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Will Ouattara Become President By Killing The Ivorian People?

14 March 2011 14 March 2011 Tags: No Comment Print This Post Print This Post

by Pierre Sane

Pierre Sane is President of Imagine Africa, Former Secretary General of Amnesty International and former Assistant Director-General of UNESCO. Source: cotedivoiretruth.com

The worst case scenario, armed intervention from foreign countries, having apparently been dispelled, here is, without fearing contradiction, the unfolding strategy of the absurd.

An “economic and financial choking down” of Côte d’Ivoire is promised us: cocoa export ban, ban on banks from “cooperating” with the regime of Laurent Gbagbo, prohibition of civil servants’ and soldiers’ salaries payment, freezing individuals’ and national and private companies’ assets, travel restrictions, all actions endowed with an appearance of legality so as to avoid questions. As this strategy unfolds with clearly harmful intentions for the whole country and its inhabitants, it is legitimate to ask whether this fury results only from the presidential election dispute of November 28th, 2010? For if this were the case, one would expect an end to the African Union’s mission, whose recommendations are supposed to be binding. In the eyes of the French government, the “great schemer” of this relentless campaign of sanctions, is it really worth all this effort to make sure Laurent Gbagbo loses and Alassane Ouattara is the winner of the poll? But for Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made it a personal matter … who knows? Result: French diplomacy in Africa keeps on being trapped by the confusion between personal interests.

France’s foreign policy goals

The sanctions imposed by European countries, Canada and the United States on Ivorian individuals and companies (and even the accreditation of ambassadors) will collapse, that is my personal conviction, on the earliest legal recourse. Because these penalties are based on the supposedly “elected” President being denied the office of President, yet any judge guided by his “conscience” will ask before anything else to consider the Ivorian Constitution before anything may be decided. And as the Constitution has never been suspended by any of the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, it will be the only source of law for the judge. Apart from the measures taken by nearly thirty countries, the only other actions against Côte d’Ivoire and the nationals come from seven other countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union of (WAEMU) and Alassane Ouattara himself

Whom are they going to kill?

The withdrawal of the international signature at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) has resulted in the suspension of interbank clearing and possible temporary closure of several banks, preventing customers from access to their bank accounts. We may soon be confronted with serious violations of human rights, which will be the responsibility of these banks if their customers are unable to care for sick parents, feeding their children properly, pay wages in accordance labor law. It would be wise for non-governmental organizations and lawyers to mobilize actively and promptly to accurately document all individual cases of human rights’ violations for subsequent prosecution through national, regional or international courts.

The temporary ban announced by Alassane Ouattara on the export of cocoa beans will hurt the farmers, but the speculators who bought forward will benefit from soaring prices. Including trader Anthony Ward’s Armajaro company, who has acquired, in July 2010, 240,000 tons of cocoa, or 20% of the Ivorian production and 15% of global stocks. The company has invested $1 billion and will profit substantially following the decision of Alassane Ouattara, whose step-son, Loic Folloroux, 35, is none other than Anthony Ward’s Manager for Africa. Is this a coincidence, it goes without saying. As to Ivorian producers and traders … who cares? The aim is rather to “choke off their means of making a living”.

Choking someone means they are prevented from breathing by an obstruction in the throat, in other words they are killed. But whom are they going to kill? Laurent Gbagbo or the people and economy of Côte d’Ivoire? Who will be the killer? And why? Isn’t there another alternative? Or is it about imposing, at any cost, Alassane Ouattara no matter what the sincere result of voting was? And all of this being done well before the conclusions of the African Union’s mission.

Suppose for one minute that Alassane Ouattara did not win the election? Is it impossible or the ramblings a crazy person? Where does this certainty about Alassane Ouattara’s unshakable victory come from? From the results announced by the President of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)? We know that there was no consensus within the IEC, which was also time-barred. From Certification by the Special Representative of UN Secretary General? His rashness and his non-compliance with procedures unfortunately marred his certification. Hence a reasonable doubt in the minds of many. As long as we doubt, a single doubt, it would be shameful to leave a brother country being “stifled to death.”

The unwavering certainty in the infallibility of referees, assistant referees moreover, and therefore in Alassane Ouattara’s victory at the end of the polls (or that of Laurent Gbagbo elsewhere) is an undoubtedly absurd proposition, and worse, dangerous or suicidal as it keeps the two protagonists in maximalist positions.

What is absurd is not acceptable to reason and common sense: the strategy of the financial strangulation is absurd because if Alassane Ouattara arrives with the support of France to stifle (kill) Côte d’Ivoire, he won’t have anything to govern, except ruins. Moreover, suppose that Laurent Gbagbo hijacked Côte d’’Ivoire, killing a hostage they want to set free wouldn’t turn the alleged kidnapper into the killer? The assassin is the one who will have killed with premeditation and incompetence. Then, if Alassane Ouattara is unable to make it and the country manages to survive the attempted suffocation, no Ivorian will yearn for seeing him coming to power.

Will Ivorians agree on Ouattara’s coming into power?

Never! For we can say to ourselves that anything goes for the man that comes to power, but there are actions that one should never attempt against his own country and fellow citizens. I remember what Lawyer Abdoulaye Wade told me in Senegal after the 1993 election, he was convinced he won, after the Constitutional Council had declared his opponent the winner: “I will never cross the gates of the Palace walking on the Senegalese’s corpses”.

This is nonsense that does not comply with the laws of consistency and rational logic; the strategy of suffocation is absurd because sanctions will destroy pro-Ouattara cocoa producers and those who oppose him. Same for the officials deprived of wages. Will they not all prefer a recount or new election to a suffocation? Moreover, those banks that have closed will lose the trust of their customers regardless of the outcome of electoral disputes.

Also absurd because millions of Senegalese, Malians, Nigerians, Burkina Faso, etc,.. who live in Côte d’Ivoire will suffer from sanctions. Perhaps they will be forced to leave their adopted country. It is easy to predict who they will vote for in upcoming elections in their own countries if the decisions taken by their respective Heads of State came to stifle the economic powerhouse of West Africa.

Absurd, when you hold us!

Laurent Gbagbo has been accused of being a usurper of power. Now to make him leave the country we want to strangle it. However, he claims to have evidence of irregularities that marred the election. Saddam Hussein claimed not to possess weapons of mass destruction. They rejoined, “prove it”, which is absurd because the suspicion of proof rests on the accusers. Laurent Gbagbo says he has evidence of fraud that have distorted the final verdict; they literally told him “who cares” and, to top it all off, they are about to smother his country, wherein a mere checking of evidence tangibility would do.

And the outpouring of the absurd does not stop there

The sanction, which normally strikes the offender has to be specified in terms of which law has been violated. There is a simple electoral dispute and the country’s Constitutional Council spoke out and has invested Laurent Gbagbo. The international community has no power to appoint a President in Côte d’Ivoire nor in Gabon; Alassane Ouattara is actually a “self-proclaimed” President, having himself unsuccessfully sought the nomination of the Constitutional Council, and in so doing, he has been violating the Ivorian law for three months. But it is Laurent Gbagbo who is being punished! And what is more, it is he who would have himself despoiled by accepting the recount because he is already invested by the country’s highest judicial body ever!

But what do you want, definitely, it is an overwhelming flood of nonsense we are witnessing in Côte d’Ivoire.

All this nonsense gives me the creeps and puzzles me

What is complacently forgotten is that half the electorate voted for Laurent Gbagbo. And who knows what PDCI voters would do if elections were to be resumed today, scalded as they are by the discovery of the reality of the RDR- rebels axis. Especially since every time the rebels’ political leader opens his mouth, he makes Alassane Ouattara lose credibility. Doesn’t he realize that the African Heads of State are “allergic” to the rebels? I also challenge the international community to demand new elections between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara to finally settle the electoral dispute and put an end to this “Festival of the absurd”!

Unless the deliberate goal was to lead the country into war, civil war this time, to justify foreign intervention! At that time, which seems absurd today will be logical and rational tomorrow.

Pathos of cynicism and shortsightedness!

Meanwhile, it is clear that what is at stake in Côte d’Ivoire today is of paramount importance for the future of our children in Africa and therefore all of us. We need to know the challenge at the start of the second fiftieth anniversary of our independence.


Pierre Sane is president of Imagine Africa. Former Secretary General of Amnesty International and former Assistant Director-General of UNESCO.

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