John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Cheney, the Niger Delta and Cote d’Ivoire

by John Campbell
December 3, 2010

A couple of things:

  • If you are curious, yes, I am watching  the ongoing Halliburton case in Nigeria that reportedly involves former vice president Dick Cheney. However, before I weigh in on how serious the situation is,  we need to see if Cheney is in fact charged, and if he is, what the nature of those charges are.
  • On the Delta, in an earlier blog post, I had questioned whether the Joint Task Force had learned its lesson conducting operations around civilians. However, with reports of major causalities and civilian displacement, it does not appear so. I have long been concerned that indiscriminate military activity could further radicalize the civilian population. That danger seems even greater now.
  • On Cote d’Ivoire, as of now, Gbagbo has made Ivoirian elections a farce. Foreign observers have reported that in fact the elections were credible. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the U.S., France and other western states will go beyond rhetoric in responding to the results. In the past, Nigeria has lead West Africa’s response to illegal seizure of power. However, with a weak government, distracted by violence in the  Delta and upcoming elections, Nigeria is unlikely to resume that role. Hence, should the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) seek to intervene, it will be operating without the leadership of its strongest member. These are dark days for democracy.

(Photo: Joshua Roberts /courtesy Reuters)

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  • Posted by A. Bienvenu Loembe

    The recent election in Ivory Coast is brought to a stalemate. Tabho Mbeki arrived in Cote d’ Ivoire today to help to find a solution to the democratic crisis in Cote d’ Ivoire.”History is a pertpetual beginning. The same action come and go and do change only the actors”, wrote Amamdou Hampate Ba. We went through this exercice in Kenya with as principal actors Kibayi and Odinga and, in Zimbabwe starring Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Perpetuating in office is perpetrated by many African leaders as a national sport. They ignored as once R.W. Emerson stated that: ” Before we acquire great power, we must acquire wisdom to use it well.” “The same causes produce the same effet says the old truism.

    Because this situation was forseenable, the UN deployed representatives in the country to look after the election process.Nevertheless the system has failed.Again. The democratic dreams of many africans are slipping away. How come that after having spent more than 5 years in the country the UN was not able to prevent this crisis?The outcome of the election shed a shame on the democratic process in Africa. Despite their presence, the UN in Ivory Coast, to my knowledge,has not put in place a plan B to avoid this stalemate. Who is to blame? The outcome of this election was predictable. The current crisis as well. But the presence and action of the UN could have been more persuasive and powerful.

    There will be in 2011, more elections organized in Africa-Nigeria,Central Africa Republic, Chad, Madagascar… What would happet? Would we deploy Tabho Mbeki or , Koffi Annan to these countries, as the outcome is more or less known? Would we ask Nelson Mandela to call Goodluck Jonathan or Atiku Abubakar?

    The time has came that the international leaders and communities understand that the Role of the UN should be redifined.Therefore the UN as soon as possible needs and should think about how to accompaign the election processes in Africa. Because, when some african leaders would not longer, due to aging, be able to remain in the office, after having amended their constitution many times, they will smartly and shamelessly hand over the mantle of leadership to either their sons or families Just because, they don’t care. They don’ t care about you and me.They don’t care about democracy.

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