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Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2005



Worse Crises Ahead

By AJ Dagga Tolar

The holding unto power by Laurent Gbagbo after the 30 October 2005 exit date from government with the endorsement of both the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) can only mean more and worse crisis ahead for C�te d'Ivoire except the working masses, in earnest, arise to their historical responsibility of overthrowing the ruling elite and commence the process of reorganizing the whole of C�te d'Ivoire within a framework that would allow for the resources of C�te d'Ivoire to be used solely for the benefit of the working masses of C�te d'Ivoire, and not that of a tiny few interest of capital, locally or international.


The political root of the present crisis predates the army mutiny of September 19th 2002, which crystallized into an armed rebellion and the formation of the Forces Nouvelles (New Forces) which presently controls the whole of the north of C�te d'Ivoire and seeks to overthrow the Gbagbo government. So also did the crisis not start with the coup of General Guei, which overthrew the government of Henri Konan-Bedie, who was the immediate successor to Felix Houphouet-Biogny, who died in 1993, having ruled since independence in 1960.

It was the contest among the ruling elite to determine who takes full charge and command of the stakes between the Bedie and Allassane Quattara that precipitated the initial political crisis. Bedie had to resort to the question of nationality or Ivoirite identity, and carried through a constitutional amendment demanding both maternal and paternal Ivorian nationality as a prerequisite to contest the presidency. By this legislation, Quattara was denied the right to contest the presidency with Bedie. It was this impasse that General Robert Guei used to effect a coup, only for him to later attempt to perpetuate himself in power by transmuting to a civilian ruler in an election that saw him adopting the same means to prevent Quattara from contesting.

The protest against the declaration of Guei as winner of the election by the supporters of Gbagbo which saw the supporters of Quattara fully partaking in it snowballed into a movement that swept Gbagbo to power in 2000, keeping the hope alive among Quattara's supporters that they would, in turn, be rewarded by Gbagbo through the conduct of a new election that would not disallow anyone from participating. Alas, this was not to be so! Gbagbo stuck to the fact that he had been given a mandate, which as thing stood was to have expired on the 30th of Ocotober, 2005.


Shortly after the mutiny of September 2002, France sent its troops, later followed by the UN to C�te d'Ivoire. About 10,000 strung intervention forces were immediately rallied to "prevent escalation of the crises beyond control". In actual fact, the opposite is the reason. The intervention is a product of the strategic and economic importance of C�te d'Ivoire to the France and world Imperialism. The country is the largest producer of Cocoa in the world, a product of hard labour of farmers, but whose benefit is appropriated by the bourgeoisies both locally and internationally at the expense of the poor farmers. This is the very crux of the matter. The price of cocoa has been at its lowest ebb in the past one decade with conditions of existence extremely plummeted for the entire working masses. This explains why people who had lived and worked together for more than two, three decades were suddenly divided against themselves by the mere fact that both of their parents are not originally from C�te d'Ivoire.

The very same cocoa, was what had actual attracted people to work and settle down in C�te d'Ivoire from all the neighbouring countries, and it was their sweat and produce that was used under Houphuoet Biogny to bring about the level of development in C�te d'Ivoire today.

The UN, African Union (AU) and ECOWAS were quick to endorse the extension of Gbagbo rule with an additional year, which has been rejected by the oppositional groups who are unequivocal that Gbagbo steps down and new elections be organised. Like Sidiki Konate spokeperson for the rebel Forces Nouvelles states, there cannot be a consensus whatsoever on the choice of a prime minister without Gbagbo first resigning. This point is clearly re-echo by Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, who currently doubles as head of the AU when he states that even the choice for prime minister, though reduced to two, still none is "acceptable to all the sides".


Only the unity of action of the working masses themselves can resolve the crises, once and for all in the interest of the majority of all Ivorians. The collective action, not just the poor cocoa's labourers and poor farmer, but with all other workers and oppressed strata in the lead of a movement that would seek to nationalise the process of cocoa production, as well as other commanding sector of the economy and place them under the democratic control and management of a workers and poor farmers' government, this would free and make available the resources with which the needs of the working masses would be met. Since the need of the masses cannot be met within the framework of a neo-colonial capitalist arrangement, hence, the ruling elite hide under the excuses that some sections of the working masses are not true Ivorians.

There is therefore an urgent need for the working masses of C�te d'Ivoire to commence the process of independently organising itself, so as to free it from being used by rival wings of the bourgeoisies in their bid for power and contend for power in the name of the working masses. While immediate calling for the foreign troops to leave to C�te d'Ivoire and to be replaced by a democratically controlled community and workers� militia. And also demanding for immediate elections, with the right of all to partake and as well as the right of the working masses to organise itself on its own political platform, with and independent programme of its own to opposed and challenge the bourgeoisies, with the goal of ultimately wrestling power from it, as fore runner to setting up federating socialist state of all west Africans, which would in turn extend to the whole of Africa as a stepping stone to a democratic socialist world, where poverty and the interest of capital and imperialism would not be the order of the day.



Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2005