Ivory Coast Political Stalemate

March 6, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

Yet another power battle is producing mass casualties and crippling the economy with restrictions imposed on cash flow by shutting down regional banks in the country.

This time it is in the West African nation, Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) with the political crisis emanating from the unresolved November 2010 election results between President Laurent Gbagbo and the contestant Alassane Ouattara of the RDR (Rally of the Republicans) political party representing the Christian south and Muslim north respectively.

President Laurent Gbagbo refusal to acknowledge the reportedly 9 point margin victory by the opponent leader Alassane Ouattara – U.S. educated and former IMF & World Bank high ranking official currently under UN peacekeeping security near the capital Abidjan has erupted with army assaults against civilians, the usual victims in political strife.

It is important to assess the dispute in light of electoral outcome, Presidential terms in office and the recent actions that have led to massive bloodshed and human rights violation against women as well as other members in the society.

President Laurent Gbagbo has served since 2000 through self-extension and UNSC subsequent endorsement in 2006. The 2008 election was postponed to 2010.

Following the 2010 elections – the violence from both sides have claimed many innocent lives.

The incumbent President misuse of power utilizing the army and civil service officers has gained advantage over the opposition retaliation leading to the status quo.

Any leadership determined to exert authority through bad decisions at the population peril anywhere confirms the misplaced priority and betrayal much to national detriment.

President Gbagbo upon reflection would perhaps realize that prolonging the disagreement has contributed to civilian deaths and destruction to the economy not likely to be ignored by the nationals deeply affected in the quagmire.

Proceeding under such conditions would be counterproductive expediting the ruling government termination in office sharing the predecessor Robert Guéï fate that enabled the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front) rule and Gbagbo Presidency in 2000.

The opposition leader Alassane Ouattara proposal to form unity government is welcome and cooperation from various political factions is imperative to reflect the unanimous consensus considering the political turmoil ill effects on human lives and economic future.

Côte d’Ivoire has been through tremendous turbulence with political unrest.

The issue deserves a permanent solution made possible in the electoral mandate recognition and subsequent renunciation of power by President Laurent Gbagbo.

As for the army and civil coherence with President Gbagbo – the ground reality should awaken the loyalists to withdraw support in the gravely deteriorating political environment evolving into a potential genocide.

With respect to global powers’ contrasting position on similar matter such as:

Accepting Côte d’Ivoir electoral event with solid affirmation while rejecting Iraq and Afghanistan electorate choices notwithstanding the intervention in promoting Sudan secession against Ivory Coast unification poses a credibility factor due to inconsistency and selective gerrymandering.

Abandoning discriminatory policy in political resolutions would enhance trust and improve international relations vital for universal peace.

President Laurent Gbagbo resignation from power would provide the leader an opportunity to step down with dignity besides restoring political stability paramount to end the violence.

Power is powerful in the empowerment of powerless and not otherwise.

It is sincerely hoped that President Laurent Gbagbo would heed to the people preference via ballots on November 2010 and pursue a peaceful exit from the office of Presidency.

Allowing rationality to prevail in this regard would save many lives apart from letting the healing process to begin.

Wishing eternal peace and prosperity to Côte d’Ivoir citizens with a rapid conclusion to political stalemate.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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