Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast): There is no Democracy Going on There


The repressive regime of Côte d’Ivoire has proved yet again that for Alassane Dramane Ouattara, democracy is the least of all concerns and that power consolidation by all means necessary is what matters most.

On October 20, 2016, the social media and international TV networks relayed scenes of how, by means of tear gas, clubs, and arbitrary detentions, Ouattara’s police crushed a peaceful march organized by major opposition leaders against the autocrat’s abusive power grab. The sight of Aboudramane Sangaré (FPI), Danielle Boni Claverie (URD), Mamadou Koulibaly (Lider), Ettien Amoikon, Gnangbo Kacou, and other opposition figures being brutalized and unceremoniously tossed in the back of a police truck for opposing Ouattara’s desire to hurriedly rewrite the Ivorian constitution suggests that Côte d’Ivoire is anything but a democracy. Yet, it was in the hope of making Côte d’Ivoire a model state that in 2005 Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Gbagbo Laurent of Cote d’Ivoire took an exceptional measure that made Ouattara a candidate to the Ivorian presidency, despite a constitution that barred him from eligibility.

Indeed, in 2002, President Laurent Gbagbo had been democratically elected for nearly two years when Côte d’Ivoire was cut in two by a rebellion led on behalf of Ouattara, who, in order to circumvent Article 35[1] of the Ivorian Constitution that made him ineligible to run for president, resorted to a coup of force. The coup failed, but the rebellion besieged the Northern half of the country, consolidated its military, economic and political control over the region, and started the business of pillaging the country’s resources with the complicity of some international speculators and politicians, especially with the support of the Chirac government in France. The major demand of the rebellion was that Ouattara’s candidacy to the presidency be allowed despite the constitutional hurdle of Article 35.

As a staunch supporter of the Ivorian Constitution, President Gbagbo refused to give in to this anti-constitutional request. In order to give the rebels’ position a boost, President Chirac of France pretexted that President Gbagbo had ordered a raid on a French military camp in Bouake, in Central Côte d’Ivoire, and consequently, Chirac ordered the total destruction of the Ivorian military air fleets. President Thabo Mbeki, who at the time of France’s aggression against Côte d’Ivoire, was in the country in his capacity as mediator in the Ivorian crisis mandated by the African Union, understood the full inference of Chirac’s involvement: France had openly taken sides with Ouattara and would stop at nothing to make him a candidate. In fact, Chirac made it even clearer when on the night of November 6-7, and on November 9, 2004, respectively from the air, on the Houphouët-Boigny and de Gaulle bridges, and on the ground of the Hotel Ivoire, the French army deliberately shot and killed scores of unarmed Ivorian youths who were peacefully protesting against the presence of French tanks in the neighborhood of the residence of the Ivorian President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo.

So, fearing the imminent annihilation of Côte d’Ivoire by France unless Ouattara could run for election, President Mbeki urged his Ivorian counterpart to avail himself of Article 48 of the Ivorian constitution to exceptionally, and only for the upcoming elections, allow Ouattara to be a candidate. In effect, Article 48 allows the President of the Republic to take exceptional measures when the circumstances require it, that is to say, when the institutions of the republic, the independence of the nation, the integrity of its territory or the fulfillment of its international commitments are under a serious and immediate threat, and the regular functioning of the constitutional public authorities is interrupted. To take these exceptional measures required by the circumstances, the Ivorian President must inform the people after having consulted with the President of the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council. So, with Gbagbo’s authorization through Article 48 of the constitution, Ouattara was able to run an open campaign in 2010 on the entire Ivorian territory, without restriction, while in the Northern part of the country occupied by his rebellion, Gbagbo’s representatives were not allowed to promote their candidate, and on election day, reported intimidation, fraud, and ballot stuffing on behalf of Ouattara were the order of the day.

These irregularities did not get Ouattara the expected results. When on December 3, 2010, the Constitutional Council of Côte d’Ivoire proclaimed Gbagbo the winner of the elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, who by May 2007 had replaced Chirac at the Elysée, but who had vowed to carry on his predecessor’s scheme in Côte d’Ivoire, maneuvered to create a tripartite front with the United States and the United Nations against the elected Ivorian President (through Resolution 1975 of March 30, 2011) and to use then UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s words in order to have “the proper leader … put in place” at all costs, even at the cost of war. And to war the tripartite front went in Côte d’Ivoire. On April 4, France and the UN dropped their first official bombs on the Presidential Palace in Abidjan where President Gbagbo and some of his collaborators were staying. On April 11, 2011, French ground operations broke into the Palace through a tunnel linking it to the French Embassy, captured President Gbagbo and delivered him to Ouattara’s rebel forces, who later deported him to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands, so that Ouattara could rule uninterrupted.

Having arrived in power by way of despoliation of the Ivorian Constitution and war on the Ivorian people, having ruled in the last five years by silencing political dissent through arrests and incarceration of opposition leaders and intimidation and expropriation of the masses, Ouattara is convinced that he has license for implementing the most implausible. So, he cannot conceive that many people in Côte d’Ivoire still dare to oppose his off-the-cuff decisions and dictatorial governing methods. Ouattara cannot comprehend that the Ivorian people, who have struggled for decades to make democratic gains, refuse that he spoil those gains. He cannot fathom that democratic leaders, who were in the trenches battling for democracy in Côte d’Ivoire long before he had discovered Côte d’Ivoire only in the 1990s, refuse that he substitute a constitution that 86.53% of the electorate approved in 2000 with a constitution of his own making, tailored to keep him and his clansmen in power ad infinitum.

Ouattara, who actually knows very little about Côte d’Ivoire and the Ivorian people, does not understand how profound their determination for democracy is; he does not understand that not even severe repression can quell the Ivorian people’s resolve for freedom and democracy. Hours after they were released from Ouattara’s jail, the leaders that were arrested on Thursday, October 20, 2016, renewed their call for continued protests until Ouattara’s dictatorship is crippled. Ouattara, with all his power will not be able to prevail over the Ivorians’will.

[1] “The candidate for the presidency must…. be of Ivorian origin, born of father and mother who are also of Ivorian origin. He must never have renounced his Ivorian nationality, nor have ever claimed he was of another nationality.”

On behalf of the Ivorians of the Diaspora

Martial Frindéthié,

Professor of Francophone studies

Appalachian State University in Boone

North Carolina, USA

Portrait du Dictateur (publié le 23 octobre 2015), M. Frindéthié

Le  dictateur, qu’il soit du Nazisme ou de la Rattrapocratie,  a ce déséquilibre psychologique, qu’il est un névrosé abandonnique. Intellectuellement inculqué de la toxine de l’infériorité, il est d’abord un persécuté mental parce qu’éduqué à se désavouer, à renier ses origines, à rechercher une jouissance étrangère considérée comme un état de grâce à atteindre au prix fort d’une totale aliénation, d’un total abandon de soi.

 S’étant donc fui, ayant décampé de lui-même pour se couvrir des oripeaux de l’autre, ayant fait le grand écart par lequel il a effacé toute trace de son passé, et déchiré toute carte de son ascendance, le névrosé abandonnique, qui n’a plus de commencement dans un monde où tout est question de commencement, dans un monde où ceux-là même qui lui ont appris à s’abjurer célèbrent leurs originalités, se réjouissent de leurs spécificités culturelles, commémorent leurs nationalités acquises,  le névrosé abandonnique, haïssant ceux qui lui rappellent son esclavage mental, ne rêve en permanence que de devenir un persécuteur.

Aussi, le dictateur, ce névrosé abandonnique, qui, pour se hisser au pouvoir, a massacré femmes et enfants et balafré constitutions, est habité d’une fébrilité qui n’a d’égale mesure que sa propension à la sédition. Chez le névrosé abandonnique, tout songe, toute imagination, toute insinuation, a valeur épiphanique. Ses anxiétés, c’est sur les autres que le dictateur, le névrosé, l’abandonnique les condense et les transfère. Sa vision déformée du monde ne lui donne à voir que des ennemis et des conspirations autour de lui. Et pour s’en protéger, il suit ses pulsions et massacre davantage. Et plus il massacre, plus il se sent vulnérable, s’entoure de neuf armées de défense,  transforme son palais en terrier où aucune chambre ne sert deux fois de suite, ne dort que d’un sommeil vaporeux, ou s’exile dans un ailleurs où il espère exister.

Le dictateur, ce névrosé abandonnique n’a ni ami ni collaborateur. Lui seul décide et insiste que l’on lui obéisse. Ses décisions impromptues et farfelues ont force de loi. . Derrière la fausse vitrine de démocratie, le névrosé abandonnique s’achète la loyauté politique en utilisant les ressources de l’Etat. Ceux qu’il ne peut pas acheter, il les convainc avec les muscles de l’Etat.



Par Serge Alain Koffi

L’acteur et cinéaste ivoirien, Sidiki Bakaba (67 ans), a comparu mercredi au tribunal de grande instance de Paris après qu’une information judiciaire a été ouverte contre lui pour meurtre, menaces de mort, complicité de violence, voies de fait, et atteinte à la liberté individuelle, à la demande du gouvernement de Côte d’Ivoire.

“Je n’ai été ni inculpé ni mis en examen’’ après l’audition qui a duré “de 13H30 à 18H30’’, a dit Sidiki Bakaba, joint depuis Abidjan par Alerte Info.

En exil en France depuis cinq ans, Sidiki Bakaba est poursuivi pour des faits survenus en 2011 en pleine crise post-électorale en Côte d’Ivoire. Il était le Directeur général du Palais de la culture à Abidjan.

Il est également accusé d’avoir proféré pendant la même crise des menaces de mort à l’encontre de Joël N’Guessan, actuel porte-parole du Rassemblement des républicains (RDR), le parti présidentiel.

L’acteur et cinéaste dit avoir été entendu en présence de son avocat et d’ “un juge venu de Côte d’Ivoire’’.

Malgré cette assignation en justice, il assure n’avoir “aucune rancœur contre’’ le pouvoir d’Abidjan.

Alerte info/Connectionivoirienne.net


« Je n’avais pas forcément l’intention de faire un film sur la crise postélectorale. Contrairement à ce qu’une légende bien orientée prétend, je ne suis pas allé sur le front avec l’intention de me battre arme au poing. C’est le front qui est venu vers moi ! Ma maison se trouve dans le pourtour présidentiel, à quelques minutes à pied de la Résidence présidentielle. Progressivement, les bruits de guerre se sont rapprochés. Un jour, je me réveille, et je vois devant mon domicile quelques centaines de jeunes combattants loyalistes. Ils m’expliquent qu’Abidjan est divisée, et que seuls les combattants sont dans la rue. Ils se reconnaissent par des noms de code bien spéciaux. Les uns, c’est « ami ami », les autres c’est « miaou miaou ».

Bref, ils m’expliquent que je ne peux pas sortir seul même pour acheter du pain. Et ils me proposent de m’escorter, de me protéger d’une certaine manière. J’écoute ces jeunes soldats, qui sont mes compagnons par la force des choses. Et il me semble que je retrouve dans leur bouche les mêmes mots que ceux des jeunes qui, les mains nues, ont affronté les chars français en novembre 2004. Sauf que là, ils sont armés. Ils disent qu’ils sont prêts à mourir… Ils répètent : « Nous voulons libérer la Côte d’Ivoire, nous voulons libérer l’Afrique. L’indépendance que vous, nos oncles, avez eue, elle n’est pas réelle. Nous avons la mémoire de 2004. Cette fois, cela ne se passera pas comme ça, ils ne nous trouveront pas les mains nues ». La phrase « il faut libérer l’Afrique » crée une résonance en moi. Nous l’avions prononcée il y a longtemps, quand j’étais jeune, quand nous commencions à remettre en cause les indépendances dans nos pays. Je suis donc allé voir, sentir, et pourquoi pas témoigner de ce qui apparaissait déjà comme un remake de novembre 2004 ».


« Je ne voulais pas travailler à partir de ce qui a été écrit ou raconté par d’autres, mais vivre cette histoire-là, à l’endroit où je me trouvais. Comme les équipes de la chaîne de télévision franco-allemande Arte ont filmé la descente sanglante des FRCI à Abidjan, moi, je filmais ce qui est très vite apparue comme une résistance « héroïque » : quelques centaines de combattants qui font face aux assauts répétés d’adversaires soutenus logistiquement par l’armée française et par l’ONUCI. Mais qui, systématiquement, battent en retraite, perdent des hommes en masse, s’enfuient en laissant des liasses de faux billets offerts par leurs commanditaires poli- tiques – un mensonge fondamental qui explique sans doute aujourd’hui les actes de sabotage économique et de pillage forcené des FRCI.
Moi, qui ne peux plus dormir chez moi dans ce contexte explosif, filme également le petit monde qui s’est aggloméré autour de Laurent Gbagbo à la Résidence, préparé à partager une destinée tragique. Je vois arriver là les généraux Philippe Mangou (chef d’état-major des Armées) et Edouard Tiapé Kassaraté (patron de la gendarmerie). Des généraux que la rumeur accuse déjà de trahison. Très vite, Laurent Gbagbo nous éconduit, le cameraman de la RTI et moi. « Nous avons à nous dire des choses qui ne se disent pas devant les caméras », explique le chef de l’Etat. (…)


« À partir du 7 avril, les attaques des hélicos se sont intensifiées. On était obligés de se réfugier au sous-sol. Le 9 avril, la dégradation s’est accélérée. La bibliothèque de la Résidence a pris feu, contaminée en quelque sorte par des voitures qui se trouvaient dans la cour et qui, bombardées, avaient explosé littéralement.
Le vendredi, le bureau du président a été mitraillé au moment où il venait d’y entrer pour travailler un peu, comme si ses ennemis maîtrisaient ses mouvements. Miraculeusement, Gbagbo s’en sort, et retourne au sous-sol.


Le dimanche 10 avril, en milieu d’après-midi, l’amiral Vagba Faussignaux annonce que les forces internationales vont venir chercher l’ambassadeur d’Israël, et demande aux soldats de ne pas tirer sur leurs hélicos. Il est 16h40. Très rapidement, une intense campagne de bombardements – la plus terrible ! – est engagée. Et moi qui me trouve dans la cour, au niveau de la guérite, à l’entrée de la Résidence, je suis pris pour cible, contrairement à un canon bitube, qui ne se trouve pas trop loin. Une caméra accusatrice est sans doute une arme lourde bien plus menaçante… Je sens quelque chose d’animal.

Je me dis : « Cet hélico va me tirer dessus ». Je rentre dans le poste de contrôle. Je me couche par terre, et le mur s’effondre. Je suis comme projeté en l’air. Je retombe par terre. Je psalmodie. « Il n’y a de Dieu que Dieu ». Trois fois. Je me lève : une de mes jambes ne répond plus. Je sautille. Je me traîne jusqu’à l’infirmerie. Mon sang gicle de partout. Ils essaient de me soigner. Mais mon instinct de survie me pousse à ramper jusqu’au bâtiment principal. Je veux aller y mourir dignement.

Là-bas, les médecins commencent à m’inciser avec des rasoirs, sans anesthésie. Ils sortent des éclats d’obus tout noirs de mon corps. C’est atroce. J’ai des moments de perte de connaissance. Et des fois je reprends connaissance. Je dis des choses, je les chante. Je répète que cette indépendance réelle, dont ces jeunes qui sacrifient leurs vies rêvent, deviendra réalité un jour. A titre personnel, je suis persuadé que je vais mourir. Des rideaux brûlent. Les personnes les plus religieuses parmi nous semblent partagées entre transe et peur.

Je sens que c’est fini, avec la force des explosions. J’accepte le principe de ma mort. Je me dis que j’ai atteint plus de 60 ans, sur un continent où l’espérance de vie est de moins de 50 ans. Je n’ai ni le sentiment d’être un héros ni celui d’être un lâche, mais un homme qui meurt dignement ».


Le lundi 11, les bombardements ont repris avec une force inédite. Trente chars français et six hélicos. Ce sont les chars qui détruisent le portail d’entrée à la Résidence. Les hélicos crachent leur déluge de flammes… et le sous-sol prend feu à nouveau. On veut remonter par la buanderie. Mais un commandant de l’armée nous dit que si on le fait, ils vont nous canarder. Nous sommes coincés dans un tunnel. Avec le chef de l’Etat, son épouse, les ministres. Il n’y a pas d’issue de secours.

Le portail de secours est bloqué. Celui qui en avait les clés a disparu. Avec les clés. Notre seul choix : mourir canardés ou asphyxiés. Pendant près de trente minutes, le commandant mitraille ce portail. Il réussit à le défoncer. Nous cachons le chef de l’Etat dans un endroit pas loin de la bibliothèque. C’est à ce moment-là que Désiré Tagro appelle les Français pour demander l’arrêt des tirs. On lui remet un drapeau blanc pour qu’il sorte négocier. Quand il sort, on lui tire dessus. Il revient pour dire au chef de l’Etat : « ils vont nous tuer ».

Cinq minutes après, des rebelles pénètrent dans la Résidence. »Le carnaval de violence commence, malgré le fait qu’Hervé Touré dit « Vétcho », s’oppose à l’assassinat des civils. Des personnes ont été tuées au rez-de-chaussée. Des coups de kalach, des coups de couteau, des balles dans les fesses… Les nouveaux “prisonniers”, y compris les religieux, mis entièrement nus, sans le moindre cache-sexe, doivent chanter, “On va installer ADO”. Certaines personnes sont mitraillées dans la cour. Et tombent. Mortes ? très probablement.

Les autres n’ont pas le temps de voir s’ils sont récupérables. Un homme filme sans relâche ce spectacle macabre. C’est un militaire français, un Blanc, le seul qui est franchement visible aux côtés des FRCI, qui est descendu des chars avec eux. Ce sont ses images à lui qui seront présentées par le ministre de la Défense française, Gérard Longuet, comme ayant été prises par la troupe d’Alassane Ouattara.


Quand je reprends conscience avant de m’évanouir à nouveau quelques temps après – je suis face à trois personnes, habillées en treillis. Chacune est coiffée d’un bonnet et d’une plume sur la tête. L’un d’entre eux dit, comme dans une scène de western : “Ah ! Sidiki Bakaba, toujours fidèle ! Fidèle jusqu’au bout ! Moi, j’aime les gens fidèles !” Il a un drôle de sourire aux lèvres. Il informe une personne par téléphone et par talkie walkie, de la présence du premier directeur général du Palais de la Culture d’Abidjan. “Au moins, il me connaît”, me dis je. Le plus jeune des trois hommes en treillis dévisage le “kôrô” mal en point, incapable de se défendre, à l’article de la mort. Il m’insulte en malinké, soulève la crosse de sa kazakh, me donne un violent coup sur la tête, puis en plein dans l’arcade sourcilière, me promettant de me bousiller un oeil. Malgré mon état, je sens une agression terrible. Il me prend ma montre et un talisman en argent. Il ne me reste que le chapelet de ma mère. Je retombe dans les pommes. Après avoir entendu dire : “On l’a attrapé, on le tient maintenant, Gbagbo.”

Quand je me réveille, je suis dans une brousse que je ne parviens pas à distinguer. En réalité, nous nous trouvons à proximité de le brigade de gendarmerie en contrebas de la résidence de Madame Thérèse Houphouët-Boigny avec d’autres blessés considérés comme trop amochés pour arriver à l’hôtel du Golf, où les caméras des journalistes de la presse internationale sont déjà allumées. Il est donc question, pour l’armée de Ouattara, de nous achever là. Mais les FRCI se heurtent au refus des soldats français. Derrière nous, il y a plusieurs soldats des FRCI avec des kazakhs qui nous promettent une mort certaine.

En face de moi, je vois trois silhouettes de militaires français, qui semblent s’opposer. À ma gauche, le chanteur Paul Madys. Avec toute son énergie, il est en train de plaider pour nous auprès des soldats français. Il dit : “On vous demande pardon, ne nous laissez pas. Ceux qui sont derrière, là, vont nous tuer.” En désespoir de cause, il offre sa vie pour la mienne. Il me regarde et dit aux soldats français : “Celui-là, vous ne pouvez pas le laisser. Prenez-le et laissez-moi, je vais mourir à sa place.” À ces mots, entre la vie et la mort, je ressens une sorte de “bouffée”, un “élan de foi en l’homme”. “C’était le contraire de l’inhumanité, de la violence que m’avait infligée le “blakoro” des FRCI à la résidence présidentielle. Dans cette Côte d’Ivoire, à ce moment-là, un homme, un frère, qui n’avait rien d’un mandingue, qui avait au moins vingt ans de moins que moi, donnait sa vie pour moi…” Alors que ses collègues veulent s’en aller, promettant aux blessés agglutinés là que l’ONUCI viendra les chercher, un militaire français fait le tour de son visage de son doigt, regarde Paul Madys dans les yeux et lui fait le serment de ne pas les abandonner, quand bien même ses collègues le feraient.

Il se débrouille pour trouver un char pour conduire les blessés au CHU de Cocody. (…) “Pour la première fois depuis longtemps, je ressens de la fraîcheur, je me sens bien, je perds connaissance.”À son réveil, je suis dans un tout autre décor. J’ouvre les yeux, je suis dans un hôpital. Les gens qui s’occupent de moi représentent l’espoir. Le médecin est akan, il y a là un gars de l’ouest, là une femme du Nord. Des fois, ils vont jusqu’à me prodiguer quatre heures de soin. Comme pour symboliser une Côte d’Ivoire unie par-dessus tout. Si j’étais mort dans cet hôpital, je serais parti avec cette image-là de mon pays, tout en me souvenant que celui qui a failli m’achever de ses coups de crosse sur le crâne était du nord.”

Au Chu, l’inquiétude règne. Et pour cause : les FRCI viennent enlever les malades pour les achever. Ceux qui le peuvent s’enfuient, avec la force qui leur reste. Je ne peux pas bouger. Une rumeur opportune, sans doute suscitée par ses protecteurs hospitaliers, me tient pour mort.Mais je vis. Dans le secret, mon épouse Ayala, qui se trouve en France, engage des démarches auprès du HCR à Paris, qui contacte la cellule africaine de l’Élysée, qui ne peut plus dire qu’elle ne savait pas. Nos polices d’assurance permettent une évacuation sanitaire. Mais ma femme doit rédiger, au travers de l’ambassadeur Ally Coulibaly à Paris, une lettre affirmant que son époux sort du pays en tant que Français et non en tant qu’Ivoirien.

Arrivé à l’aéroport dans une ambulance, je me déplace en fauteuil roulant. A ma vue, la petite foule des voyageurs et du personnel en service fond en larmes. « Mon Dieu ! On nous a dit que vous étiez mort ! », crient certains. Je m’engouffre dans l’avion, rempli à 70% de militaires français rentrant au pays, leur «mission» accomplie. Marqué par la haine selon son expression, je me prépare à de longs mois de soins et de rééducation.


Je retiens qu’aux derniers moments avant son arrestation, il m’aura vu. L’ami est l’ami, dans ma culture. Aujourd’hui qu’il est dans une situation difficile, je ne crache pas sur Gbagbo. Il a certes des défauts, mais il n’est pas le monstre qu’on dépeint. Je n’aurais pas composé avec un monstre. Il y a une sagesse qui dit chez nous « le fou de quelqu’un ici est le sage de quelqu’un ailleurs ».

L’homme que je connais est un homme qui m’a respecté, qui a respecté mes créations même s’il n’en a pas toujours fait une promotion à la mesure de ce que j’attendais. Je retiens qu’il m’a respecté, qu’il a respecté mon travail en se refusant à interférer, et c’est très important pour un homme de culture soninkée. Je pense que ces derniers jours là, il a dû penser aux petites anecdotes que je lui rappelais quand on avait l’occasion d’avoir des moments d’intimité.

Comme celle du rapport entre Samory, le dernier empereur résistant face à la pénétration coloniale, avec son ami et aîné Morifindian Diabaté, griot, mémoire vivante du pays et capitaine. Quand Samory a été arrêté à Guélémou en Côte d’Ivoire, Diabaté a proposé d’aller avec lui en prison. Les Français ont dit « non », et sont allés avec Samory au Gabon. Plusieurs mois plus tard, Morifindian est arrivé au Gabon par ses propres moyens. Ils se sont parlé, se sont rappelé les moments de gloire et les moments tristes. Quand Samory est mort, Diabaté l’a enterré.

Les Français lui ont proposé de le ramener en Côte d’Ivoire. Il a refusé. Il a creusé sa propre tombe à côté de celle de Samory. Et il leur a dit : « Quand je mourrai, vous m’enterrerez ici ». Et ses dernières volontés ont été respectées. Ce n’est qu’à la fin de son règne que Sékou Touré a ramené leurs cendres dans leur terroir ancestral mandingue, en Guinée. Ce n’est pas leurs faits de guerre, leur gloire, qui ont alors été célébrés, mais leur serment d’amitié, la valeur du serment d’amitié.

Là où il est, peut-être mon grand-frère se dira que je ne suis pas Louis Sépulvéda, romancier et compagnon de route d’Allende jusqu’à sa fin tragique au palais de la Moneda. Je ne suis pas Morifindian Diabaté, mais je suis Sidiki Bakaba avec mon histoire. Ceux qui racontent que j’ai combattu les armes à la main doivent savoir que je ne suis pas André Malraux qui s’est engagé et s’est battu dans un avion militaire contre le franquisme en Espagne. Il l’a fait par conviction. Il n’a pas été diabolisé pour autant. De Gaulle en a fait son ministre de la Culture. Moi, Sidiki Bakaba, j’attends mon De Gaulle »

in Le Nouveau Courrier du 21 Juin 2011

Warifatchê, wari bémi? Terrorisme économique au dramanistan


Que sont devenus les griots du « ado pissanci ! ado warifatchê ! ado solution ! » ? Que sont devenues les clameurs moutonnières des premières heures? Silence total ! Plus aucune darbouka, plus aucun grelot ne se fait entendre au dramanistan. La désillusion est absolue. Le warifatchê ne sait plus où trouver de l’argent. Pissanci n’a plus de solutions.

Si je n’étais convaincu de la stupide arrogance de nos démocrates pickpockets, je leur aurais conseillé d’aller voir Gbagbo à la Haye, pour lui demander comment il a su maintenir la Côte d’Ivoire debout, au travail et prospère, et ceci en pleine guerre, et avec seulement la moitié des ressources du pays. Je sais que Gbagbo, qui aime profondément la Côte d’Ivoire, leur aurait donné volontiers des cours de gestion pour trouver solution à la descente aux enfers de la Côte d’Ivoire.

Ainsi donc, toutes ces déclarations pompeuses n’étaient que mensonges ? Ainsi donc, le carnet d’adresses du warifatchê ne contenait-il que des noms de créanciers ?

Après s’être gorgés abondamment du fruit du travail des Ivoiriens, le mythomane et sa smalah de corrompus ont un réveil brutal : les caisses du dramanistan sont vides de chez vide. Et aussi vrai que le schibboleth des kleptocraties est de voler l’argent du peuple puis de passer la note de remboursement aux contribuables, les rattrapés ont pris sur eux de secouer les Ivoiriens la tête en bas jusqu’à ce que tombe de leurs poches leur tout dernier centime.

Plus question pour les kleptocrates de payer leurs dettes aux fournisseurs de l’Etat. L’excuse ? En plus d’être élevées, les factures datent de mathusalem. Les enseignants peuvent oublier leurs arriérés de primes. L’explication ? Ils n’ont pas d’armes, et au dramanistan, seuls les interlocuteurs armés sont écoutés. Les automobilistes devront renouveler leurs permis de conduire tous les 2 ans. Et pourquoi ? Il faut bien, par des mesures ubuesques, renflouer les caisses vidées par les kleptocrates du dramanistan. Les voyageurs descendant à l’aéroport Félix Houphouët Boigny se feront fouiller, palper et tripoter comme de vulgaires criminels ; car au dramanistan, comme le justifie si bien le porte-parole du gouvernement du dramanistan, le volubile Koné Bruno, personne, à part les kleptocrates de la République bananière, n’a besoin de plus d’un caleçon, de plus d’une paire de chaussures, de plus d’une robe, de plus d’un costume, ou de plus d’un jouet. Tout ce qui rentre en double au dramanistan doit être sévèrement taxé.

Waribana ! Après le vuvuzéla et les détournements en masse, voici venue l’heure du bilan : Les caisses sont vides, vidées par nos kleptocrates, et le peuple doit payer; payer par des licenciements, payer par des rackets, payer par des factures élevées, payer par des expropriations et reventes aux plus offrants de terrains. Et gare à quiconque osera dire qu’au dramanistan, « rien ne va plus » ; car au dramanistan, tout peut manquer, mais pas les dozos, les frères cissé et les camps de concentration.

Le bonimenteur avait dit au Ivoiriens qu’il savait où trouver de l’argent ; sésééééééé, c’est dans leurs poches qu’il pensait allait le chercher. La seule vérité que le mythomane ait jamais dite, c’est qu’il « rendra la Côte d’Ivoire ingouvernable ». Avec ses microbes, ses deals passés avec les terroristes et les dozos pour cultiver la peur et détourner les débats, avec ses répressions armées, avec sa paupérisation de la population, avec son démantèlement de l’éducation, avec sa culture de l’antiintellectualisme et des licenciements abusifs, le mythomane a bien rendu la Côte d’Ivoire ingouvernable.

Mais ce qui est encore pire dans cette affaire, c’est la surdité, le mutisme, et l’aveuglement permanents des « associations de consommateurs », qui, au temps où la parole était libérée, ruaient dans les brancards, descendaient dans la rue et ordonnaient des boycotts au gré de leurs humeurs.

Ce que pense vraiment Venance Konan de dramane wattra: Morceaux choisis

Venance KonanVenance Konan, cet écrivaillon du ventre, a bien la plume bavarde ces derniers jours. Et si nous revisitions tel quel son gribouillage d’il y a quelques années ? Peut-être que cela nous aiderait un peu à pénétrer les effluves épais qui enfument sa cervelle pour découvrir l’essence de ce qu’il est vraiment.

IVOIRIENS ET LEUR IVOIRITE  (Vendredi 13 Février 1998 )

De nombreuses personnes, souvent très proches du PDCI disent que ce qui les gènes dans ce code électoral en discussion en ce moment est qu’il semble dirigé contre Monsieur Alassane Ouattara. Les gens du PDCI s’en défendent. Pour ma part, je pense que si ce code électoral était dirigé contre Monsieur Alassane Ouattara ce serait une très bonne chose.

Pourquoi ne dit-on pas que ce code électoral est dirigé contre Monsieur Gbagbo Laurent (qui lui a déjà déclaré qu’il sera candidat à a Présidence et affirme avoir le plus grand parti de Côte d’Ivoire) ou Monsieur WODIE, ou Monsieur Gueu Dro, ou moi ? Pourquoi seulement Alassane Ouattara alors qu’il n’a jamais dit qu’il briguera la présidence de la république de la Côte d’Ivoire, c’est parce que ceux qui le soutiennent et ceux qui le soutienne et ceux qui ne le soutiennent pas savent qu’il est celui qui a un problème de nationalité. Alassane Ouattara affirme être un ivoirien. C’est sans doute vrai. Mais il est un fait qu’à une certaine période de sa vie, il porta la nationalité du Burkina Faso actuel. Fut-il d’abord ivoirien, puis burkinabé avant de redevenir ivoiriens ? Est-ce parce que l’un de ses parents était burkinabè, si c’est le cas, nous constatons simplement qu’il eut des liens et des sentiments très forts avec ce pays pour s’en réclamer ressortissant. Pourquoi les ivoiriens doivent-ils prendre le risque de confier leur destin à un homme dont le patriotisme n’est pas exclusivement ivoirien ? Au nom de quel principe ?

A-t-il pris la nationalité burkinabé simplement parce que ça lui permettait d’entrer au FMI et à la BCEAO ?, si c’est le cas c’est un aventurier dont le patriotisme fluctue au gré de ses intérêts. Pourquoi les ivoiriens devraient-ils prendre le risque de confier leur destin à un homme dont le nationalisme varie selon l’air du temps ? Au nom de quel principe ?

Gbagbo Laurent et Djeny Kobina disent que cette loi est raciste, xénophobe etc que tous ceux qui ont la nationalité ivoirienne même s’ils ont été naturalisés hier doivent être candidats à la Présidence. Ignorons-nous que de nombreux ivoiriens vivant en France font tout aujourd’hui pour avoir la nationalité française afin d’échapper aux foudres de la police de Pasqua, ceux-là seront-ils fondés à briguer un jour la présidence française ? Ignorons-nous que de nombreux Guinéens, burkinabè, Maliens, Camerounais, Zaïrois, Nigérians font tout pour avoir la nationalité ivoirienne pour aller travailler dans des organismes internationaux, pour entrer en Europe (parce que s’ils disent leur vraie nationalité ils sont aussitôt suspects) ou pour venir vivre et travailler chez nous, combien de fois ivoir’soir n’a-t-il pas parlé des trafics de fausses pièces d’identité,

Est-ce d’être raciste et xénophobe que de prendre un minimum de précautions pour que notre pays ne tombe pas aux mains d’aventuriers, est-ce aller trop long que d’exiger que le père et la mère au moins soient ivoiriens pour être sûr que celui qui dirigera notre pays n’aura pas un coeur qui balance ailleurs, les ivoiriens savent-ils qu’ailleurs on exige que les parents eux-mêmes soient de père et mère nationaux pour briguer la présidence. On a aussi beaucoup commenté la disposition qui dit qu’il faut avoir résidé de façon continue en Côte d’Ivoire pendant les cinq années qui précèdent la date des élections, pour déduire qu’elle vise Alassane Ouattara. On a oublié de lire le paragraphe suivant qui dit que cette disposition ne s’applique pas aux ivoiriens choisis par l’Etat de Côte d’Ivoire pour servir dans des organisations internationales. Rappelons que lorsque Monsieur Alassane Ouattara allait au FMI, le gouvernement avait dit que c’était lui qui l’avait choisi. Et c’était ceux qui le supportent aujourd’hui, à savoir Gbagbo Laurent et Djeny Kobina, qui disaient que c’étaient faux, qu’il y était par ses propres mérites. Qui dit vrai aujourd’hui ? S’il y a été envoyé par la Côte d’Ivoire il est évident qu’il n’est pas visé par cette disposition. Donc où est le problème, s’il a décidé tout seul aller se mettre au service du FMI ? Pourquoi cela nous sera-t-il opposable aujourd’hui ?

Pourquoi le candidat doit-il avoir résidé au moins 5 ans dans le pays avant les élections, ceux qui ont suivi les dernières élections en Pologne ont la réponse. Vous vous en souvenez, un polonais qui avait vécu toute sa vie au canada a débarqué et s’est présenté à la candidature. Il a distribué des millions, promis la lune aux polonais et a mis Lech Walesa en ballotage après avoir battu le Premier Ministre Tadeuz Mazowiescki. Il s’en est fallu de peu qu’il ne devienne Président. Et l’on s’est rendu compte après qu’il n’était qu’un escroc. Il a disparu de la circulation après. La Côte d’Ivoire peut-elle se permettre de prendre un tel risque, Je pense que nous devons arrêter de voir Bédié, Alassane ou Gbagbo dans cette affaire de code électoral. Nous devons arrêter de voir nos ethnies, nos régions et nos religions dans cette affaire. Nous ne devons voir que la Côte d’Ivoire. La nôtre, celle de nos enfants, de nos petits-enfants, de nos arrière-petits-enfants. La Côte d’Ivoire éternelle. Si nous confions notre pays à des mains peu sûres et qu’il se brise, il n’y aura aucune ethnie ou religion qui sera épargnée. Et c’est aujourd’hui que nous devons poser les règles de cette Côte d’Ivoire que nous voulons solide. Et je crois que nous devons aujourd’hui remercier Alassane Ouattara de nous avoir permis d’ouvrir les yeux sur notre réalité, notre ivoirité. Pendant longtemps nous avons tous baigné dans un certain laxisme, nous avons tous fermé les yeux, et tout le monde a fait ce qu’il voulait dans notre pays. Aujourd’hui nous ouvrons les yeux et nous constatons que notre pays a au moins 40% d’étrangers, que notre économie ne nous appartient plus, que des assassins libériens font la loi dans l’Ouest de notre pays et que si nous n’y prenons garde nous confierons notre pays à quelqu’un qui n’est pas ivoirien ou pas suffisamment pour souffrir ou mourir avec lui. Et Messieurs Gbagbo et Kobina veulent que nous continuions dans cette voie dangereuse, au mon de quel principe ?

Nous sommes panafricanistes. Nous sommes fermement convaincus que l’intégration est notre voie de salut. Mais l’intégration suppose que nous marchions tous du même pas. Toutes nos boutiques sont tenues par des Mauritaniens. Allez essayer d’ouvrir une boutique en Mauritanie. Ou au Nigeria. Ou au Ghana. Essayer d’aller au Gabon sans visa. L’intégration suppose que tous les pays candidats à cette intégration se fixent des règles communes et des objectifs à atteindre et que tout le monde respecte ces règles. Mais on ne peut pas demander à l’un de perdre son identité au profit des autres.

Alors ce code électoral vise Alassane Ouattara, Oui, et alors, il n’est pas le seul. Mais il y a aussi des millions d’ivoiriens de souche, de père et de mère et arrière grands-parents ivoiriens, qui n’ont jamais renoncé à leur nationalité et qui ont consacré toute leur vie à bâtir ce pays. Pourquoi ne parle-t-on pas de ceux-là ?

On dit aussi qu’Alassane Ouattara fut Premier Ministre. Et que cela lui donne une légitimité pour briguer la présidence. D’abord il n’a pas été élu Premier Ministre. Et le débat actuel porte sur la présidence. Et, rappelons-le-encore, ceux qui le combattirent le plus violemment parce qu’il était Burkinabè. Mais tout ça c’était une autre époque. Celle où les ivoiriens toléraient beaucoup de choses. Il y en a une autre qui commence où les ivoiriens veulent conduire eux-mêmes leurs affaires.

Venance KONAN Fraternité Matin / Vendredi 13 Février 1998

QUE RECHERCHE LE RDR ? (Vendredi 20 Mars 1998)

A Odienné le RDR est chez lui. C’est « son territoire ». Ne dit-on pas que la mère de leur gourou vient de là-bas, dans un village qui est la frontière avec la Guinée, N’est-ce pas dans la région d’Odienné que le RDR a eu plus de voix ? Alors la région d’Odienné est son “territoire” Aussi lorsque la première dame de Côte d’Ivoire veut se rendre à Odienné, le RDR considère cela comme une violation de domicile, un casus belli ; Il ne peut l’accepter. Madame Henriette Konan BEDIE n’est-elle pas l’épouse de Monsieur Henri Konan BEDIE ? Leur ennemi, celui qui a ravi la place qui, selon eux, devait revenir à leur “Bravetchê” au nom d’on ne sait qu’elle constitution ou loi de quel pays ? Pour ce qui nous concerne en côte d’ivoire, tous les ivoiriens savent qu’en 1993, la constitution prévoyait qu’en cas de décès du Président de la République, le Président de l’Assemblée Nationale lui succèderait aussitôt.

Puisqu’ils ne peuvent empêcher Madame la Présidente de se rendre à Odienné qui est sur le territoire ivoirien, l’ineffable Mamadou Ben Soumahoro et ses comparses ont tenté, par des formules alambiquées de faire échouer cette visite. Las ! La population d’Odienné est sortie massivement pour accueillir la Dame au grand cœur. Parce que cette population savait que Madame BEDIE était venue pou la servir, comme elle le fait à travers tout le pays. Même l’envoyé spécial d’un journal proche du RDR a dû, à son corps défendant, reconnaître que la visite de Madame La Présidente avait été un succès populaire. On ne peut pas cacher la forêt avec la main. Mais le Député-maire d’Odienné, sans craindre le ridicule a tenu à dire qu’il était là. C’est comme il lui plaît. La population d’Odienné, celle que Madame BEDIE était partie rencontrer était bien présente et c’est là l’essentiel.

Mais tout ceci nous amène à nous interroger sur les objectifs de ce parti appelé RDR. On se souvient tous des propos invitant à la haine tribale tenus par Djeni Kobina lors de sa récente tournée à travers notre pays. Des propos que l’on ne saurait tenir dans un autre pays, au Ghana par exemple, sans se retrouver en prison. On se souvient aussi des propos de Mamadou Ben Soumahoro qui demandait carrément que les Baoulé soient confinés dans leur terroir d’origine. C’est à peine s’il n’a pas demandé que l’on leur interdise de se déplacer sur le territoire ivoirien. On se souvient encore de tous les efforts du RDR pour faire croire à une partie des ivoiriens qu’ils étaient des martyrs. Que veut le RDR à la Côte d’Ivoire ? Au fond, le tort de la Côte d’Ivoire est d’avoir confié de hautes responsabilités à un travailleur immigré du nom d’Alassane Ouattara. Parce que feu Houphouët Boigny, vers la fin de sa vie a nommé Premier Ministre un homme dont la nationalité voltaïque a parfaitement été établie, certaines personnes veulent aujourd’hui que cet homme devienne le Président de la côte d’ivoire. Parce qu’il n’y a pas d’ivoiriens dignes de diriger la Côte d’Ivoire ? Nous voulons bien comprendre que certaines personnes qui ont bénéficié de substantiels avantages au temps d’Alassane Ouattara le regrettent aujourd’hui. Mais les ivoiriens ne peuvent accepter que ces personnes là tente de les diviser et mettent en péril leur pays.

Les Ivoiriens qui n’ont pas la mémoire si courte se souviennent encore des moments difficiles qu’ils ont vécus sous l’ère Alassane Ouattara. Ceux qui le suivent aveuglement aujourd’hui doivent se demander objectivement ce que cet homme a apporté à ce pays et ce qu’il pourrait lui apporter si nous le lui confions de nouveau. Monsieur Ben Soumahoro qui l’insultait dans les journaux savait bien ce qu’il lui reprochait. Aujourd’hui qu’il a retourné son boubou pour devenir son sofa, il pourrait peut-être nous expliquer son programme ?

Depuis 1994, la Côte d’Ivoire a renoué avec la croissance. Les populations en attendent légitimement les retombées. Elles ont commencé à les toucher à travers les routes, les écoles que l’on construit partout dans le pays, les village que l’on électrifie chaque jour, la valorisation du prix des matières premières, les enfant que l’on vaccine contre la polio, etc. les populations attentent plus. C’est légitime.

Mais, comme nous le répète inlassablement le Président Henri Konan BEDIE, pour avoir ce plus il nous faut faire preuve de rigueur, de persévérance dans le travail et il nous faut surtout maintenir la cohésion nationale. C’est pour cela que nous ne pouvons accepter les actions des dirigeants du RDR qui ne rêvent que de voir ce pays déchiré, ensanglanté. Parce qu’ils croient que leur « Bravetchê » pourrait profiter de ce chaos.

Aujourd’hui la Banque Mondiale et le FMI viennent de nous accorder 1200 milliard de francs. Quant de telles institutions débloquent une telle somme en faveur d’un pays, cela signifie qu’elles font confiance à ses dirigeants et à leur bonne gouvernance. Nous ivoiriens devons nous montrer digne de cette confiance en continuant dans l’effort et en refusant que des étrangers sabotent les actions menées par nos dirigeant pour notre bien-être.

Y a-t-il un ivoirien qui parcourt le Ghana ou le Burkina en insultant leurs dirigeant et en suscitant la haine tribale ?

Revenons à la réalité. On les a trop longtemps menés en bateau. Et beaucoup d’entre eux ont gâché leur vie pour rien. La réalité est que le RDR ne mène nulle part. Un petit groupe de personnes entretiennent des frustrations artificielles chez des milliers d’ivoiriens pour se faire une place au soleil. C’est tout. Djéni avait espéré entrer au gouvernement grâce au RDR. Il est furieux que ce soit Adama Coulibaly qui ait été choisi. Les tribulations de Djeni Kobina Jackson lors des dernières élections législatives montrent bien qu’il n’a aucune assise dans ce pays et que de ce fait, le suivre, c’est foncer dans le vide. N’avait-il pas promis aller à Korhogo pour « dire la vérité » aux populations sur l’entrée d’Adama Coulibaly au gouvernement ? Pourquoi ne l’a-t-il pas fait ? Parce qu’il a compris que la population de Korhogo préférait suivre un de ses fils, qui est enraciné dans sa culture plutôt qu’un aventurier qui a tout le mal du monde pour dire simplement le nom de son village. Pourquoi des ivoiriens qui aimaient leur pays et sont fiers d’être ivoiriens, suivraient-ils un autre aventurier qui ne peut indiquer le village de son père, qui change de nationalité au grès de ses intérêts et qui ne montre aucun intérêt pour les problèmes des ivoiriens ? Si ADO veut croire que l’on peut faire de la politique par procuration et si Djéni veut attendre qu’un messie vienne réaliser son destin, laissons-les à leurs illusions. Mais il est temps que les ivoiriens comprennent que eux, n’ont pas deux pays et que s’ils laissent quelqu’un d’autre venir détruire celui qu’ils ont en y semant la haine, en montant des populations contre d’autres, ils seront les seuls à s’en mordre les doigts.

Venance Konan Fraternité Matin/Vendredi 20 Mars 1998

« OU EST TON VILLAGE ? » (30 Avril 1999)

Il y a quelque chose de pathétique dans les constantes références de Djéni Kobina à Alassane Dramane Ouattara. Surtout après l’entrée de Monsieur Adama Coulibaly au gouvernement. A l’entendre, ce qui lui a le plus fait mal, ce n’est pas qu’il n’ait pas été informé mais qu’ADO ne l’ait pas été. ADO, le messie, pour l’arrivée duquel il faut nettoyer les écuries, rendre droits les chemins tortueux, aplanir les collines, boucher les trous. Djéni Kobina, leader politique, chef d’un parti représenté au Parlement ne fait donc de la politique que pour préparer la voie à un homme miraculeux qui viendra guérir tous les maux de la Côte d’Ivoire, avec bien entendu lui-même à sa droite et sans doute l’impayable Ben Soumahoro à sa gauche. Et ADO, en homme providentiel qu’il est, ne parle pas. Pourquoi se fatiguerait-il ? Djeni parle pour lui. ADO est le père spirituel du RDR, disent les militants de ce parti. Le dieu de ce parti. Et en bon dieu qu’il est, il ne saurait s’adresser directement aux hommes. A-t-il jamais tenu un meeting ? A-t-il jamais montré un quelconque intérêt à l’égard de ceux qui sont prêts à mourir pour lui ? A-t-il jamais montré un quelconque intérêt pour ce pays qu’i dit être le sien avent d’être parachuté Premier Ministre, et depuis qu’il ne l’est plus ? Quant il arrive dans ce pays qu’i prétend vouloir diriger serait probablement trop salissant pour le grand fonctionnaire international qu’il est.

Ou alors, la réalité est tout autre. Il ne se sent pas chez lui ici. En Côte d’Ivoire tous les hommes politiques ont un fief. Houphouët avait Yamoussoukro, Bédié à Daoukro, Fologo à Sinématiali, Adama Coulibaly à Korhogo, Gbagbo Laurent à Ouragahio, Zadi Zaourou à Soubré, etc. Aujourd’hui, chaque ivoirien, qu’il soit en côte d’Ivoire ou à l’étranger, est fier d’avoir son village, fût-il petit ou grand, d’y aller aussi souvent que possible, de participer à son développement. C’est l’une des caractéristiques de la Côte d’Ivoire et qui a assuré son développement par rapport aux autres pays d’Afrique. Le rêve de tout cadre ivoirien est d’avoir sa maison au village. Et l’homme politique qui n’a pas usé de ses moyens personnels ou de son influence pour développer son village ou sa région est critiquée. Quiconque veut se lancer dans la politique sans avoir une maison chez lui part avec un gros handicap.

Djeni Kobina est en train de découvrir cette réalité aujourd’hui, la réalité que pour faire de la politique, il faut avoir un fief. « Djeni, où est ton village ? » lui demandent aujourd’hui ceux qui hier étaient ses plus proches compagnons. Posons aussi la question à son mentor : « ADO, où est ton village ? Si tu en as, pourquoi tu n’y vas pas ? Pourquoi restes-tu toujours à Abidjan quand tu viens en Côte d’Ivoire ? ».

Il faut que les militants du RDR, s’ils aiment ce pays

Venance Konan Fraternité matin du 30 Avril 1999

POURQUOI S’AGITE T-ON? (Vendredi 05 Juin 1998)

Où et le débat ? Nos amis du RDR crient à tous vent que leur candidat se présentera coûte que coûte en 2000. Oui, et alors ? Le PDCI sait aussi que son candidat se présentera en 2000 ? Mais a-t-il besoin de crier sur tous les toits ? le RDR dit que ADO, son champion, sera candidat. Où est le problème ? Quel Ivoirien n’empêcher un autre ivoirien remplissant les conditions exigées par le code électoral de se présenter à présidentielle ? Il y avait un code électoral. Un nouveau est en chantier. Pourquoi s’exciter avant qu’on ne le connaisse ? Le RDR veut-il nous dire qu’il est prêt à présenter un candidat qui ne remplit pas toutes les conditions exigées par le code électoral ? Et bien qu’il le fasse donc ! Nous sommes dans un pays de droit. Les structures compétentes de l’Etat examineront les différentes candidatures et décideront de celle qui sont acceptables et de celles qui ne le sont pas au regard du droit ivoirien.

C’est tout. On ne voit aucun autre parti, à part le RDR qui ait un candidat dont la nationalité pose problème. ADO est-il ivoirien ou non ? On n’a pas à s’agiter parce qu’il existe tout de même dans ce pays des structures capables de nous dire si oui ou non. Franchement il n’y a pas de quoi s’exciter. Même le FPI pour une fois est calme. Parce que son candidat potentiel n’a aucun problème avec sa nationalité. Le porte-parole du FPI n’a pas besoin de se fendre de deux pages dans un journal pour prouver que son candidat potentiel est « ivoirien à 100% » Ni celui du PDCI, ni celui du PIT, ni celui de l’USD… c’est le RDR seul qui a un problème avec la nationalité de son candidat. La girouette Ben Soumahoro a voulu nous prouver que celui qui lui donne à manger en ce moment est « ivoirien à 100% ». Il nous explique que ADO était vice-gouverneur de la BCEAO avec un passeport voltaïque parce que Houphouët l’avait envoyé en mission, avec la complicité du Président voltaïque de l’époque qu’il ne nomme pas.

On suppose qu’ Houphouët qui était visionnaire avait aussi envoyé ADO en mission lorsque la Haute Volta de l’époque lui donnait une bourse pour aller étudier aux Etats-Unis. Ou bien la Haute Volta était si généreuse en 1962 qu’elle a préféré laisser un ivoirien bénéficier de la bourse que lui offraient les Etats-Unis. Ou bien la Haute Volta était. C’est toujours parce qu’il était en mission commandée qu’ADO a étudié et commencé à travailler aux Etats-Unis sous la nationalité voltaïque. Monsieur Ben Soumahoro qui sait tout peut-il nous certifier que celui qui le nourrit n’a pas été aux Etats-Unis sous la nationalité voltaïque ? Qu’il n’était pas vice gouverneur de la BCEAO sous la nationalité Burkinabé ? Qu’ADO se soit par la suite naturalisé ivoirien, où est le problème ? La loi le permet. Sa mère n’est-elle pas ivoirienne d’après ce qu’on nous dit ? Tout le monde sait pourquoi Ben Soumahoro qui hier insultait ADO est accroché aujourd’hui à ses basques. Le ventre a ses raisons que la raison ignore. Ben Soumahoro qui n’a certainement pas la mémoire courte doit se souvenir de tout ce qu’il nous a dit, à moi-même et à ma consœur Dominique Mobioh sur Alassane, au moment où il nous raccompagnait, sur le pas de sa porte, un jour où nous avions été l’interviewer pour notre rubrique « l’Actualité vue par… ». C’était avant la mort d’Houphouët. Quand nous voyons aujourd’hui sa duplicité, sa versatilité, son avidité, ses délires tribalistes et ses mensonges nous ne pouvons qu’être tristes nous autres jeunes journaliste qui l’avions tant admiré et qui avons embrassé ce métier en partie parce que nous voulions être comme lui.

Mais le ventre de Ben Soumahoro a ses raisons que la raison ignore. Le peuple qui n’a pas la mémoire courte se souvient tout de même de l’époque très récente où il faisait tapisserie chez le Président BEDIE parce qu’il attendait une nomination. Mais en tout état de cause, que Ben Soumahoro arrête de distraire le monde. Les représentants du peuple ivoirien décideront bientôt qui peut être candidat à l’élection présidentielle et qui ne le peut pas. Et chacun prendra alors ses responsabilités. Les gens du RDR menacent à mots à peine voilés de mettre le feu à ce pays. Normal. Bon nombre d’entre eux ne sont ici que par intérêt. On a vu les Sidya Touré, Directeur de Cabinet du Premier Ministre être Premier Ministre en Guinée. Son Ministre de la Justice était enseignant et avocat ici sous la nationalité ivoirienne. Les exemples sont multiples. La Côte d’Ivoire n’a-t-elle pas toujours été le pays qui donne plus aux autres qu’à ses propres fils ? Mais que ceux qui veulent sachent qu’ils trouveront en face d’eux ceux qui n’ont que ce pays, qui n’aiment que ce pays et dont le patriotisme ne fluctue pas en fonction des intérêts.

Venance KONAN Fraternité Matin duVendredi 05 Juin 1998


Nous avons tous lu avec intérêt l’interview de Monsieur Gaoussou Ouattara, le frère aîné de Monsieur Alassane Ouattara parue dans le « le jour » du 22 Mai. Et ses propos appellent de notre part un certain nombre d’observations. Monsieur Ouattara dit qu’il ne se sent pas concerné par la balkanisation coloniale qui a partagé le royaume de ses ancêtres entre plusieurs Etats, et qu’il et autant chef traditionnel en Côte d’Ivoire qu’au Burkina Faso. Le royaume de Kong n’est pas le seul à avoir subi cet avatar de l’histoire. C’est le cas partout en Afrique, et à l’Est comme à l’Ouest de la Côte d’Ivoire, on trouve aussi des chefs traditionnels qui exercent de part et d’autre de la frontière. Niera-t-on pour autant l’existence de nos Etats actuels ?

Quoi que l’on puisse penser de la colonisation, de ses effets négatifs sur nos sociétés et leurs organisations originelles, elle nous a légué nos Etats actuels, dans les limites qu’elle nous a imposées. Et nous sommes en train de bâtir nos nations dans ces limites, en dépit des liens historiques, familiaux, tribaux ou tout autre qui lient des habitants de deux pays. C’est ainsi que le Lobi de Doropo appartient à la même nation que le Kroumen de Tabou, et n’a plus le même destin que le Lobi du Burkina ou du Ghana. Parce qu’ils vivent désormais dans des pays différents. C’est comme cela et l’on doit faire avec.

Pour l’instant, le principe que tous les pays membres de l’OUA ont adopté est celui de l’intangibilité des frontières héritées de la colonisation. Jusqu’à ce que, grâce à l’intégration que nous souhaitons tous, nous arrivions à réformer les grands ensembles d’antan, que par exemple, les pays de la CEDEAO forment un jour, un seul Etat.

Nous n’y sommes malheureusement pas encoure et aujourd’hui, malgré les liens familiaux, historiques, traditionnel, un Ouattara du Burkina Faso est Burkinabé et un Ouattara de Côte d’ivoire est Ivoirien. Monsieur Gaoussou Ouattara nous dit : « A Bobo-dioulasso il y aujourd’hui un quartier de Kombougou où il y a environ 40 à 50.000 individus qui sont en fait originaires de Kong et qui se considèrent comme tels. » Sont-ils ivoiriens pour autant ? Il y a bien en Côte d’Ivoire des millions de personnes dont l’origine se situe quelque part au Ghana ou à Djénné au Mali. Sont-ils pour autant Ghanéens ou Maliens ? Il y a bien des Baoulé en Côte d’ivoire et au Togo. Ont-ils encore le même destin national ?

La colonisation a posé les frontières sans tenir compte de nos réalités. Et de nombreuses familles se sont trouvées divisées. Les Ouattara ne sont pas les seuls. Beaucoup n’ont pas eu à choisir. Cela s’est imposé à eux avec son lot de déchirement, de drames familiaux. D’autres par contre ont eu le choix. Et c’est le cas du père de Messieurs Gaoussou Ouattara et Alassane Ouattara. Monsieur Gaoussou Ouattara nous dit de leur père : « Il avait le choix entre s’installer à Linguêkro (Côte d’Ivoire ou résider à Sindou au Burkina Faso. Il a préféré s’installer à Sindou, et en partant, il a emmené les plus jeunes d’entre nos frères, dont Alassane ». C’est clair. C’était en 1949. Deux ans auparavant, en 1947, les colonies de Haute-Volta et de Côte d’Ivoire qui formaient un même ensemble territorial s’étaient scindées en deux colonies bien distinctes. Le père Ouattara avait choisi en toute conscience entre deux territoires. Le petit Alassane n’a pas choisi. Mais nous sommes tous tributaires des choix que font nos parents à certains moments de notre existence.

En 1960, la Côte d’Ivoire et la Haute Volta sont devenus deux Etats indépendants. Alors, que l’on arrête de vouloir noyer le poisson dans beaucoup d’eau. A partir de 1960, le père Ouattara se trouvait-il en Haute Volta en tant que voltaïque ou en tant qu’émigré ivoirien ? Le petit Alassane se trouvait-il là bas en tant que petit voltaïque ou en tant que petit ivoirien ? Signalons que le code de la nationalité ivoirienne comme c’était le cas en France jusqu’aux nouvelles lois Pasqua. Puisque le grand frère Gaoussou veut éclairer notre lanterne, qu’il nous dise franchement si son père et son frère étaient en Haute-Volta en tant qu’ivoiriens ou tant que Voltaïques ? Le fait que lui soit ivoirien n’induit pas forcément que son frère soit aussi ivoirien. Surtout maintenant que l’on connaît l’histoire de la famille, tout s’éclaire.

On glose aussi beaucoup sur le fait qu’ADO ait été gouverneur de la BCEAO, un poste réservé à la Côte d’ Ivoire, puis premier Ministre de la Côte d’ Ivoire. Jusqu’à ce poste de gouverneur, il avait toujours étudié et travailler comme Voltaïque ou Burkinabé. Alors pourquoi occupe t-il le poste réservé aux ivoiriens. Son frère nous donne la réponse : c’était un geste de reconnaissance d’Houphouët envers leur père qui lui aurait rendu des services. Et cela ne saurait étonner de la part d’Houphouët.

Mais cela autorise t-il ADO à prétendre aujourd’hui être le Président des Ivoiriens ? En tout état de cause, que Monsieur ADO sache ceci : lorsqu’on veut diriger un peuple, on vit avec lui, on apprend à la connaître, à le comprendre, à l’aimer. On ne prend pas un peuple comme on va prendre une prostituée, simplement en payant. On ne prend pas par la force, comme on viole une femme. Un peuple, on l’aime, on le courtise. Autant que nous sachions, Monsieur ADO n’a commencé à vivre avec nous qu’à partir de 1990, quand Houphouët l’a nommé Premier Ministre. Trois ans après, n’étant plus à ce poste, il est parti chercher mieux ailleurs. Aujourd’hui il veut revenir pour être notre Président. En nous proposant quel programme ? Quel rêve ? Simplement parce qu’il a de l’argent et qu’il peut acheter certaines personnes ? N’est-ce pas se moquer un peu de ce pays où il n’est même pas capable d’indiquer son village ? Son frère nous dit que le village où leur père a choisi de vivre à partir de 1949 avec ADO, le village où leur père est mort et enterré, le village avec lequel ADO entretient des relations mystiques se trouve au Burkina Faso. Et il veut que les ivoiriens se reconnaissent en lui ! Soyons sérieux de temps en temps.

Mr Gaoussou Ouattara dit qu’il ne se sent pas concerné par la balkanisation de l’Afrique. Nous si. Et nous ne pouvons pas accepter que le village de notre président se trouve au Burkina Faso.

Venance KONAN Fraternité Matin du 12 Juin 1998

NOTRE BIEN A TOUS (03 Juillet 1998)

Le débat sur l’origine de Monsieur Alassane Ouattara est désormais clos, puisque son frère aîné nous a expliqué qu’en 1949, lorsque la Côte d’Ivoire et la haute volta sont devenues deux colonies bien distinctes, leur père a choisi de retourner chez lui à Sindou, dans l’actuel Burkina Faso pour ne plus revenir en Côte d’Ivoire. On ne voit pas pourquoi il serait retourné à Sindou pour y être chef si ce n’était pas chez lui.

Le choix du père Ouattara était clair. Jusqu’en 1947, la Côte d’Ivoire et la Haute-Volta formaient une seule colonie. Les fonctionnaires de l’époque étaient indistinctement affectés dans les localités de cette colonie. Nous connaissons beaucoup d’ivoiriens qui sont nés sur le territoire de l’actuel Burkina Faso parce que leur père y était fonctionnaire. Beaucoup de personnes sont descendues de la Haute-Volta pour travailler dans ce que l’on appelait la Basse côte. Lorsque le territoire a été scindé en deux colonies distinctes, et que l’indépendance n’apparaissait plus comme un simple rêve depuis le discours du Général De Gaulle de Brazzaville, chacun est retourné chez lui, pour aider à la construction du futur Etat. Certains d’entre eux ont activement participé à la lutte pour l’indépendance de la Côte d’Ivoire, à la lutte pour le développement de la Côte d’Ivoire. Ils sont tous connus. Et il ne viendra à l’idée de personne de leur nier leur qualité d’ivoiriens. L’histoire de la Côte d’Ivoire indépendante est récente et il reste encore beaucoup de témoins de la lutte émancipatrice encore vivants.

Le père Ouattara a choisi dès 1949 de rentrer en Haute-Volta. Au moment de l’indépendance, il n’est pas revenu en Côte d’ivoire pour se réclamer ivoirien. D’où vient-il qu’aujourd’hui son fils qui a vécu avec lui en Haute-Volta prétende vouloir régner sur les ivoiriens,

De 1960 à 1980, la Côte d’ivoire a connu une période de croissance qui a attiré beaucoup de ressortissants de pays voisins ou lointains. Tous les acteurs de cette période faste aux divers échelons de notre administration ou sur l’échiquier politique sont tous connus. Et nulle part n’apparaît le nom d’un certain Alassane Dramane Ouattara.

De 1980 à 1990, ça a été ce que l’on appelait la « conjoncture ». Comme partout sur le continent. Les ivoiriens se sont battus pour sortir de cette crise. Ils ont fait des sacrifices. Et personne ne se souvient avoir vu un certain Alassane Dramane Ouattara à cette époque. En 1990, le vent d’Est crée une nouvelle crise. C’est à ce moment qu’apparaît Alassane Dramane Ouattara. Houphouët lui fait appel pour une mission ponctuelle. Parce que Houphouët reste toujours à la barre. Ne jugeons pas les trois années de Monsieur Alassane Ouattara. Mais les ivoiriens se souviennent que peu de temps avant le décès d’ Houphouët, tous les clignotants étaient au rouge et que la menace d’une réduction des salaires était réapparue.

Fin 93. Houphouët meurt. Monsieur Alassane Ouattara part monnayer ses talents ailleurs. L’histoire de la Côte d’Ivoire continue, avec ses débats, parfois houleux, avec ses problèmes comme par exemple ceux de l’école, du code foncier, de la reforme des Institutions, de la négociation de la dette, de l’insécurité etc. A aucun moment Monsieur Alassane Ouattara ne participe à ces débats. A aucun moment il ne participe à la vie de la Côte d’Ivoire. A aucun moment on ne voit de quelle façon il apporte une pierre si petite soit-elle à la construction de la Côte d’Ivoire. Se refugiant derrière le très commode « droit de réserve », il ne se donne même pas la peine de donner ne serait-ce qu’un conseil, lui que l’on dit si brillant, pour la bonne marche de ce pays qu’il dit être le sien. D’où vient-il donc qu’il prétende aujourd’hui vouloir diriger ce pays ? Trois années. Trois petites années qu’il a passées dans ce pays qu’il veut diriger. Peut-il objectivement dire qu’il connaît ce pays, ce peuple ? Peut-il dire objectivement qu’il aime ce peuple ?

Que des ivoiriens qui soutienne Monsieur Alassane Ouattara se ressaisissent et comprennent que leur pays n’est pas une entreprise sur laquelle on fait une OPA (Offre Publique d’Achat) comme cela se fait dans le monde des affaires, où l’on achète des entreprises où on n’a jamais mis les pieds. Que ces ivoiriens-là se ressaisissent et comprennent que malgré nos différends, malgré ce que l’on peut reprocher aux uns et aux autres, notre pays est notre bien à tous, nous ivoiriens.

Que Monsieur Alassane Ouattara vienne, deux ans avant les élections créé des associations caritatives, distribuer de l’argent, critiquer ce que les autres ont fait ou n’ont pas fait, ne doit pas nous faire perdre de vue d’essentiel : cet homme n’a jamais été avec nous.

Venance KONAN Fraternité Matin du 03 Juillet 1998

PRINCIPES REFONDATEURS (Vendredi 27 août 1999)

L’article 49 du Code électoral qui avait fait couler tant de salive, d’encre et de sang en 1995 ressurgit. Cette fois sous une autre forme. Il est désormais incorporé dans la Constitution. Que dit-il ? Il dit pour l’essentiel, que pour être candidat à la présidence la Côte d’Ivoire il faut être ivoirien de père et de mère. Le débat récent avait porté sur la nécessité ou non de ne retenir que la nationalité d’un seul parent, et lequel. Les députés ont décidé que ce soit les deux. Et déjà l’on entend les mêmes mots qu’en 1995 : exclusion, xénophobie, affrontement. Qui est exclu par cette disposition ? L’Ivoirien dont un parent n’est pas Ivoirien. Exclu de quoi ? Du seul poste de Président de la République.

Certains en font un cheval de bataille, comme si la destinée normale de tout Ivoirien était de finir un jour Président de la République, Combien de Président y a-t-il à chaque fois dans un pays de plusieurs dizaines, voire de centaines de millions d’habitants ? Combien d’entre nous, Ivoiriens d’aujourd’hui, peuvent prétendre raisonnablement accéder au poste de Président de la République dans deux ans, dix ans, vingt ans, cinquante ans ?

Si c’est pour une question de principe que certains veulent affronter d’autres, eh bien parlons-en ! Qu’y a-t-il d’anormal à ce qu’un Ivoirien ayant un parent non Ivoirien ne puisse pas être Président des Ivoiriens ? Quel Ivoirien ne peut-il pas comprendre que celui qui a un parent ivoirien et un non-ivoirien a nécessairement une autre nationalité ou peut se prévaloir d’une autre nationalité ? Comment peut-on ne pas comprendre qu’un responsable ne peut se confier à un homme ou une femme qui a une autre nationalité, une autre allégeance, un autre patriotisme, d’autres obligations, sentimentales ou d’autres envers un autre pays ? Savez-vous qu’aux Etats-Unis, le simple fait de naître, même accidentellement dans un autre pays vous disqualifie automatiquement pour être Président de la République ? Quel que soit l’enracinement de votre famille dans le pays ? La raison est que les Etats-Unis ne veulent pas être dirigés par quelqu’un qui peut se réclamer d’une autre nationalité. Parce qu’il y a des pays, comme la France par exemple qui applique ce qu’on appelle le droit du sol c’est-à-dire que le simple fait de naître en France, même accidentellement, vous confère automatiquement la nationalité française. Ainsi de nombreux jeunes ivoiriens qui sont nés en France mais qui ont toujours vécu en Côte d’Ivoire ont-ils eu la désagréable surprise d’être convoqués pour le service militaire.

Je crois qu’au delà des passions, qui naissent parfois de la mauvaise compréhension des choses et des calculs politiciens, il faut regarder notre pays, et le situer dans son environnement. Pourquoi cette disposition soulève-t-elle tant de passions chez nous alors qu’elle existe dans tous les pays qui nous entourent sans que cela fasse l’objet d’un débat ? Lorsque nous discutons avec nos amis de ces pays, leur étonnement vient justement de l’absence d’une telle disposition dans notre constitution. Cela leur semble tellement surréaliste que nous nous affrontions sur une telle disposition !

On entend certains dire, « par le passé il y a eu ceci, ou cela, ils ont fait ceci, ou cela » si par le passé certaines erreurs ont été commises, sommes-nous tenus ad vitam aeternam de perpétuer ces erreurs ? Dans l’histoire de tout pays, de toute nation, il est des moments où il faut s’arrêter pour voir le chemin parcouru, celui qui reste à parcourir et se dire : « avons-nous raison de continuer sur cette voie ? ». N’est-il pas plus judicieux de changer de voie ? Aujourd’hui la France est en plein débat pour savoir s’il faut maintenir ou supprimer le droit de sol, ce droit vieux de plusieurs siècles. Dans les années soixante dix la même France importait par cargos des Maliens, des Sénégalais, des arabes. Aujourd’hui cette même France les renvoie par cargos entier et les Africains résidant illégalement en France vivent dans la terreur. L’ancien candidat à la présidence, Edouard Balladur, ancien Premier Ministre vient de proposer un débat sur la préférence nationale. Aux Etats Unis on construit des murs à la frontière pour empêcher les Mexicains d’entrer.

Pourquoi nous ivoiriens, au nom d’on ne sait quel principe nous voulons fermer les yeux sur nos réalités ? Pourquoi nous ivoiriens de naissance, ou d’adoption, pouvons-nous nos affronter sur la question de savoir si celui qui doit nous diriger doit être totalement de chez nous ? Certains partent du principe que ce pays n’appartient à personne et que par conséquent il appartient à tout le monde. Nous disons, nous que ce pays appartient aux ivoiriens. Et qu’il doit fonctionner sur un minimum de principes. Si ce pays s’est beaucoup donné aux autres, aujourd’hui il dit qu’il ne veut plus être la prostituée qui s’offre au plus offrant.

Si c’est aujourd’hui que les principes refondateurs doivent être arrêtés nous disons qu’il n’est jamais trop tard pour bien faire. Pour peu que nous respections nous-mêmes nos principes, et que nous appliquions les lois et les décisions que nous prenons.

Par Venance Konan Fraternité Matin duVendredi 27 août 1999

C’EST QUEL IVOIRIEN CA ? (04 Septembre 1998)

Monsieur Alassane Ouattara est donc candidat à l’élection présidentielle de l’an 2000. Parce qu’il est ivoirien et éligible. Contrairement à 1995 où il avait reconnu ne pas être éligible. Qu’est-ce qui s’est donc passé ? Pour ce que nous savons, rien n’a changé au niveau des conditions d’éligibilité.

C’est donc au niveau de Monsieur Ouattara que quelque chose a changé. Lors du congrès de son parti, il a affirmé haut et fort qu’il est ivoirien. Et Balla Keïta l’a confirmé. Il a déclare dans « le jour » que Monsieur Ouattara est bien ivoirien, originaire de Kong. D’ailleurs, au moment ou Monsieur Ouattara devait être nommé Premier Ministre, le Président Félix Houphouët-Boigny l’avait envoyé, lui Balla Kéïta, annoncer aux habitants de Kong que Monsieur Ouattara était originaire de chez eux. Un bien drôle d’ivoirien que cet Ouattara, que Balla Keïta est obligé d’aller présenter aux gens de son village pour qu’ils sachent qu’il est effectivement de chez eux.

Et seulement au moment où, il va être nommé Premier Ministre. Il n’avait donc jamais mis les pieds dans son village auparavant ? Monsieur James Cenach, le grand journaliste que nous connaissons, est devenu grand enquêteur ès Ouattara. Il a annoncé sur RFI le 04 Août dernier qu’Alassane Ouattara était bien ivoirien puisque Kong était le foyer des Ouattara. Et il a précisé que les limites des royaumes traditionnels ne coïncident pas forcément avec les frontières, héritées de la colonisation. Mais Monsieur James Cenach, oublie sans doute que ce dont il est question actuellement n’est pas l’élection du roi ou de l’empereur ou du chef traditionnel de Kong, mais du Président de la République de Côte d’Ivoire. Et la Côte d’Ivoire ne va pas au-delà de Ouangolodougou.

Nous avons tous accepté les frontières héritées de la colonisation. Et c’est à partir de ce découpage que depuis l’indépendance le Ouatttara de Kong partage la même nationalité que le Ehui d’Adiaké, le Kipré de Gagnoa, le Tra Bi de Bouaflé, le Konan de Bocanda, le Kambiré de Bouna, le Beugré de Sassandra, mais pas avec le Ouattara de Bobo Dioulasso. C’est comme çà. Et nous l’avons accepté. Monsieur Gaoussou Ouattara, qui est depuis à l’Assemblée Nationale de Côte d’Ivoire sait que les lois qu’il vote ne concernent pas les Ouattara du Burkina Faso ou du Mali, même s’il est par ailleurs le chef traditionnel de tous les Ouattara. Le Kouamé dont le foyer originel se trouve quelque part vers Kumassi ne va pas pour autant avoir des prétentions au Ghana, même s’il y retrouve des parents.

Alors, arrêtons de jouer avec les mots, les formules, l’histoire. Monsieur Gaoussou Ouattara a bien déclaré dans « le jour » qu’en 1948 au moment où la Côte d’Ivoire et la Haute volta se séparaient pour devenir deux colonies distinctes, leur père est rentré en haute Volta avec les plus jeunes de ses frères, dont Alassane Ouattara, pour être chef traditionnel à Sindou ; c’est Sindou le village du père d’Alassane Ouattara et non Kong, si Kong était chez lui ? Pourquoi ne reconnaîtrions-nous pas simplement qu’en 1990, Houphouët-Boigny voulant le nommer Premier Ministre, il fallait absolument lui trouver une attache en Côte d’Ivoire ? Pourquoi ce « digne fils » de Kong, qui a exercé les plus hautes fonctions dans les institutions internationales, qui a été Premier Ministre de la Côte d’ivoire, n’a commencé que maintenant à construire une maison dans « son village » ? C’est quel ivoirien ça ? Lors du congrès de son parti, Monsieur Alassane Ouattara a exhibé sa carte d’identité ivoirienne et celle de sa mère. Et l’on s’est aperçu que la sienne n’a été établie qu’en 1982, alors qu’il avait déjà 40 ans. Sous quelle identité avait-il donc vécu jusque là ?

Que l’on ne dise pas qu’il s’agit d’un renouvellement. Parce que lorsque l’on renouvelle sa carte d’identité, elle garde toujours le numéro de l’année où elle a été établie pour la première fois. Et le numéro de la carte d’identité de Monsieur Alassane Ouattara indique bien qu’elle a été établie pour la première fois en 1982.

L’on s’est aperçu également que sur sa carte d’identité sa mère s’appelle Nabintou Ouattara. Et pourquoi, celle qu’il a présentée et dont il a montré les papiers s’appelle Nabintou cissé, née à Dabou. D’autre part, sur sa demande de carte d’identité formulée en 1990, il est précisé que son père est à Kong et sa mère à Odienné. Et pourtant sur leurs cartes d’identité ils sont nés respectivement à Dimbokro et Dabou. Que signifie tout cela ? Aujourd’hui, ce qui est en question est l’avenir de la Côte d’ivoire. Et cet avenir, personne n’a le droit de jouer avec. Surtout pas pour une question d’orgueil ou d’ambition personnelle. Puisque Monsieur Alassane Ouattara veut diriger les ivoiriens, dans la transparence, il leur doit des éclaircissements sur un certain nombre points.

A-t-il jamais porté la nationalité voltaïque ou Burkinabé ? Il a déclaré qu’il a servi la Haute Volta. A quel titre ? En tant que Voltaïque ou en tant que coopérant ivoirien. Après l’indépendance de la Haute Volta en 1960, est-il resté dans ce pays en tant que Voltaïque ou en tant qu’émigré ivoirien ?

Est-il vrai que sa vraie mère, Nabintou Ouattara, venue de sa Haute Volta natale rejoindre son mari est morte et qu’il a été élevé par la seconde épouse de son père, Nabintou Cissé ? Etait-il ou non le Président des cadres Burkinabé travaillant à Dakar, pourquoi est-ce seulement en 1982 qu’il a établi sa première carte d’identité ivoirienne ? Et pourquoi toutes ces confusions sur le nom de sa mère, sur les lieux de naissance de ses parents ?

Si Monsieur Alassane Ouattara veut vraiment être le Président des ivoiriens, il leur doit des réponses claires à toutes ces questions, et surtout à celle-ci : pourquoi, alors qu’il avait refusé de se présenter en 1995 à cause du code électoral, il décide de le faire maintenant sans que ce code n’ait changé ?

Aujourd’hui nous entendons ici et là des menaces à peine voilées du genre « si ADO n’est pas candidat on va voir ». « Nettoyez vos fusils, aiguisez vos machettes ». Certains se disent prêts à mettre ce pays à feu et à sang si la candidature d’ADO n’est pas retenue. C’est entendu. Ceux qui mourront, mourront. Et ceux qui doivent perdre leurs biens les perdront. Mais ce qui est sûr, ils se font peur à eux mêmes.

Il ne faut jamais forcer le destin. Et nous pensons que Monsieur Alassane Ouattara a eu un destin formidable. Il a été gouverneur de la BCEAO, Premier Ministre de la Côte d’Ivoire sous Houphouët-Boigny dont il assurait parfois l’intérim (comme il se plait à le répéter) et Directeur Général adjoint du FMI. Pourquoi veut-il à tout prix la seule chose qu’il sait qu’il ne peut obtenir ?

Par Venance KonanFraternité Matin /04 Septembre 1998


A propos du conflit Agnis-bozos à ayamé, un confrère du « Libéral » le journal qui soutient ADO, écrit ces lignes dans l’édition du Jeudi 3 Septembre : « pour nombre d’observateurs avertis et des moins privilégiés des dégâts causés, le conflit qui a opposé Agnis et Bozos à Ayamé trouve sa source dans la mauvaise interprétation par les autochtones de la nouvelle loi sur l’immigration et le projet de loi portant code foncier rural. L’un et l’autre de ces textes de loi soutiennent qu’une « certaine préférence » soit accordée aux seuls nationaux tout en préconisant que les ressources des terres et des eaux sur le territoire appartiennent en premier lieu aux nationaux. Mais à bien y réfléchir on en vient à déduire que le conflit Agnis-Bozo est la résultante directe des lois stupides et impopulaires aux conséquences imprévisibles votées récemment par la majorité parlementaire PDCI »

Plus loin notre confrère poursuit : « Il apparaît que les autochtones Agni ont délibérément voulu adopter une position d’auto-défense face au monopole de fait que détenaient les pêcheurs maliens sur les activités de pêche dans la région »

La première question qui nous vient en tête est de savoir si un Ivoirien peut écrire cela. Un ivoirien peut-il trouver stupides des lois ivoiriennes qui accordent une « certaine préférence » aux ivoiriens en Côte d’Ivoire ? Un ivoirien peut-il trouver stupides des lois ivoiriennes qui préconisent que les ressources des terres et des eaux sur le territoire ivoirien appartiennent en premier lieu aux Ivoiriens ?

Assurément non. Car l’Ivoirien, quelle que soit sa tendance politique, quelle que soit sa stupidité, aime son pays et veut s’y sentir chez lui. Dans quel autre pays l’Ivoirien peut-il jouir d’une « certaine préférence » ? Dans quel autre pays, l’Ivoirien pourra t-il posséder les ressources des terres et des eaux ?

L’hymne national ivoirien parle de « pays de l’hospitalité ». Et le comportement des Ivoiriens depuis l’indépendance a démontré que ces lignes de notre hymne national n’étaient pas que des mots, mais un comportement. Quel est le pays en Afrique, ou même dans le monde où le tiers de la population est composé d’étrangers, ou des étrangers ont le monopole sur les plus importants secteurs de l’économie. Dans quel pays d’Afrique des Ivoiriens pourront prétendre avoir le monopole sur les activités de pêche d’une région, au point de prétendre interdire cette activité aux natifs de la région ?

La Côte d’Ivoire est pionnière dans l’intégration de la sous-région. Elle est le pays qui offre le plus aux autres, quand ailleurs tout lui est refusé. Nous avons eu l’occasion de visiter tous les pays de la sous-région. De nombreux autres Ivoiriens également. Aussi nous savons de quoi nous parlons lorsque nous disons : « Allez essayer d’ouvrir un magasin ou un maquis au Ghana ou en Mauritanie et vous verrez ! » La première recommandation que nos diplomates donnent aux Ivoiriens en voyage dans les pays voisins est de se faire petits et d’éviter d’avoir des histoires avec les nationaux. Parce qu’ils en ressortiraient perdants.

Que se passe t-il en Côte d’Ivoire ? On traite nos lois (par conséquent ceux qui les ont votées) de stupides parce qu’elles accordent une « certaine préférence » aux Ivoiriens en Côte d’Ivoire. Dire que l’on est ivoirien et que ce pays appartient aux Ivoiriens c’est être xénophobe. Pendant combien de temps les ivoiriens vont assister passivement à leur spoliation accompagnée d’injures ? Pendant combien de temps les ivoiriens vont supporter que l’on insulte leurs institutions, leur chef d’Etat, leurs représentants et eux-mêmes au nom de la liberté d’expression, de la tolérance et de l’hospitalité ?

La Côte d’Ivoire a offert ce qu’elle pouvait à ses frères venus chercher le bonheur et la sécurité. Mais comme le disait feu Félix-Houphouët-Boigny : « la plus belle fille ne peut offrir que ce qu’elle a ». Nous avons donné ce que nous avons aux frères. Mais nous ne pouvons pas leur donner notre pays. Désolés ! Que l’on nous traite de xénophobes. Mais nous ne pouvons jouir d’une certaine préférence dans notre pays. La France, pays des droits de l’homme, de la fraternité et de l’égalité expulse chaque jour des centaines d’étrangers. Le Premier Ministre a dit récemment qu’il ne peut pas régulariser tous les étrangers en situation irrégulière dans son pays. Par conséquent, il faudra les expulser. C’est ce que la Côte d’ivoire indépendante n’a jamais fait. Et c’est probablement ce que l’on lui reproche.

Le Président BEDIE avait dit dans son premier discours de Chef d’Etat qu’il était intolérable que le commerce ivoirien soit entièrement aux mains des étrangers. Il nous appartient désormais, à nous ivoiriens de faire en sorte qu’il nous revienne.

Dimanche 8 Mai 2011
La Dépêche D’Abidjan

Here We Are, 50 Years After Frantz Fanon (January 8, 2011), M. Frindéthié

While it is convenient for critics to list a catalog of woes plaguing the African continent, it would also be fair to investigate the enabling factors of these woes. Far from a witch-hunting program, African modern slaves in three-piece suits and shining shoes ought to be identified, denounced, and shamed for what they are: enablers and perpetuators of the Occidental domination of Africa. This conversation should be an integral part of Africa’s search for solutions to its problems. Just as collaborators of the Nazi system were denounced and shamed, just as traitors of the French Resistance were exposed and humiliated, just as insider black infiltrators working on behalf of the South African apartheid system were indexed for who they were when discovered, Africa’s traitors working under the cover of globalization ought to feel the pressure of shame and disgrace, for their crimes are no lighter, no more excusable than those of the black sovereigns and merchants who built their fortunes on the slave trade. The moral affliction of the abandonment-neurotic black elites that work for the perpetuation of the Occidental system of domination is no longer a personal matter when it undermines the future of a whole continent. Furthermore, this neurosis is far from discriminating on the basis of age. Age has nothing to do with it, as the younger minds could be as corruptible, if not more cowardly, than the older ones. If time is irrelevant, space is even less relevant when it comes to the affliction that keeps the black leaders psychologically trapped in slavery.

What is Brexit to Africa? Frindéthié


For Africa, the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union forebodes the rupture of the greatest rapacious coalition ever put together against the Black Continent, and, thus, announces a chance for Africa, to start recapturing its lost independence. Indeed, while the West has thriven in consolidating itself and inflating its political and economic influence since the collapse of the Soviet Union through a number of integrative structures, the West, given the slightest chance, has, at the same time, spared no effort to slice Africa in pieces, to balkanize the continent, to impede any chance at Africa’s political and economic unification. Evidence 1: The outcome of the 1885 Berlin Conference. Evidence 101: President Obama’s successful push for the balkanization of Sudan. Thus, a broken, divided, balkanized, flattened and weak Africa has been coerced into accepting the biased financial terms of a fused, gargantuan European Union with a crushing power and the morality of a snake oil salesman. Brexit prophesies the coming of an era when Africa will be able to negotiate on equal footing with individual European nations, this time, not uncontrollably powerful, not overwhelmingly unfair, not devastatingly destructive, not dreadfully greedy, because, this time no longer into a coalition of the most rapacious nations. The United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union announces the end of the European Union; a union that for Africa has been unambiguously destructive.

(Dec. 1, 2010) The United Nations, the IMF, and the “Unholy Trinity of Waste, Fraud and Abuse”, M. Frindéthié

It is under kofi Annan, when he was Secretary General of the United Nations, that the split of Cote d’Ivoire between a rebel North and a constitutional South got sanctified. At the time, Kofi Annan was under pressure by the Bush administration to show patte blanche on the “oil for food” program and France needed to regain control of the richest French-speaking African country that was progressively distancing itself from Paris under President Gbagbo’s leadership. Chirac and Annan had something to give each other: Annan needed Paris’s support to fend the American onslaught and Chirac needed the United Nations to weaken Gbagbo. Annan’s/the UN’s sanctification of the Northern rebellion in Cote d’Ivoire tells a compelling story: While Africa should be proud of its sons of daughters who have “made it” on the global stage, on the other hand, Africa should remain extremely wary of the petite bourgeoisie that has been reared in the nurseries of such organizations as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF, a petite bourgeoisie whose interests lie in the maintenance and continuance of Africa’s enslavement. In 1997 the world and Africa in particular greeted with much elation the appointment of the first sub–Saharan African, Ghanaian Kofi Annan, as head of the United Nations. Annan even received some praise and enthusiastic wishes of success from very unlikely supporters. Then senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, John R. Bolton, who would later become one of Annan’s fiercest critics, had this to say of Annan’s “win” over Tanzanian Salim A. Salim. “The winner, Kofi Annan, was certainly preferable to Salim. Virtually all Annan’s career has been within the UN system, frequently in management and personnel positions. Few know the “system” better than Annan. He is therefore in the best possible position to deliver on reform, for bureaucratic trials, jargon and obfuscation are not likely to distract him if he is engaged. From January 1, 1997, forward, the world can judge his performance.” Could it be that the “system” to which Bolton was referring was what Stefan Halper named the United Nations’ “unholy trinity of waste, fraud, and abuse,” for indeed the world got to judge Annan and the verdict was resoundingly depressing? Truly, “a kleptocratic culture of non-accountability at home was transferred to the world body.” Annan managed the United Nations as a traditional Ghanaian village chief would manage his family plantation, that is, with no regard to transparency and good governance, but rather with particular propensity for nepotism, dereliction, and corruption. Under Annan’s predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, corruption, which was rampant in the United Nations, was thought to have reached its peak. However, Annan, who had been waiting for years in the antechamber of power, in the shadow of Boutros-Ghali as under-secretary general of the United Nations, was going to prove the critics of his boss wrong even before he had his chance to preside over the destiny of this most money-hungry institution. In a feat of pathological perfectionism Annan was going to take corruption to its uppermost eruption and claim for himself the palm of the world’s shadiest official. For Annan, how better could he claim the center of capitalism than to accumulate capitalism’s most valued assets, that is, money? So, when under his auspices the United Nations had the opportunity to administer the Oil-for-Food program, a program with a capital five-fold the United Nations’ own budget, Annan sought illegal means to hoard as much as he could of these funds either directly or indirectly. Indeed, in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the United States had imposed a series of trade embargoes on the Saddam regime. However, as is well known, sanctions imposed on despots have generally been circumvented by the governing classes they are meant to squeeze and have usually brought hardships on the ordinary people. To prevent this pattern from repeating itself in Iraq, the sanctioning authority allowed Iraqi oil to be sold, provided that the takings of the sale should be managed by the United Nations and utilized to buy food and humanitarian supplies for the people of Iraq and to fix the destroyed infrastructures of the country. In 1996, Kofi Annan was charged by Boutros-Ghali to administer the Oil-for-Food program, which was spasmodic at the time. Among the expert brokers that Annan brought in to make the program effective were his own son Kojo Annan and infamous Robert Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe. Within seven years, the Annan dream team for the management of the Oil-for-Food program was able to reorient and embezzle billions of dollars with the complicity of Saddam, and this grand theft “would have succeeded without a hitch had not Saddam Hussein’s regime been overthrown and the Oil-for-Food program been transferred in all its mysterious splendor to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.”Of the 67 billion dollars that the export of oil generated between 1996 and 2003, Annan’s head of humanitarian program, Benon Sevan, before retiring to his 1.5-million-dollar mansion in New York, was able to report “31 billion in supplies of food and medicine delivered to the Iraqi people, leaving $8.2 billion in humanitarian goods still to be delivered…. $3 billion had gone in development funds to rebuild Iraq.” What of the rest? Well, in this age of digitized information, the United Nations internal managers/investigators for the Oil-for-Food program were sorry to inform the world that with the bombing of Baghdad by the coalition troops, important documents pertaining to the program got lost—as if the headquarters of the United nations were located in Saddam’s personal palaces; as if the United Nations, this over-budgeted institution, were still keeping records on first-century scrolls. In fact, “[t]he Oil-for-Food scandal is a potent indictment of the way business is done at the UN Secretariat. It represents the ongoing impeachment of the UN system, a symbol of continuing massive corruption involving the theft of close to $11 billion in revenues…. In fact, this recent scandal is not an aberration at the UN. It forms part of a pattern that can be considered the norm.” Where else than at the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF, these cradles of world corruption, could the black slaver fulfill his dream of tending exponentially toward the glittering center of white bliss? Where else than there could he accumulate the fastest possible that which allows him to mark his difference from the bottom billion crouching in the rural poverties of Africa and Asia? Where else than there could he amass the necessary assets that would make him a modern man in the urban space, in the company of the white? Annan’s attitude is symptomatic of the black elites’ perfectionist superfluity. The African petite bourgeoisie reared within such world organizations as the UN or the IMF, affected by inferiority complex, and that “pander[s] to Western opinion.” is on a binge for praise. Alassane Ouattara belongs to that class of approval seekers, and he would do anything to please the West and to avoid the West’s reprimand. Laurent Gbagbo does not fit the mold of France’s black governors as represented by Bokassa, Bongo I, Compaoré, Biya, Nguesso or Ouattara. The latter has been exposed as a vile politician that is more concerned about protecting the interests of his imperialist masters than ensuring and safeguarding the welfare of the Ivorian people, a people that has vowed never to bend to the imperialist pressure. His multiple calls for a popular uprising since 2002 and his attempts at coups d’état have repeatedly failed. His Occidental masters, however, are resolute to put him on the throne in spite of the people’s resistance. This sets the stage for another African calamity.

Read more in K. Martial Frindéthié’s Globalization and the Seduction of Africa’s Ruling Class: An Argument for a New Philosophy of Philosophy (McFarland, 2010)

La leçon de Francis Wodié: « On ne parle pas la bouche pleine », Frindéthié

On ne parle pas la bouche pleine

Il n’y a que dans les républiques bananières que les fonctionnaires de l’Etat se retrouvent milliardaires. Le professeur Francis Wodié a décidé de se taire à jamais. Ayant soutenu le coup d’Etat de dramane contre la Côte d’Ivoire, Wodié, qui sait que l’on ne parle pas la bouche pleine, est resté muet, occupé qu’il était à mâcher ce que pouvait lui acheter l’argent de l’indignité. Et quand la provision s’amenuisa et que Wodié, la bouche désormais sèche, décida de parler, dramane comprit le chantage et la lui remplit de plus belle. Wodié est occupé à mâcher, et il est très bien élevé pour savoir que l’on ne parle pas la bouche pleine. C’est cela la sagesse de notre magistrat. Ferme-la, mon cher Wodié, et laisse tes molaires s’écraser sur la ripaille de l’indignité. Au moins tu nous auras appris qu’on ne parle pas la bouche pleine … pendant que la Côte d’Ivoire va dans le mur.

Sur le même sujet: https://frindethie.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/le-silence-coupable-de-wodie-m-frindethie/

From Colonization to Globalization: Difference or Repetition? Martial Frindethie

. . . since the collapse of the USSR, the dynamics of empire has changed. The World is now more multipolar and mercantile, with China and Europe emerging to compete against the US. Empire is more driven by multinational corporations, whose interests transcend those of any particular nation-state.
STEVEN HIATT— »Global Empire: The Web of Control, » A Game As Old as Empire

Crisis as Possibility or Globalization à la française 
General Charles de Gaulle, this most beloved French president and iconic figure of French resistance and morality, once formulated an aphorism whose hideous veracity is only equaled by the unscrupulous zeal with which France put it into practice throughout history. « France, » he said, « has no friends, but only interests. » This Gaullist maxim, which foreboded an unchanged paradigm of philosophical disinformation, economic strangulation, military persecution, and political destabilization, if it has proven factual over time and has helped France accumulate a colossal fortune to the detriment of its former colonies, is today being challenged by most French-speaking African countries. Perhaps, the most powerful counter-hegemonic social movement of the twenty first century witnessed in French Africa is the resistance movement that has been taking place in Côte d’Ivoire since 2002. Sidiki Bakaba, an Ivorian filmmaker, has documented it in his Bare-handed Victory.1 It is a mobilization and struggle against French neocolonial agenda disguised under the coat of globalization. The objective of this polymorphous resistance movement is to unveil and defeat France’s imperial economic and political scheme wherever it will manifest itself in Côte d’Ivoire and under whichever form it will hide. Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivorian patriotes often chant, will be the graveyard of France’s deceitful policy in its former colonies. What they mean is that, at least in Côte d’Ivoire, they are determined to put an end to the French arsonist policy by which France has historically schemed to set multiple fires in Africa in order to hire itself as emergency management agency via the United Nations and the world financial institutions.

No matter under which form they come into view, the various French interventions in Africa have never had a philanthropic thrust. French intrusions in Africa have always been driven by logic of maximum wealth through minimum or no effort. Historically, the French Republic has seldom won a war. In fact, the French have systematically lost most wars, even the ones that they confidently declared on their neighbors; and each time France was defeated, it turned to Africa or to the Caribbean with the most destructive designs to assuage its bruised ego and to rebuild its broken finances. An understanding of the French policy in Africa—and the Caribbean—whereby in moments of political and financial distress at home crises are implemented abroad as possibility for Hexagonal improvement could inform a discussion of the contemporary stance against France’s brand of globalization in Africa in general, and in Côte d’Ivoire in particular.

In 1871, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, a war that France declared and seemed so confident to win on its Prussian neighbor, France emerged a broken and demoralized nation with a diminished territory, a poor economy, and an injured reputation. The German Alliance had just defeated France, annexed its territories of Alsace and Lorraine, and handed the French government a reparation invoice the equivalent of one billion dollars to be paid within three-year. Despite its drained reserves, France managed to acquit itself of the enormous bill long before the scheduled deadline. France’s alacrity to make good on the German humiliating tab would have seemed a casual occurrence if almost fifty years before this event, a less powerful country, Algeria, asking that France reimbursed a loan it had owed for too long, had not paid a heavy cost for its impertinence. In fact, the immediate economic outcome of the 1789 French Revolution was catastrophic. Agricultural methods in France had remained archaic. Unlike British farmers, for instance, French farmers had not been able to develop large agricultural exploitations to sustain the local markets and bring in much-needed revenues. The small farms could hardly feed the French populations, and the price of grain and firewood had skyrocketed; bread, the quintessential French food, was being rationed. France was on the verge of famine, and an even more dangerous prospect was developing: Napoleon’s hungry armies in Italy and Spain were getting irritable, and a mutiny could break any time. Subsequently, France turned to two Algerian commercial houses, Bacri and Busnach, for a loan in money and grains in order to remedy the country’s hardship. However, Bacri and Busnach, too, owed some money to the Algerian sovereign, Dey Kodja Hussein, and they were waiting for France to honor its tab, so they could settle their debt with the Dey. In 1815, by the end of the Napoleonic failed war, France’s debt to Algeria was about 18 million francs. Perhaps the merchants had asked Dey Hussein to recover the money from French authorities on their behalf, so that they could also settle their debts with him. Whatever the case, Dey Hussein grew impatient with France’s tergiversations. In 1827, during a heated argument with Pierre Deval, the French consul in Algeria about France’s long-due balance, the Dey’s flywhisk flew in the face of the French consul. King Charles X, who was not very eager to pay off his delinquent debt to Algeria, seized this occasion to protest what he perceived in the Dey’s gesture as lack of respect for the French Crown. Despite Dey Hussein’s explanation that his gesture was in response to Pierre Deval’s personal insult to him, and not a condescension directed at the king of France, 600 French ships landed 37,000 troops in Algeria on June 14, 1830. The French soldiers engaged in the most despicable acts of religious vandalism and human right abuses. They raided mosques and transformed them in cathedrals. They destroyed private properties; they raped women, and executed hundreds of Algerians. Less than a month later, on July 5, the French deposed Dey Hussein. By February 1831, Algeria became effectively a French settlement colony, and French authorities invited 4500 French colonists to farm the fertile coastal lands of Algeria.2 The French occupation of Algeria was not easy, nonetheless. Until 1962, the Algerians resisted the French. Finally, in 1962, the Algerians handed the French one of their most humiliating defeats in history. Germany of 1870 was not 1830’s Algeria. France understood that it was not in its interest to delay its obligation toward the Germans. So, France paid its debt promptly and spent the ensuing years ruminating its defeat and thinking of ways to brighten its tarnished image in Europe. Many social engineers suggested that France should concentrate its efforts overseas and build itself an empire that would both replenish its depleted coffers and extend to « inferior » races its ideals of civilization.

France, it should be noted, had been present in Africa as early as 1642 and had actively participated in the slave trade that sold more than 28 millions Africans in Europe and in the Americas between 1650 and 1900. At that time, the purpose was clearly economic, and no one spoke of extending French « superior » civilization to the « inferior » races of Africa. In the later years of the 1800, however, the climate was no longer the same. By 1804 Denmark initiated an abolitionist wave that started to sweep Europe and America. In 1848, France reluctantly abolished the official practice of slave trade. Among the people who had expressed disapproval of the slave trade, was Olaudah Equiano, a former slave. Equiano was also a former slave owner who had understood that slavery could only be stopped if there could be an incentive for not practicing it. So, he tried to convince slave owners that slave trade was depleting Africa of potential consumers of European goods, and he urged Europeans to turn instead to disseminating European civilization to Africa, as they exploited the many African raw materials from which slave trade had distracted them.3 The functioning semantic pair was thus launched, commerce and civilization, which would henceforth be seized on as determining the scope of France’s—and European—new globalizing efforts in Africa. Taking Equiano’s suggestions to globalize otherwise at heart, European countries raced for the riches of Africa. Ivory, gold, timber, cocoa, coffee, rubber, palm oil, nuts, and tropical fruits, and not slaves—even though some « lawbreakers » were still trading in slaves, for seventy years went by between the Danes’ abolition of slavery in 1792 and the effective stop of slave importation to Europe4— became the new commodities that brought huge profits to European markets. By the late 1800, Africa became so crowded with European fortune seekers that conflicts became inevitable. To better regulate trade in Africa and to avoid conflicts among the international actors in the region, the European powers held a conference in Berlin between November 15, 1884 and February 26, 1885, under the chairmanship of German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck. Although the organizers publicized the conference as a meeting for discussing issues of humanity, peace, and the « civilizing » and « welfare » of the native populations of Africa, it was definition of the rules to govern the Europeans’ claims of territories in Africa that actually dominated the talks. The Conference resolved the question of territorial conflicts among European countries by deciding that any European nation that formally gave other nations notice of its occupation of a territory would be recognized as the rightful owner of that territory. So, having defined the rules of the game, European powers rushed to slash as larger morsels as they could of the African pie.

However, still haunted by the specters of defeat, the French had yet to be convinced. Their 1870 beating by the Germans had dampened all their enthusiasm for globalizing enterprises. Furthermore, their Algerian colonies had not turned out to be what India had been to Great Britain. Algerians continued to oppose long- drawn-out resistances to the French occupation, and the North African colony had cost more headaches to France than it had brought in profits. In light of so few encouraging events, French financiers were hesitant to spend money in African adventures; they preferred less uncertain governments bonds, and French politicians preferred for their constituencies a good pot-au-feu to the bad bread that they ate during the 1870 German siege of Paris. On the other hand, the wounds of humiliation inflicted by the Germans were slow to heal, and many government officials believed that France could shine again if only it could secure for itself a large African empire. Five months after the Berlin Conference, a debate between proponents and opponents of colonial expansion was raging in the hall of the French Assemblée Nationale. The two most memorable protagonists of this debate were Jules Ferry (Ferry was twice prime minister of France, once from September 1880 to November 1881, and another time from February 1883 to April 1885) and Georges Clémenceau. On July 28, 1885, five months after being driven out of office for overseeing the failed the 1885 Chinese-French war, Jules Ferry was making a case for colonialism in the chamber of the National Assembly.

Ferry invoked three arguments in favor of France’s colonial expansion. Economically, within the logic of its industrial aspirations, France needed to find new markets outside Europe and the United States for its export commodities, as Germany and America had become increasingly protectionist at the same time as they had been flooding France with new agricultural and industrials products. Economists like Leroy- Beaulieu, who tried to establish a nexus between Britain’s wealth and its possession of an overseas empire, and who argued that the acquisition of a colonial empire would indubitably bring economic wealth to France, supported this argument.5 From a humanitarian perspective, Ferry argued that, as a member of the « higher race, » France had a divine right and a duty to civilize the « inferior races, » perfect them, and improve their backward morals. From a political and patriotic perspective, Ferry insisted that France needed to ensure its place in the world by performing acts of grandeur. For Ferry, amidst the European rush for territorial expansion, any politics of abstention on the part of France would amount to abdication. To ascertain its position on the international exchequer, France would have to start importing its language, its customs, its flag, and its genius.6 Replying to Ferry, Clémenceau charged that Ferry’s dichotomy of superior race/inferior race was suspect and reminiscent of the German social engineers’ discourse in the days preceding the Franco-Prussian war. The Germans, like Ferry was doing then, had argued for racial superiority.  German scientists had asserted that because the French were an inferior race, France was doomed to lose the war. So, Clémenceau urged his fellowmen not to repeat this German axiom against African nations by trying to disguise violence under the cunning designation of civilization. For him, the excuse of right or duty to civilize was nothing but a right to brutality that scientifically advanced societies tend to arrogate to themselves in order to take possession of less advanced nations and torture their citizens and exploit them for the benefit of so-called superior races. Clémenceau concluded that to make civilization a justification for colonization was to adjoin hypocrisy to violence. In any case, the early 1890s witnessed the rise of a multitude of strong pro-colonialist pressure groups, such as, the Comité de l’Afrique française, the Comité de l’Égypte, the Comité de l’Asie française, or the Comité de Madagascar, all unified under the banner of the Parti colonial, which made the case for a revival of France’s place in the world. Their argument was less to sell an African business venture to French investors than to sell an African empire to the state. By 1890, a colonial consensus was in place in France, which advocated a new globalizing venture based less on treaties with local chiefs, and more on forceful military approach.7 Against all apprehensions, the French militarized globalization in Sub-Saharan Africa turned out to be more lucrative than even pro-colonists had previously thought. When the dust of the European global dash to Africa settled, the continent was parceled into fifty territories, and most European countries had their African colonies. France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were the countries that obtained the lion part. France snatched a large territory in West Africa from Mauritania to Chad (French West Africa), and Gabon and Congo (French equatorial Africa), as well as the Island of Madagascar. France became an empire-building nation. Its overseas empire comprised the territories of present day Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Togo, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, the Islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, and Mayotte.

The French territories did not all have the same status. They were slave colonies, exploitation colonies, settlers’ colonies, or protectorates, and they were ruled accordingly. Most French colonies in the Caribbean were slave colonies, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa they were principally exploitation colonies. In exploitation colonies, France’s goal was to run away with most of the resources the colonies could yield (coffee, cocoa, lumber, palm oil, rubber, tropical fruits and nuts, and various minerals) for the benefit of the metropolitan state. Also, Africans from exploitation colonies were not on the same footing as those living in settlers’ colonies or protectorates. Settlers’ colonies and protectorates had local rulers collaborating with a French appointed consul. The protectorate of Tunisia had a local sovereign, the Bey. In the Settlers’ colony of Algeria, it was the Dey. These first attempts at globalization were, like the ones that preceded them, devoid of any real reciprocity. The native peoples of the colonies resisted them ferociously; and whatever justification the imperialist countries gave for their retreat from the colonies, they did not leave on their own good will. The cost in human and financial capital was too high for France to sustain, the determination of the colonized too strong to break. The imperialist countries left because they were simply and purely beaten and forced to recognize the autonomy of their colonies.

However, the hexagonal impulse for profit was so imperative that France devised a number of « cooperation » schemes to remain the privileged speculator in the newly independent countries of Africa. French-speaking Africa’s independences in the 1960s did not preclude France from seeking to exploit its former colonies. France’s politics in Africa has consistently been governed by a protectionist itch; an itch that long after the African independences, continues to make France think that it is the Promised Land, its language the quintessential language, and its culture the exemplary culture, and that by indoctrinating Africans to think so to, France can keep on transferring economic resources from Africa to France as natural and expected. Already, during the colonial system, France’s protectionist impulse had mandated free entry of French goods in the French African colonies and imposed tariffs on colonial goods entering France.8 This decision had the obvious consequence of impoverishing the colonies while enriching the metropolis. However, the 1930s recession made it crucial, for France’s economic survival, that French authorities transform the African colonies into consumer markets. France thus eased tariffs on its colonies in order to allow them to sell more easily on French markets, earn money, buy French manufactured goods, and also pay interests on their debts. At the same time, in order to avoid competition from other powers, France imposed quotas on some foreign imports to France and to French colonies. France also forbade its colonies to export certain products to foreign markets, thus forcing those foreign countries to purchase only from France products that would otherwise be available in the colonies.  In addition, France placed duties on some foreign imports competing with colonial goods entering France. These duties ranged from 11% on non-colonial bananas to 110% on cocoa, passing through 34% on peanuts and palm kernels and 91% on non-colonial coffee. Although many analysts have wanted to see this pre-independence « preferential system » accorded to the colonies as having greatly contributed to keeping French Africa afloat during the 1930s economic slump and responsible for what came to be known in the 1980s as the economic miracle of Côte d’Ivoire, evidence disproves it.9 In fact, the market-driven economy that this colonial system fostered provided the colonies with some money, only to be returned tenfold to France. Furthermore, this market economy, which France managed to keep alive long after the African independences, was the source of many economic shocks, as it put French-speaking African nations at the mercy of international speculators.    The preferential economic systems established by France on its own—and later with the cooperation of the E.C., which became the E.E.C in 1975—actually sought to maximize France’s profits by curbing France’s diminishing returns in the colonies. Already in 1959, the French commercial system made it possible for France’s African colonies to consume 28.2% of French exports while contributing to 20% of French imports. These numbers dropped to 7.8% of French exports used by Francophone Africa against 5.9% of French imports coming from Africa. The various conventions (Lomé, Yaounde, Lomé 2), which reinforced France’s economic « cooperation » with its former colonies and later with Anglophone Africa and the ACP states, did little to create real conditions of development for non-European countries. In fact, France maneuvered to exclude « Asian ex-colonies from the ACP states on the ground that they would prove dangerous competitors in a range of industrial products, » and the tiny country of Mauritius, a potential competitor in textiles was asked by the E.C. to voluntarily restrain from the ACP.10 The E.C. states, and particularly France, its most aggressive member, did nothing to foster manufactures in Africa. As far as the E.C. was concerned, Africa was to remain an eternal supplier of raw materials; and late 1980s Washington Consensus, with its menu of one-sided depoliticization of the state that opposes social public sector investment in welfare, job creation, environmental protection, healthcare, education, and poverty reduction,11 offered France the blessing of the Bretton Woods institutions to carry on a game that it had been perfecting for so long: that of draining off wealth from Africa under the semblance of reciprocal improvement.

As it turned out, economic globalization as conceived by the Washington Consensus presupposed an international violence. Economic globalization assumes, often on the ground of mere bureaucratic sixth sense and no scientifically dependable instance, that, in order to improve the welfare of human populations, the prescription is to oblige developing countries to fine-tune their economies according to the requirements of Euro-American multinational corporations by way of liberalizations of local markets. The result of this philosophical-economic exercise is that, as was the case in the days of the colonization of Africa, it effectively relocates crises of economic deterioration from North to South. The World Bank and the IMF’s persistence that developing countries open their economies to Foreign Direct Investments has enabled the re-occupation of the countries that have resolved, half a century ago, to determine the course of their particular developments away from the imperial ambitions of Europe. In most cases, globalization has succeeded in reinstating European—and American—imperialism by allowing First World capitalists quasi- ownership of Third World countries through purchases of strategic government-owned enterprises, such as, power, water, and communication companies. The scheme works when « the imperial state bails out banks, investors and speculators and provides political pressure to open markets, sends military expeditions to eliminate alternatives. »12 In this grand design of re-colonization disguised as globalization, resistance is ruthlessly squashed by a variety of coercive methods. For the Third World leaders who, against the First World’s schema, try to pursue a populist agenda that advocates national control of their country’s resources and benefits, and who, true to their people, refuse to fall prey to the trap of corruption and the promise of First World lifestyle, « the EHM [Economic Hit Men] game plan includes a full menu of oppositions to ensure compliance, whether willing or not. »13 The menu includes subversion of the political process, contact with and corruption of administration and business leaders, corruption of the military, of the media, of trade unions, and of academics, and the stirring of ethnic and religious divergences; a menu that seems to come directly from the handbook of the colonial era, and which begs to be verified against the inventory of treatments that countries like Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Haiti, to cite only these few, have endured for daring to stand against the tripartite collusion of the northern countries, the United Nations and the financial institutions, and their corrupt local political puppets. In Côte d’Ivoire, this threefold conspiracy functioned along the axis of a high-level African IMF executive, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who doubled as a shady native informant, during his years as prime minister of Côte d’Ivoire, his direct association with French multinationals, Bouygues and Bolloré, and his ties with the Chirac government in France. This web of international relationships is essential for understanding Côte d’Ivoire’s resistance to globalization à la française.


The 1970s were an age of prosperity in Côte d’Ivoire. The skyrocketing prices on international markets of cocoa and coffee, the country’s main export commodities, had created an astonishing economic boom and established Côte d’Ivoire as the preeminent economic power in the West Africa. Signs of development were visible in all sectors; and economic observers were not shy to compare the Ivorian economic sensation to the Japanese miracle. They were partly right: The Ivorian growth rate was only second to Japan’s. However, this economic boom was heavily dependent on foreign capitals, as it was tied to international speculators’ willingness to pay high prices for coffee and cocoa. Attempts to diversify the economy and launch development programs led the country to borrow external capitals, which were not always well managed. Furthermore, the falling prices of coffee and cocoa in the late 1970s and early 1980s amplified the country’s external debt and led Houphouët to turn to the World Bank and the IMF for loans to stabilize his country’s economy. The period spanning from the mid-1980s to early 1990s was a time of mixed blessings for Côte d’Ivoire’s economy. The exploitation of newly discovered offshore oil reserves had helped alleviate some of the country’s hardships; however, the economic storm was not totally weathered. Amidst rumors of government layouts, people took massively to the streets to protest what they interpreted as the results of the grab for power of the PDCI (party in power). To save his presidency, Houphouët bent to the conditions of the Bretton Woods institutions and invited the IMF economist Alassane Ouattara in April 1990 to chair the Comité Interministériel de Coordination du Programme de Stabilisation et de Relance Economique (Interministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization and Economic Recovery Program), a committee in charge of reflecting on ways to tackle the economic crisis and find adequate solutions. Five months later, an ailing Houphouët appointed Alassane Ouattara prime minister. What happens from April 1990 onward is a series of events that read like a novel.

Ouattara’s proximity to Houphouët allowed him greater closeness to Ms. Nouvian Folleroux, the woman that would become his wife and most trusted associate in the most rocambolesque financial intrigues to define the political future of Côte d’Ivoire. The circumstances in which Dominique Nouvian was introduced to the epicenter of power in Abidjan are still not very clear today. What is clear is that she became Houphouët’s official mistress and the exclusive administrator of Houphouët’s huge estate and part of the country’s estate. Her new title gave her tremendous name recognition and financial power, even as her benefactor’s popularity at home was declining. Indeed, in the early 1990s a fierce political opposition assailed the ailing Ivorian president, Houphouët. For the first time, the « Old Man, » as he was affectionately called in Africa, released his grip on power. Under the pressure of the Bretton Woods institutions and France, he named Ouattara prime minister, legalized opposition parties and promised multiparty presidential and legislative elections in Côte d’Ivoire. The October 28 multi-candidate presidential election confirmed the strength of the opposition, and especially of Houphouët’s old political rival, Laurent Gbgagbo, leader of the socialist Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). According to international observers Gbagbo garnered more than 30% of the votes—though the official ballot count conceded him only 18.3% against 81.7% for the seating president. On November 26, 1990, eighteen opposition parties competed against Houphouët’s PDCI during the parliamentary elections. Houphouët’s PDCI retained 163 of the 175 parliamentary seats. If anything, the contestation of the Old Man’s hitherto absolute power was the confirmation of a new era. Houphouët was a diminished man. Nevertheless, Mrs. Dominique Nouvian Folleroux’s business seemed to suffer no setback at all from Houphouët’s trouble at home; au contraire. Among other things, she sold some of Houphouët’s real estates in France for the amount of 19 million Euros, a transaction that, though suspicious by Ivorian authorities, put her at the center of French big business. She acquired Jacques Desange’s hair saloons in the United States. AICI (Agence Iternationale de la Commercialisation Immobilière), the real estate office that she opened in Abidjan was attracting big clients, as she was making important friends. Her regulars were Martin Bouygues, the French king of concrete, owner at 42.9% of TF1 (the first French TV station drawing more than 31.6% of French TV audiences), owner of LCI, another French TV channel, special guest to Nicolas and Cécilia Sarkozy’s wedding, and godfather of their son Louis Sarkozy; Vincent Bolloré (business partner of Bouygues) king of cigarette paper and media—it was Bolloré who paid the new French president a vacation trip to Malta on his luxurious boat as a congratulation present after the 2006 French presidential election; it was he again who lent his private Falcon 900 to Sarkozy and his then new girlfriend Carla Bruni for their December 25, 2007 vacation trip to Egypt; Dominique Strauss-Khan, former minister of finance of President Mittérand and IMF president since 2007, Bongo, president of Gabon who, like Houphouët before him, has been so close to Dominique Nouvian Folleroux as to also entrust the administration of his real estate and part of his country’s property to the Gabon branch of Mrs. Folleroux’s company AICI, run by her brother Philippe Nouvian. Other patrons of Mrs. Dominique Nouvian Folleroux are Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, and Kadhafi of Libya. Hers was a network of powerful financial friends; the same network that Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate to the French presidential election accused on May 4, 2007, of trying to influence French elections by manipulating the news.14 The very network that Ms. Royal was denouncing during the French presidential elections is the association of powerful financial interests that Mrs. Dominique Nouvian Folleroux has been able to weave since she first entered Houphouët’s bedroom in Abidjan. Dominique Nouvian Folleroux was the powerful woman that Alassane Ouattara said to have fallen in love with, as he responded to President Houphouët’s IMF-coerced call for help.


Such seemed to be the mindset of the Bretton Woods institutions and big international corporations with financial stakes in Côte d’Ivoire since about the death of Félix Houphouët Boigny, in December 1993. An excellent student of the IMF, where he first worked from 1968 to 1973 before assuming various positions at the BCEAO (Central Ban of West African States), Ouattara was very receptive to the International Monetary Fund’s prescription of Structural Adjustment Programs in Africa despite the burden that these programs put on local populations. As prime minister of Côte d’Ivoire, his solutions for redressing the country’s economy did more harm than good. Ouattara cut subsidies to farmers, as recommended by the WTO, at the same time as the European Union and the United States were heavily backing their own farmers with huge subsidies; he dismissed more than 10,000 employees from the state payroll. Those who were lucky to keep their jobs saw their salaries reduced by 40% or were forced to accept an early retirement package. He reduced access to early education by freezing the recruitment of new teachers. He closed students’ subsidized restaurants. He eliminated transportation and basic healthcare services for students. He imposed fees on the masses for basic healthcare services. He initiated the devaluation of the CFA at the rate of 100 CFA francs for 1 French franc. He instituted the highly controversial resident cards for foreigners, which was the source of much harassment toward foreign nationals coming from neighboring African countries, and he aggressively pursued Mauritanian and Lebanese merchants for so-called back taxes in the upward of millions of CFA francs. In a word, Ouattara executed the World Bank/IMF’s recommendations to the letter. These measures, as it was to be expected, frustrated the masses even further. Workers and students’ demonstrations intensified; which, under his orders, were repressed in blood. Scores of students were killed and student, union, and opposition leaders, among whom the current president, Laurent Gbagbo and the leader of higher education teachers’ union, Marcel Etté, were jailed and tortured amidst international outcries and unsuccessful calls for an independent investigation. Undeniably, Ouattara was a good student of the IMF. In Côte d’Ivoire, Ouattara was the praiseworthy son of a powerful institution that had reared him to serve the father unreservedly. The question was whether he was really a son of Côte d’Ivoire, concerned with the interests of his fellow citizens.

 As far as the World Bank and the IMF were concerned, this question had no bearing so long as the Washington Consensus had a powerful spokesperson in the country that would guarantee the interests of its shareholders. So, under further pressure, the ailing president Houphouët had Ouattara cumulate the portfolios of prime minister, minister of finance, and interim president. During Houphouët’s long sickness and his medical treatment in Europe in 1993, Ouattara ordered that all public receipts (collection of taxes, debts, and returns from the customs, the ports, and even the treasury) be directly deposited in a special account at the office of the prime minister rather than at the treasury, as it was customarily the case. This atypical management style, to say the least, quickly mixed individual assets with state property, and millions of dollars from the public treasury remained unaccounted for, while Ouattara, taking as much as two flights a week to Europe, officially to visit his sick boss—but unofficially on capital flight missions— was tucking enormous sums of money away in personal foreign bank accounts, making him one of the richest men on earth. Ouattara’s mysterious fortune raised some eyebrows, even among his supporters.15 However, Ouattara’s questionable wealth did not cause the slightest shudder among the high priests of morality who, in their immense chairs, in the temples of virtue of 1818 H Street as well as 700 19th Street, in Washington, D.C., were sermonizing the world about good governance and saintliness. Why should they care? Was it not fair that Ouattara be rewarded for being such a great agent to his masters? For Côte d’Ivoire, however, Ouattara’s activities were economically disastrous. During his term as prime minister, Ouattara became one of the biggest actors of capital flight from Côte d’Ivoire toward European banks. As he raided the country’s coffers, he also depleted Africa of much needed resources.

Indeed, capital flight, the bulk of the private assets—and as we have just seen with Ouattara, private and public assets can be easily mixed—that are legally or illegally held in foreign countries outside Africa, is one of the continent’s biggest impoverishers. Capital flight, reported to amount to about US$ 22 billions, is as much as half of the aid that Africa needs for its development programs. Were this money brought back to Africa, it would constitute 64% of Africa’s private capital stock.16 As one of Africa’s biggest capital jetsetters, Alassane Ouattara is, without doubt, and in proportion to the short time he spent as prime minister of Côte d’Ivoire (three years and 1 month), among the leaders who have economically siphoned the continent the most. As the prime minister was busy outsourcing his public function to the businessman in him, thus mixing state capitals with private capitals, Dominique Folleroux—whom Ouattara had by then married during a 1991 ceremony officiated by the former mayor of Neuilly, currently president of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy—was now, against all ethical propriety, lobbying for Bouygues and Bolloré to acquire state-owned EECI (Energie Electrique de Côte d’Ivoire) and SODECI (Société de Distribution d’Eau de Côte d’Ivoire), respectively power and water companies. It did not take long for her clients to obtain satisfaction. These strategic Ivorian companies and others were sold off to Mrs. Dominique Nouvian Folleroux Ouattara’s clients and friends, usually under their market values, sometimes for just one symbolic franc, all against the objection of opposition leaders and even leaders of Ouattara’s previous party (the PDCI). Henri Konan Bédié, at the time president of the National Assembly, fiercely opposed Ouattara’s unethical liberalization in the parliamentary chamber. As a result of Ouattara’s collusion with French businessmen, 27% of the assets of Ivorian enterprises were French-owned; 240 subsidiaries and more than 600 companies belonged to French businessmen; which represented 68% of direct foreign investments in Côte d’Ivoire. The shady investments enabled by Alassane and Dominique Ouattara’s, and which have mortgaged the economic and political future of Côte d’Ivoire, have been widely reported, rightly so, as quid pro quo investments.

 Mr. Michel Camdessus, a Frenchman who was the president of the IMF during the last term, when Alassane Ouattara was vice-president of the IMF, is currently serving as adviser to the French president Jacques Chirac. Of the members of the political parties and groups in Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, an unabashed advocate of IMF policies and an ideologue of the theology of neo- liberalism, and his current wife, a French businesswoman solidly connected with business lobbies, offer the best guarantee to satisfy the conditions for security and profit for the French government, corporations, settlers, and small-enterprise owners who can have a lifestyle of comfort they cannot afford or even imagine to have in France.17

For consenting to the corrupt terms of French business in Côte d’Ivoire at the detriment of the masses, Ouattara is allowed by France to realize his First Worldist jouissance by plundering his country’s coffers undisturbed. This lack of probity on the part of Africa’s most influential economists and leaders ought to be examined in relation to the dire future that their selfish proclivities set up for the continent. Between 1985 and 1998, the net outflows from Africa to developed countries have risen from of US$ 3.6 billion to the alarming amount of US$ 12.5 billion.18 Capital flight by native pillagers has contributed enormously to these outflows. This, of course, has profound depressing incidences on progress. As a result, Africa continues to service huge debts and remains unable to invest in public and private sectors; which in turn erodes, not just poverty reduction projects, but also, the confidence that honorable foreign investors have in the continent; and the cycle of poverty linked to debt servicing and fiscal deficit goes on until the corrupt agents’ facility to ransack is short-circuited. In Côte d’Ivoire, it was Henri Konan Bédié, the institutional heir to the presidency, who put an end to Ouattara’s capital flight activities, but not for long. Ouattara’s Parisian cronies were too determined to maintain their monopoly in the country to see the latter out of the political arena.


On December 7, 1993, Houphouët, who for three years had been sidelined by his illness from participating actively in Ivorian politics, passed away in his native village of Yamoussoukro. The Ivorian constitution had a provision for replacing a deceased head of state. Article 11 of the constitution stipulated that in such a vacancy of power, the president of the National Assembly was to assume the duties of head of state until the outcome of new elections. Bédié was therefore the constitutional heir to Houphouët. However, bypassing the legal process, Ouattara proclaimed himself legitimate successor to the presidency. This obvious constitutional hold up provoked uproar at the National Assembly, and during an unscheduled
appearance on national TV, Bédié announced his intent to carry out his constitutional duty by finishing Houphouët’s term.

In the past, during his years as president of the National Assembly, Bédié had been openly critical of Ouattara’s complacent economic liberalism that widely opened the doors to foreign buyouts of strategic companies with very little regard for the country’s security. At the time when French politicians, led by Minister of finance Nicolas Sarkozy, were hammering at employees gatherings and at the French national Assembly that EDF (French state-owned power company) and GDF (French state-owned gas company) were never going to be privatized because of their strategic importance to French economy, Ouattara, the prime minister of Côte d’Ivoire, was selling his country’s power and water companies to the closest friends of the French government.19 What made Sarkozy’s position so tenable in France and so untenable in Côte d’Ivoire? Could it be for the simple reason that one was dealing in one case with a country located in Europe, and in another case with a country located in Africa? It is this lack of moral reciprocity, this kind of utter injustice that the movement of patriotes in Côte d’Ivoire has taken to task. In so doing, their demonstration was also aimed at denouncing the collaborators from within who have betrayed their people for the promise of economic lactification. For, the waves of coup d’état and political instabilities that have succeeded one another in Côte d’Ivoire since 1999 are strangely laden with odors of organic betrayals. Each time Côte d’Ivoire was affected by shockwaves of military blows, Ouattara was the insider that, for the promise of a First Worldist enjoyment, betrayed the loyalty of a country he claimed to love.

Bédié, like Ouattara, believed in economic liberalism. Only insofar as one can speak in relative terms, Bédie’s liberalism, however, was one that was committed to ensuring that his country would not lose total sovereignty to wealthy investors from Europe, or from anywhere else for that matter; and he was working at it by making a number of reforms. Some of the measures that Bédié took in that direction had to do with the thorough identification of the populations living on the Ivorian soil through a systematic census program, the cleaning up the prevalent anarchical land exploitation, and the regulating of landownership. In fact, from the mid- to the late 1990s, Côte d’Ivoire was the second immigration destination in Sub-Saharan Africa, right behind South Africa, with an unusually high immigrant population rate of 27% for 13 million Ivorians. The largest foreign communities were from Mali (2 millions), Burkina Faso (2 millions), Ghana (1.5 millions), Nigeria (500,000), and in smaller numbers from Benin and Togo. Though an agreement among the countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) allowed a free circulation and settlement of populations from any member state, the migration to Côte d’Ivoire was almost unidirectional. The important immigrant populations from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, whose main purpose for coming to Côte d’Ivoire was to work the fertile land of the country or to cut and burn trees for the very lucrative charcoal business toward drier countries  (Mali or Burkina Faso) had clashed several times with local populations over issues of landownership, forest fires, and severe national reserve deforestation. In 1999, a land dispute between settlers from Burkina Faso and locals from the region of Tabou (West of Côte d’Ivoire) had caused about 12,000 Burkinabé to flee their lands. This event, which took place a year after the National Assembly adopted a law that would prevent the sale of land to foreigner, invited even harsher criticisms towards Bédie’s reform. Bédie’s land reform did not sit well with his Malians and Burkinabé counterparts. The governments of Mali and Burkina Faso relied heavily for their national income on the money that their expatriates sent from Côte d’Ivoire. They perceived in Bédie’s reform a pretext to dispossess their compatriots of lands they had been exploiting for years, and they also found objectionable the reform’s obvious consequence of depleting their countries of much needed revenues. In their resentment of Bédie’s method, the Malians and Burkinabé could find stronger allies in the French. [T]he old class of French landlords who acquired large portions of land in the southern part of the country often in obscure contexts, with no proper or convincing legal papers stipulating, for instance, the duration of the lease . . . oppose any form of land reform, as it could jeopardize transfer of these lands to their descendants.20  These French landlords and businessmen had seen their privileges increased and consolidated with Ouattara. Under the administration of Houphouët’s prime minister, the status of the state had shifted from that of a governmental institution to the status of a non-governmental organization (NGO)—to use this term by James Ferguson.21 In other words, the prime minister had lost interest in state affairs and had, instead, become a businessman, increasingly drawn to establishing private business deals and building personal wealth to the disadvantage of public welfare. In the context of Bédie’s reform, the question then was whether, after having had a taste of the state of Côte d’Ivoire as a non-governmental institution, with all the advantages that this conversion entailed, France and the neighboring countries of Côte d’Ivoire, notably, Burkina Faso and Mali, were still inclined to see the administration of Côte d’Ivoire return to its rightful condition of a governmental institution committed to the welfare of the masses. This was the challenge that confronted the Bédié government in the mid to late 1990s.

Against this sociological background, it becomes clear that Bédie’s demise—for he was to fall soon—was not the result of mismanagement or hostility to openness. In fact, Bédié was as open to FDIs as Ouattara had been; he was just a little more mindful of the governmental role of the state. The fact that, for the most part, Africa’s openness to international trade and finance has left it at the mercy of insatiable First World capitalists and corrupt Third World collaborators should be less imputable to globalization itself than to the probity of the protagonists in the globalizing enterprise. Globalization has succeeded in places where the actors involved have shown a minimum of moral decency. Available data for Africa in the 1990s shows that countries in North Africa, and South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire had managed a low level of poverty with high level of openness. Côte d’Ivoire’s numbers are 20% of poverty incidence for 40% of openness. Incidentally the data is not distributed on specific years of the 1990s, but it is easy to surmise that the incidence of lower poverty occurred during the Bédié years. Even Bédie’s detractors acknowledged that between 1995 and 1999, Côte d’Ivoire had known economic growth and increase in individual wealth. Furthermore, a Trade Policy Review of Côte d’Ivoire’s trade policies conducted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on July 4 and 5, 1995, concluded with high praise for Bédie’s government open trade policies and expressed optimism for Côte d’Ivoire’s future.22 Bédie’s demise is just one more evidence that Foreign Direct Investments or private capital flows are not that private after all; Foreign Direct Investments often unleash state intervention, with all its military shock and awe. Whenever a powerful state intervenes to invade a weak state, one can be sure that some private investors from the powerful state, unhappy about their returns in the weak state, have directly or indirectly triggered the military intervention. History is littered with examples where private investors have sent their countries to war to protect or simply to increase their dividends. Bédie’s lukewarm support for French interests was not what France had hoped for. Bédié was a man of France’s, but not their number one man. His zeal for reforms could hurt French interests in Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara had been more bighearted to French business with his unchecked liberalization and his gré à gré surrender of public corporations to French investors and to his French partners. With Ouattara in power, France was sure to regain its slippery grip on Côte d’Ivoire by continuing to buy under their market values state-owned enterprises and by continuing to get government contracts by bypassing any calls for bids that would put them in competition with investors from the United States, Canada, Japan, South African, China, among others. For the sake of French interests, Bédié had to be deposed.

 Meanwhile, Ouattara, who had returned to the IMF in 1993 upon the Supreme Court’s confirmation of Bédié as legitimate head of state, had been appointed by Michel Camdessus to serve as his deputy chairman of the institution one year later. Though at the IMF, Ouattara had not given up his presidential ambitions; neither was he willing to wait for regular elections to have his chance. The massive foreign electorate constituted by undocumented immigrants from Mali and Burkina Faso, many who had voted before in the one-party system farcical elections that had confirmed and reconfirmed Houphouët by acclamation, and on which Ouattara, too, was relying to win the 1995 presidential race, had been compromised by Bédie’s identification program. Bédie’s identification program required that only established Ivorians should vote in presidential elections, though established foreign residents were still allowed to vote in legislative and municipal elections. Bédie’s land reform as well as his census and civic formation projects fell under the umbrella of what he had termed ivoirité. This notion, whose origin had misleadingly been attributed to Bédié, and which had even more deceitfully been translated as Ivorianness, rather than simply Ivority—as one had spoken of Africanity, Americanity, and Francity elsewhere—was said to have first appeared in 1945 in Dakar at a black students’ conference. Later, in 1974, an Ivorian writer and poet, Niangoran Porquet, used it in an article entitled « Ivoirité et authenticité. » Ivorian scholar, Kanvaly Fadiga, defined it as the national consciousness, the common will of brotherly people who have chosen to live together on the Ivorian soil, and share together the same sufferings, the same joys, and the same hopes.


Ivoirité, as Bédié had recuperated it, was first intended to be, for the more than sixty ethnic communities of Côte d’Ivoire, a signifier of identification, a social glue that would instill in them a more patriotic stance, and consequently a stronger attachment to the state and its institutions as embodying the sum total of all individual nationalistic expressions. This was an essential societal project given the lack of fervor that the Ivorian populations had up till then expressed for the state and state institutions. Côte d’Ivoire was in most Ivorians’ eyes a state-ECOWAS, a sort of Deadwood, but a rich one nonetheless, where any opportunistic member of the 15 ECOWAS nations, and even beyond, would come to seek fortune by all means necessary, with no sincere attachment to the land, but a lucrative one. The people of Côte d’Ivoire had lost faith in their successive governments as really preoccupied with safeguarding their welfare, rather than bending over to live up to an image of sanctuary country by satisfying the caprices of ECOWAS. This situation was exacerbated by Houphouët’s choice, throughout his presidency, of foreign nationals as cabinet members. For instance, Raphaël Saller (France) had been minister of finance and development; Mohamed Diawara (Mali) had been minister of development; Abdoulaye Sawadogo (Burkina Faso) had been minister of agriculture; Hamadou Thiam (Senegal) had been minister of information. To better understand this level of governmental openness and the resulting mass frustration that ensued, Americans would only have to imagine Canadian, Brazilian, Columbian, Senegalese, or Antiguan nationals (who have never been naturalized or who do not even intend to naturalize) occupy posts in the United Sates government, as treasury secretary, HUD secretary, or secretary of health. In the 1980s-1990s a phrase that illustrated the Ivorian distrust in their government and their detachment from public property was the infamous « on s’en fout, ça appartient à l’Etat » (who gives a damn? It belongs to the state), a phrase that would justify any act of vandalism or spoliation of state property.

Bédie’s Ivoirité intended to rectify this mass cynicism. It intended to create the conditions for an allegiance that would no longer be based on ethnic background—as it had until then been the case in the context of the aloof and impersonal state—but rather an allegiance that would be grounded in identification with the nation-state that was created on Independence Day, August 7, 1960. This was nothing novel. In the sphere of cultural contestations, coinages in -ité suggesting allegiance to geographical, national, racial or linguistic origins have abounded. Senghor, the only Black consecrated by France—this France so reactive to ivoirité—in its so elitist French Academy for being so French, thus so right, said in his December 11, 1974 course at the Sorbonne that it was important to struggle, to suffer, and to die, « plus volontiers pour une –ité ou une –itude que pour un –isme » (more readily for an –ity or an –itude than for an -ism)? Curiously, however, it seems that African heads of state have been more willing to struggle, suffer, and die for France’s specificity than their own. An illustrative example is their unashamed gathering around the theme of Francophonie, which, as we learn again from Senghor, is no more no less than a synonym of Francité. In May 1968, during a conference at the University of Beirut, while defending the so-called peaceful and non- imperialistic nature of Francophonie or Francité, Senghor insisted that Francophonie was not a war machine constructed by European imperialism, but a mode of thinking a certain way, a mode of approaching issues and seeking solutions, a spirit of French civilization or Francité. Francophonie, Senghor declared, is Francité; and Francité, he swore had not the slightest imperialistic bent in it, but was merely the expression of French civilization and culture devoid of any political agenda; and while most African leaders accepted the word of this griot of things French that Francité would not harm a fly, yet, the same leaders were quick to condemn ivoirité as a war machine. Today, as in 1968, the most passionate defender of Francité is an African, an ex-Senegalese president, Abdou Diouf. He is the current secretary general of Francophonie. He goes around world capitals selling French culture and civilization and promoting the expansion of French business and policy; and wherever he convenes his annual gathering, a plethora of African leaders follow him—among whom Bongo of Gabon, Wade of Senegal, Toumani of Mali, and Compaoré of Burkina Faso have the privileged seats on the baseline. Lately, however, the proselytizer-in chief of French culture, Diouf, got a blunt reminder that, despite his professed worship of things French, he was specifically an African, and African he would remain. On May 13, 2006, as he was responding to the Canadian government’s invitation to speak in Winnipeg on matters relating to the pseudo-apolitical Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, this easily recognizable towering political figure who travels with a diplomatic passport and a strong following, was stopped and body searched at Toronto Airport. The diplomatic reactions that followed this humiliation of an African politician proved beyond all doubts that Francité, or Francophonie as it is often referred to, was more political than its supporters knew or would admit to know.

President Diouf’s humiliation at Toronto Airport was only symptomatic of the duplicitous nature of the North/South encounter, a reality to which Africans have never been able to respond in a synchronized way because of the North’s successful politics of Divide and Rule, and most importantly, because of African leaders big complex of inferiority. While Senegalese, the most fervent believers of Francité in Africa, were protesting their ex-president’s treatment at Toronto Airport, many Ivorians were chuckling at what they perceived as a fair shock therapy to all the French-African puppets who, like the Senegalese sharpshooters of World War II, were busy fighting France’s war while the French populations were hiding in their basements,23 or the modern native Africans Economic Hit Men who were starving their peoples by selling off their countries’ resources to international multinational corporation in order to enjoy a little bit of white dreams. Ivorians had trouble understanding why, at the same time as Paris, with the support of some African leaders, was prosecuting Abidjan’s successive governments in the media for a so-called maintenance of Ivoirité; the same African leaders were touring the world to promote Francité. As if Francité was the natural expression of their own salvation, Francophone African leaders like Bongo of Gabon, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, and Toumani of Mali, had been more vociferous about French nationalistic interests than they had been supportive of their own national interests.

At least, President Bédié had been aware of cultural-ideological nature of the concept. Having sensed France’s undeclared support for Ouattara just before the 1995 presidential election, Bédié activated against the latter the ideological political dimension of Ivoirité. A modification of the electoral code of Côte d’Ivoire, adopted on November 23, 1994, stipulated that only Ivorians whose parents were both Ivorian- born could run for the presidency. Bédié took this new measure not out of the blue, but precisely because he knew Ouattara. They were from the same generation. They knew where each other came from. They had followed each other’s formation and ascent. They had served for the same international financial institutions, and they knew how and why each one of them was appointed at the various posts they held. Bédié knew Ouattara as much as Ouattara knew him. Bédié knew—and Ouattara had admitted this in a sign correspondence to the Supreme Court of Côte d’Ivoire—that after his high school studies in Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Ouattara had benefited from an American scholarship to study in the US as a student from Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). Bédié knew that after his studies in the US, Ouattara first entered the IMF in 1968 under Upper Volta quotas. Bédié knew that Ouattara had obtained his first job at the BECEAO as an Upper Volta representative, and later served as vice-governor of the same institution between 1982 and 1984 as a functionary of Upper Volta (Burkina Faso). Apparently, Bédié was not the only one in the secret; for on August 8, 1984, on page 21 of an article entitled « Monsieur FMI, » Béchir Ben Yamhed, the editorial manager of Jeune Afrique, reported that, starting November 1, 1984, the Africa Department of the IMF was going to have a new director; and that Dr. Ouattara, from Upper Volta, would be serving in replacement of Zambian Justin B. Zulu. The Jeune Afrique article even specified that Ouattara was born in Côte d’Ivoire of immigrant parents from neighboring Upper Volta.24 Alassane Ouattara’s Voltaic nationality was no secret to anyone, especially as he exhibited it whenever it served his purpose.

Having evolved in the same professional space as Ouattara, the sphere of international financial institutions, Bédié was well positioned to know, as Jeune Afrique had reported, the nationality of Ouattara. He was an Upper Volta citizen, who took advantage of an American scholarship as an Upper Volta student. He was first recruited at the IMF under the quota reserved for Upper Volta citizens, and later, he served as vice-governor of the BCEAO as a representative of Upper Volta, with an Upper Volta diplomatic passport. In 1985, After his military coup in Upper Volta, Thomas Sankara, the new strongman of Burkina Faso—a country that, unlike Houphouët’s Côte d’Ivoire, was not in the business of appointing foreign citizens as cabinet ministers—offered Ouattara to enter his government as minister of economy and finances, a post that Ouattara, utterly resentful of Sankara’s revolution, disdainfully rejected, preferring to remain at his more prominent and lucrative international position at the BCEAO. Sankara then asked him to resign as the Upper Volta representative. It is at that time that Houphouët, who had a profound aversion for military regimes, especially the ones operating too close to his borders, intervened, and in a taunting gesture toward Sankara’s junta, offered Ouattara an Ivorian diplomatic passport that would keep him at his post.25 In 1988, upon the death of Abdoulaye Fadiga, then BCEAO director, Houphouët twisted the arms of the member heads of state, and imposed Ouattara as the new governor of the institution.  Bédié knew, as another journalist of Jeune Afrique had also reported, that from the time he finished his studies thanks to an American scholarship awarded to him as a Voltaic student, and for the many years to come, Ouattara served in many capacities, in several places (Washington, Paris, Dakar), at several financial institutions (BCEAO, WAMU [West African Monetary Union], ADB [African Development Bank], UNCTAD [United nations Conference on Trade and Development]) and took part in many general assemblies as a Voltaic citizen, equipped with a Voltaic diplomatic passport.26 Bédié knew that by modifying the electoral code to request that both parents of any presidential candidates be Ivorian-born he was arresting Ouattara’s presidential ambition; which he did.

Bédié was a cunningly shrewd politician for changing the electoral rules in the middle of the political process. Ouattara was right to have protested Bédie’s unfair electoral practices. However, he challenged them on the wrong ground. It would have been more honorable of Ouattara to admit that, indeed, he had claimed Voltaic nationality to get a scholarship from the US and later to take advantage of an IMF quota system that favored Voltaic nationals; but that he had changed his nationality since then; and he could have provided documentation to that effect. He could also have maintained that, though his parents were Voltaic, he was born on Ivorian soil; and he could have challenged the Ivorian electoral rule on the ground of his birthplace. Instead, he told two momentous untruths that were totally undeserving of any prospective president. First, he denied, in the face of accumulating evidence that he had ever been a Voltaic national; he maintained that as far as he could remember, he had always had the Ivorian nationality. Secondly he denied that his parents were Voltaic, while his father had been a well-known village chief in Upper Volta. These two fabrications alone were good enough to disqualify any presidential candidate. As Bédie’s operatives started to produce proofs of Ouattara’s deceptions, he left the country for Paris under the pretext that his life was in danger. Bédie’s Justice Department launched against him an international warrant for forgery. Just immediately, there started a vast media campaign that sought to legitimate any unconstitutional blow against the Bédié regime; a media campaign that resuscitated some of Bédie’s formerly ignored shortcomings or simply invented him new ones.


In Côte d’Ivoire, the first coup d’état started with demonizing the Bédié regime on two levels. Socially and politically Bédié was to be presented as an insufficient leader who could not be the unifier and leader open to human and capital flows that his predecessor, Houphouët, was. Economically, he was to be proven a reckless manager and an embezzler of public funds whose misconduct was hurting the masses. So, Bédie’s notion of ivoirité served to demonize him as a divider and a xenophobic. Ivoirité, as Bédié had explained, was a formulae meant to synthesize the aspirations of the multiple ethnic groups living within the borders of Côte d’Ivoire. As such, the concept was to encompass not only the autochthonous people of Côte d’Ivoire, but also, the people from all over the world who lived and worked in the country, insofar as they, too, shared and respected the values of the nationals. For Bédié, ivoirité « . . . la synthèse culturelle entre les ethnies habitant la Côte d’Ivoire . . . concerne en premier les peuples enracinés en Côte d’Ivoire mais aussi ceux qui y vivent et y travaillent en partageant nos valeurs. » 27 ( . . . the cultural synthesis of the ethnic groups living in Côte d’Ivoire . . . is primarily about the peoples rooted in Côte d’Ivoire but also those who live in the country and share our values.) Nothing in these words could hint to some official anti-immigrant or xenophobic stance, despite the fact that—and it has historically tended to be the case more in France than in Côte d’Ivoire—some frustrated fringes of the populations usually displace the inadequacies of their societies on the presence of foreigners.

Nevertheless, a powerful media campaign led by Ouattara’s operatives successfully disseminated the idea that Bédie’s ivoirité was a recipe to repatriate immigrants from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso; and an apparently credible French press went so far as to link minor occasional conflicts opposing locals to immigrants as direct consequences of ivoirité, thus further exacerbating limited clashes by politicizing them. It did not take long for a country with nearly a 30% immigrant population to be indexed as xenophobic. However, the French Press’ real motive for demonizing Bédie’s regime was elsewhere: Alassane Ouattara, France’s preferred candidate, could not run for the Ivorian presidency on account of his doubtful nationality. Bédié is no saint, one must admit. He is only a politician, and every act he posited was politically calculated. Ivoirité in its political reach could also serve, not only to eliminate Ouattara’s chances at the presidency, but also, to contain the massive electorate from Burkina Faso and Mali on which Ouattara was counting to this effect, and which, fitted with Ivorian national ID cards since the 1970s, had hitherto voted in every election. This electorate was geographically from countries north of Côte d’Ivoire, and religiously more than 90% Muslim. Ouattara wasted no time to coalesce topography and faith to his advantage, launching this designed sentence from his self-imposed Parisian exile, « On ne veut pas que je sois président parce que je suis musulman et nordiste » [They do not want me to be president because I am a Muslim and a Northerner], thus instigating an interethnic and interreligious pandemonium.

There was no reason to link Ouattara’s disqualification to the fate of the five million immigrants that lived in Côte d’Ivoire. Yet, this is what a corrupt and irresponsible national and international media did. For the purpose of the denigration campaign that Bédié was to undergo under the hostile media, Ouattara suddenly condensed all that was foreign and Muslim; and any wrong done to him—either proven or unproven— became automatically a wrong done to any of the five million immigrants or the northern Muslims living in Côte d’Ivoire. Equally, any justice rendered him could be interpreted as justice rendered to the immigrants or northern Muslim populations of the country. Curiously, however, the self-professed certified media that supported Ouattara’s messianic campaign and was eager to impose him to Ivorians as legitimate president glossed over his own admission that he studied with an American scholarship reserved to Voltaic students and carried a Voltaic passport until the age of 42 with a disconcerting carelessness and an unforeseen lack of journalistic rigor.  As one could read in L’Express, A Paris, dans ce bureau de l’agence immobilière que dirige son épouse française, Alassane Ouattara, qui admet avoir été boursier du gouvernement de Haute-Volta et détenteur d’un passeport voltaïque, étale sur une tablette les copies des documents censés confondre ses détracteurs: cartes d’identité parentales, acte de naissance, certificat de nationalité.28  [In Paris, in the office of the real estate agency that his French wife manages, Alassane Ouattara, who admits to have held a scholarship from the government of Upper Volta and a Voltaic passport, displays on a little table copies of documents that are meant to prove his critics wrong: parents identity cards, birth certificate, certificate of nationality.]

Only journalists with premeditated purposes could be so blind as to pass over facts that begged so deafeningly for a minimum of objectivity.
Objectivity, however, was far from being the primary concern in the design to topple Bédié. Whoever has closely followed African politics, on the other hand, will know that African leaders are, in their great majority, corrupt officials, strongly encouraged by greedy northern political and business operatives to steal from their peoples or to embezzle foreign aids with impunity, insofar as these northern officials can be secured enormous benefits. One will recall how former French president Valérie Giscard d’Estaing and his cronies allowed former Central African Republic’s Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa to remain in power for many years so long as he permitted them to plunder the uranium and diamond mines of his country. One will also recall how successive French presidents, from Giscard d’Estaing to Jacques Chirac closed their eyes on the financial follies of dictators like Mobutu from Congo/Zaire, Bongo from Gabon, Eyadema from Togo, Papa and Baby Doc from Haiti, as long as these corrupt leaders made their countries the economic playgrounds of French multinational corporations. The rulers of Côte d’Ivoire, from Houphouët to Bédié, passing through Ouattara and Gueï, have all treaded in the muddy waters of France’s organized crime, whereby they would cede their countries’ resources to France under their market values in return for huge commissions that often came in the form of freedom to embezzle with assurance of no audits; this is, until the crooked leaders start acting like renegades. Bédié offers an interesting case study to this paradigm. Of all the misappropriations of funds in which Bédié and his close associates were involved, there is one that he would always remember the most as the scandal that helped kill his presidency. Between 1992 and 1997, the European Union approved several grants to Côte d’Ivoire; which were earmarked to improving the healthcare system and supporting the country’s decentralization program. Most of the aid vanished in government members’ bank accounts. Between 1992 and 1997, two different governments had been in control in Côte d’Ivoire, the all-powerful government of Prime Minister Ouattara (1990-1993)—which, under an ailing Houphouët, saw the prime minister cumulate the portfolios of interim president and finance minister with that of prime minister—and the Kablan Duncan’s government under Bédie’s presidency (1993-1999). Though the member states of the European Union acknowledged that the misappropriation of the European Union’s grants spanned over a five-year period, which should include at least one year of Ouattara’s administration, curiously, no mismanagement was imputed to the Ouattara government. The reason for this was quite simple. Ouattara had been good to French business in particular and to European interests in general, though at home much had been said and written on the illicit source of his huge personal fortune, on his elitist style, and on his arrogance toward the middle class that his blind support for the IMF and the World Bank’s forced structural adjustment was exponentially pauperizing. Bédié, on the other hand, was becoming an annoyance to France and to the European Union in general. His much-heralded reforms were not to the liking of France. Land reform threatened big French landowners, especially many who acquired their lands through deceitful means. Bédie’s project of identification, by regulating the flow of immigration along the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, threatened France’s own politics of immigration, which sought to keep West Africans away from French borders in particular, and from European coasts in general. For a long time, Côte d’Ivoire had been the basin of African immigration. Many West Africans with dreams of better lives away from home—who could have tried their luck in Europe— had settled in Côte d’Ivoire, and had found in the Ivorian social and economic haven, not only more than the economic prospects they could envisage in France, but also, better social political and religious integration than could be imagined in Europe. So long as these African immigrants could remain in Côte d’Ivoire, they were millions less souls for the European Union’s immigration systems to worry about. Furthermore, Bédie’s identification policy—termed as Ivoirité—was susceptible of disqualifying France’s greatest ally, Ouattara, and thus killing France’s hope of returning the state of Côte d’Ivoire to the status of non-governmental organization (NGO), a status which though disadvantageous to the Ivorian masses, had made so many French businesses wealthy and France’s balance of payments affirmative. So, five years after passively watching successive Ivorian governments indulge, among others, in the spoliation of the European Union’s grants, France was suddenly struck by some pang of conscience and decided to act on behalf of the oppressed masses that were being shortchanged by their leaders.

So, France, leading the European Union, ordered an audit of the management of the grants during 1995 and 1997, which was coincidentally the period concerning only the Bédié government, despite the widely reported fact that the scandal traced as far back as 1992, that is, as far back as the Ouattara administration.29 The audit of very limited scope undertaken by the European Union, though it appeared somehow commendable, was in fact one more artifice in a series of carefully choreographed ruses meant to sully Bédie’s government and justify any military blow to come. The audit, conducted in November and December 1998 by the audit firm 2AC, uncovered that more than $30 millions, of an $88 million package, have gone missing. This revelation coincided with the Cologne (Germany) announcement of debt reduction for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) and caused the European Union to freeze its budgetary help to Côte d’Ivoire. The story of embezzlement of international aid by the Bédié government made a big splash in Europe and was disseminated by all the conceivable French major TV networks and newspapers. Nevertheless, some voices in Europe expressed suspicion about the timing of this revelation.30 The experts of the European Union could not have been blind to the embezzlement going on for five years. They were well aware of the misuse of fund. They just chose to ignore it because the time was not right yet to blow the whistle. Bédie’s misappropriation of international development aid from the European Union became public only when came time to justify a coup against him. The revelation of the scandal coincided with the time when the question of Ouattara’s nationality became a burning issue in Ivorian politics, culminating with Ouattara’s self-imposed exile in France.  Now, Bédié had on his hands, not only multiple not-so-peaceful demonstrations organized by Ouattara’s followers, the ire of the World Bank, the IMF, and the European Union, but also, the incensed populations of Côte d’Ivoire prompted each day by a hostile national media and a French gregarious media that has always mechanically aligned itself with the international policy of French politicians. A few weeks after Ouattara turned up on the doorsteps of his Parisian friends and partners, on December 24, 1999, Bédié was deposed by the military. On January 3, 2000, Bédié went in exile in Paris via Lomé and went to live in his private apartments on rue Beethoven, in the luxurious 16th arrondissement. Ouattara, as for him, returned to Abidjan triumphantly, persuaded that Robert Gueï, the new strong man of Abidjan, who had been his army chief of staff during his days as prime minister, was warming up the presidential seat for him. Ouattara was wrong. General Gueï decided to hold on to power. He promised to maintain excellent relationships with France, honor Côte d’Ivoire financial obligations toward the Bretton Woods institutions, and return power to civilians as soon as he had swept the house and put things in order.

Gueï must have been very reassuring and unthreatening, for not a single time were there talks of French citizens being in danger in Côte d’Ivoire. None of the 20,000 French nationals living in the country was asked to leave by the French authorities. How could they be in danger? After all, was not Gueï close very close, to Ouattara? Was not Ouattara himself the man of the IMF and the World Bank, thus the man of France and of the West in general? In fact, « respectable » French newspapers, like Le Monde and French radio stations, like RFI, were literally dispatching Gueï’s version of the coup, presenting the despot as a hero who was forced by moral imperatives to take power in order to rectify injustices caused by Bédié; and while powerful African leaders like Obasandjo of Nigeria and Mbeki of South Africa saw no reason to justify Gueï’s military coup, and while they were strongly condemning the military overthrow in Côte d’Ivoire as illegitimate and were calling for the restoration of Bédie’s power, France wasted no time, through its minister of cooperation, Mr. Charles Josselin, to recognize the new praetorian regime and to announce its willingness to work with Gueï.

However, Gueï misinterpreted France’s support as a support for him instead of temporary regency of Ouattara’s throne. Mysteriously, the question of Alassane Ouattara’s nationality, which had been a sticking point during the Bédié administration, resulting in Ouattara being disqualified from the 1995 presidential race, and which according to Gueï was at the foundation of the December 1999 coup against Bédié, resurfaced on the occasion of Gueï’s presidential ambition. Like his predecessor, General Gueï pressed Ouattara to settle the issue of his doubtful Ivorian citizenship. On September 12, 2000, Gueï’s lawyers produced some papers intended to disprove Ouattara’s assertion that he had never availed himself of another nationality. Among the papers exhibited were Ouattara’s marriage certificate to an American woman named Barbara Davis, in which he declared himself a citizen of Upper Volta and stated at the time of marriage, in 1966, that his mother was no longer living; a fact that contradicted his earlier declaration that his mother was a living eighty-year-old Ivorian woman by the name of Hadja Nabintou Cissé. There were also a 1978 bank account document and of a 1980 property sale certificate in which Ouattara declared himself to be a citizen of Upper Volta. For Gueï, all these discrepancies spoke more of Ouattara’s immorality and criminal mind than they could shed light on his honesty. Gueï threatened to charge Ouattara with falsification, and once again, the Supreme Court of Côte d’Ivoire rejected Ouattara’s candidacy to the presidential election on the ground of suspicious nationality.

Members of foreign press did not remain silent to this nth injustice perpetrated against the misunderstood savior of the Ivorian flock and took it upon them to lecture the Ivorian people about what great opportunity they were missing by persecuting the great messiah come from the IMF. Nevertheless, unencumbered by the criticisms of international media that have lost all credibility even in the rare cases where they happen to get the news right, General Gueï barred Ouattara from the October 22, 2000 presidential election. As a result, five contenders vied for the presidential seat, General Robert Gueï for the military junta, Laurent Gbagbo for the socialist party FPI, Francis Wodié for the PIT, Mel Théodore for the UDCI, and the independent Nicolas Dioulo. Halfway through the ballot counting, Gueï attempted to load the dice to his advantage by stopping the count and declaring himself the winner while, the early returns had Gbagbo leading the race. Gbagbo’s supporters took to the street to protest Gueï’s coup de force, and with the support of the Defense and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire, they drove Gueï to hiding. A few days later, the Supreme Court declared Gbagbo the winner of the presidential race with 59.36% of the votes, against 32.7% for Gueï, 5.7% for Wodié, 1.5% for Mel, and .8% for Dioulo. Ouattara’s RDR contested the results, demanding that the election, which saw only a 37% participation and did not include Ouattara, be redone, this time with Ouattara’s participation. This protest by the RDR remains the Damocles Sword hovering over Gbagbo’s presidency that would be used to rationalize all the conceivable coups bas. Laurent Gbagbo, the saying goes, was elected in calamitous conditions–59% of the votes with a participation rate of only 37%, and above all without Ouattara, the darling candidate of France and of the Bretton Woods institutions, he who, more than anyone else before, made French multinationals in Côte d’Ivoire so wealthy by selling them the country’s strategic companies under the excuse of satisfying a World Bank/IMF program called the Washington Consensus. Therefore, against Gbagbo, all blows are permitted, even the most contemptible ones.

Hardly had Gbagbo been sworn into office than accusations of ethnocentrism and xenophobia started flying his way, and the « crimes » once imputed to Bédié and Gueï became his daily lot. Gbagbo had announced a program that disturbed French interests: Refondation (Reconstruction). It is true that the greatest distinguishing feature between imperial rule and independent government is the externality of the former. In colonial societies, the power to rule was taken away from local populations and entrusted to another state with which these populations had absolutely nothing in common. All happened as if « the ability to decide a country’s destiny, its collective mind, had been cut out surgically and transplanted into another mind in London, Paris, Brussels, The Haye or Washington; »31 a fact which in the France-Africa relationship, and for what concerns here, in the France-Côte d’Ivoire relationship, had persisted throughout all the governments that had preceded the Gbagbo administration. Gbagbo had decided that the transfer of power, thought, and responsibility from Côte d’Ivoire to the metropolis that had hitherto defined the France-Africa relation and made French African governments non-governmental organizations at the sole service of France’s interests with no regard to the interests of the Ivorian people had to come to an end through political, economic, and social purgative Refondation. Refondation was meant to dig into the foundation of the Ivorian society in order to correct the structural flaws that were slowing or impeding progress and, thus, undermining the social growth of the Ivorian people.32 Economically, among other resolutions, Refondation wanted to review the terms of renewal of a number of conventions ceded to France multinationals under their market values by the Ouattara government, conventions the clauses of which French firms had hardly abided by, and which were to fortunately come to expiration around 2004. Among these were the exploitation of Côte d’Ivoire Telecom conceded to France Telecom, the exploitation of Côte d’Ivoire’s power (EECI) and water (SODECI) companies conceded to Bouygues, the exploitation of the railway system conceded to Bolloré, and which was in dire need of modernization. Refondation also meant reassessing some construction contracts by which French firms were fleecing the Ivorian economy by overpricing their services. For instance, the contract of a third bridge to be built in Abidjan was ceded to the French Bouygues, although a Chinese company (COVEC) would build the same bridge for 1/3 of the price and would accept part of payment as exchange in coffee and cocoa. In a word, Economically speaking, Refondation was to liberate the Ivorian economy by doing away with France exploitative and manipulative « friendship, » which had not changed since the days of the colonial exclusif—this French policy whereby French colonies could only buy from France and sell to France at prices fixed by France—in order to stretch a hand to all who were willing to be partners of good faith rather than abusing speculators, as has usually been the case with France. It was obvious that if such reassessing was to happen, the pressure exerted by France on Côte d’Ivoire cede all its development deals to French multinationals without any bid for contracts would be fruitless; and French firms would henceforth have to openly compete with other multinationals (American, British, Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, South African, etc.) for a chance to obtain contracts in Côte d’Ivoire. This could be economically hazardous for France, especially as 2005 was announcing new privatizations, such as the privatization of the Ivorian oil refining company (SIR) and number two Ivorian cellular phone company TELECEL. In an open competition, French multinationals, which have proven in the past to be driven by no other concerns but exponential returns at all cost, would have very little chance of securing further contracts in Côte d’Ivoire. Actually, in an open competition, French multinationals risked losing everything to Americans, British, Canadians, or South African, Japanese or Chinese.

Perhaps, after all, Refondation’s pretensions were only a tale, the bluff of a nostalgic socialist out of touch with the realities of the moment. Perhaps, France had nothing to fear from Refondation, as Gbagbo had practically inherited a country on its knees, a country that, because of the disastrous politics of the PDCI in the previous forty years, was more dependent than ever on international aid, and especially on France. Without France, its colonial and post-colonial guarantor, where could Refondation get the money it needed for its program of development? After all, the devaluation of the CFA, the depreciation of coffee and cocoa, the country’s two major exports, the European Union’s and the World Bank/IMF’s refusal to lend any more money to Côte d’Ivoire after the Bédié administration’s much-publicized financial scandal had left Côte d’Ivoire no other alternative than to be on the good side of France, which could then intercede with international financial institutions to garner some much-needed loans and grants on behalf of Abidjan. Gbagbo could not be serious. He could not run the risk of losing France’s support at such a crucial moment by threatening French multinationals’ monopoly in Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo had anticipated the dilemma of not receiving any external financial help. To remedy it, he initiated a measure of austerity that consisted in working at eradicating poverty with a secured budget (a budget that could not rely on any external help); he named it le budget sécurisé.  Also, he undertook to fight corruption in taxes and at the customs. Gbagbo’s determination, earnestness, and visible success caused the World Bank to unconditionally return to doing business with Côte d’Ivoire. In 2002, the IMF, the European Union, and the African Development Bank followed suite. This made it possible for Abidjan to have the necessary financial resources to implement its program of Refondation. France’s fear started to materialize, especially as to signal France’s loss of esteem in Côte d’Ivoire and Refondation’s resolve to rectify its cooperation with France, and with all partners for that matter, a South African Company had just beaten French Bolloré at a bid for the construction of a new airport in San Pédro, south-west of Côte d’Ivoire. French multinationals had no intention of competing fairly with other countries.

In the past, it had been easy for France to buy influences in French Africa by financing the campaigns of politicians sympathetic to French interests or by bribing local officials. Refondation was undercutting this practice and leaving French multinationals, which hitherto garnered enormous dividends for France’s economy, at the mercy of other international competitors. France had no intention of loosening its grip on Côte d’Ivoire, the wealthiest former French colony in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, Côte d’Ivoire’s stance, if left unchallenged, could be infectious. Other French financial havens could start questioning the validity of their « cooperation » with France; and should they, like Côte d’Ivoire, have the audacity to voice the anomalous makeup of that cooperation, France-Africa relations could be in great danger of vanishing forever. This was not about to happen, for, as Koureyssi Bâ observed so fittingly, the French policy in Africa, characterized by deceit, lawlessness and violence, remains unchanged no matter which party is in power in Paris. Furthermore, France can always rely on the servile devotion of its puppets and its docile locals informants who do not care about their legacy in history, and who are ready to draw a dagger into the back of any brother who dares to say no to the master.33 Ouattara, who had dreamed of being president of Côte d’Ivoire at all cost, had no problem driving the dagger in the back of Laurent Gbagbo, France most annoying killjoy in Africa. Convinced that France would back any subversive coup against Gbagbo, this is what Ouattara had to say in 2001 to a freshly elected group of mayors from his party:

 Nous n’attendrons pas 5 ans pour aller aux élections. Après tout, dans certains pays, il y a des coups d’Etat et les gens s’accomodent bien de ces personnes pendant une certaine période. Nous avons des monarchies dans le monde et les gens acceptent bien qu’une personne non élue représente le peuple dans sa totalité. Pourquoi devrions-nous attendre 5 ans pour que vous ayez ce à quoi vous avez droit et surtout ce que les populations réclament ? Nous avons certaines relations extérieures. Nous avons commencé à les actionner. J’aimerais vous dire aussi que nous avions convenu avec le maire Adama que nous aurons des réunions périodiques pour qu’ensemble, nous puissions développer assez rapidement une stratégie pour la conquête du pouvoir.34   [We will not wait 5 years to go to the elections. After all, in some countries, there are coups d’État, and people get used to the situation after a while. We have monarchies in the world, and people accept that a person who has not been elected represent the country in its totality. Why should we wait 5 years before you get what you deserve, especially when the populations are asking for it? We have external contacts. We have started to activate them. I would also like to tell you that with Mayor Adama we have agreed to have periodic meetings so that, very quickly, we can all develop a strategy for the conquest of power.] 

So, in the night of September 19, 2002, France triggered one of its bloodiest punitive campaigns against Côte d’Ivoire. A group of deserters from the Ivorian army, who had been training in neighboring Burkina Faso, simultaneously hit the cities of Bouaké and Abidjan with a brutality never experienced in the country. More than 100 unsuspecting members of the Ivorian defense forces in Bouaké were executed in their beds along with their families. Scores of wandering civilians were shot. Emile Boga Doudou, the Ivorian minister of interior who had just returned from a visit to his French homologue Sarkozy a day earlier, a visit during which he had raised the question of Ivorian deserters being trained in neighboring Burkina Faso, was executed in his bed, along with members of his family and his domestics. General Gueï, the former president and his wife were assassinated. It was a night of carnage. Gary K. Busch has detailed the operational organization of that atrocious nightly attack on Côte d’Ivoire.
In September 2002 about 650 rebels loyal to General Robert Gueï, attacked both Bouaké and Abidjan from neighboring Burkina Faso while Gbagbo was in Rome to meet the Pope. Their operation was supposed to last five days maximum. They were hoping to seize power and force Gbagbo to exile; but they were ill armed and disorganized, and soon the defense force of Côte d’Ivoire cornered them and reduced them to half. It was then that the commander of the French army in Côte d’Ivoire requested a cease-fire so that he could evacuate the French citizens and a few American nationals living in Bouaké. During the 48 hours allotted the French army, three Antonov-12 flew from Franceville (Gabon) to supply the rebels in armament. Other planes and truck brought in armament and mercenaries from Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the rebel force, which was previously estimated at 320 troops, grew to 2500 mercenaries armed with kalachnikovs and other weapons that had never been part of the Ivorian armory. The French army also supplied the mercenaries with sophisticated communication equipments that kept them always aware of the movements of the Ivorian defense troops. The French then retreated gradually leaving the rebels in charge with Eastern Europeans mercenaries as technical advisers. Once the rebels were well positioned, Chirac then activated the international pressure machinery through the United Nations to obtain a resolution entrusting France with a peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire.35 While tergiversations were taking more time than needed at the United Nations, the rebels were multiplying their fronts not just in the Northern part of the country, but also in the Western parts, recruiting more mercenaries from Samuel Doe’s civil war troops as well as mercenaries from the RUF in Sierra Leone. The rebels’ indiscriminate killing and raping of thousands of children, elderly, and women led to mass exodus toward Yamoussoukro and Abidjan. Gbagbo had dared to defy France, and France had launched against his regime the biggest firepower ever delivered on Côte d’Ivoire. Now the United Nations, through the Security Council, could play its partition by blessing France’s direct intrusion in the country.

Yet, Gbagbo’s Refondation was not merely a rumination posture against France. Evidently it intended to rectify Côte d’Ivoire’s anomalous relationship with France. The rosy economic definition of liberalization that treats Foreign Direct Investment as « . . . a decentralized process wherein each foreign company takes the investment decisions of the others as beyond its control . . . »36 is exploded in French Africa. There, nothing is meant to remain beyond the control of French multinationals whose barons have vouched to filter all non-French multinational investments’ access to the continent to the point of reducing them to nothing. « Exploding » is not just a figure of speech, as the daily conflagrations caused by heavy French artillery and the frequent turning out of black corpses scare Anglo-Saxon and Asian investments out of French Africa, while France remains curiously present before, during, and after the cannon roars. From the perspective of most French investors in Africa, Foreign Direct Investment should have nothing to do with each firm forming « . . . an expectation about the host country’s eventual trade policy and [evaluating] the profitability of its own potential foreign investment accordingly. »37 Instead, the host country should be bomb-pressured to accepting the level of protection and the terms of profitability dictated by France. It is unfortunate that, in economic circles, the kinds of quid pro quo foreign investments that have made French multinationals and a few corrupt nationals wealthy while impoverishing most Africans by a relocation of their economic resources are still treated as epiphenomenal or isolated episodes involving a small number of disreputable industrialists. French multinationals’ brutal practices in Africa are systemic, and they ought to be examined as such. The much-publicized Elf-Aquitaine affair has now shown that French multinationals’ dirty economic practices run deep into the French government no matter which party is in power. Gbagbo’s Refondation was principally a program of poverty reduction through a distribution to the masses of healthcare and education services and the creation of jobs; a program that fell well within the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for Africa. The French-supported rebellion put Gbagbo’s poverty reduction program at a standstill, and the passion with which Koffi Anan’s United Nations defended the French actions and supported France’s subsequent direct intervention in Côte d’Ivoire was mind-boggling. The victim was presented as the victimizer, and the victimizer was made both judge and Jury of the victim. This collaboration of African leaders such as Ouattara and Kofi Anan with a brutal European force against their people, though revolting, nevertheless has an explanation. In all times, Africa has had local collaborators who enabled the exploitation and impoverishment of the continent by Western powers, so long as these local informants could be left to collect a few morsels alongside their plundering Western masters. At the time of the question of Côte d’Ivoire, Kofi Anan had his own scandals at the United Nations hovering over his head, and the oil for food humiliation in which his son, using the father’s influence, was deeply involved, and for which Anan needed France more than ever to testify on his behalf. This could only happen if he took care of France’s interests in Africa, no matter what the consequence could be for the African people. Anan and Ouattara were only repeating an ancient gesture called North/South collaboration. Unfortunately, It would be utterly hypocritical for anyone who unreservedly condemns the resistance organized by the Ivorian Patriotes to pretend to speak in favor of poverty reduction and growth in the Third World, and especially in Côte d’Ivoire. It is obvious that France’s gangster-like intervention in Côte d’Ivoire has undermined progress by any theory of economics. I shall point to some of the consequences of France’s disquieting intrusion in Côte d’Ivoire as they relate to the armoring of the most pessimistic economics theories for the Third World and the undercutting of all development theories ever to cast any promising outlooks on poor countries.38

To proponents of dependency theory—the theory that winners and losers are two inevitable sides of the same coin of development39—the Chiraquian martial incursion in Côte d’Ivoire to protect lamenting French multinationals terrified of international competitions makes factual the hypothesis that as economic trade grows between rich and poor nations, global income inequality grows, too. In the kind of liberal commerce that, in the wake of the Washington Consensus, has characterized the « exchanges » between Côte d’Ivoire and France, and in which the French government and the French army, following an age-old tradition, have figured more like bullying middlemen than state institutions, profits have been unashamedly unidirectional. So, this explaining that, the convergence theory—the theory claiming that someday, in a happy future, the last shall meet the first, and that rich countries will experience dwindling returns and be caught up by poor countries—is belied. If the economic trends, as we observe them today, keep up, convergence theory becomes, for the proponents of global equality, wishful thinking, an unrealizable fancy. The impossible possibilization of convergence theory is pushed even further back into the dominion of bleakness by the doing of rich countries that have specialized in altering, in poor countries, all the control variables in which advocates of endogenous growth have invested so much optimism. How so?

Against convergence theorists’ pessimistic outlooks for rich countries and optimistic perspectives for poor countries, proponents of endogenous theory would argue that humanity is only at the beginning of useful discoveries, and therefore, rich countries will always be able to subvert the menace of diminishing resources and remain dominant just by the significance of the scientific, technological innovations that they make at home. This is possible because rich countries have traditionally been able to control certain variables, such as, fertility rate, level of human capital (education), and government spending. These controlled variables are referred to as conditional factors. Traditionally, the control for these variables has been absent in poor countries. So then, the factors that come to be known in rich countries as conditional convergence factors (insofar as the conditions for their control are present) become unconditional convergence factors in the Third World (insofar as the condition for their control are absent). No one, however, would dispute the fact that conditional and unconditional convergence factors are not natural occurrences. They do not respectively appear in rich and poor countries by Devine design. They are not the making of an omnipotent Big-Other who assigns them, in that order, to civilized capitalist societies on the one hand, and to primitive territorial populations on the other hand. Conditional and unconditional convergence factors are not inherently attributed to one group of people who are in control of all their intellectual faculties as opposed to another group subjected to lobotomy. Conditional and unconditional convergence factors are created and manipulated by greed, ruthlessness, and brutality, which are not necessarily signs of intelligence. Therefore, before proponents of endogenous theory rest assured that any responsibility for failure and economic decline is entirely organic, perhaps, it would be wise to situate responsibility. On the levels of human capital and government spending, the multiple muscled interventions of France in West Africa have always, intentionally, turned conditional and unconditional factors on their heads in a theatrical diagram that made perfect sense for France while disturbing any prospect of planned development for the African nations. This viciously masterful manipulation made conditional factors unconditional for national social engineers while at the same time keeping them conditional for French business. Bare Hands Victory becomes enlightening in disclosing France’s responsibility in that regard; but Bakaba’s documentary can only expose the symptoms of a bigger infection in Africa. In Bare Hands Victory, Côte d’Ivoire is but a case study of a more pervasive hexagonal will to power determined to make profits by all means necessary.

Is it only by killing Africa’s human capital that the rest of the world could give the black continent a chance of turning the tides of global inequality? France seems resolved to spin the grim images of Ivorian youth falling under French multinationals’ hired guns into a neo-classical resolution of income inequality; one which would eerily assert, on account of the role of population growth in the race for development, that « we are saving them from themselves. » If growth is a race between increases in population and capital stock, this pessimistic-optimist argument would thus go, then, wars—which have been more exogenous than endogenous in French Africa—by their ensuing effects of population decrease, will lead to better distribution of wealth in Africa. How depressing! And how disingenuous, too, to link the slaughter of the dynamic and educated force of a country to its chances for progress! In fact, until an international outcry puts an end to the incendiary practices of the hired armies of imperial nations, the butchering of the young brains of Africa will continue to widen the technological gaps between North and South—one of the major causes of global inequality—and maintain an East-West-West-East-bound spread of technology and industrialization. It is not by accident that most Third World countries, claim appurtenance to the Orient when they cannot establish their belonging to the Occident.40 Have not theorists of economic geography told us that the Occident, with its temperate climate and smoother terrains, is blessed by the gods and has all the best prospects for development? Nevertheless, has African geography really been a hindrance at any time in history for opportunists resolute to plunder the riches of the African continent? Have not European explorers, as far back as the sixteenth century, defied the negative endowments of Africa and pushed deep into the heart of darkness to dig up Africa’s iron ores, its gold, its diamond, to cut its timber, to bleed its rubber trees, to remove its elephants’ defenses, to practice their shooting ability on its game? Have not European speculators designed ingenious methods to transfer Africa’s human capital and riches to the Occident despite Africa’s much-heralded negative endowments? Why has Europe become so paradoxically impotent when it came to developing infrastructures in the continent that would benefit African populations? And what to say of this so-called poor continent that yet continues to stir up so much interest in greedy multinationals? Geography and poverty have nothing to do with the underdevelopment of Africa. In fact, to be fair, Africa is victim of its wealth and a globalization gone mad.

1 Sidiki Bakaba, director, Bare Hands Victory (Abidjan: Kepri Creations, 2005).

2 See, The Washington Times, Special International Report Prepared by The Washington Times Advertising Department, July 2, 1999

3 Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African

4 J.D. Fage, A History of Africa (London: Routledge, 1995), 334.

5 Ibid., 327.

6 Jules Ferry, « Les fondements de la politique coloniale, » discours prononcé à la Chambre des députés: le 28 juillet 1885

7 H. L.Wesseling, Divide and Rule: The Partition of Africa, 1880-1914, trans. Arnold J. Pomerans (Westport: Praeger, 1996), 200-203.

8 Much of the discussion here is inspired by D. K. Fieldhouse’s The West and the Third World (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1999), 99-105.

9 Actually, as Fieldhouse notes, evidence points to the contrary. All of black Africa within the European Community’s preferential economic system in the 1980s had a lower per capita growth rate than South Asian countries which were not part of the system (105).

10 Ibid.

11 Richard Falk, Predatory Globalization: A Critique (Malden: Polity Press), 131.

12 James Petras, and Henry Veltmeyer, « World Development: Globalization or Imperialism? » in Globalization and Antiglobalization: Dynamics of Change in the New World Order, ed. Henry Veltmeyer (Burlington: Ashgate, 2004), 18.

13 Steven Hiatt, editor, « Global Empire: « The Web of Control, » in A Game as Old as Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption (San Francisco: Berret-Koehler, 2007), 12- 29. 14http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/speciales/elysee_2007/20070504.OBS5597/segolene_royal_denonce_les_ liensentre_sarkozy_bouygues_.html

15 Xavier Harel, Interview with Ahmadou Kourouma, in Politique Internationale, Issue 98 (Winter, 2003), http://www.politiqueinternationale.com/revue/read2.php?id_revue=13&id=223&content=texte&search= (accessed on January 19, 2008).

16 Alemayehu Geda, and Abebe Shimeles, « Openness, Trade Liberalization, Inequality and Poverty in Africa, » in Flat Wold, Big Gaps: Economic Liberalization, Globalization, Poverty & Inequality, eds. Jomo K. S., and Jacques Baudot, 297-326 (London: Zed Books, 2007), 304.

17 Assié-Lumumba, and Lumumba-Kasongo, « Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the French and Global Capitalist System, » in Africa Update, vol. X, Issue 4 (Fall 2003).

18 Alemayehu and Geda, 305.

19 Had not Sarkozy, as French minister of finance and industry, reassured EDF and GDF union members worried about privatization prospects in the following terms on April 4, 2004?
EDF et Gaz de France ne seront pas privatisées. Pourquoi? Parce que EDF et Gaz de France ne seront pas et ne seront jamais des entreprises tout à fait comme les autres . . . du fait de leur importance pour l’indépendance nationale, de leur rôle dans le service public de l’électricité et du gaz.
[EDF and GDF will never be privatized. Why? Because EDF and GDF will not be and will never be ordinary companies . . . given their importance for national independence, given their roles in public distribution of electricity and gas.]
See http://sarkozyblog.free.fr/index.php?2004/04/04/108-rencontre-avec-les-syndicats-edf

20 Assié-Lumumba, and Lumumba-Kasongo, « Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the French and Global Capitalist System, » in Africa Update, vol. X, Issue 4 (Fall 2003)

21 James Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 39.

22 The review concluded that
Members congratulated Côte d’Ivoire on its pursuit of macroeconomic stabilization and trade liberalization, and noted the positive effects registered to date. They nonetheless encouraged Côte d’Ivoire to make additional commitments and bind more tariffs so as to ensure that current reforms continue. Participants expressed their conviction that the consolidation of reforms in the goods and services sectors would attract new investment and ensure sustained economic growth. See World Trade Organization, « Trade Policy Reviews: Second Press Release and Chairperson’s Conclusions Côte d’Ivoire: July 1995, http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp9_e.htm

23 In a letter to his family, Frantz Fanon expressed his regrets of choosing to fight for France during WW2, complaining that he was wrong to enroll to fight for the freedom of French people while French farmers themselves were not ready to fight for their liberty. See Black Skin, White Masks (videorecording)

24 Jeune Afrique, issue 1231 (August 8, 1984), p. 21

25 H. K. Bédié, Les chemins de ma vie, (Paris: Plon, 1999), 50.

26 Francois Soudan, « Ouattara est-il ivoirien? » (13 juin, 2000), http://www.jeuneafrique.com/jeune_afrique/article_jeune_afrique.asp?art_cle=LIN13063ouattneirio0

27 Ibid., 44.

28 Vincent Hugeux, « Quand la Côte d’Ivoire joue avec le feu, » http://www.lexpress.fr/info/monde/dossier/cotedivoire/dossier.asp?ida=418738&p=2

29 See Jérôme Dupuis, and Jean-Marie Pontaut, « Mains basses sur l’aide européenne, » April 6, 2000, http://www.lexpress.fr/info/monde/dossier/cotedivoire/dossier.asp?ida=418736:
Où ont disparu les 180 millions de francs que l’Union européenne a versés à la Côte d’Ivoire? Cette aide, destinée essentiellement au programme de santé, a été systématiquement détournée entre 1992 et 1997, comme l’attestent plusieurs audits récents de la Commission européenne et un rapport accablant de l’Inspection des finances ivoirienne, dont L’Express a pris connaissance [[What happened to the 180 million francs that the European Union disbursed to Côte d’Ivoire? This money especially earmarked for healthcare has been systematically diverted between 1992 and 1997 as indicated by several recent audits by the European Commission and a report of the Ivorian finance inspection obtained by L’Express.]
30 Ibid.
Il est scandaleux que les députés européens n’aient pas été informés de ces détournements, qui concernent des secteurs aussi sensibles que la santé. Je ne comprends pas que la délégation sur place et les quatre experts du Fonds européen de développement détachés auprès de l’administration ivoirienne n’aient rien vu. Cela pose un problème de compétence. A moins qu’il n’y ait d’autres explications [It is outrageous that the members of the European Parliament had not been informed of these embezzlements that touch such sensitive sectors as health. I cannot understand how the delegation on the ground and the four experts of the European Development Fund assigned to the Ivorian administration did not detect anything. This raises a question of competence. Unless some other explanations exist.]

 31 David Kenneth Fieldhouse, The West and the Third World: Trade, Colonialism,  Dependence and Development (Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), 72

32 Pr. Mamadou Koulibaly, La guerre de la France contre la Côte d’Ivoire (Abidjan: La Refondation, 2003), p. 4.

33 Interview by Abdou Salam Diop, in “L’Harmattan” No 854-9056, January 2, 2005, http://www.midici.com/

34 Ibid.

35 La guerre de la France, 11-14.

36 Gene M. Grossman, and Elhanan Helpman, Interest Groups and Trade Policy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002) 235.

37 Ibid.

38 Much of my discussion here will rely on Glenn Firebaugh’s summary of the theories of world stratification as he laid them out in The New Geography of Global Income Inequality (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003),170-84.

39 Firebaugh, 170.

40 See Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Wonders of the African World (videorecording)