AfrobeatRadio on WBAI 99.5 FM takes on the Crisis in Ivory Coast
The crisis in Ivory Coast continues to take twists and turns following the disputed Presidential elections that many hoped would unify a country divided since a civil war that began in 2002. The United Nations backed the finding of the nation’s Electoral Commission that opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara had won the elections, despite initial claims of voter irregularities. The Constitutional Council had yet to complete its investigation into the claims when the UN announced Ouattara as the winner; the Council continues to contest the UN and Electoral Commission findings.
Consequently, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down as the country’s leader, while Alassane Ouattara has already been sworn in as President. Ouattara is under a form of “house arrest under the protection of the a United Nations peace keeping mission in the nation’s capital, Abidjan. Neither side is backing down on their claim to the presidency, and the option of a Kenyan-style power-sharing deal has been ruled out by both sides.
The international community has been adamant that Gbagbo should step down. The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have expelled Ivory Coast from their organizations, while the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has warned Gbagbo that he would be investigated for the commission of ‘future’ war crimes if he does not step down. There have been talks and threats of military intervention by ECOWAS forces, with West African military chiefs of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Niger and Nigeria meeting and planning, and then, meeting and planning some more.
The political stalemate is creating an environment of humanitarian crisis. Since the election, over 200 people have been declared dead, thousands of people in the west of the country have fled their homes to neighboring Liberia, hospitals are also reportedly filling up with wounded civilians from both sides of the conflicts.
The guests on this week’s program will help to shed some light on the ongoing crisis in Ivory Coast, critically exploring and debating the roles of the various actors involved, including former colonial power, France. The panel provides crucial historical and geopolitical context and insight into the numerous challenges facing Ivory Coast today.
- Gnaka Lagoke, Ivorian journalists and political analyst
- Gary K Busch, an international trades unionist, an academic, and a political affairs and business consultant
- Nii Akuetteh, former executive director of Africa Action and former professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Member of the Scholars’ Council at TransAfrica Forum, and founder of the Democracy and Conflict Research Institute in Accra, Ghana
AfrobeatRadio runs from every Saturday from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. on WBAI 99.5 FM