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Opinions of Friday, 24 December 2010

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

Democracy And Legitimization Of Authority

Imagine the hen going with her chick and pecking her along, only for the hawk to suddenly turn up aggressively with a claim that it is taking over the custodianship of the chick because mother hen is pecking the chick!
What is happening today in Cote d’Ivoire than anything else consolidates the position of the ACTION GROUP AFRICA (AGA) in the organization’s call for the AU Commission Chairperson to be getting his mandate directly from the citizens of the 53 member states than the current practice, in which only the 53 AU member heads of states vote on behalf of their citizens. The situation as well exposed what the imperialists hiding behind the UN have been getting away with for so long across the world.
The contentions in Cote d’Ivoire are all about legitimacy, authority, democracy and the people. In every military take over, the issues of contentions have been legitimacy, authority, democracy and the people. Like the military or occupying forces, the UN premises for its legitimacy in Cote d’Ivoire as an authority is that some people, than the people of Cote d’Ivoire asked them to be there to protect the people. The UN claim that their legitimacy come from the people is unfounded as there has never been a time when the people of Cote d’Ivoire, individually expressed themselves democratically, that the head of the UN should be responsible for them. Coup plotter base their claim and right to the authority of the people by the some faceless people or even the minority. The UN also base it position as the rightful custodian of the people on “moral grounds”. Interestingly like typical occupiers, as was the case of most colonial forces, the UN right to protecting the people is based on the premises that the people are too stupid to make the simple decision of what is good for them and what is not good for them. So in as much as the UN tends to believe that it is the duty of any person who want to be in charge of the authority of the people must get his/her mandate legitimize by the people themselves democratically, the UN itself does not see why it should go through the same process to legitimize its authority by the people’s mandate. The only ones who get their mandate as an authority of the people without necessarily allowing the people to legitimize such authority first before excising it are; the monarchs, military dictators, occupiers and coup plotters. Painfully, that is exactly the kind of legitimacy the authority of the UN exhibit.
The incumbent president of Cote d’Ivoire last Wednesday demanded that the UN and its forces immediately leave the country, as they are being considered as part of the problem of the Ivorian nation. In response to this, the UN with its headquarters in far away Washington replied she is not removing her forces from the Cote d’Ivoire as their mission there is to protect the civilians of the country.
What both Gbabgo and the UN are all contending is the right of who is entrusted with the authority of people of Cote d’Ivoire. Our task on this venture is to look at who is closer in credibility in its claims of working for the people of Cote d’Ivoire.
The contention between Alhassan Quattara and Lauren Gbagbo is all about who the people of Cote d’Ivoire gave their mandate to through the ballot box in the recent contentious election, to protect their interest. In other words, the two people are contending who among them received the highest will of the people in their expression of who is most trustworthy to be the supreme authority or guardian of their sovereignty. Democracy therefore as the most globally favoured way of determining and legitimizing such individual was being employed here. So good or bad, Gbagbo has gone through a form of election process in which the majority of the people of Cote d’Ivoire participated. In deed the election is contentious but it took place and Gbagbo participated, all within the rules of the country. So on the mandate of the people of Cote d’Ivoire and based on the previous mandate, if not this one, Gbagbo’s claim of legitimate has a higher weight here than Ban Ki Mon, whom most citizen of the Cote d’Ivoire knows nothing about.
On the part of the UN, what exactly is the legitimacy by which it is claiming to be in charge of the interest of the people of Cote d’Ivoire? To the best of our knowledge, no single Ivorian participate in any decision making at the UN carry enough weight than the same president elected by the people of Cote d’Ivoire who is today telling the UN to leave his country. In other words, the only formal link between the UN and the people of Ivory Coast is the president and head of state of the country. So the people of Cote d’Ivoire are intentionally made not to have any direct say in the UN by the imperialists so that they can easily manipulate the institution at the slightest chance and if the very one who the UN is designed to have a say from the country in its affairs with the UN, is saying that he does not recognize the institution any more, what premises could the UN hold on staying in the country any longer?
The only thing that could have legitimized the UN authority in Cote d’Ivoire is if the people that the UN is claiming to be protecting were those giving their mandate to the Secretary General of the UN by the ballot box before this unfortunate situation.
On a reflection, what exactly can the UN claim to know about the people of Cote d’Ivoire and their needs, as determined by their daily challenges? If the election in Cote d’Ivoire is to allow the people of Cote d’Ivoire to determine who should be solving their problem and the same people did not vote for any body in the UN to do so on their behalf, what legitimacy could the UN be said to be claiming for staying to protect the people it does not know? What yard stick is the UN claiming to be its parameters of knowing and measuring the real needs of the Ivoirians?
Let us look at this case again from another angle. Imagine the president of my country, democratically elected into office going out of the country to invite a multinational corporation to operate in my country which the manifesto of my government at the time of election, was not very explicit about. If the same government is turning around single handily asking the multinational corporation to leave, what right have anyone to challenge such position? Should the multinational corporation refusal to leave? Is this the same as was the case with Jerry John Rawlings during the revolution when he instructed the Coca Cola to leave the country as the company was deemed to be working contrary to the country of state of Ghana? What choice has a state when the interest of registered company turned out to be conflicting with that of the people, as perceived by the supreme authority of the land? Imagine the multinational corporation saying she is not going because she is in the country to protect the people with her product?
It is very important at this point, in our analysis of the legitimacy of the UN, to reflect on exactly what a multinational corporation is. A multinational corporation is an organization of independent nationals into an institution with the sole aim of advancing their interest. The membership of a multinational corporation is nationals of different socio-eco-political organizations with a clearly expressed interest to sharing in the returns of their organization. Unlike countries, multinational corporations are borderless and very active in advancing their interest, but invisible. The multinational cooperation’s identity is reflected by their head quarters, their symbol of identity normally flags or trade mark and their hierarchy of management. Such institution is very secretive in its membership and discrete in their ventures. One of the characteristics of Multinational Corporation is that since their membership are not visibly open but rather their interest, the principle of democracy is suppressed but pretend to uphold. In fact, democracy does not exist in their choice of leadership as their legitimacy is sourced by deception and coercion.
Now, in accordance with the above factors, what exactly would the UN be qualifying for than a multinational corporation whose aim is to advance an interest that is not that of the people as the people has no say in the appointment of the leadership of the UN just as is the case with any multination company?
The sympathizers of the UN and the French presence in Cote d’Ivoire might want to cling to the position that the government who got its mandate from the people of Cote d’Ivoire are those who invited the UN into the country. Some will also be claiming that some citizens of the country invited the UN and France to ensure the security of the people. But true as the above are, the legitimacy given is still conditional until the people openly express their position in the election of the supreme head of all these bodies. Equally, like any contract, democratic mandate that legitimizes the authority as the custodian of a people, is renewable at interval by the people.
In the same vain, what could one called France on the land of Cote d’Ivoire which is not different from what the UN is, since the people of Cote d’Ivoire do not participate in the election that result in who become the president and head of state of France? The legitimacy of France is just as good as that of the UN as both are not legitimized by the people of Cote d’Ivoire which is only possible democratically.
The kind of legitimacy which the UN or France may be claiming to have in Cote d’Ivoire can be said to be the LEGITIMACY OF THE UNEXPRESSED MAJORITY’S MORALS. Unfortunately, this kind of legitimacy is as good as the legitimacy of the moral of the mob. The mob’s action, either rationally or irrationally, is not enough to legitimize it. It was on the premises of legitimacy by rationalization that the colonial forces advance and justify why they should manage the people of the lands that later become colonies.
So if the UN and the French will like an unconditional mandate that will not be terminated at will when the member states feel it is not in its interest to continue with the current non popular expressed mandate, then the UN should start reconsidering allowing the people globally to be participating in the election of the UN Secretary General.
All the things said above about the legitimacy of the UN, France, the IMF and the World Bank, also applied fully to the AU as it is now. The fact that the president of Cote d’Ivoire, in this case Laurent Gbagbo is the only person participating in the election of the Chairman of the AU Commission every 4 years, make our Union just as good as all the other multination corporation with no tangible legitimacy enough for the Union to pay its rightful role even when the condition demand for it. As far as the current circumstances are concern, the only relationship between the state of Cote d’Ivoire and the AU is Laurent Gbagbo. Of course, the Union might be having certain relationship with some citizens of Cote d’Ivoire; all these relationships are not formal except the relationship sanctioned by Gbagbo, as he is the only legitimate person between the Union and the member state.
It is very important to mention here that the UN, France, World Bank, the USA, IMF, AU and my humble self Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin, are all legitimate entities in our unique rights. However such legitimacy are not good enough as the people of Cote d’Ivoire have not given us that mandate by the ballot box to take charge of their destiny. It will therefore be in the interest of every one of us in the Africa Union to do everything possible to get our Union to legitimize itself by the common voting of every one of the estimated 850 million citizens of all the 53 member states of the Union in the election of the Chairman of the Union’s Commission.
It is very important at this point as we try to justify why the UN and France presence in Cote d’Ivoire is not legitimate, one must bear in mind that the security of the Alhassan Quattara and all those who sides with him, also require maximum attention. There are millions of people whose lives are in danger that have to be secured without jeopardizing the security of the state. The presence of these people in Abidjan will be very difficult to be guarantee by the Gbagbo faction which makes it the more reason why the Union should be in the best position to protect every citizen. The AU unfortunately, is not equipped at present to provide such essential duty of hers. This again makes it more important for us to get the legitimization process of the Union urgently in place. One does not plant the food of today to eat it today. Rather, we plant the food of today, yesterday and that of tomorrow, today. The fact that we have put our Union in the mess of yesterday is the reason why we are in the mess of today. We have every reason to do whatever we have to do today so that our Union will be there fore us tomorrow.
Finally, who is being attack by the UN, France, USA, IMF and World Bank? Should it be the AU or Cote d’Ivoire? Why exactly was the reason for forming the AU than having the AU taking over the shock from external forces when direct to her member states? What would it have been had the case of the pressure from the “International Community” is being mounted on the AU which is the combination of all the 53 AU member states, while internally; the Union is sorting herself out on the Ivorian issue? How powerful would the AU have been to cushion up the forces of the International Community of Parasites that in itself would have removed the use of force and threats out of the equation, as effort for solution are being made? Here are with the AU isolating herself as if she does not exist while one of her member states is facing the world alone, like has been our experience that necessitated the formation of the OAU and now, the AU? How beautiful is the sight of the helpless cow gazing at the wolves wolfing up its calf, shamefully thinking the calf call it all on herself? Who should be fighting with the wolves? Is it the mother cow or the baby calf? In the case of our disgraceful Africa Union, it is the poor state of Cote d’Ivoire that should be facing the International Community of Parasites.
The institution that is legitimately supposed to be taking on the rest of the world is not Cote d’Ivoire but the AU. Our experience in life has indicated that multinational corporation do pretend they do not exist in time of crisis, as it is looking like there was never one in Somalia or Congo. We all remember the days of Rwandan genocide were the multinational corporation with their dodgy legitimacy withdrew only to go back again when it all settle down. The odd case for having the Multinational Corporations adamantly staying put in Cote d’Ivoire is having the USA government with a legitimate democratic mandate of the people of USA backing the UN up to defend their interest together. This threat, as the Multinational Corporation of the UN and the Powerful country of the USA fusing together in a common commercial interest to exploit us together, is not new at all as this has been the history of the world all along. So converting our own Multinational Africa Union Corporation, from an illegitimate parasitic vulture into a legitimate institution by popularly democratising it, is the only option we have in evolving ourselves into modern people whose destiny must lies square in their own hands.
Osagyfor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah swore to the people that Africa Must Unite! Our people believed Nkrumah that Africa Must Unite and that; it is only in this unity of Africa that our people shall have a fulfilling life. There is no doubt that our people are losing hope in the saying of Nkrumah given the reality before their eyes. Interestingly, to us Nkrumah shall forever be right because Africa must be united in voting for one single person in defending our common interest against all external aggressors and parasites! It is therefore on this belief in Kwame Nkrumah that we stand to say, the citizens of the Union must vote for just one person in the name of the Union as they do in their various member states.
(When one is right but weak, he ends up being wrong, as the strong shall forever be right. Africa must be strong to be capable of defending her right)

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chair/Coordinator
Action Group of Africa (AGA)
(yekali2002@yahoo.com)