Feature Article of Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Columnist: The True Statesman

Is France plotting to destabilize Ghana using Ivory Coast? Part 3

The problem with Quattara government is nothing but absolute insecurity, and it’s over ambitious agenda of becoming a power house in the sub region, couple with the influence of France, its former colonial master to use Ivory Coast to destabilize Anglophone states within the sub region.

Excepts of a purported UN expert report published on the Reuters News Agency website recently among other things stated that Ivory Coast is seeking to reclaim the leadership of the sub region from Ghana readily comes to mind.

Why should Ivory Coast be aiming to dislodge Ghana as the most revered and respected country on the continent?

Felix Houphouet-Boigny coined the term Françafrique, which he used positively to mean the close ties between France and its former colonies, and Ivory Coast’s founding president always swore by his French advisors when making decisions and embarking on grand projects. President Alassane Ouattara seems to be following his mentor’s suit, and has surrounded himself with an army of Gallic experts full of ideas about the direction Ivory Coast should take, one of those directions is to destabilize Ghana.

The overbearing French influence over Ivory Coast is even threatening to disintegrate the Ivorian regime. The usually phlegmatic Ivory Coast Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro lost his cool on a few weeks ago, and threatened to resign in protest at the number of French people that have been hired by the president’s office to handle such strategically important domains as the budget and infrastructure-building. The most prominent of these is Philippe Serey-Eiffel, the great-great-grandson of Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who masterminded Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Serey-Eiffel, an engineer who graduated from France’s prestigious Ponts et Chaussees grande école used to head the former Direction des Grands Travaux, the department of major building works that preceded the Bureau national d’etudes techniques et de developpement (BNETD).

In March this year, when the country looked like it was on the brink of civil war, Serey-Eiffel was hired as an economic advisor. Today, he has his eye on so many aspects of Ivory Coast’s affairs that he is practically the country’s deputy finance minister. To limit his influence, Soro addressed a message to members of his government telling them to ignore Serey-Eiffel’s instructions.

While two former officers of the Direction du Renseignement Militaire Francaise (DRM) are in charge of interception in the presidential palace basement, defence matters are being overseen by four-star General Claude Reglat. The former commander of the Forces Francaises du Gabon (FFG) is advising Ouattara on the reform of the army, which must somehow find room in its ranks for an additional 10,000 former rebels.

Meanwhile, Francois Hollande has been pondering whom to send to Ivory Coast to help reform the legal system and the civil service, in its atempt to make Ivory Coat the power house in the sub-region.

More than 50 years after independence, France is still calling the shot in Ivory Coast; installing regimes, removing leaders that are no longer doing its bidding, and propping up new regimes all in a bid to control resource of those countries.

If the francophone countries like Ivory Coast are lagging behind Ghana, it is because of France. They have continued to hijack the francophone countries even after independence of these counties, something Britain will never attempt.

France should rather direct its machinations towards building a better Ivory Coast devoid of the witch hunting and needless persecution which brought about the war in the first place.

The True Statesman