Didier Drogba, Truth Commissioner

Cote d'Ivoire's newly-appointed commission counts 11 members, with footballer Didier Drogba one of them, representing the country's diaspora.

Didier Drogba, 2011 (Wiki Commons).

It is clear that truth and reconciliation commissions are half-successful attempts at inventing half-baked feelings of national identities (turning a blind eye to economic restoration in South Africa; with some self-interested pressure from above in Rwanda). So it is interesting to note that Côte d’Ivoire’s new president Alassane Ouattara reasoned that one of the first things his country needs is a TRC. The newly-appointed commission counts 11 members, with footballer Didier Drogba one of them, representing the country’s diaspora.

“Without being a football player,” he tells BBC Sport, “I’m not sure you would be sitting here talking about my country.”

The “expensively but understatedly dressed” (qué?) player said ‘yes’ when former Ivorian Prime Minister Charles Konan Barry called and explained him he needed Drogba to help him bring peace in the country. Drogba says: “The war that happened a few months ago was crazy. It was unbelievable for all the Ivorians. We couldn’t believe it was happening and we need to sit together and speak about it to make sure it is the first and last time.”

Let’s hope Drogba is right. (Anyway, this may be the beginning of a new career back home for the aging footballer. We do know that part of his football legend is that he brought a momentary peace during the civil war of the early 2000s.)

But taking into account other recent commissions’ track records, we can only wonder why Drogba took the bait. The Ivorian TRC will succeed when it manages to expose and dismantle the grip the concept of being ‘Ivorian’/’autochtonous’ holds on the political debate, and thus on its people. It would be no small feat.

Further Reading

A city divided

Ethnic enclaves are not unusual in many cities and towns across Sudan, but in Port Sudan, this polarized structure instigated and facilitated communal violence.

The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Āfrīqāyī

It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.