UN must act in Ivory Coast by Aie Zu Guo
Africa is reminiscent of political violence, genocide, famine and poverty. Modus operandi of state governance is characterized as undemocratic; ethnic based, without rule of law, abuse of human rights, corruption and nepotism. Misuse of donor assistance for repressive purposes is rampant.
African leaders amass money looted from donors and national coffers in banks across Europe, Continental America and Asia. These leaders have contingency accounts and fall back saving plans for life after power.
Genocide in Rwanda, Liberia, Darfur, and Gambella continue to scare theirs and the world’s children. Election related violence in Ethiopia (2005), Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), and Ivory Coast (2010) characterize democratization and governance. Failed states like Somalia continue to be the breeding grounds of international terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism coupled by poverty is engulfing Africa from coast to coast.
These are the de facto faces and the inconvenient truths of Today’s Africa. The aforementioned characteristics are not isolated cases. They are endemic and everywhere across the breadth and width of the continent often without exception. In a globally interconnected international community, Africa’s political, social and economic problems have become a global problem of immense proportions. Hence international solutions are required to change the course of events.
Fixing Africa’s multifaceted problems require fundamental affirmative actions towards disaster mitigation. Allied forces that fixed the scourge of Europe’s Nazi Germany and Srebrenica of Yugoslavia, Asia’s Korea, and Kuwait must move to act. Cognizant of these realities, the UN’s blue helmets must work to mitigate civil war and genocide in Africa.
In doing so the blue helmeted forces should not be left in the woods to watch genocide from the side of their rolling tanks and pointed Kalashnikovs. We have had enough of that impotence in Rwanda. Lieutenant-General Roméo Antonius Dallaire testified that he was unable to stop the Rwandan Genocide because his hands were tied by UN’s unrealistic mandate of peace keeping. The consequences of UN’s inaction in Rwanda remain gruesome to account. After all what kind of peace the elite and mighty UN force is supposed to maintain when there is no peace to keep in the first place.
As we speak a new genocide is looming in West Africa. Ivory Coast once considered a peaceful and politically stable nation is in the verge of political and ethnic civil war. It won’t be far too long for the world to witness once again another African nation engraved in the rank and file of genocide champions of the UN’s Human Rights Watch database.
Over the past 48 hours the incumbent government that defies the people’s will has requested the UN peace keepers to leave the country immediately and unconditionally. Technically the demand sets the stage for the regime to act on its own terms. It is unclear if the UN would withdraw its forces out of the country. If it does the community of nations will be committing a tragic mistake. Doing so proves that we did not learn lessons from Rwanda, Darfur and Somalia. Also withdrawing UN forces from Ivory Coast is tantamount to allowing genocide to take place in that part of the African Continent. And the UN will repeat history.
Before the beast strikes the innocent, the UN should abandon its diplomatic and constitutional wrangling and act in earnest. UN’s actions must be swift, decisive and uncompromising. The UN must, among others, recognize the democratically elected party of Ivory Coast; neutralize the forces of the incumbent regime; pick the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and take him out of the country possibly to The Hague; swiftly provide military support to the new president; support the new regime to reinstate democratic mode of governance. African Union’s (AU) unusual recognition of the democratically elected regime deserves praise and admiration. Strictly speaking the AU has given continental and regional legitimacy for UN’s action to defend democracy and mitigate a looming tragedy. The people of Ivory Coast anticipate the international community to reinforce the undeniable message of General Dallair “Never again.” Ivory Coast is waiting to be rescued by the blue helmets before Christmas. That rescue will be a perfect New Year present to the people of Ivory Coast and Africa at large.
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