Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo was overthrown in a French imperialist military coup which began on March 31, 2011. The presidential palace was shelled and French forces seized Gbagbo., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Gbabgo, White imperialism and Afrikan Liberation
By Dr. Kwame Osei
Courtesy of Modern Ghana
The capture of Laurent Gbagbo by White French mercenaries brings the essence of White imperialism against Afrikan liberation to the fore.
For me the capture of Gbagbo represents a victory for western imperialism over Afrikan liberation and this is bad news for Afrikan emancipation - let me explain in detail why this is the case.
Firstly for the purpose of this debate the genesis of the current Ivorian situation began with the disputed general elections that were hold in November 2010.
This in itself is accurate because the assertions that Alassane Ouattara won the elections is ludicrous because even a US senate committee that went to Ivory Coast to monitor the elections on behalf of the United States said in its report to the senate committee on foreign affairs that some of the results in the north of Ivory Coast where Alassane Ouattara has his stronghold contained many irregularities.
As I mentioned in an earlier article Gbagbo was championing the cause of Ivorian economic emancipation and Afrikan liberation by challenging the status quo suffered by Francophone nations since their independence and Ouattara was seen to be protecting French interests given his background.
Ouattara's background is that he did his masters at Harvard University in the United States and along with this western education is also western trained. He also got a senior position within the western owned and run IMF/World Bank making him a prime candidate to protect French economic interests in Ivory Coast.
The status quo allowed France to take up to 90% of the revenue from Francophone states back to Paris to build the French economy at the expense of Francophone states. This diabolical arrangement was made in the 1960's when these states were fighting for their 'independence' from the French.
Gbagbo was aware of this repugnant arrangement and we he became president in 2000 began to challenge this arrangement by giving some government contracts to Chinese firms rather than French companies who had previously secured all government contracts, by restricting the market share of French companies in Ivory Coast who previously enjoyed a total monopoly of the Ivorian market and by refusing to pay the French government royalties to use his own presidential palace and other Ivorian institutions.
This incensed Paris and the French political elite who knew of Gbagbo's Pan-Afrikan agenda, were determined to use every means necessary to stop Gbagbo in his tracks.
From research materials obtained from French records relating to Afrika in response to Gbagbo's exuberance in 2002 the French planned a military coup including an assassination attempt to topple Gbagbo and install their man Ouattara but that excursion failed - to cover their ills the French said it was a plan that was hatched up by rebels in the north – but who armed these rebels? One might ask.
By the way the French have a notorious history of orchestrating coups in Afrika – read a fascinating book by Frederick Forsyth called “Dogs of War” that pertains to the murky world of White French mercenaries and their nefarious activities in Afrika.
The French intensified their attacks on Gbagbo's rule by imposing economic sanctions and making it difficult for Ivory Coast to generate income through its main export cocoa.
However the elections in 2010 were an opportune moment for the French to execute their plan. This plan entailed supporting their anointed son Ouattara to the hilt by manipulating the voter register in Ouattara strongholds in the north of the country and also having strong influence of the Electoral Commission.
The French clearly knew that by manipulating the voter register in Ouattara strongholds, their man would have a good chance of securing victory – however the French did not anticipate that the election would go into a second round and it is here where they stepped up their efforts at removing Gbagbo covertly.
Therefore these acts show that the French were determined to get rid of Gbagbo by any means necessary because as a result of his Pan-Afrikan agenda he was seen as a serious threat to France's economic interests in Afrika.
Again another facet of this French imperialism is regime change - that despite the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the French pursued their agenda of regime change by sending in forces to help Ouattara's forces remove Gbagbo from power.
This heinous act in itself sets a very bad precedent, because if an Afrikan leader in a former French colony decides to step out of the colonial arrangement, which is not only grossly unfair but racist, then that leader can expect to be taken out by the French military which is absolutely despicable and in this supposedly democratic age is totally unacceptable.
It is also fair and logical to ask can the Afrikan Union (AU) or any Afrikan country send troops to a country in Europe if there are disputed elections in a European country.
This should prove to us as Afrikans that as far as we are concerned the issue of democracy is a fallacy and even more so that this western system of democracy that we have adopted is an anathema to us and is the butt of some of the problems we in Afrika face today.
It is interesting to note that those Afrikan leaders who are subservient to French interests have stayed in power for a long time despite committing gross human rights abuses – Paul Biya of Cameroun (29 years) The Eyadema dynasty in Togo (more than 40 years) and Blaise Campore of Burkina Faso (24 years) spring to mind.
Another facet of this French imperialism is the economic aspect of this. As is the case with imperialism, economics is the sole reason why Europeans first enslaved Afrikans, then divided and stole their land to control resources and finally putting in place systems like capitalism and globalization and creating institutions like the IMF/World Bank/G8/EU and so forth to maintain their economic stranglehold on the continent.
Economic gain and control of the Ivory Coast for the French was the sole reason they needed to enact this regime change to put their man in place to safeguard their economic interests and this shows the brutal truth as I have said before that even though we're in the 21st century Afrikan people are still economically and to an extent politically enslaved by the west.
This brings me nicely onto the issue of Afrikan Liberation and why the removal of Gbagbo is a defeat for Afrikan liberation. Ghana's first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said that political independence was meaningless until economic independence was attained to.
This is why he worked so hard to forge Afrikan unity amongst the Afrikan leaders but alas they did not understand him. Afrikan economic emancipation, a fundamental part of Afrikan liberation, is why Nkrumah sought to make Ghana an example in Afrika by rapidly transforming Ghana into an industrialized state as he knew that without industrialization to make the goods and services that Ghana and by extension Afrika needed then the continent was going nowhere.
Afrikan liberation was why Dr. Nkrumah worked so hard to establish the Organization for Afrikan Unity (OAU), the Afrikan Central Bank and talked about the need to have a common Afrikan market, a common Afrikan currency and establishing an Afrikan military high command all with the aim of securing Afrika's resources for Afrikan people and protecting it from the colonialist/imperialist.
By the way it is important for the readership to understand that Afrikan liberation is 100% diametrically opposed to White/Euro-American imperialism.
This is the essence of Afrikan liberation – securing Afrika's resources for the economic betterment of Afrikan people and the Afrikan continent and this is why Gbagbo's removal from power is a bitter blow to Afrikan liberation and economic emancipation.
As stated above Gbagbo was for Afrikanizing the Ivorian economy by neutralizing French control and promoting Afrikan emancipation by economically empowering the Ivorian to take their destiny into their own hands.
The lesson from the Ivorian crisis is that white imperialism never died with political independence but it is a harsh reality that Afrikans must wake up to and more importantly for us to be truly free as a people we MUST UNITE and work tirelessly around the clock to stop the colonialist from looting Afrika for their own egotistic purposes and also against those neo-colonialists who for their own diabolical purposes are prepared to do the bidding of the colonialist.
Source: Dr. Kwame Osei
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Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011