, 10 January, 2020 / 4:00 AM
With elections in the West African nation of Ivory Coast slated to take place later this year amid heightened tensions following the arrest warrant issued for one of the presidential candidates, a missionary cleric, a native of the country, has blamed politicians for the challenges bedeviling citizens.
“The Christmas and New Year celebrations, which remain moments of great rejoicing and great celebrations were once again experienced by the Ivorians in fear and anxiety because of the political tensions at the top of the State, due to an attempted arrest and an international arrest warrant against the former president of the Ivorian National Assembly Guillaume Soro,” Fr. Donald Zagore, an Ivorian ministering in Togo lamented in a reflection shared with ACI Africa.
“We can never be tired of saying it, the misfortune of Côte d'Ivoire is its politicians. They only brought sadness and desolation to this beautiful Ivorian nation,” the member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) added.
Mr. Soro, a former ally of the current President Alassane Ouattara and a rebel leader during the uprising that overthrew the former President Laurent Gbagbo is being sought for what the state prosecutor, Richard Adou has termed an “attempt against the state authority.”
“It's sad to say it, but the violence, frustration and revenge that are constantly the most popular instruments and methods in the Ivorian political world will not help in building a rule of law and above all, a country of peace,” the Togo-based Ivorian religious missionary reflected.
Decrying the tendency of African politicians to hold citizens hostage with their political gimmicks, the West African priest stressed, in his reflection, the need for Africans to take control of their destiny.
“This mentality of the political king, who gives himself the right to life and death over the population, must change,” Fr. Zagore reflected and added, “In fact, the people must again become the sole king of their political game.”
“Why should the lives of Ivorians in particular and of the African populations in general end when the politics take hold?” Fr. Zagore probed and continued, “Today we have become prisoners of our politicians. Our peace, tranquility and stability depend on theirs. It is sad and unfair.”
Noting that “hatred and revenge form an endless circle,” Fr. Zagore called for conversion on the part of Ivorian politicians “into men and women sincerely in love with peace.”
“Our country really needs politicians who are apostles of peace and reconciliation than angels of death,” the Ivorian missionary in Togo emphasized.
Ivory Coast has been reeling in the aftermath of the 2010-2011 post election violence when former President Gbagbo refused to hand over power to his main rival Quattara who had been declared winner of the general election. An estimated 3,000 people lost their lives.
Meanwhile, reflecting on the post-Christmas Day Feast of the Holy Innocents marked on Saturday, December 28, Fr. Zagore likened Africa and the Middle East to the biblical Rama where thousands of infant boys were killed on the order of King Herod.
“Africa and the Middle East are today the areas of the world where massacre of people have become daily practices,” Fr. Zagore stated in a reflection he shared with ACI Africa on the accasion of the feast.
“The Rama of the modern time is indeed Africa and the Middle East. In fact, like yesterday in Rama in the biblical story, today in Africa and the Middle East, weeping and great lamentations are heard,” Fr. Zagore reflected and added, “There are many like Rachel, those peoples who mourn their children, their peoples massacred by the wickedness and cruelty of political power and terrorism.”
Lamenting the flouting of the sacredness of human life, the cleric identified Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Congo, and Syria among countries where “the blood of so many innocent people continues to flow with impunity.”
To put an end to this trend, the Togo-based missionary underscored, in his reflection, the need to fight teachings and ideologies that promote the culture of death saying, “Today, more than ever, we must work to deconstruct and overcome these structures of hatred, evil and sin, by continuing at the risk of our lives to proclaim the force of the love that the Gospel teaches us.”
“Africa and the Middle East must be saved from the absurd and murderous power of politics and terrorism. More than an imperative, it is a duty for all of humanity; there should never again have land like in Rama where death reigns absolutely,” the SMA priest concluded.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa