Saturday, December 04, 2010

Gbagbo leads Ivory Coast toward another civil war after electoral coup

The situation in Guinea seems to be stabilizing. The country's Independent National Electoral Commission and Supreme Court declared Prof. Alpha Conde the country's next president. Runoff loser Cellou Dalein Diallo complained about the Court's decision but said he would accept it. Sadly, such statesmanship seems absent in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire.

The Ivorian electoral commission declared that former prime minister and longtime opposition leader Alasanne Ouattara had defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo by 54-46 percent in the recent presidential runoff election. This victory was concurred with by international observers. The top UN official in the country said he had "absolute confidence that there is only one winner - Mr Alassane Ouattara."

However, the Ivorian constitutional court invalidated the results in several regions where Ouattara had strong support and declared Gbagbo the winner with, surprise surprise, 51 percent.

The electoral coup was denounced by Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who was the rebel military leader during the civil war.

Apparently, Gbagbo is not content having presided over one civil war that destroyed his country; he now wants to provoke a second. Why did he bother holding an election if his hand-picked court was just going to declare him the winner regardless of what the Ivorian people wanted?

The results were invalidated because of alleged fraud. Of course, "fraud" only occurred in pro-Ouattara areas. And just enough to get Gbagbo to the 51 percent mark. How convenient!

Since the current regime is the one that organized the election, it's accusing ITSELF of not being able to run a competent, fair election? Isn't that be grounds for annulling the ENTIRE vote?

This is an outrageous electoral coup d'Etat. Even if there was alleged fraud in those areas, final results should have been delayed while the election was be re-run in that region. Instead, Gbagbo's judges have disenfranchised thousands of Ivorians... to say nothing of those Ouattara supporters murdered in Abidjan by Gbagbo fanatics.

If northern Ivorians are not permitted to vote for the president of their country, they are not full fledged Ivorian citizens, a sentiment which provoked the civil war in the first place. If they are not treated as Ivorians by Gbagbo and his judges, can you blame them if the try to secede again and form a country where they actually have the right to vote as well as other basic rights?

In an attempt to prevent his fellow citizens from knowing the truth about its electoral hold up, the Ivorian regime has blocked foreign news broadcasters.

Gbagbo will try to quickly legitimize his stolen victory by being sworn in today. However, not only has the UN, the US and other non-African countries backed Ouattara's win. But crucially, the West African regional group ECOWAS has also urged the his victory to be respected. It seems Gbagbo and his supporters are the only ones who don't respect the verdict of the Ivorian people.

The Ivorian army has backed his controversial 're-election.' Since Gbagbo will stay in office because of the army, rather than the people, it now seems more accurate to refer to him as a military-backed dictator than a president.

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