely, the same action could also be applied to the Cote D’Ivoire situation and should Gbagbo refuse, the necessary action must be used against him. Even if he has to lose his life for peace to prevail, that should be done. After all it’s just a small price to pay!

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