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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Africa: Lumumba, Gbagbo and Ki-Moon
Friday, 04 February 2011 15:31

Africa: Lumumba, Gbagbo and Ki-Moon

Written by Okello Oculi
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Reuters

Analysis and Commentary

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's failure to understand the workings of communal democracy in Africa put him in a weak position to negotiate for peace in Côte d'Ivoir Okello Oculi.

The United Nations secretary general Mr Ban Ki-moon is a strange type of democrat. Speaking to the press at Addis Ababa outside the meeting of the African Union he spoke thus: 'I am concerned that differences of opinion are now surfacing among the African Union. This is not desirable at this time in preserving the integrity and fundamental principle of democracy'. His notion of democracy does not value 'differences of opinion'.

It stands at variance to Mwalimu Nyerere's view of the workings of communal democracy of Africa in which members of a community 'talk and talk and talk until we agree or agree to disagree'. That Ban Ki-moon has not imbibed this fundamental law of African democracy is not surprising since he is from Korea, with deeply ingrained memories of brutal dictatorship against his people by Japanese colonial rulers when Japan conquered and occupied his country. As a top official of the United Nations, however, he has no excuse not to acquaint himself with a core cultural value in African civilisation.

Ban Ki-moon has shown a rare haste to see Alassane Ouattara in power and Laurent Gbagbo out. He has been party to a gang known as the 'international community' to oust the constitutional order in Cote d'Ivoire in rude deviation from the principle of the 'rule of law'. The constitutional order spelt out steps that were not challenged before the election was conducted to the effect that the Electoral Commission conducts an election but the ultimate authority to affirm final and legitimate results is the Council of State.

That Ivorian formula held a precaution against the possibility of election malpractices being the determinant of election results. In his haste to support Ouattara, Ban Ki-moon has sided with the high possibility of election results contaminated by malpractices. That a UN secretary general finds himself in this position indicates that his unwholesome position is not a measure for defending a 'fundamental principle of democracy', but rather a matter of real politicks to please powerful groups behind the UN Security Council.

Africa is deeply indebted to the heroes of the freedom revolution in Tunisia and Egypt. They took the winds or nuclear fuel off the sails or engine of Ban Ki-moon's invasion of the electoral politics of Cote d'Ivoire by taking television cameras and salivating propagandists to the streets of Tunisian and Egyptian cities. What the threat of nuclear war between his native brothers in North Korea and South Korea could not achieve in pulling Ban Ki-moon to that region as a fire brigade chief, the angry youths of Tunisia and Egypt did with an enchanting if tragic drama in the deaths of those murdered by police and military guns.

Under the glow of those political fire storms, the African Union could meet in Addis Ababa and bluntly rebuke the French President Sarkozy and Ki-moon by telling them that Cote d'Ivoire is and African problem. The first salvo was shot out by Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the AU official negotiator, who declared that instead of salivating for blood in Cote d'Ivoire, the African Union must tell Ouattara to sit down and talk with Gbagbo.

Odinga's position was first hinted at in an earlier interview to a Kenyan journalist in his Karen residence in Nairobi when he said that Gbagbo and Ouattara are both seasoned politicians, not military generals. Political leaders work with words and not bullets and bombs as first tools of choice. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, threw at Ban Ki-moon a view whose roots go back to his 1987 speech to the UN General Assembly.

In that speech he had argued that if even earthworms know what is food for them and crawl away from danger, why should the Cold War powers of the Capitalist West and the Communists, assume that African leaders have to be taught to realise that it is not acceptable that 96,000 children in Uganda die annually from preventable diseases. Ban Ki-moon should not have been too hasty to teach Africa's leaders the call for democracy in Cote d' Ivoire.

Ban Ki-moon is a puzzle to African observers. He heads an organisation that was created 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in out generation brought untold sorrow to mankind'. West Africa has suffered ' untold sorrow' in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the last two decades. Somalia is in the grip of ' untold sorrow'. Over 1.5 million people in Northern Uganda lived in filthy poverty-stricken camps to be ' protected' by their government from forced recruitment and death by LRA militias.

For twenty years over 40,000 children in these camps trekked daily to sleep on cold pavements in urban centres to escape from being captured by LRA's marauders'. Over 2 million peoples of Southern Sudan died from war, not to mention victims of Darfur. If Ban Ki-Moon finds that difficult to integrate into the historic mandate of the United Nations Organization, he should not expect African leaders to suffer from such racist amnesia. He should urgently abandon the hope of weeping crocodile tears over rivers of blood in Cote d'Ivoire in the name of a doubtful authenticity of an electoral 'democracy' in that country.

The freedom revolution currently ablaze in Tunisia and Egypt is anchored in the rejection of policies imposed on friends of the ' international community' countries that Ban Ki-moon listens to. Those policies blocked internal industrialisation and industrial expansion - including moving into the realm of use of information technology for industrial productivity.

It blocked the creation of jobs. The pains and humiliations of perpetual unemployment is the fuel that has exploded the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. Because China stood independent of this Euro-American tyranny of unemployment, poverty, and wrath, the streets of China have been saved from the spectre of hundreds of millions protesting and burning down buildings. Due to a strange historic deafness, Ban Ki-moon wants to put in power Alassane Ouattara as a puppet that will take Cote d'Ivoire down that same route to destruction.

Ban Ki-moon also seems to be anxious to outdo one of his predecessors - Dag Hammarskjöld. That UN secretary general holds the notorious record of virulently hating and participating in the murder of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Lumumba had wanted Belgian troops driven out of his newly independent country.

He wanted the secession of Katanga province from Congo ended quickly before racist white mercenaries from South Africa, Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Belgium, France, and Britain helped it to become a fully separate country. He was ordered to assassinate Lumumba by President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States and by top officials of Belgium, Britain and France. Voices of African leaders, like Kwame Nkrumah and Gamal Nasser, who wished to advise Lumumba and build negotiations and dialogue between Congo's politicians, were ignored contemptuously. Africa must this time help Ki-moon to climb to a higher and historical legacy; one not soaked in African blood from Cote d'Ivoire and West Africa.

The freedom revolution in Tunisia and Egypt deserves a more glorifying form of honour by Ban Ki-moon. The African Union, however, needs to find a herbal cure for that obnoxious ideology of ' ivorite' (or only people whose parents are also born of ethnic groups from southern part of the country can hold leadership posts), that has poisoned politics in that country. The African has creative example to borrow from. One of them is Nigeria's ' federal character principle' and Kagame's civic education for youths against ' genocide ideology'.

Okello Oculi is executive director of Africa Vision 525 Initiative and currently a professor of Social and Economic Research at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.



Last modified on Friday, 04 February 2011 22:24

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