Ebola and African Solidarity: Ivory Coast Has a Short Memory

By Abdoulaye W. Dukulé

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 16, 2015



The United Nations adopted a resolution [last year], calling on countries of the West African sub-region to put an end to the isolation which they have imposed on nations affected by the Ebola virus. Currently,  to get medicines and aid to the affected countries, United Nations and the United States which will deploy 3,000 soldiers and medics in Liberia have to use airports in Ghana and Spain. Because despite assurances from everyone, including WHO and other, Côte d'Ivoire refuses to opening of its borders, and has taken draconian measures, prohibiting the entry into Ivory Coast of any person having passed through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the past three months.

The country of the late Felix Houphouet Boigny takes the lead amongst less supportive nations of the sub - region. However, just two [later], I have personally helped to evacuate some Ivoirians living in Liberia, ensuring their passage to get on Air Morocco flight that took them to Casablanca and to Abidjan.


Three years ago, when the Ivorian rebels were using Liberian territory to launch attacks against Ivory Coast, Liberia did not hesitate to close its borders and mount a military surveillance that helped stop the warlords who led the  attacks and delivered some of them to the Ivory Coast while putting others on trial. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent me as "Chargé d'affaires" in Abidjan where I organized several meetings between Liberian and Ivorian officials and got involved in life threatening undertakings. We were able to set up and implement a strategy that worked and today, there is no military problem coming from Liberia against Côte d'Ivoire.

If the Ebola virus has made so many victims in Liberia, it is because all the country's medical structures had been destroyed by the deadly and destructive war that Charles Taylor led from Côte d'Ivoire where he used Danané as his base, with the full knowledge of the Ivorian authorities. Without this war which led to the collapse of the Liberian state, and caused the death of 300,000 people, Liberia would had the means to counter this epidemic. Apart from the destruction of the infrastructure of the country, the war has also caused a massive exodus of our educated and professional middle class: today, there are more than 3,000 doctors Liberian living in exile, mostly in the US, while there are less than a hundred doctors nationwide.

In 1993, I accompanied Interim President Amos Sawyer to Abidjan to meet with President Houphouet Boigny. Back then, the international community, including the US, the UN, ECOWAS had encouraged us to take this step: if Côte d'Ivoire were to close its borders to Charles Taylor, the war in Liberia and Sierra Leone would end. Houphouet asked Amos sawyer what he could do and Amos said: “Just shut your borders.” The response of President Houphouet, during the luncheon where Amara Essy, Minister for Foreign Affairs was also present, Houphouet said that he could not close the borders because not only he did not have the means to do so but also he could not take the responsibility to put barriers between peoples who lived in together in harmony for centuries, long before the advent of the Ivory Coast and Liberia...

Today, in a gesture of panic on hysteria, Côte d'Ivoire was the first to turn its back on its brothers and sisters of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This is not shameful, it is simply inhuman and a myopic vision of History.

President Sirleaf who considers President Ouattara as one of his best political friends would certainly not approve this article, but I cannot help but write these words. The Ouattara government is burying its head in the sand. A one way-solidarity…

This article was published in the French magazine Jeune Afrique in September 2014

Ted Allison

It is misleading to refer to Jeune Afrique as a French magazine, simply because it is published in Paris. The magazine began publication in Tunisia but moved to Paris because of censorship by the Tunisian government... It continues to be run by Tunisians; it addresses issues facing Africa, especially the Maghreb.

Would you call The Perspective an American magazine simply because it is published in Atlanta, Georgia? Misleading, sir. Give the credit where it is rightfully due.
Ted Allison at 09:12AM, 2015/01/18.
Harry Conway
Why 4months late when Air Ivoire is now flying to Liberia? What is the purpose?
Harry Conway at 07:24AM, 2015/01/19.
Sylvester Moses
Thanks, Abdoulaye, the Ivorian governments of Houghet and his former VP Quattara shouldn't be perceived as neighborly. Reportedly, in the sixties and seventies Ivorian political leaders saw Liberia as a cash cow which spendthrift political elites used their capital city, Abidjan, as a tourist destination. It wasn’t a surprise to many that their territory was used not only as a launching pad to catapult incendiary devices into Liberia, but to fan the flames of the fires.

President Taylor wasn’t the first insurgent leader they wanted to use their country for an attack. Early in 1985 we heard that the kindly late General Qwinwokpa had been tempted - by desperate power seekers - to launch a raid from Ivory Coast. I was among a delegation that went to meet with President Houghet Boigny, but he denied Tom was there until we confronted him with irrefutable evidence that forced him to agree with us.

That was how the sponsors of the general decided on Freetown, and hence launched the failed 1985 coup de tat from Sierra Leone through Cape Mount. So with reports of restiveness along our border with Ivory Coast, we should have the security sector closely monitor this untrustworthy neighbor; stop the bickering over well - conducted elections, and concentrate instead on our country’s development agenda. The Ivorian border is a place to watch.

Sylvester Moses at 06:46AM, 2015/01/20.
Ted Allison

So called Liberian patriots: Take billions of dollars and squander it on personal stuff. Build no roads, no clinics, no schools, and have a few select individuals travel in high style at the expense of the public... do all the nonsense and then have the nerve to blame your neighbors. That's the Liberian way.

Let's put the blame where it belongs: On the inefficient system we call a government. Vast territories of the country have no clinics or healthcare centers. JJ Dossen Hospital in Harper serves the people of Maryland County,River Gii County and Grand Kru County, with some coming from even further out. It can't really be called a hospital in reality, it is only a hospital in name. Sometimes there are one or two doctors at a time and hardly any medicines or operable equipment... it can ill-afford to provide any essential services. Isn't that part of our problem?

If the Ebola had struck as hard in that area as it did in Monrovia, and the people of that region had flooded the Ivory Coast, can you imagine the devastation and instability to that society?

Instead of facing real problems, some of you con men should look at yourselves and the government you are advising to examine the fundamental problems. Stop blaming the Ivory Coast and other neighboring countries. They are sovereign countries just like Liberia. They cannot be expected to carry Liberia's load.

Let Liberia fix her problems instead of blaming the Ivory Coast. Maybe some of you con-men camouflaging as advisers should think about that instead of conning your Madam President for for money to pocket. Stay in the country for a change, instead of globe-trotting at the expense of public funds. We know why you write such articles: To con your bosses to give you more money...
Ted Allison at 07:58AM, 2015/01/20.
Ziggy Morgan

How long does it bloody take to build one damn clinic? You think we're not tired of listening to the same bs excuse over and over again? You tell a bunch of lies.

There were no government hospitals or clinics in vast parts of the country before or during Charles Taylor's regime. The war could not have destroyed what wasn't there. It's a bloody lie and you know it, but you keep telling the same lie.

Ellen Johnson came to power knowing the status of the torn country. Ten years later, she has made no attempts to build infrastructure in the country and she keeps blaming Charles Taylor.

From 2005 to now, how many clinics has her government erected? How does it make sense to say the war destroyed everything when you've been president for ten long years? Do you know what the country Singapore achieved in just ten years?

Just keep on pocketing the huge amounts you make as a consultant, along with those who make tens of thousands of dollars of free money. Don't give us this bull-shit analyses. You must think we're stupid to believe this crap you write. Shame on you Dr. Abdoulaye Dukuly, or whatever you are.
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