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By Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.
Laurent Gbabo, former President of La Cote d’ Ivoire is on the path to validate the ideas of Osaggyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and ignite a new momentum of struggle for Pan Africanism and Socialism.
In a speech interrupted frequently with thunderous applause, Comrade Gbabo declared “if we had listened to Nkrumah, Africa will not be in this mess.
“Nkrumah told us that the path to development and prosperity lies in the unity of the African people under broad banner of Pan Africanism and Socialism.
“Divided we are weak and even not viable states. We must unite and pull our resources together to fight ignorance, disease and all manifestations of poverty”, he said.
Comrade Gbabo was launching his new political party, African Peoples Party (APP) in Abidjan, the capital city of La Cote d’ Ivoire over the week-end.
The new party is ideologically and politically committed to Pan Africanism and Socialism and has a special appeal to the African diaspora.
Gbabo was removed from office as President of La Cote d’ Ivoire in bloody coup carried out by French troops with the assistance of a rebel group made up of Ivorian dissidents and mercenaries from some West African states.
He was subsequently put in prison for 10 years whiles being tried for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.
The court eventually found him innocent of all the charges preferred against him.
Gbabo told the cheering crowd that he was not a prisoner “I was a hostage. They were keeping me away so somebody could rule La Cote d’ Ivoire”.
He said Africa can only make substantial progress if, its people took control of their resources and exploited them for their own benefit.
“This is what Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Patrice Lumumba taught us”, he said.
Gbabo said the solutions to the problems of Africa can be found on the continent and that frequent visits to the colonial metropolis can be wasteful.
“Any time we go to the Western capitals, they think we are going to beg for assistance.
“This is because they don’t respect us. We are divided and small. A united African can stand up to any power in the world” he said.
Comrade Gbabo also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all Ivorian political prisoners including Charles Ble Goude
the former Minister of Youth who has also been set free by the International Criminal Court.
“Most of these people are in prison because of me. I am out now, so what are they doing in prison”, he asked.
Mr. Johnson Aseidu Nketiah, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said his party has a long standing relationship with former President Gbabo.
He said “we will work closely with the new party in the fight against all forms of exploitation and poverty in Africa”.
He asked Comrade Gbabo to focus on issues of development and not be vindictive.