Monday, October 11, 2010

The United Nations: still relevant in Africa?

This morning I listened to a political big-wig of the Republic of Guinea. He wants the United Nations to come and head the CENI - the national Independent Electoral Committee!

I'm like okay. So what exactly is this guy asking for? What exactly is it?

I see several things:

The first is that the politicians do not trust their own. The first President of the CENI was given so much trouble that the poor man had a heart failure, was taken to hospital in Europe and died there. The second one was from within the same CENI, not from outside. And now one party thinks 'he appears to be running for our opponents'. The new man has come out openly to pledge allegiance to the country but he is still not trusted. I have me two questions, which educated person, capable of heading the CENI will not have a political preference? Where can such a person exist?

The second thing here is that the presidential candidates are actually saying they believe the results of the elections NO LONGER LIE within the ballot boxes but within the CENI! This is outrageous! It is the people that votes. The job of the CENI is to report what the people have said!

Ah! And now I remember. Guinea has never really had a presidential election! After 53 years of Independence, the country is now holding its first ever democratic elections. Mhmm. I see why everybody is freaking out! Like when you went for your first job interview..

One other thing though, The African Union has spent a lot of time and energy mediating through the tens of disputes in Guinea. So Guinean politicians do not only distrust their own, they also do not trust the African Union to oversee a free and fair run-off of presidential elections!

So someone thinks the United Nations is the best option!

I am sitting here and I am trying to recall the last time I saw a UN person working in an African country as a Peace Keeper! When last did you see one? The ones I saw are generally the blue helmets! Next question, what did he look like?

Here is my point. The UN person that will be willing to be assigned to Guinea to do elections oversight will either be:
A. From India, Bangladesh, or Pakistan. He is the blue helmet
B. From South Korea, the Philippines or one other Asian country

He is not going to be European, North American, not even South American. Those guys dont come this way! He is not going to be an Arab from the Mediterranean, those guys wont give their folks in a country like Guinea! The lowest they have gone is RCD!

So what it the Guinean politician asking for? Who is he expecting? French? American? or maybe Central European?

Here! He does not know what he is asking for. He is only expressing his incapacity to trust what he has and build it up. This trait of character that I find in many places in Africa! 'Whatever comes from outside the country is certainly better than what I have here'. Like when Ivorian women beg for Nigerian lace and Nigerian women beg for Woodin! When Ghanaian women come to Abidjan to buy shoes that were brought in from Ghana! When people in West Africa use olive oil for prayer purposes because it is holy, and people in the Northern part swear that palm oil is the richest oil on planet earth!

Otherwise, why will someone from Pakistan, who speaks Urdu and a little English be a heaven-sent to head the CENI in Guinea, where people speak French, Sosso and Madinka?

Je suis vraiment désolée. It is a big pity!

No comments: