The head of Ivory Coast’s highest court has rejected responsibility for the crisis in the country last November. After N’Dre overturned the results of the election, handing victory to Laurent Gbagbo, an intense dispute with heavy fighting broke out. Mr. Yao N’Dre instead but the blame for the event on the people of the region. Though percentages were higher for his opponent, Ouattara, in the election, President Gbagbo claimed that pro-Ouattara forces rigged the vote in northern areas of the region. This dispute started a bloody period of fighting for the Ivory Coast.
Mr. N’Dre said everyone involved in the election was to blame, and that “We need to rebuild Ivory Coast, everyone, in a spirit of solidarity, love, and fraternity.” BBC’s John James says stability is slowly returning to the region, although the western district of Yopougon still holds clashing troops. Mr. Gbagbo was captured last week by pro-Ouattara forces who arrested him at his presidential residence.
Afrobeat master Femi Kuti is currently on tour in America with his 13-piece Nigerian band “Positive Force.” Femi is the son of the greatly influential musician and activist Fela Kuti, who died in 1997. Fela has had much more mainstream attention in recent years thanks to the musical “Fela!,” which tells the story of his life. Fela is considered the pioneer of the Afrobeat genre and has influenced many popular American acts including the Talking Heads, Dirty Projectors, and various hip-hop founders.
After his father’s death, Femi began developing his own form of the Afrobeat genre and continued to carry on his father’s political concepts with songs about political corruption, poverty, and primitive living conditions suffered by the inhabitants of his region.
The musical has had massive success. Last week, it played for two weeks in a nightclub where seats were going for as high as $6,500.
Though Goodluck Jonathan prevailed over a former military leader in the Nigeria elections last week, Fela stated that there was “no difference between the three candidates.” He also added “It’s a very hypocritical situation. People settle for putting a meal on the table, but they don’t know that the rest of the world doesn’t suffer every day from power outages and water shortage. Nigerians don’t even know about the history of African slavery, because it’s not included in the text books.”
Two states in Nigeria are having to reschedule the gubernational election dates due to constant violence and rioting. Bauchi and Kaduna will now hold elections on April 28th to allow time for tempers to cool and for security measures improve. Other states will vote on April 26th as planned. This decision was made when Goodluck Jonathan, the winner of the recent presidential election, urged citizens to stop the violence. “There are … no grievances that our laws and courts cannot address,” says Jonathan. The President warned the public that their acts reminded him of pre civil war behavior in 1960. Jonathan halls from the oil-rich southern region which is mostly Christian. Northern Muslims believe the recent election was rigged, and armed protesters in the region prowled the streets chanting the name of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, the main opposition frontrunner. Muslims in the southern region have fled to military barracks in fear of reprisal attacks on Christian areas. Although violence exists, observers consider it an improvement from the elections four years ago, which has been condemned for its rigging, underage voting, theft of ballot boxes, and intimidation. The Action Congress of Nigeria called it “the most systematically rigged election in Nigeria’s history,” and warned against a repeat in this week’s elections.