Here are some extracts from the Tiken Jah interview in Jeune Afrique, by Pascal Airault. He has some good points about the crisis, the western interference, and the north african revolutions. Check out Jeune Afrique for more.
What do you think about the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions?
Tunisia and Egypt are the prides of the continent. Their people give us much hope. They stood up to fight against injustice and change their conditions. In the south of the Sahara, emancipation will be slower because unfortunately our people are not educated enough. That is why I stand for, in priority, for a better access to education and culture. They will enable Africans to wake up against their oppressors. These revolutions show us that when the people want, the people can. The election of Barack Obama in the United States is not insignificant. It encourages people to take their destiny in their own hands.
You admire the revolutions of the African people but when we propose to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of African independence, you refuse. Why?
It is an idea from Paris. The independence is not negotiable, you have to take it. France has called on black people to dance again … I refused to participate because I do not feel independent. If Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which are 60% of world cocoa production, agreed on a commercial level, they could impose their views on the market. In 2050, Africa will have 2 billion people and large reserves of raw materials. It has a good card to play.
Is France interfering in the Ivorian peace process?
Sarkozy shocked me by saying that Gbagbo and his wife were to leave office within three days. He made a serious error that led many intellectuals to support Laurent Gbagbo. Today’s generation can not stand this kind of statement that reminds us when the colonizer or the governor spoke to our parents. Personally, I have always denounced the interference of western countries. But the case of the Ivorian election is different. It is the Ivorian political who requested the mediation of Paris and the United Nations and their financial assistance. This election is the culmination of a long process of national reconciliation. All parties agreed that the Election Commission would announce the results, the Constitutional Court would confirm and the UN would certify.
Are not you afraid that Alassane Ouattara also plays the game the old metropole?
If Ouattara became the ambassador of France, we will fight against him.