Thursday, January 06, 2011

Japan's fear of chaos and for its own purse in West Africa!

Laurent and Simone Gbagbo could not imagine they would live outside of the "Palais de Cocody"

Is Africa desk at the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs in turmoil? Yes. A division who involved veteran top diplomats such as Tanabe san or Kono san (this one recently ousted from a Moscow embassy) completely lives and works in the blues under the Kan's government. Nothing new. But what does West Africa based Japanese ambassador Okamura Yoshifumi has to hide from (French 2 TV) reporters in troubled Ivory Coast as seen on France 2 evening news January 5th 2010?

Today the blocade in Ivory Coast stirs concerns for Japan of added instability in a region of the world that became rather crucial to Japanese economic interests. Those Japanese leaders, for years, have shared common policies or development and exploitation of resources, human and nature, with the French government. They are today more and more in cooperation with secrets policies undertaken with the Washington focus on West Africa, in a move attempted to compete with French influences and economical gains. France as usual sees or says nothing and shakes the head with a pathetic admission. "But what can we do?" I'm told...

A courageous and responsive policy has been handled on the contrary by JICA teams in Africa, JICA too often being obliged to go far beyond its initial mission... though.

Since a few days, the loss and departure of Gbagbo sent a lightening charge to the top of Japan's Gaimusho. After the elections result in Ivory Coast "as soon as Japanese Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura heard the results, he rushed to see Gbagbo to encourage him to cede power. The two are friends and Okamura was in the waiting room about to be ushered in when state TV showed the head of the constitutional council announcing he was handing victory to Gbagbo. So I say, ‘OK Mr. President, this might be my last chance to persuade you to avoid the violence, Okamura said. "I tried to persuade him to behave in a statesman manner ... I tried my best. ... but I was not successful."

Japanese ambassador Okamura Yoshifumi

Japan's strategy in Africa is based on acquisition of raw material crucial for Japan's economy, industry, pharmaceutical, minerals, food etc... bought and disguised in Japan's assistance to the poor nations. In this regard, Japan studied very well the lessons of Alain Juppé and Jacques Chirac when both, at the top of power in France, asked Japan's financial help to develop Africa in the 90's for the benefit of "their respected policies" known in France as the Francafrique policy. Japan has since established a fruitful industry between the black continent and the Tokyo economical machine. But it is not alone, China has for decades built a slow cooperation with north Africa and the black continent.

The way Japan and China deal with Africa is nothing more than an added list of corruption's schemes and we are told that it's the way business has always been conducted. Just journalists were not aware nor asked to mention it.

I remember from the Ticad how Japan welcomed ex-president Omar Bongo, his imperial cape could not really match the Japanese Court etiquette. I could quote dozen examples of how the Japanese authorities complained about corruption directly asked by some African leaders and families. Talking about a cultural shock would be inappropriate as Japan is too well known for its cosy greasing of the machines to obtain contracts or political decisions. On this I remember a remarkable conversation I had with 3 presidents of Africa following one of the earlier Ticad press conference. The theme was about Japanese and Korean fishing boats who were known to harvest the seas to the point of exhaustion right in front of the African coasts of Mozambique, South Africa or Senegal.

Well then I guess you now who my top of the top sources might be... The "top"!

But Japan became a better student years after years. Japan's role in offering economical, technical (water) and medical assistance to Africa has also been pursued for a decade. Not for a benevolent humanitarian policy only. Today, Japan's discreet diplomatic moves in Africa appear less aggressive than the Chinese with lack of "control management" of Japanese "interests" in the west or east, south of Africa.

Regarding inner situation in Ivory Coast, quote: "After a decade of havoc, the election was supposed to set the country’s broken bones after a draining civil war. Once one of the most prosperous on the continent, this balmy, tropical country halfway down Africa’s western coast is now a shell of its former self. Women sell single eggs on the side of four-lane freeways designed to mirror those in Europe. University graduates unable to find work sell boxes of tissues while standing in the shadows of skyscrapers that are still the highest buildings in the region.

The risk of a return to war is real, and diplomats compare the standoff to a room whose floor is covered in gasoline where everyone is walking around with lighters. Coils of smoke rose from the skyline for days as angry protesters burned tires. The U.N. raised the security threat level, requiring the immediate evacuation of several hundred civilian employees."

It remains to be seen if Japan will send some assistance (PKO) as it did in regions in turmoil, Mozambique, Cambodia, Middle East.

Also and to end this interesting report in French about the Gbagbo couple, quote:

"Un couple fanatisé

Quand le vendredi 03 décembre, le président du Conseil constitutionnel rétablit les résultats en faveur de Gbagbo, peu après 15 heures, Simone Gbagbo, debout au milieu de la salle des pas perdus du palais de Cocody, reçoit les partisans en liesse par cette exhortation ? : " ?allez en joie. Entrez en action de grâce pour le seigneur ?". Le couple Simone-Laurent Gbagbo, sans doute convaincu par des pasteurs illuminés, se sont pénétrés d’une mission divine pour la Côte d’Ivoire. Toujours en rapport avec Houphouët, qui est le seul modèle à leurs yeux, le couple Gbagbo est convaincu d’être le " ?Moise ?" de la Côte d’Ivoire, venu réparer les "torts" d’Houphouët, représenter sous les traits de pharaon et de conduire les Ivoiriens à la terre promise de la souveraineté "authentiquement africaine" et à la démocratie. C’est pourquoi, il pense qu’il faut faire comme Napoléon, en France, " ?prendre la couronne et se la placer sur sa tête, pour éviter que le pape (la France en l’occurrence) ne le fasse plus désormais".

Sur un autre plan, les psychanalystes diront de Simone qu’elle est une névrosée. Militante syndicaliste et politique comme Laurent, elle n’aurait pas bien traversé la période de la lutte pour la démocratie du début des années 1990. Arrêtée et vraiment maltraitée dans son intimité pendant sa détention, elle s’est abandonnée à la prière, coachée par des évangélistes. Quand, par les circonstances que l’on sait, le pouvoir leur tombe entre les mains, en octobre 2000, elle est convaincue que Dieu a entendu sa prière et leur assigne une mission de sauver la Côte d’Ivoire. Deux ans après, une deuxième épreuve, le coup d’Etat manqué de septembre 2002, surmontée miraculeusement finit par la convaincre qu’ils ont une mission divine. Dieu ne peut pas montrer autant de sollicitude pour rien.

Une source proche du dossier ivoirien est convaincue qu’elle est pour quelque chose dans l’autisme actuel de son époux de président. Le jeudi 2 décembre, elle réunit une assemblée de prière de femmes exclusivement, filmée complaisamment par la RTI, instrument de la propagande des Gbagbo pour ?annoncer la dernière parole divine ? : "la souffrance des Ivoiriens va prendre fin ?bientôt". Le lendemain 3 décembre, Paul Yao Ndré, que Laurent Gbagbo appelle familièrement " ?Pablo ?", instrument de cette volonté divine, prononce la sentence de Dieu. Laurent Gbagbo reste président. Les votes de toute la région nord, sous contrôle des Forces nouvelles, sont annulés..."

Par Newton Ahmed Barry in L’Evénement

Sources & Reporter's notes

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I had no idea that Japan's aid is so twisted to the Africans
    (from an NGO)


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