An African Tragedy

The continent of Africa was invaded about five hundred years ago by European nations who over the ensuing centuries established their control over a majority of the continent. The process destroyed existing governments and resulted in new forms of government and religion to emerge. Beginning in the 1950s, the process of ending colonialism occurred and by 1980 virtually all African nations were free from European control. The story from that point does not always have a happy ending. Nations like Zimbabwe or Sudan or the Congo soon came under the control of strong men who believed they were destined to rule their nations–forever. Laurent Gbagbo, an educated man, became head of Cote D’Ivoire and instead of using his knowledge to create a modern democratic society, became convinced he alone, was the only person who could lead his nation. The result is the emergence of a petty dictator filled with his own sense of self. Finally, an election was held that was supervised by an independent election commission. His opponent, Alssane Quattara won, but to Gbagbo the thought of someone else being president was too much to fathom. He used his own election commission to verify his “victory.” As the head of his party argued when asked by Quattara to join in a unity government, ‘what is non-negotiable is the victory of Laurent Gbagbo, officially elected and proclaimed, who governs this country.”

Another Zimbabwe has emerged. Another President Mugabe who steals election and wraps himself in the mantle of false election “victories.” The tragedy is an African one, and it will be repeated during the coming years.