The situation in Ivory Coast demands our immediate attention as representatives of the African world. The time has long come for us to speak out against the machinations of the French and American governments in the affairs of the African continent. Clearly the interests of the French and the Americans are not the interests of the people of Ivory Coast and all claims of moral uprightness made by Western interests must be questioned. We realize that their interests, if history is our guide, are for material advantage, minerals, political puppets, and strategic positions for global control.

This means that there are so many Europeans and Americans vying for the right to take the spoils of this African country into their own bosom that the African people are without protection. We are their protection as they will always be our protection. Our position has always been critical location of all actions, proposals, and attitudes against the masses of African people, whether they come from the United Nations, ECOWAS, or the French government. The lessons of Haiti are quite clear and we have not yet digested the numerous ways the West subverted the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti.

Afrocentricity International calls for Africans everywhere to write letters, protest in demonstrations, seek political intervention, and appeal to the United Nations to cease and desist in supporting the undermining of the country. In addition, we believe that the governments of the United States and France should keep their hands off the Ivory Coast. The strategy of divide-and-conquer must not be allowed to succeed in this case.

The United Nations observer, on the day after the election, announced that Alassane Ouattara had won without having read the reports about violence and abuse in the northern part of the country. The Supreme Court of Ivory Coast investigated the situation and said there was fraud in the north and therefore the voting in the north was challenged. Given all the evidence of abuse and manipulation in the north, the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast made the decision that Laurent Gbagbo was the winner.

President Gbagbo has renounced violence and asked Mr. Ouattara to come to the table for dialogue about the future of the nation given the fact that whatever the facts that will be revealed each one of these leaders carried a significant part of the electorate. Afrocentricity International believes that the talk of “genocide” is premature and probably racist. No one claimed that there would be “genocide” during the American presidency crisis that brought Mr. Bush to the office during his first term. Why would any credible person raise the ethnic genocide argument so quickly if it is not to create a pretext invade Ivory Coast?

The reason that Mr. Gbagbo remains in power and should remain in power is because the Supreme Court of the land has declared that there were abuses, fraud, and intimidations in the northern part of the country. The United Nations’ observers did not take these reports into consideration before declaring a Alassane Ouattara the winner. In any nation this would be considered arrogant and manipulative. Rather than allowing the legitimate processes of justice to work out in Ivory Coast the international interventionists jumped to a conclusion that Mr. Gbagbo did not win.

Afrocentricity International believes that the political interests of the West are driving the contentious situation in Ivory Coast. We know that the French and American governments cannot simply bestow winners; the political office in a democratic state must be won legitimately. Political winners are not knighted by any outside body; their people elect them and when there are disputes they must be settled by the institutions in the country. This is what was done in the United States in the case of Bush v. Gore when people believed that there were compelling national reasons for the Supreme Court to act. Some even claimed, as was their right to claim, that the court was partisan in its support of the Republican candidate. The United States Supreme Court made the decision to rule in favor of George Bush; someone could have said that the Court was packed with the supporters of the Republicans and therefore we should not have accepted the decision of the court in favor of George Bush. In the end, however, the prestige of the Court was on the line as was the idea of democracy. Why should those principles not adhere in the case of an African country?

The international community must look to the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast as the final arbiter. Afrocentricity International believes that it is in the best interest of the African people that all evidence presented by the Supreme Court be examined before any declaration is made by any outside body. The evidence must be examined before any outside interest can declare a winner. Perhaps the suggestion that former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa intercedes is a good one if he begins with the issue of law in Ivory Coast. The real culprits in this situation are the interventionists who are trying to unseat Mr. Gbagbo probably because of his strong Afrocentric, Pan African stand in the interest of Africa. Afrocentricity International protests against any intervention that would subvert the legitimate role of the country’s own Supreme Court.

The independent electoral commission pronounced Mr. Ouattara the winner without considering the reports of the Supreme Court. This is what threw the election into a crisis. It was reported that the electoral commission would not allow the European Union observers to visit polling places in the north of the country. This same independent electoral commission went ahead and declared a winner and the United Nations’ observer agreed with it without looking at the protests against the fraudulent situations in the north. One region reported votes totally more than the registered voters, for instance, l59,788 votes from a list of 48, 400 registered voters. And this is just one situation where the Gbagbo administration believes the votes in the north were manipulated to steal the election.

Afrocentricity International calls for a peaceful conclusion to this situation and agrees with former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana that the two contenders have indicated their willingness to see a recount or further verification by neutral observers. What we must do at all costs is to avoid violent interventionism by French or American troops. We already know that rebels from the north have infiltrated the south with weapons.

 Dr. Ama Mazama, Per-aa
 Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, International Representative

P.O. Box 30004
Elkins Park, Pa. 19027