Several authors cover the situation in Cote d’Ivoire: Andrew Harding reports on goods shortages and political confusion in Abidjan. Elizabeth Dickinson speculates on how violence in Cote d’Ivoire might affect the rest of West Africa, especially Liberia. And Baobab says that prolonged crisis might cost Alassane Ouattara some support:
In one of Côte d’Ivoire’s independent newspapers yesterday, Vincent Tohbi Irié, a respected former Ivorian ambassador to Paris and a self-professed supporter of Mr Ouattara, warned the internationally accepted winner of November’s presidential elections, that his backers’ patience was “not limitless”. Many Ivorians had decided to support, Mr Irié said—sometimes at the cost of their own lives—to champion the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and democracy. But the country was still in crisis. “If you are not the solution,” Mr Irié warned the new, but impotent, president, “you could become the problem for us…If you don’t get Gbagbo to go soon, it’s you who must go. You must liberate us from yourself, or we shall do so.”
The sudden upsurge in violence last weekend in Abidjan, the commercial capital, has died down again. No one knows why. No one knows who the perpetrators are. They carry no uniform and bear no insignia. But the tension is palpable. Everyone is afraid. A motorbike backfires and everyone jumps. A meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security is took place in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and the regional organisation’s headquarters yesterday. They reaffirmed Mr Ouattara as the legitimate president but far from ending the crisis, this is expected to ratchet it up a further notch or two.
Internally Displaced, writing in honor of International Women’s Day, looks at how Sudanese media represent women.
Howard French has an article out titled “How Qaddafi Reshaped Africa.” Here’s an excerpt that details French’s personal experience with Qadhafi’s activism:
In 1983, I scrambled from Ivory Coast to Chad to witness the breakout of war between French and Libyan forces there. Qaddafi had recently spoken of fully “integrating” his country with its southern neighbor.
I quickly found my way to the eastern front, where I watched the conflict from a desert foxhole with French soldiers as they spotted screaming, low-flying Jaguar fighter bombers pounding Libyan positions nearby. That same year, I traveled to Burkina Faso, where Qaddafi had flown to celebrate the seizure of power by a charismatic young army captain, Thomas Sankara, who he clearly saw as a promising understudy.
They met at a military base near the border with Ghana. From there, Sankara’s comrade, Blaise Compaoré had recently rallied paratroopers to free Sankara from detention and install him as president.
When I showed up, Qaddafi, surrounded by his famous all female bodyguard corps, angrily objected to my presence and demanded that Sankara not allow an American to ride with the motorcade for their triumphal, flag-waving trip to the capital, Ouagadougou. Sankara, who already knew me well, insisted on my presence. Four years later, he would be dead, murdered by Compaoré, it is widely believed, with Qaddafi’s encouragement.
On a related note, Rosebell Kagumire discusses how closely Liberians are following news out of Libya. The past is present.
John Campbell discusses the content and potential political uses of recent polling data out of Nigeria.
Matthew Tostevin writes on investment banking in Africa.
Any new blogs out there that I should know about?