Thabo Mbeki writes What the World Got Wrong in Côte D’Ivoire. He asks:

Why is the United Nations entrenching former colonial powers on our continent? Africans can and should take the lead in resolving their own disputes.

Gbagbo greets Mbeki during negotiations in Ivory Coast

The second round of the Nov. 28, 2010, presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire pitted against each other two long-standing political opponents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. For this reason, and of strategic importance, it was inevitable that this electoral contest would decide the long-term future of the country. Everybody concerned should have probed very seriously the critical question: Would the 2010 elections create the conditions that would establish the basis for the best possible future for the Ivorian people?

Rather, the international community insisted that what Côte d’Ivoire required to end its crisis was to hold democratic elections, even though the conditions did not exist to conduct such elections. Though they knew that this proposition was fundamentally wrong, the Ivorians could not withstand the international pressure to hold the elections.

However, the objective reality is that the Ivorian presidential elections should not have been held when they were held. It was perfectly foreseeable that they would further entrench the very conflict it was suggested they would end.

The 2002 rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire divided the country into two parts, with the north controlled by the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which supported Alassane Ouattara, and the south in the hands of the Gbagbo-led government. Since then, Côte d’Ivoire has had two governments, administrations, armies, and “national” leaders.

Any elections held under these circumstances would inevitably entrench the divisions and animosities represented and exacerbated by the 2002 rebellion.

The structural faults which lay at the base of the 2002 rebellion include such inflammable issues as trans-national tensions affecting especially Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, Ivorian ethnic and religious antagonisms, sharing of political power, and access to economic and social power and opportunities.

In this regard, the international community has assiduously suppressed proper appreciation of various explosive allegations which, rightly or wrongly, have informed and will continue to inform the views of the Gbagbo-supporting population in southern Côte d’Ivoire — and much of Francophone Africa!

These are that Ouattara is a foreigner born in Burkina Faso, that together with Burkinabè President Blaise Compaoré he was responsible for the 2002 rebellion, that his accession to power would result in the takeover of the country especially by Burkinabè foreigners, and that historically, to date, he has been ready to advance French interests in Côte d’Ivoire.

Taking all this into account, the African Union understood that a lasting solution of the Ivorian crisis necessitated a negotiated agreement between the two belligerent Ivorian factions, focused on the interdependent issues of democracy, peace, national reconciliation and unity.

In protracted negotiations from 2002, the Ivorians agreed that the presidential elections would not be held until various conditions had been met. These included the reunification of the country, the restoration of the national administration to all parts of the Ivorian territory, and the disarmament of the rebels and all militia and their integration in the national security machinery, with the latter process completed at least two months ahead of any presidential elections. Despite the fact that none of this was honoured, the presidential elections were allowed to proceed.

In the end, Ouattara has been installed as president of Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo, and his wife Simone, have ended up as humiliated prisoners. Many Ivorians have died and have been displaced, much infrastructure has been destroyed, and historic animosities have been exacerbated in the lead up to this outcome.

Many things have gone radically wrong along the road to this result.

Agreements relating to what needed to be done to create conditions for free and fair elections were wilfully and contemptuously ignored. The Ivorian Constitutional Council (CC) is the only body constitutionally empowered to determine the winner in any presidential election and to install the president, with the Electoral Commission (IEC) mandated to forward its provisional results to the CC. However, the very people who insist on the sanctity of the rule of law as fundamental to all democratic practice, elected illegally to recognise the provisional result announced by the chairperson of the IEC on his own, as the authentic outcome of the presidential election.

As provided by the law, Gbagbo contested the fairness of the elections in certain parts of the country, especially the north. The CC, rightly or wrongly, accepted the majority of the complaints made by Gbagbo, identified other “irregularities,” annulled the votes in some districts, and declared Gbagbo the victor. The chairperson of the IEC did not take these alleged irregularities into account and decided that Ouattara had won.

The envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his fellow South Korean, SRSG Young-jin Choi, also determined that Ouattara had won, but on the basis of fewer votes than those announced by the IEC, having determined that some of the complaints made by Gbagbo were legitimate. In terms of the votes cast for the two candidates, the IEC, the CC, and the U.N. SRSG made three different determinations.

Gbagbo proposed that to resolve this matter, which bears on the important issue of the will of the Ivorian people, an international commission should be established to verify the election results, with the important pre-condition that both he and Ouattara should accept the determination of the commission.

This proposal was rejected by the international community — despite the fact that it would have resolved the electoral dispute without resort to war, and despite the fact that some election observers questioned the fairness of the elections, especially in northern Côte d’Ivoire.

For instance, reporting on the elections in the north, the election observer mission of the AU led by Joseph Kokou Kofigoh, former prime minister of Togo, the independent civil society Societé Civile Africaine pour la Democratie et l’Assistance Electoral led by Seynabou Indieguene of Senegal, and the Coordination of African Election Experts (CAEE) from Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Morocco, Gabon, and Togo led by Jean-Marie Ongjibangte of Cameroon, all sounded the alarm about the elections in the north.

For instance, the CAEE said: “After sharing information with other national and international election observers, we hereby state that the second round of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire was held amidst major problems in (various northern) regions…

“These problems were stealing of ballot boxes, arresting of candidates’ representatives, multiple voting, refusal to admit international observers to witness counting of ballots, and the murder of representatives of candidates. To that effect, we hereby declare that the second round of voting was not free, fair and transparent in these (northern) localities.”

For its part, to this day, the ECOWAS election observer mission has not issued its report on the second round of the presidential election! Why?

Clearly the independent international commission proposed by Laurent Gbagbo could have been established and empowered to make a definitive and binding determination about what had happened. Time will tell why this was not done!

Further, the U.N. SRSG took the extraordinary decision to exceed his mandate by declaring who had won the presidential election, contrary to his tasks as detailed by the Security Council. This positioned the U.N. Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) as a partisan in the Ivorian conflict, rather than a neutral peacemaker, equidistant from the belligerent parties.

From this point onwards, UNOCI had no choice but actively to work for the installation of Ouattara as president of the country and the removal of Gbagbo. Ultimately, this found expression in the blatant use of its military capacities to open the way for the Forces Nouvelles to defeat the Gbagbo forces and capture Gbagbo, under the shameless pretence that it was acting to protect civilians.

While obliged to respect its peacekeeping mandate, which included keeping the belligerent forces apart, UNOCI did nothing to stop the advance of the Forces Nouvelles from the north to the south, including and up to Abidjan. Nor did UNOCI or the French Licorne forces, as mandated by the United Nations, act to protect civilians in the area of Duékoué, where, evidently, the most concentrated murder of civilians took place! This recalls the United Nations’s failure to end the more catastrophic murder and abuse of civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo!

The Ivorian reality points to a number of incontrovertible conclusions.

The agreed conditions for the holding of democratic elections in Côte d’Ivoire were not created. Despite strong allegations of electoral fraud, the international community decided against conducting any verification of the process and the announced results. This left unanswered the vitally important question of who actually had won the elections, which Ouattara might have done.

The United Nations elected to abandon its neutrality as a peacemaker, deciding to be a partisan belligerent in the Ivorian conflict.

France used its privileged place in the Security Council to position itself to play an important role in determining the future of Côte d’Ivoire, its former colony in which, inter alia, it has significant economic interests. It joined the United Nations to ensure that Ouattara emerged as the victor in the Ivorian conflict.

This addressed the national interests of France, consistent with its Françafrique policies, which aim to perpetuate a particular relationship with its former African colonies. This is in keeping with remarks made by former French President François Mitterand when he said, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century,” which former French foreign minister Jacques Godfrain confirmed when he said: “A little country [France], with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our]…relations with 15 or 20 African countries…”

The AU is also not without blame, as it failed to assert itself to persuade everybody to work to achieve reconciliation among the Ivorians, and therefore durable peace. Tragically, the outcome that has been achieved in Côte d’Ivoire further entrenches the endemic conflict in this country.  This is because it has placed in the exclusive hands of the failed rebellion of 2002 the ability to determine the future of the country, whereas the objective situation dictated and dictates that the people of Côte d’Ivoire should engage one another as equals to determine their shared destiny.

During the decade he served as president of Côte d’Ivoire, Gbagbo had no possibility to act on his own to reunify the country and achieve reconciliation among its diverse people, despite the existence of negotiated agreements in this regard. As he serves as president of the country, Ouattara will not succeed to realise these objectives, acting on his own, outside the context of honest agreement with the sections of the Ivorian population represented by Gbagbo.

What was to come was foreseen by the then U.S. ambassador in Côte d’Ivoire, Wanda L. Nesbitt. In July 2009, she advised the U.S. government:

“It now appears that the Ouaga IV agreement, [the fourth agreement to the Ouagadougou Political Agreement which prescribed that disarmament should precede the elections], is fundamentally an agreement between Blaise Compaore [President of Burkina Faso] and Laurent Gbagbo to share control of the north until after the presidential election, despite the fact that the text calls for the Forces Nouvelles to return control of the north to the government and complete disarmament two months before the election…

“But the 5,000 Forces Nouvelles soldiers who are to be “disarmed” and regrouped into barracks in four key cities in the north and west until a new national army is created, represent a serious military capability that the FAFN [Forces Nouvelles] intends to keep well-trained and in reserve until after the election. The hand-over of administrative power from the FAFN to civilian government authorities is a pre-requisite for elections but, as travelers to the north (including Embassy personnel) confirm: the FAFN retain de-facto control of the region especially when it comes to finances.”

The failure to address the “pre-requisite for elections” predetermined their outcome. The rebel “control” of the north, mentioned by Ambassador Nesbitt, prescribed the outcome of the 2010 presidential election. Similarly, it was the “military capability” of the rebellion, which Ambassador Nesbitt mentioned, that was used to ensure that Ouattara became president of Côte d’Ivoire.

It is little wonder that as the post-election crisis deepened, Laurent Gbagbo would cry out: I was betrayed!

At the end of it all, there are many casualties.

One of these is the African Union. The tragic events in Côte d’Ivoire have confirmed the marginalization of the union in its ability to resolve the most important African challenges.

Instead, the AU has asserted the ability of the major powers to intervene to resolve these challenges by using their various capacities to legitimize their actions by persuading the United Nations to authorise their self-serving interventions.

The United Nations is yet another casualty. It has severely undermined its acceptability as a neutral force in the resolution of internal conflicts, such as the one in Côte d’Ivoire. It will now be difficult for the United Nations to convince Africa and the rest of the developing world that it is not a mere instrument in the hands of the world’s major powers. This has confirmed the urgency of the need to restructure the organisation, based on the view that as presently structured the United Nations has no ability to act as a truly democratic representative of its member states.

Thus, in various ways, the events in Côte d’Ivoire could serve as a defining moment in terms of the urgent need to reengineer the system of international relations. They have exposed the reality of the balance and abuse of power in the post-Cold War era, and put paid to the fiction that the major powers respect the rule of law in the conduct of international relations, even as defined by the U.N. Charter, and that, as democrats, they respect the views of the peoples of the world.

We can only hope that Laurent and Simone Gbagbo and the Ivorian people do not continue to suffer as abused and humiliated victims of a global system which, in its interests, while shouting loudly about universal human rights, only seeks to perpetuate the domination of the many by the few who dispose of preponderant political, economic, military and media power.

The perverse and poisonous proceedings that have afflicted Côte d’Ivoire pose the urgent question: How many blatant abuses of power will Africa and the rest of the developing world experience before the vision of a democratic system of global governance is realised?

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Gambia coat of arms

The government of the Gambia refuses to recognize the Ouattara government in Ivory Coast.

Gambia Government’s position on the tragedy in Cote D’Ivoire or Ivory Coast

The events in Ivory Coast have vindicated us on our earlier assertion that Western Neo colonialist sponsored agents in Africa that owe allegiance only to themselves and their Western Masters are ready to walk on thousands of dead bodies to the Presidency. This is what is happening in Ivory Coast.

Africans should not only wake up, but should stand up to the new attempts to re-colonise Africa through so called elections that are organized just to fool the people since the true verdict of the people would not be respected if it does not go in favour of the Western Backed Candidates as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire and elsewhere in Africa.

What is really sinister and dangerous about the neo colonialist threat is that they are ready to use brute force, or carry out outrageous massacres to neutralize any form of resistance to the Western selected President as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire

In Ivory Coast, we know the role played by the former Colonial power who, outside of the UN Mandate, first Bombarded the Presidential Palace for Days and eventually stormed it through a tunnel that links the Presidential Palace to one of the residences of their diplomatic representative.

The reasons for the bombardment of the Presidential Palace prior to the raid was according to them; to prevent Gbagbo using heavy weapons against civilians! But both the UN and France were aware of the outrageous massacres of civilians, entire villages that supported President Laurent Gbagbo were wiped out by the so called republican forces fighting for Ouatarra. Were Gbagbo supporters not supposed to be protected by both the UN and French Forces against Massacres?

These so called republican forces that were supposed to be fighting for Democracy, ended up killing thousands with impunity and are now engaged in massive looting!

Our position is very clear. The case of Laurent Gbagbo is a replica of the Case of Patrice Lumumba who; as a a Freedom Fighter for the dignity and Independence of not only Congolese people but the entire black race was overthrown by Western powers including the UN, and handed over to his sworn enemies to be murdered.

History is repeating itself as the same Neocolonial forces that overthrew Patrice Lumumba, captured him and handed him over to his enemies almost fifty years ago; are the same forces involved in the Ivory Coast with the only difference being that it is now a different former colonial power.

If justice is to be done, there should be an impartial and comprehensive investigation into all the atrocities carried out in Ivory Coast by a team of honest and decent Allah fearing people. Alassan Ouatarra and his forces cannot go scot free and blame everything on President Laurent Gbagbo who according to the Ivorian Constitution is the legitimate President of Ivory Coast. This team should be selected by the Non Align Movement.

One is tempted to ask this Question:

How is it possible that the verdict of the constitutional council that decided on who won the elections in some Francophone African Countries recently were accepted: that is after the election in Ivory Coast but that of The Ivorian Constitution Council was rejected by both the Western powers and the UN?

As far as we are concerned, the only solution to avert a long drawn-out civil War with all its attendant consequences in Ivory Coast is to reorganize Presidential elections in the shortest possible time. In the meantime an interim Government of National Unity should be formed without Alassan Ouatarra; as he also has a lot to answer for as well.

One thing is very clear to all Africans today – the plot to recolonise Africa is very real and we must stand up to it.

It is shameful that the most evil, dictatorial and repressive powers on earth today are calling African leaders Dictators. It is also very shocking and interesting as well that the same powers are not saying anything about the popular uprising that has been raging on Burkina Faso for the past three weeks resulting in the storming of the Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou, last night, with the whereabouts of Blaise Compaore unknown. This uprising has been going on for more than three weeks now and not a single international news media is reporting on it. Is it possible in today’s world that such an uprising can take place in a country like Burkina Faso; so close to the Ivory Coast; a dusk to dawn curfew imposed for two weeks; without the Western Media including those of the former colonial Master knowing about it?

We the new Generation of Africans cannot and will not be fooled. We know what Blaise Compaore stands for in Africa with regards to the West.

Captain Thomas Sankara was murdered for standing up to imperialism and neo colonialism in Burkina Faso in particular and Francophone Africa in general. He was killed for the same reasons that Patrice Lumumba and other African Freedom Fighters died for, their killers eventually becoming Presidents in those African countries and worked exclusively for Western interests in Africa.

Blaise Compaore, is one of them. He has a lot to answer for the civil wars that ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast then, and now.

That there is such a media blackout of the uprising in Burkina Faso, but an up-to-the-minute reporting of events in Yemen, Syria, Ivory Coast etc shows that the so called international news media are the mouth pieces of certain Satanic Powers with a sinister Mission for the rest of the world outside the West.

Why can’t the West respect Africa’s Independence and dignity?

In conclusion, we call on the UN to ensure the safety, protection, and well being of President Laurent Gbagbo; the constitutionally legal President of Ivory Coast and set him free. He cannot be tried whilst Alassan Ouatarra, the internationally selected President goes scot free after massacring thousands of civilians just to be President!

The Gambia Government would not recognize any President or Government in Africa that has been imposed by forces outside of the African Continent for whatever reason. We know what those governments and Presidents stand for in Africa. They loot African resources on behalf of the powers that brought them to power.

MAY THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH Guide, Guard and Protect Africans by giving us the courage to stand up in Defence of African Independence, Dignity and the protection of our natural Resources from those hungry locusts on the rampage in Africa. The road to total liberation may be tough, but we shall prevail very soon INSHA ALLAH.

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This blog has covered many of the points raised by Mr. Mbeki, and by the government of the Gambia.   The Western recolonizers are barely trying to hide their intentions any more.    The people and resources of the entire continent are under assault.

Earlier posts regarding Ivory Coast are:
Creating Failed States For Profit
Humanitarian Invasion In Ivory Coast
Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy
Ivory Coast – What Happened? What Next?

Anyone who claims that they know, for sure, that either Allassane Dramane Ouattara or Laurent Gbagbo won the election is fiddling with the truth. Dr. Nfor N. Susungi

Considering the facts, it is difficult for Angola to accept that there is an elected president in La Côte d’Ivoire. We believe however, that there is a constitutional president. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President Of Angola

Estimated undiscovered and recoverable oil and natural gas off the coast of Ivory Coast, extending through Ghana, Togo, Benin, and the western edge of Nigeria.: 4,071 MMBO, million barrels of oil, 34,451 BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas, and 1,145 MMBNGL, million barrels of natural gas liquids, for the Coastal Plain and Offshore AU in the Gulf of Guinea Province, outlined in red. This does not include current existing discoveries, or fields already in production. Note that it extends along the entire coast of Ivory Coast.

“In any case, people should stop to consider the circumstances under which the election results were declared. The election result was not declared by the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire. It was declared by one member of the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire, in Hôtel du Golf, which is the Headquarters of the Opposition. He was accompanied to do that declaration by the Ambassador of France and the Ambassador of the United States of America.

Indeed, the declaration was not done before the Ivorian media. The declaration was done, exclusively before the French media. No Ivorian journalist was present when the declaration was made. And it was made in the Headquarters of the Opposition.”
Kwesi Pratt

OUTSIDE MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IVORY COAST

ECOWAS threatened military intervention in Ivory Coast if Gbagbo does not cede the presidency to Ouattara. In January the Commander of the U.S. Army Africa, General Hogg (misspelled Hagg in the article) toured West African countries, including Ghana, looking for commitments of proxy soldiers for military intervention in Côte d’Ivoire.

“Responding to a question from the Commander of the United States Army in charge of Africa, Major-General David Hagg, Lt Gen Blay said the GAF were overstretched because of their international engagements in peacekeeping operations in various trouble spots in the world and that the top brass had made that known to the Commander-in-Chief of the GAF, President John Evans Atta Mills.

He said the GAF also had their commitments to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

Major-General Hagg was in the country to officially find out whether or not Ghana would commit troops to Cote d’Ivoire, should the need arise.”

Gen. David Hogg, the United States Commander in charge of Africa (left), admiring a gift presented to him by Lt. Gen. Augustine Blay, Ghana's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), at the Burma Camp in Accra, Jan. 12, 2011.

At his New Year’s Press Conference, H.E. President John Evans Atta-Mills presented Ghana’s foreign policy stance on Cote d’Ivoire as one which respects the territorial sovereignty of its neighbor, seeks to use peaceful diplomatic means to resolve the ongoing electoral dispute and puts a priority on the interests of Ghanaians. President Atta-Mills also said in his “personal opinion” he did not believe that military force will be beneficial in resolving the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire and therefore was opposed to a military invasion of Cote d’Ivoire.

President Mills opined that he believed we should be guided by the Fanti saying in relation troubles “Dzi wo fie asem, mind your own house/business. He received a lot of criticism for this, including from the BBC, whose David Amanor missed the point. A better explantion of the use of the proverb is provided by Nii Aryertey Aryeh. Mills consulted with the head of GAF, the Ghana Armed Forces, who said Ghana is already overextended with peacekeeping and does not have enough soldiers or resources to undertake military action in Côte d’Ivoire. It is also the case that at least a million Ghanaians live in Côte d’Ivoire. Their lives would be in significantly more danger if Ghana were to engage in military adventurism there. Mills advocates quiet diplomacy to resolve the situation in Ivory Coast.

The current planning for military intervention is hardly credible. Kwesi Pratt describes what has been committed so far. He gave an interview on Radio Gold (transcript) which is the most detailed description of the entire situation I have seen. Here is the excerpt describing the ECOWAS military commitment:

“You know, Suhuyini, I’d like to start with some definitions first. And then you will see how ridiculous the proposition to go to war is. Listen to me very carefully. I just checked, I am not a military man, so yesterday, I spent some time to go on the internet. And these are the definitions I got from the internet:

A platoon, a platoon, and fortunately Dr. Tony Aidoo is in the studio, having been Deputy Minister of Defence before, he may understand these things better than me.

Dr. Tony Aidoo: It is a small unit.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: A platoon is twenty six to fifty five men. You understand? I will relate it to what I am going to say very soon. A platoon is twenty six to fifty five men. A company is eighty to two hundred and twenty five men. A battalion is three hundred to thousand three hundred men. And a regiment or brigade, is between three thousand and five thousand men and so on.

Now we are saying that the Ghana government is not committed to war. Other nations are committed to war. What is their concrete commitments? Look, ECOWAS chiefs of staff met in Abuja on the 28th of December last year, to consider the military option. So they said, everybody, bring what you have and let’s go to war. Look at what they brought, Suhuyini, it is very interesting!

Liberia…, Liberia, Liberia committed one infantry platoon. To go to war in La Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia contributed twenty six men!

Dr. Tony Aidoo: Hm hm hm! [chuckling]
Kwesi Pratt Jnr.: Sierra Leone committed one infantry company. That is all they committed. One infantry company! Senegal, Senegal which is leading the charge, Senegal and Burkina Faso which are leading the charge listen to what they contributed. Senegal is contributing one commando company, one motorised infantry company, and one battalion headquarters, take note, headquarters, not a battalion, one battalion headquarters with level two hospital. Benin decided to contribute only one mechanised company! One mechanised company!

It is getting more and more interesting. Now you can see the point I am making. Togo, Togo decided to commit one motorised company, and a possible commando company. A “possible”, it is not definite, commando company. Mali decided to contribute one transport company, one engineer company, and one motorised company.

Burkina Faso, Blaise Campoore’s Burkina Faso. Blaise Campoore who is touring the world to make the case for military intervention. He has been to Britain, he’s been to France, he is all over the place! Look at his contribution and you would laugh! Blaise Campoore’s contribution, Burkina Faso’s contribution is one mechanised infantry company, one commando company, and one engineer company. These are the contributions they are making.

This is a reflection of the commitment of West African leaders to war in La Côte d’Ivoire!

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: Nigeria’s contribution is this. One motorised or mechanised battalion. One! One F-17 Fighter Squadron,

Dr. Tony Aidoo: A squadron is five people.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.; Yeah. One M-135 squadron, one single company and battalion headquarters. Headquarters-ooh? Sea assets, and additional one or two infantry companies, as may be required. And indeed, Nigeria is making the highest contribution.

Dr. Tony Aidoo: They don’t even reach two thousand!

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: Master, this force is going to La Côte d’Ivoire to wage war against a regular professional army of eleven thousand men! This is the force that is going to La Côte d’Ivoire to wage war against a regular professional army of eleven thousand men!
… this is their death warrant being signed!

Dr. Tony Aidoo: Suicide mission.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr..: This is a suicide mission! Suicide mission! My brother, listen to me very carefully. If you have been to Abidjan before, Abidjan is a densely populated city, with high rise buildings and so on To be able to take Abidjan, you need have total air domination. You need to have troops which would take complete control of the ground and so on. In fact, the estimates to be able to do that, the interventionist force needs not less than twenty thousand men, to be able to do this effectively and to do it quickly.

And yet, our leaders in Africa think that with less than two thousand men, and outdated equipment and so on, they will be able to do it! God bless them! They are only sentencing their soldiers to death, painful death on the streets of La Côte d’Ivoire.

I am happy that our Commander-In-Chief, and President, has taken the wise decision not push Ghanaian soldiers into this reckless adventure! The lives of Ghanaian soldiers are important to us!”

The AU is currently asking a group of African leaders to persuade Gbagbo to step down. Their mandate has been extended through February. So far it looks like a stalemate. Ouattara is recognized the winner by the international community, the US and France feature prominently among those declaring Ouattara the winner, and appear to have engineered the announcement that Ouattara won. So it behooves us to examine exactly what happened. The information below comes from Kwesi Pratt (1) Dr. Nfor N. Susungi (2) and The Socialist Forum of Ghana (3). You can listen to Kwesi Pratt’s interview on Radio Gold.

THE FACTS ON THE GROUND

“Now if you are going to respect the facts, what are the facts?

The African Union, which has joined ECOWAS and the UN in insisting on the military option, and insisting that Ouattara won the elections in La Côte d’Ivoire, sent an observer team to La Côte d’Ivoire to observe both the first round and the second round of the elections. The African Union Team was led by Koku Koffigoh, former Prime Minister of Togo.

At the end of the elections, Koku Kofigoh, made a public statement in Abidjan to the effect that the results of the elections were not credible. They were not credible! And that they were vitiated by extreme violence, stuffing of ballot boxes and so on. Indeed it is interesting that two of the AU observers were kidnapped by the New Forces, and it took the intervention of the United Nations to secure their release.

AU sends an Observer Mission, the Observer Mission says the elections are not credible, and yet the AU declares a winner! And insists that we should go to war in order to make the “winner” the President, when its own Observer Mission, headed by a former Prime Minister, says that the elections were not credible!” (1)

Dr. Nfor N. Susungi provides more detail:

Was the Presidential Election in Cote d’Ivoire Free and Fair?

For once, this is the easiest question to answer because the simple answer is NO. It was not possible to conduct free and fair elections in a country which was still cut in half with the rebel Forces Nouvelles (under the direct Command and control of Prime Minister Soro Guillaume) still controlling the northern half, having resisted all attempts to get them to disarm as required by the so-called Accords Politique de Ouagadougou. In spite of the fact that not even ONUCI with nearly 9,000 troops had succeeded in getting the rebels to disarm before the election, pressure was brought by the US and France, through the United Nations, for the elections to proceed.

The exactions that took place during the elections by armed groups in the rebel controlled north were detailed in consistent and concordant reports presented by various observer groups, including that of the African Union led by former Togolese Prime Minister Joseph Koffi KOFFIGOH, who all concluded that the scale of electoral abuses in the northern zone were on such a scale as to discredit the sincerity of the vote in many areas in the North.

Curiously, Curiously, Curiously, we started hearing voices to the effect that the credibility of local (African) observers was questionable. That is because the reports of European and American observers had already given passing marks to the entire election. The racist undertone to the denigrating commentary directed at African observers was absolutely unmistakable. That is when we all began to suspect that there was a grand agenda in this election which was not known to the public.

So who won the last election in Cote d’Ivoire?

Anyone who claims that they know, for sure, that either Allassane Dramane Ouattara or Laurent Gbagbo won the election is fiddling with the truth. …

The only thing that we know with absolute certainty is that Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko, the President of the CEI, having failed to announce the preliminary results within the stipulated 72-hour period, transmitted the election materials to the Constitutional Council after midnight on Wednesday 1/12/2010. Then on Thursday 2/12/2010 he went to Alassane’s campaign HQ at Golf Hotel to attend a press conference and ended up declaring Allassane the winner in a 3 minute speech. None were more stunned at this development than his fellow members of the CEI who were completely taken unawares.

The second thing that we know for sure is that Youssouf Bakayoko announcement at Golf Hotel was carried live on France 24 and other foreign media and that no Ivorian news network was present. The third thing which we know for sure is that the Constitutional Council declared Youssouf Bakayoko’s results invalid for being made after 72-hour deadline and for making it single-handedly in the campaign HQ of one candidate. The Constitutional Council went on to declare on Friday 3/12/2010 Gbagbo the final winner of the election after ruling on the validity petitions which were filed by Gbagbo to the Constitutional Council.

The last thing that we know with absolute certainty is that everyone seems to have taken sides since then and depending on whether you support Laurent Gbagbo or Allassane Dramane Ouattara, each side has been tuning only into the news networks which amplify the information which is favourable to their point of view.

The Constitution vs. the United Nations

Paul Yao Ndre is a Constitutional Lawyer of impeccable credentials and the ruling of the Constitutional Council under his Presidency cannot be dismissed just because he is reportedly a friend of Laurent Gbagbo. Whatever the case, since his ruling, he has come forward to defend the legal grounds on which he made his rulings whereas, nothing has been heard of Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko since he announced the results at Golf Hotel. The question is where is he and why has he gone into hiding? Who and what is he afraid of?

In all fairness to the camp of Allassane Dramane Ouattara, they may have been inclined to accept fatalistically the decision of the Constitutional Council … But unfortunately they were encouraged to engage in dissidence by the belief that there is another jurisdiction above the Constitutional Council when Mr. Choi, the UN Representative publicly disowned the results of the Constitutional Court by “certifying” that the winner of the election was Mr. Allassane Dramane Ouattara.

I listened, live, to the press briefing of Mr. Choi on ONUCI FM at which Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, a well-known Ghanaian journalist asked him, “Are you saying that there are two Presidents in Cote d’Ivoire now?” Mr. Choi replied in the affirmative. From that moment, I knew that Cote d’Ivoire was heading for an abyss and Mr. Choi was a very dangerous international civil servant who had triggered something very sinister which was now unstoppable.” (2)

U.N. mission chief to Ivory Coast Y.J. Choi (L) attends a meeting with Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan December 9, 2010. The U.N. Security Council has backed Ouattara as the winner of Ivory Coast's disputed Nov. 28 presidential election. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

________

The Socialist Forum of Ghana fills in more detail with some thought to the long range consequences:

“It is clear that both leaders enjoy significant support and that their supporters genuinely believe that others seek to cheat them out of deserved victory. The imposition of either leader on Ivoirians can only escalate the conflict. La Cote d’Ivoire deserves better.

Pan-African activists must challenge recent declarations made in the names of ECOWAS and the AU as well as the processes through which our regional bodies make critical decisions. The “AU” position was announced by a secretariat official without Council approval and purely on the basis of the supposed ECOWAS position. The Abuja ECOWAS summit itself was attended by only 5 out of 15 eligible heads of State and was apparently conducted on the basis of their “seniority” – i.e. longevity in office. Three of the heads of state present (Presidents Jonathan of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal and Compaore of Burkina Faso) endorsed Ouattara. Presidents Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia and Mills of Ghana urged caution and engagement. The only other ECOWAS leader that has taken a public position on the matter (President Jammeh of Gambia) has come out in support of President Gbagbo. Three out of sixteen is hardly a democratic majority. It is certainly inadequate for making life and death decisions affecting millions. That the majority of ECOWAS leaders have not spoken to the Ivoirian elections whether of reluctance to attract scrutiny to their own electoral credentials or fear of antagonising the “international community” or sheer short sighted indifference is simply not acceptable. We must demand more of our leaders.

More fundamentally we must challenge the narrative that suggests that La Cote d’Ivoire’s problem is an electoral one. A credible election in La Cote d’Ivoire would help to resolve the larger political crisis. However, the election dispute is only the most immediate of the deep divisions that afflict Ivoirians like. The fundamental division that drives African politics is the division between the incredibly wealthy foreign and local elites that control continental resources and the dispossessed and oppressed African poor that have to sell their labour and surrender their dignity to these elite machines just to survive. This fundamental division in African society has been compounded across the continent by many decades of elite divide-and-rule tactics that promoted secondary identity differences between ordinary working Ivoirians precisely to prevent them from uniting and challenging the elites responsible for their misery.” (3)

[Note: Horace Campbell provides more detail and background on Ivory Coast’s recent history, particularly the divisions mentioned above that have been ruthlessly exploited by the powerful to retain power, quoted here in January.]

“In Cote La d’Ivoire several factors allowed those identity divisions to take on a life of their own in the 21st century. These included the growing challenge to French neo-colonial hegemony in West Africa from the US and from certain regional interests. These also included the collapse of local elite coherence following the death of President Houphouet-Boigny. As neo-colonial power fragmented in the mid-2000s identity politics degenerated to militarisation and partition and a massive increase in the woes of the Ivoirian people. Obviously, the imposition by the “international community” of Alassane Ouattara on such a deeply divided society will not solve the La Cote d’Ivoire crisis. What it will do is however is advance the overall cause of neo-colonialism and set the scene for further conflict between France and the US and allied regional powers for control over La Cote d’Ivoire and regional resources – in particular oil and gas.” (3)

In the western media you will not see much about oil being an issue in Ivory Coast. The news stories all talk about cocoa. But if you look at the map above you can see the significance. And no doubt the prospect of oil money makes the Ivorian presidential contenders more contentious. Oil is most certainly the reason AFRICOM’s General Hogg was seeking troop commitments in January for military intervention.

ON COUNTING THE VOTES

Kwesi Pratt tells us more about the vote counts:

“… take the Vallée du Bandama region in La Côte d’Ivoire, the Electoral Commission comes up with votes, you understand, votes, for Ouattara, you add those votes, they come to one hundred and forty nine thousand votes, and yet the declaration of results gives Ouatarra two hundred and forty four thousand votes! Who would accept this? You go to some other constituencies, turn-out, eh? Is two hundred and fifty per cent of registered voters! Two hundred and fifty per cent of registered voters! Who would accept those results?

Indeed, I asked my colleague and friend, Comrade Kwesi Adu, to do an analysis of the election results, because he does these things. He was an election observer in Guinea and so on, so he is so good at it. And I asked him to do an analysis. In one constituency, Gbagbo won one hundred and eighty per cent of all the registered voters. In the same constituency Ouattara won one hundred and something per cent of registered voters. How do you accept these results? How can you say that these results represent the will of the Ivorian people? By what magic?

So, either people are deliberately lying, or they don’t know the facts, or they are being insincere in the discussion of the Ivorian crisis.” (1)

THE IVORIAN CONSTITUTION

Pratt continues to describe the constitutional issues:

“What Does The Law Of La Côte d’Ivoire Say?
The law of La Côte d’Ivoire says it very clearly that the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire declares provisional results. That those provisional results ought to be validated by the Constitutional Council. That is what the law says. So, the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire, does not declare who a winner is. It only declares provisional results. It is only the Constitutional Council of La Côte d’Ivoire, which can declare a winner in an election.

Then you have some apologists of Ouattara, they come up and they say, look, the legal position is that that provision of La Côte d’Ivoire Constitution was suspended because an agreement was reached under UN auspices! My brother, this is a joke! Is anybody telling me that the UN, ECOWAS, AU, or any International organisation, can amend the constitution of a country, without reference to the people of that country? Does it make sense?

Even if you accept that the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire is an independent Commission, and you accept that the final constitutional authority for declaring results is the Constitutional Council, what you do have in La Côte d’Ivoire is a situation where the electoral Commission has declared one result, and the Constitutional Council has declared another result. What you do have is a political crisis! It is an issue of the legitimacy of two state institutions.
Do You Resolve That By Going To War?”
(1)

Pratt compares the situation to the recent elections in Belarus and in Egypt, in which nobody suggested interfering or sending in troops, despite questions of legitimacy.

“So they [the international community] are acting clearly from a self-interest point of view! And we say, that our self-interest does not matter! So when the President says “Dzi wo fie asem”, then there is a problem! But all of them, every one of them, France, the United States, Britain, all of them they are “dzing their fie asem”! All of them!

None of them is doing what they are doing because they love West Africans more than themselves! They are doing it because of their interests in the strategic resources of La Côte d’Ivoire!

And that is why it is important for us to wake up to that reality and to begin to raise the fundamental questions of law and constitutionality.” (1)

Dr. Nfor N. Susungi tells us more about the constitutional issues:

“The real adversary standing between Allassane Dramane Ouattara and the Presidency of Cote d’Ivoire is not Laurent Gbagbo; it is Professor Paul Yao Ndre, the President of the Constitutional Council. Contrary to what many people seem to think, Paul Yao Ndre is a very able and independent-minded legal thinker who is sure about the legal grounds on which he made his ruling. He has full constitutional powers to make any ruling on the regularity of any aspects of the electoral process including, above all, on the validity of the announcement which was made by Youssouf Bakayoko at Golf Hotel.

On this particular point, his ruling was that the announcement was null and void because it was made after 72-hour foreclosure deadline and in the partisan context of the campaign HQ of one candidate. This is the most important ruling made by Professor Paul Yao Ndre and it is valid and binding. Any one challenging this ruling is attacking an institution, not a person.

The venom which is being poured prematurely on Professor Paul Yao Ndre at the moment is a serious mistake with which the United States should not be associated because even if an ECOWAS intervention force dislodges Laurent Gbagbo, the Armed Forces of Cote d’Ivoire will never swear their allegiance to defend Allassane as President unless he is sworn-in by Professor Paul Yao Ndre. As things stand at the moment, even if the Presidency became vacant, Allassane cannot claim it automatically because Professor Paul Yao Ndre will have no grounds for swearing-in Allassane to occupy the post of President.

The Role of Regional Organizations
Equally shocking has been the role of regional organizations which took their decisions without bothering to hear both sides of the story. Allassane Dramane Ouattara has been proclaimed winner by the “International Community” while Laurent Gbagbo has been declared winner by the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. None can ignore the other because each one of them can claim to be standing on solid ground.
Clearly, the Ivorian crisis is breaking new ground in defining a new constitutional jurisdiction transcending the concept of sovereign states as defined and understood under the UN and AU charter. That new and emerging constitutional jurisdiction is known vaguely as “the International Community”. The powers that his new jurisdiction has arrogated to itself include the power to certify elections in a sovereign state and to declare war on a sovereign state. It is not yet clear whether the Ivorian crisis is a one-off situation or whether it is part of an emerging trend.

If it is part of a trend, then it is necessary for the world to get together very quickly and adopt some convention defining who “the International Community” is and what are its powers of intervention in the affairs of sovereign states. Failing that, we should expect that the world, and more particularly Africa, will enter a period of political instability on a scale never known before.

It is regrettable that it is only after the last ECOWAS summit unilaterally declared war on Laurent Gbagbo that they finally decided to send a delegation to deliver the ultimatum to Laurent Gbagbo. This is a watershed event in African history. The damage is already done. If the ECOWAS war does breakout, Africa will face its greatest challenge since the advent of independence in the Gold Coast in 1957. ECOWAS and UEMOA are now in deep trouble. The break-up of ECOWAS is on the cards if war breaks out and the withdrawal of Cote d’Ivoire from the CFA zone is also a possibility.” (2)

THE WHOLE PICTURE

Kwesi Pratt quotes His Excellency, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, The President Of Angola, who sums up the issues clearly and unequivocally.

“The facts specifically tell us the following;

One: The president of the Electoral Commission released the results of the second round of the presidential election, when it was out of his competence to do so, since his time, for purposes defined by law, was expired and since the issue had been transferred to the Constitutional Council for due consideration and treatment.

Two: The United Nations representative in Côte d’Ivoire in a hastened move, certified and announced those results when the relevant UN resolution states that the certification should focus on election results validated by the Constitutional Council, which had not yet made a pronouncement.

Three: The declaration by the United Nations representative misled the whole international community.”

And Listen very carefully,. The President of Angola says:

“The declaration by the United Nations representative misled the whole international community, since the Constitutional Council had not validated the provisional results released by the president of the Electoral Commission as a result of having accepted objections and complaints of serious irregularities and fraud which undermined these results.

Four: The Constitutional Council is in fact the only organ with the legal competence to validate and publish the final results of the elections.

Five: Under the law, The Constitutional Council should recommend the holding of new elections within 45 days, but it did not proceed in this manner and instead reported results that attributed the victory to another candidate.

Considering the above facts, it is difficult for Angola to accept that there is an elected president in La Côte d’Ivoire.

We believe however, that there is a constitutional president…,”

And this is very important, listen to the Angolan position:

“We believe however, that there is a constitutional president, the current president of the republic, who happens to be Laurent Gbagbo, who must remain in power until the new election as established by the electoral law of that country. The greatest difficulty now is that the 45 days are not enough to create a favourable climate for elections, and the current crisis complicates the matter further.

We are therefore of the opinion that any military intervention in the particular case of Côte d’Ivoire would have an adverse effect, with serious consequences beyond its borders.

The Angolan Executive supports and encourages dialogue and negotiations to overcome the crisis in this brother country, and believes that by demonstrating political will, wisdom, and realism, it is possible to find a solution that focuses, first and foremost, on the legitimate interests of all the people of Côte d’Ivoire.” (1)

Why does the international community want military intervention? The forces proposed are obviously hopelessly inadequate for the job. Nothing could be accomplished by them except to provoke instability and prolonged civil war. Is instability and civil war the objective? Would that help neo-colonial predators extract natural resources on their own terms? (death and suffering for you, money for us) Military intervention will burn all the parties involved, except perhaps certain multinational corporations engaged in extractive industries.

Côte d’Ivoire is in a state of profound political and constitutional crisis over the legitimacy of state institutions The imposition of either leader on Ivorians can only escalate the conflict. War will escalate the problems and delay any solutions. The country needs dialog and peaceful negotiations and diplomatic assistance. Angola’s President is correct in stating that Côte d’Ivoire has a constitutional president, but not an elected one. Ultimately Côte d’Ivoire needs to hold a new election. Although that may not help until it comes to better terms with who gets to vote, who runs the polls, and who counts the votes. The international community needs to back off from stepping in and overriding the constitution of a sovereign nation.