Ivory Coast: The Contrarian View

Almost every international body has condemned the incumbent and presumed loser of the recent Ivory Coast election: the African Union, the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS), the UN, many African countries, etc. On the other hand, many of my own African friends and colleagues have voiced alternative views. They have two main arguments. The first the assertion that there may have been widespread election fraud in the North, as asserted by incumbent and presumed loser, Laurent Gbagbo. The that the margins of victory for the opposition in various constituencies of the North, it is claimed, are too high to be believable, and in many places the voter registers were too large to inspire confidence in the process.

The second part which bothers many is the belief that Ouattara is in the pocket of the French, who are exploiting the country unfairly. As illustrations of the French connection, they point to the fact that Ouattara’s wife is French, and that it was Nicolas Sarkozy who performed the marriage ceremony when he was mayor.

The French have an uneasy relationship with Gbagbo.  I believe that around 2003, while Gbagbo was in power, there was a bombing by an Ivorian plane which killed one French soldier.  In retaliation, the French destroyed the entire Ivorian Air Force.

Anyway, we continue to wish the people of Ivory Coast the best, as we watch the tragedy unfolds. For a good exposition on the contrarian view, see this Sahara Reporters article.