Developments in the Ivory Coast

first_imgYet another agreement has been reached that is aimed at ending the unrest among military forces in the West African state of Ivory Coast.Over a five-day period, soldiers took control of several cities including Bouake, the second-largest in the country, after a spokesperson for the disgruntled troops claimed that they were dropping their demands for the full payment of promised funds, totaling $8,400.In repudiation of the apparently false statements regarding ending the appeal for the bonuses, Bouake was placed under the control of the soldiers, who regulated passage in and out of the city. The rebellion quickly spread to several major urban areas, including the commercial capital of Abidjan. There, the Republican Guards who are loyal to President Alassane Ouattara fired shots above the heads of the protesting troops.Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa. Exports had been impacted due to the mutiny when ports were closed on May 15.Some reports that surfaced on May 16 indicated that some of the angry soldiers had already begun to be paid. Banks which had not been operating in Abidjan were reopened as well.Just one day prior to the announcement of an agreement, cocoa firms and banks, along with government buildings in the western regional center of Daloa, were shuttered. Residents reported that gunfire could be heard throughout the day.A cocoa cooperative manager, Aka Marcel, told the international press in regard to the tense situation in Daloa that “all businesses are closed here. The banks are closed and so are the cocoa-buying businesses. The soldiers are in the streets on foot and on motorbikes. They’re shooting in the air.” (Reuters, May 15)During the course of the unrest, several more cities were impacted in addition to both Bouake and Abidjan. The port city of San Pedro, near neighboring Burkina Faso, saw the blocking of the border by the rebelling soldiers.Mutiny in BouakeOne spokesman for the soldiers in the most recent dispute, Sgt. Seydou Koné, said: “We accept the government’s proposal. … We are returning to barracks now.”Koné was speaking from the center of the mutiny in Bouake.Another spokesperson for the rebel soldiers, who wanted to be called simply Sgt. Cisse, said: “We’ve just handed back control of the entrances to the city (Bouake) to the police and gendarmes this morning, and we’re returning to our barracks. There’s no one on the streets. It’s finished. They are all in the barracks. There hasn’t been a single shot fired since 8 a.m.” (Reuters, May 16)However, during the early morning hours outside of Bouake it was reported that soldiers were blocking the entrance of some 200 commercial trucks. Military forces which remained loyal to the Ouattara regime emphasized that they were working to re-establish control in order to maintain the existing political order.There are approximately 8,000 troops out of 22,000 in total within the military apparatus involved in the dispute. Nonetheless, on May 13 three people who were said to have been demobilized former soldiers were shot by the mutineers.Sgt. Koné was quoted as saying that the former troops were shot to prevent them from organizing their own separate demonstrations. In other cities such as Korhogo, Daloa and Abidjan, demonstrations against the mutinous soldiers took place.Altogether there were at least six people reportedly wounded. One person who had suffered gunshot injuries died in Bouake.Sgt. Koné said during the attempts to suppress the protests that the rebellious troops had no problem with the population. The spokesperson for the mutinous soldiers said their only objective was to get paid.The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the mutiny, demanding that the soldiers return to their barracks immediately. Republic of Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is the current chair of the Authority of Heads of State for ECOWAS, emphasized that the unrest placed the stability of the region in jeopardy.With the purported resolution of the most recent split within the military, it still does not address the broader questions of economic stability and political accountability.Political dimensions of the crisisThese mutineers are the forces that supplemented French paratroopers in the putsch against former President Laurent Gbagbo, who was targeted for removal after he defied France and the United States in a dispute over the national elections in 2010.In April 2011, Gbagbo, his wife Simone and other top officials were arrested by French troops at a makeshift headquarters in a hotel. The president was later deported from his own country to the Netherlands, where he is now facing trial by the controversial International Criminal Court (ICC).Since the ascendancy of the Ouattara regime, the Western-based firms have made substantial investments inside the country. Up until recently, the West African state was being hailed as having one of the fastest growing economies in the region.However, over the last two years there has been a precipitous drop in the prices of cocoa and oil. Petroleum workers engaged in a strike during February 2016 demanding an end to layoffs which would impact up to 10 percent of the workforce of a leading employer.Simone Gbagbo, who is a political figure within the Popular Front Party (PFI) that was overthrown in April 2011, was charged and convicted by the Ouattara regime for alleged crimes committed during the struggle against French foreign policy machinations in 2010-2011. She was imprisoned under a 20-year sentence and charged again for alleged crimes against humanity.In late March, a court in Ivory Coast acquitted her on the additional charges of human rights crimes. Nonetheless, she has not been released on the previous convictions, which are highly politicized.Former President Gbagbo is being targeted in the Netherlands by an institution, the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been criticized within the highest deliberative body of the continental African Union (AU). At the 50th anniversary Jubilee summit in May 2013 commemorating its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), member-states raised the potential for a massive withdrawal from being signatories of the Rome Statute, which laid the framework for the creation of the ICC.ICC officials have also issued warrants against Mrs. Gbagbo. In this instance, the current government of Ouattara has refused to extradite the former first lady to the Netherlands to join her husband in detention in Europe.Several African states have made the declaration of resignation from being under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands-based institution. These include Burundi, South Africa and Gambia. The U.S. and EU-backed ECOWAS intervention and subsequent coup that removed Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in February replacing him with Adama Barrow, immediately resulted in the Western-backed leader re-entering the small West African nation back into the ICC.A high court in South Africa has attempted to render the African National Congress (ANC) government’s rejection of the ICC null and void, ruling that the withdrawal is unconstitutional without parliamentary approval. Such decisions prompted by legal action initiated by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) illustrate that key rulings handed down by the South African courts are reflective of the ideological struggle emerging within the post-apartheid political construct.Almost all of the investigations, indictments and trials by the ICC are directed against African heads of state and rebel leaders. In the cases of Libya and Ivory Coast, investigations by the ICC were carried out in tandem with military bombings and invasions to topple governments at variance with the administrations in Paris and Washington.Imperialist war crimesMoreover, the egregious imperialist war crimes and acts of genocide resulting in the deaths, injuries and displacement which factor into the millions against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Somalia, etc., have never been the focus of the ICC and its prosecutors. Consequently, many African states, if not publicly, raise concerns privately, in the belief that the ICC is an instrument for the extension of colonial rule.The ICC is a mechanism designed for the explicit purpose of facilitating interference in the internal affairs of African states. Although the leading Western capitalist governments have refused to adhere to the purported authority of the ICC, the institution is utilized as a foreign policy tool to maintain destabilization campaigns against adversarial forces and those which can be identified as constituting a rationale for U.S., EU, NATO and their allies to carry out aerial bombardments, the imposition of draconian sanctions and the engineering of military and political coups.This recent unrest among the defense forces in Ivory Coast follows a similar rebellion in January, when promises were also made that have apparently not been met. The government has acknowledged that despite the foreign direct investment model of economic policy, the implementation of such an approach is heavily dependent upon exports of primary products to Western markets and the granting of tax havens to the transnational corporations and financial institutions.Ouattara was a longtime functionary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which, as a result of the contemporary world crisis, is becoming more involved in loan projects that have historically proven extremely disadvantageous to African states. The neocolonial systems of relation between the former industrialized countries in regard to their previous colonial and semicolonial territories have long exhausted economic usefulness. The AU and popular forces outside of governments have continued to address the need for deeper integration of African states and the development of regional monetary and industrial zones which place priorities on continental development.The ongoing detention and prosecution of President Gbagbo does not serve the interests of the Ivorian and African people. Such a scenario only serves as a means to reassert Western dominance of the political affairs of the continent.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Liberian minister threatens to arrest journalists during curfew hours

first_imgan attempt to contain the epidemic. During a radio broadcast, Fahngon warned journalists they would be arrested and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a threat by Liberia’s deputy informationminister to arrest any journalist found outside during curfew hours without a pass issuedby his ministry. This endangers journalists’ physical safety and their freedom to inform,RSF said. Covid-19 emergency laws spell disaster for press freedom threats to shut down media outlets that spread “fake news” and physical attacks, the state December 16, 2020 Find out more allow journalists to be outside during the 3pm – 6am curfew imposed by the government in @FrontPageAfrica Organisation of emergency proclaimed by Liberia’s government to combat the Covid-19 epidemic is proving to be a major headache for the country’s journalists. News doing their investigative reporting.” “Liberia has yet against demonstrated its propensity to obstruct journalists’ work at the whether the one issued by the union or the one given to them by their media outlet. Reports information ministry cannot use any pretext to arrest journalists and prevent them from to obstruct the media’s reporting. The PUL said it would not make journalists comply with the ministry’s new rules for Follow the news on Liberia Help by sharing this information May 19, 2020 Liberian minister threatens to arrest journalists during curfew hours Newscenter_img November 27, 2020 Find out more What with newspapers being forced to suspend print versions, the solicitor general’s RSF urges Liberian authorities to investigate threats against journalists height of the coronavirus crisis,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa The PUL denied the minister’s claim and accused him of taking a unilateral decision simply The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Fahngon and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) clashed over the issuing of new passes that LiberiaAfrica Activities in the fieldCondemning abusesProtecting journalists Covid19EnvironmentJudicial harassment Liberia is ranked 95th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s Wold Press Freedom ranking established in 2020. obtaining a curfew pass and insisted they should just have to show their press card, office. “This measure is not only arbitrary but also dangerous for journalists’ safety. The RSF_en @RSF_Inter The minister accused the PUL of massively duplicating the passes he had already issued. prosecuted if they did not have his ministry’s press card. He also visited checkpoints in the The latest increase in tension came on 2 May after deputy information minister Eugene June 12, 2020 Find out more LiberiaAfrica Activities in the fieldCondemning abusesProtecting journalists Covid19EnvironmentJudicial harassment Receive email alerts News to go further capital, Monrovia, to tell police to arrest any journalist caught without a pass.last_img read more

New views on Limerick’s revolutionary past

first_imgNewsHeritageNew views on Limerick’s revolutionary pastBy Staff Reporter – August 1, 2018 3626 Previous articleLotsa luck for Limerick familyNext article#PHOTOS All-Ireland glory beckons for Limerick’s magnificent hurlers Staff Reporter Print Limerick Post Show | Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste Advertisement Facebook Linkedin New Report from MIC Reveals the Reality of Human Trafficking in Ireland WhatsApp Limerick’s Student Radio Station Wired FM Celebrates 25 Years on Air center_img Twitter TAGSheritagehistoryLimerick City and CountyMary Immaculate College Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Free State soldiers outside Cruise’s Royal Hotel in 1922.Photo: National Library of Ireland.OVER the next five years, Ireland will commemorate the centenaries of seminal, but often difficult and controversial, events.As part of the commemorations, the Department of History at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) will host a free one-day conference on Limerick during the revolutionary years between 1918 and 1923.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The conference, ‘Limerick 1918-23: New Approaches’ will bring together leading scholars to better understand this important period in Limerick’s and, indeed, the country’s history on Saturday, September 1.According to event organiser and MIC history lecturer Dr Brian Hughes, the conference participants have been working with new themes, methodologies, and sources for history and commemoration of the Irish Revolution.“The research that will be presented reflects some the most recent and innovative additions to our knowledge of the revolutionary period in Limerick and further afield. Contributors will use local, national, and even international perspectives to help us better understand the events of 100 years ago.’The first session of the conference will bring highlight underused or neglected sources for social and political history of the period.Limerick Council Archivist Jacqui Hayes and Limerick Diocesan Archivist David Bracken will highlight material available in local archives that represent the upheaval of the period alongside the everyday lives of those who lived in the city and county.MIC history student, Winnie Davern, will use a collection of private family papers to highlight personal responses to the anti-conscription movement in 1918 while PhD graduate, Dr Seán William Gannon, will look at the experiences of disbanded members of the Royal Irish Constabulary in Limerick in 1922.Maynooth PhD candidate Jack Kavanagh will make innovative use of GIS mapping technology to provide a more detailed picture of Civil War participation and Dr Alexandra Tierney will reflect on the impact of suffrage and independence on the women of Limerick.In the final session, papers by Anna Lively from the University of Edinburgh and Síobhra Aiken from NUI Galway will examine the ways that those involved wrote about their experiences afterwards, in both memoirs and in novels, and how events like the Limerick Soviet have been remembered or, indeed, forgotten.Queen’s University Belfast Professor Fearghal McGarry’s keynote lecture will ask us to think about the history and commemoration of Ireland’s revolution in a global context.Full details at www.mic.ieby Tom [email protected] Week-long Celebration of Women as MIC Marks International Women’s Day Emaillast_img read more