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The options facing Ecowas over Cote d'Ivoire are all tricky

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Geza Ulole, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    The options facing Ecowas over Cote d'Ivoire are all tricky

    [​IMG] Ecowas chairman President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. The bloc met to deliberate on the Ivorian crisis in Abuja on December 24. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |
    By HONORE KOUA in Abidjan (email the author)
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    Posted Friday, December 24 2010 at 18:16

    West Africa’s heads of state have been careful about taking unequivocal positions on the post-electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire.
    The two figures involved in the standoff, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, have since escalated their fight beyond the electoral and legal domain to the media, military, diplomatic and street arenas.
    If Ouattara has succeeded to get the support of the world community, including most of Africa’s leaders, his rival is still controlling the army, the administration and state-run media. Gbagbo confirmed Tuesday his will to cling on power despite international pressure and increasing sanctions.
    The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) bloc, which comprises all the countries of the region, was the first institution in the world to endorse the UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire position, declaring Ouattara “the only winner” of the November 28 poll.
    In a statement issued on December 5, the bloc appealed “to all stakeholders to accept the results declared by the electoral commission”.
    Two days earlier, the Cote d'Ivoire Constitutional Council overturned provisional results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and said Gbagbo had defeated his rival with 51.45 per cent of the vote.
    On December 7, Ecowas under the chairmanship of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, hardened its position at an extraordinary session in Abuja. The final communiqué of the summit suspended Cote d’Ivoire “from all Ecowas decision-making bodies until further notice”.
    Regional presidents
    The bloc further “condemned in strong terms” the attempt to go against the will of the Ivorian people and recognised Ouattara as president-elect of the country.
    The Ecowas cover is convenient, for it allowed an umbrella for good number of the heads of state, who did not have the stomach to individually condemn Gbagbo outright.
    In fact, out of the 16 regional presidents, only Nigeria’s Jonathan and Senegalese Abdoulaye Wade have publicly condemned Gbagbo’s power grab. Tiny Cape Verde, a sort of afterthought in the region, hedged by calling for peace. So, oddly, did democratic and widely-admired Ghana.
    Cape Verde and Ghana heads of state called for peace. Gbagbo’s previous friend in the region, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, surprised everybody by saying he was ready to support “any action” to find a solution to the crisis.
    On her part, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson of Liberia called on her countrymen not to get involved as mercenaries in what the UN secretary-general is already foreseeing as a looming civil war.
    It should, however, be noted that none of the West African countries was represented at the swearing-in ceremony of Gbagbo on November 4. Neither did any send congratulations, not even his Gambian friend.
    The reservation of West Africa leaders could be explained by non-interference reasons, but above all under economic and political grounds.
    Cote d’Ivoire’s agriculture-based economy has traditionally been the region's second strongest behind Nigeria's. The country is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a major exporter of coffee, cotton, rubber, wood, banana, palm oil, pineapples and tuna fish.
    Major oil supplier
    Cote d’Ivoire is also a major oil supplier to the West African region. Abidjan's port is the biggest and most modern in West Africa. It is also the main trans-shipment port for the land locked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
    West African immigrants in Cote d’Ivoire are estimated at around 5 million, a quarter of the country's total population. These immigrants are mainly from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Liberia, and Mauritania.
    Thus, the twin fear of reprisals against these migrants and of aggravating the situation, given the economic grip Cote d’Ivoire exerts on her neighbours, explains the reticence many of the region’s leaders are showing in their public utterances regarding Gbagbo.
    These countries have all been affected ever since the Ivorian crisis erupted in 2002. The region’s economic growth decreased substantially. Also, in the early hours of the civil war, many among the two million Burkinabe immigrants in Cote d’Ivoire were attacked or fled after Gbagbo’s camp claimed the rebels were backed by Ouagadougou authorities.
    Ecowas member-states met on December 24 in Abuja to assess the Ivorian standoff. The Ouattara camp wanted the session to discuss the possibility of setting up a military intervention force. This option has very few chances of succeeding, for at least two major reasons.
    The first one is that people of the Ecowas bloc have very bad memories of its peacekeeping force known as Economic Community Ceasefire Monitoring Group (Ecomog). The armed force was established in 1990 to intervene in the civil war in Liberia and thereafter saw action in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
    Many human rights organisations joined in condemnation of atrocities committed by Ecomog soldiers. They were accused of looting, raping, harassing and arbitrarily detaining civilians. In addition, they were put on the dock for summary executions of suspected rebels, use of child soldiers, violations of medical neutrality and indiscriminate bombings against civilians.
    Lost their lives
    According to records kept by US-based Human Rights Watch, Ecomog in Liberia became complicit in serious human rights violations through its alliances with abusive warring factions.
    The second reason why Ecowas will not advocate military intervention in Cote d’voire is that Nigeria largely paid for – and led – Ecomog. In 2001, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said his country had spent $13bn on the force over 12 years. Over 500 Nigerian soldiers also lost their lives.
    Almost 10 years later, the West Africa giant is still the only country in the region able to provide enough troops and resources for a military operation in Cote d’Ivoire. But it is highly unlikely the current head of state would risk endangering his re-election in upcoming April presidential poll by embarking on another uncertain military adventure.
    Outside Ecowas, a military intervention in Cote d’Ivoire might take a different character. Former ‘New Forces’ rebels, who back Ouattara, are still in control of northern Cote d’Ivoire. These rebels could afford the cover for interventionist countries who would send equipment and even troops to back them up.
    Unless Gbagbo cedes power, this eventuality will lead to a deadly civil war and the collapse of inter-state relationships built between Cote d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries.
    According to Ivorian opposition Premier Guillaume Soro, the embattled leader has recently bought weapons despite a UN arms embargo. Soro also claims Gbagbo has recruited Liberian and Angolan mercenaries to support the regular army loyal to him.
    For the time being, Ecowas summit might tighten the pressure on Gbagbo by applying the financial squeeze, especially by pushing the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) to freeze the country’s loans. Eight of Ecowas’ member states, including Cote d’Ivoire, share the same currency issued by the BCEAO.
    World Bank President Robert Zoellick, while announcing Wednesday a freeze on loans to Cote d’Ivoire, also called on BCEAO members to do the same. However, the main problem is that 40 per cent of the BCEAO money in circulation in the eight Francophone countries is accounted for by Cote d’Ivoire.

    Africa Review - The options facing Ecowas over Cote d'Ivoire are all tricky

    MY TAKE:
    The game has just began
     
  2. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    And it is high time I get a cup of coffee, pull a chair and watch this deadly African drama as it unfolds!
     
  3. Akwaba

    Akwaba Senior Member

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    I am amazed at thef African and UN in general atittude in Ivory Coast. They are many countries where much worse has taken place and things were much clearer and the UN and/or AU have done nothing. Here things are ambiguous depsite what some international media outlets would like to make me believe. The south of the country does not want to be rules by Ouattara and the North does not want to be ruled by Gbagbo. And somehow the international community led by France thinks it is wise to impose a leader. I am not surprised by France, but I am greatly disappointing in African leadership. Then some here will tell me I shouldn't be really :).
     
  4. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

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    What r u talking about!!!!
    Is That a time of enjoyment for you?

     
  5. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

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    But it is too late as a lot of souls perished.
     
  6. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    So what do you want me to do, broda? Did I say it's time for enjoyment for me? R U serious?
     
  7. MartinDavid

    MartinDavid JF-Expert Member

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    Well this is another African drama and hope we will not see power sharing stuff like Kenya and Zimbabwe because that is a shameful democracy

    how can u have the leader who didn't win the election be the president and the one who was the winner become the prime minister.. This is not right at all and should not be practice any where else in this continent.

    Gbarbo should live the office as soon as possible. Though i would like for him to face the charges of Human killings and the bad use of office.

    Let see what the ECowas will do and then see USA and allies what will do next.

    and by the way hope Ocampo is watching this drama closely.
     
  8. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    Gbagbo ni kama nzi anayekataa kuruka kutoka kwenye jeneza; mwisho wake anafukiwa kaburini!!! Jamaa noma.
     
  9. Akwaba

    Akwaba Senior Member

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    I find these remarks western in nature. Power sharing is as African as fried fish. Before the colonialists came most African societies had some kind of power sharing. Power sharing in the sense that the King was not a dictator he generally had a group of elders that together we more powerful.

    In addition, I don't think you have a good enough understanding of what took place in Ivory Coast to comment on the results. Basically the reason Ouattara appears to have won is because in many northern regions currently controlled by the rebels he got 90-95% of the votes. Basically Sadaam Hussein level of votes. The Ivorian government is basically saying there is no way this really happened and they stole the elections. Unlike in some other African democracies where a representative of each side can be with the votes and present during all counting etc... The northern rebels didn't quite let that happen. So who Really won is a mystery.

    Next in the U.S. election of 2000 the supreme court decided that bush will be president. This is because that is what the U.S. consitution says. The supreme court had mostly Republicans so alot of people in the U.S. believed the election was stolen. In Ivory Coast the constitution says the constitutional court decides the final results. They decided they don't trust the northern results and made Gbagbo president. Once again they may or may not have done this due to political allegiance. They may have stole the election. But that is not the point. Those are the RULES.

    If you want functioning African states then you need to have there own rules and live by them, that is what builds institutions, which builds a working state democracy or not. China is a wonderful example of this.

    The colonialization of Africa is Africa's ONLY problem. The worst part of it is the mental colonialization where Africans start to think they can't run there own countries and always look to the west for help, advice, orders etc.. This is the MAIN reason why noone respects Africa.
     
  10. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    This is just one of the assertions that make the above analysis shallow indeed.
     
  11. Akwaba

    Akwaba Senior Member

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    Don't be too abrupt to judge the assertion. Take some time to really think about it.

    - Think about the so called African institutions that are a direct result of colonialization.
    - Think about the rapes which take place because women are not covered (Note Africa is known for women with their breasts not covered that is why we were referred to as savages).
    - Think about the lack of a manufacturing base because we have no faith in our own abilities.
    - Think about a police and military that function basically as they did in colonial times. Supprecss the people protect the elite (governor, president etc...
    - Think about an education system that is merely copy paste from whoever was the colonial master with no major thought given to what we as African need.
    - Look at the lack of internal planning since all planning is done by development agencies, and no action is taken untill donor funding is provided.

    These are ALL aspects of a colonized mind. When I speak of colonialization there are two aspects. The first is when the oppressor is still there dictating you how to run your business. The second is when we self oppress and mutilate ourselves because our thinking has become warped.

    I learn't an interesting story recently. In India they chain baby elephants to a tree with a small rope to prevent them from running amok. When they get old and big they use the same rope even though they could easily free themselves from the rope. They are big now. However the elephant has never been able to free itself from the rope and has tried many times as a baby. So as an adult it has also concluded it can not defeat the rope.
     
  12. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    Akwaba, you don't need to romanticize African history.
     
  13. Akwaba

    Akwaba Senior Member

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    I am not romanticizing it.

    Which symptom of the colonized mind is untrue?
    Was my metaphor about the elephant inaccurate?

    I m pointing out that we now suffer from a colonized mind. Rwanda behaves differently because they suffer less from the colonized mind. The are seen as a threat by some for this very reason. The only reason they are left alone is they had a genocide and messing with Rwanda twice would look really bad. I am not saying we lived like in Heaven before colonialists came. I am saying we did not have many of these complexes. I am saying our development track would have been radically different.

    I mean you go to Kenya and the judges and parliament members wear white wigs. Why! because that is what is done in Britain. I mean seriously how much more obvious does it get.

    Regarding African history the first thing a conquering nation does is re-writes the history of the conquered nation. For a long time people would say Africa has no history prior to colonization.

    Please take a look at my previous post on African history
    http://www.jamiiforums.com/international-forum/80144-discover-african-history-minus-the-eurocentric-filter.html#post1167961
     
  14. Rungu

    Rungu JF-Expert Member

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    I will let this pass!
     
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