News that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo (63), the wife of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, charged with committing crimes against humanity is a welcome.

Mrs. Gbagbo and her husband were dug out of the bunker by UN and French forces who assaulted their residence in April 2011 after a five month standoff that left the country paralyzed politically, socially, and economically.

For those who hate the snowballing malpractices whereby the spouses and children of presidents usurp their relatives’ power, such bold move is commendable and welcome. At least, somebody somewhere can keep tabs on these mighty creatures of our dirty politics.

Africa is currently evidencing broad light robbery committed by a new crop of rotten and corrupt rulers who pointlessly allow their families and friends to abusively use their power to rob the public. Almost in many African countries, there are unofficial “presidents” behind the curtain in the name of wives, children and partners, not to mention the cabal of courtiers in the upper echelons of power. They make much money by simply vending the office of the president. In this business of vending presidency, many African countries have become wantonly bankrupt.

Back on Mrs. Gbagbo, the BBC reported of the warrants. It wrote, “She was responsible for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution.”

Gbagbo’s regime was booted out in 2011 after a long standoff between his forces and those of his former rival-cum-opponent, current President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattra. Gbagbo organized sham elections and once he realized he would not win, he decided to cling unto power unconstitutionally, the move that force international community to intervene. This move saw Gbagbo off from power after chaos left 3,000 people dead and thousands displaced.

Now it is obvious that Gbagbo and his wife are going to face the music. Gbagbo was captured and handed over to the ICC by the authorities in Ivory Coast in April 2011 after his government fell. Apart from facing charges before The Hague, Gbagbo and his wife also were charged with economic crimes such as robbery, looting and embezzlement in Ivory Coast.

Simone, a doctor of History was instrumental ideologically for her husband. She is said to have orchestrated violence against ethnic and religious groups who supported Alassane Ouattara, her husbands rival. She waged unfettered humongous power during her husband’s presidency. Differently from other seating African presidents, the Gbagbos, just like any other African kleptoclatic and nepotic rulers, did involve their children effectively. Gbagbo’s son Michel is facing charges of participating in violence that saw over 3,000 dead. This means that the whole family is behind the bar simply because they were able to abuse the power of the president.

What transpired in Egypt where the former dictator and his sons are behind bars is once again repeating itself in another African country. Like a blind family, there was nobody to warn others of the bandwagon of benefitting from the power of the president. Greed comes first and regrets later the Swahili sage has it. Whether the children are likely to surface before ICC is the matter of time. Given that the whole family partook of the dirty fame of violence, chances are that they’ll be issued with the warrants.

Simone becomes the first African woman and the first “First Lady” to be indicted by ICC. If there is anything Ivoriens won’t forgive Simon for, is nothing but forcing her husband to cling unto power knowingly such a move would lead to mayhem as it subsequently happened.

Now that Simone is facing the charges as a wife and confidante of the president, will the seating presidents, their wives, families, friends and majordomos get it? Again, time will surely tell.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.

About these ads