Voting has not solved the problem of the Ivory Coast but military intervention may worsen it.
The challenges in Cote d’Ivoire did not start with this election; they have their roots in the creation of a colonial state and simplistic demands for military action from the UN and the former colonial masters, France will only serve to escalate the crisis. The call by ECOWAS – the regional economic and political grouping – for Ghana, a neighbouring country to lead the military intervention to remove Laurent Gbagbo who is widely believed to have stolen the election and to install Allasane Ouattara is both impractical and counterproductive as this will lead to a destabilisation of the whole region.
A background to the crisis may advance our understanding of the problem and lead us to formulating a more durable solution than the knee jerk reaction of military intervention. A comparison with the neighbouring Ghana will also explain why Ghana should not lead any military force against the larger Ivory Cast to resolve a problem that they did not create and cannot solve.
Though Nkrumah had been involved in left wing ideologies that were favoured by the anti-colonisation movement, at independence he was clear that his agenda was Pan-Africanist; independence for all African states to the extent of providing military resources to achieve that. He also promoted a non-aligned agenda that he articulated as ‘ we look neither to the East or West we look forward’. But Nkrumah also had to mould several tribes together into a unitary state in Ghana, and, as someone from a small tribe he did this very well all by forging a sense of ‘Ghanaianess’ amongst all. His vision of independence was about rapid industrialisation with state enterprises where none existed, he felt Ghana should be in control of the commanding heights or our economy. In the end he became a casualty of the Cold War; a Western inspired military intervention put paid to his leadership because of his alleged flirtation with the East. Continue reading “Voting has not solved the problem of the Ivory Coast but military intervention may worsen it.”