THE CRISIS IN COTE D’IVOIRE – DECEMBER 2010
The runoff of the 2010 general election in Côte d’Ivoire has ended up with an awkward situation in which the legal proclamation by the institutions of the country are being contested by the international community on the basis of:
· a declaration by the so-called ‘Independent Electoral Commission’ controlled by the opposition of their side as a winner outside of the 3 day window to do so
· a ‘certification’ by the UN representative that the elections were fair and square despite multiple contrary reports by independent organizations.
The following analysis allows for another view of the problem and a more balanced approach of the issues in order to come to a fair resolution by independent parties and/or supporters of the constitutional rights of the Ivorian People.
· December 24th, 1999: Military coup d’état against President Henri Konan Bedie
· October 26th, 2000: Election of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo as Ivory Coast’s president
· September 19th, 2002: Attack of Ivory Coast by an armed rebellion that seized the northern part of the country. The rebellion has its rear base in Burkina Faso.
· From 2002 to 2005: The process of crisis resolution is launched at the UN, France, South Africa, Ghana, Togo and Burkina leading to several peace agreements
· 2006-2007: a 12-month government led by PM Banny fails to accomplish a durable peace process with disarming the rebels and organizing elections.
· 2007: Agreement Treaty in Ouagadougou (APO) signed by rebel leader SORO and President Gbagbo
o Global Content of the agreement:
i. Reunification of the divided country
ii. Creating an independent electoral commission to organize elections (Consisting of 80% Rebel and RHDP – Opposition Coalition)
iii. Proclamation of final results by the Constitutional Council
iv. Supervision, Certification of the electoral process and peace-keeping actions by the UN
· Elections were organized under strong international pressure in a country still divided, with the north still being controlled by armed rebels unwilling to disarm.
· 1st round: topped with respectively 32% and 39% by Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo. It should be noted irregularities in the North and the elimination of Bédié’s party, former ruler of the country ousted by the 1999 coup.
· 2nd round
o Cancellation of the results of France due to trouble (as in the 1st round)
o Many irregularities noted in the north of the country under rebel control (rebels involved in the process, disturbing voting operations and molesting LMP partisans and representatives)
o Mr. Gbagbo’ party LMP urged the cancellation of certain areas where people have been killed, wounded, intimidated and where the following happened: theft of ballot boxes, ballot stuffing, fraud and other PV inconsistencies.
o All theses actions were confirmed by several international observers in all the right polling placed in the SOUTH in the north under any irregularities (deaths, injuries, intimidation, theft of ballot boxes, ballot stuffing, fraud and other PV). See Comments of the EU, the AU, African experts etc.
o Deadlock in the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission), where the pre-agreed conflict resolution was based on the the principle of consensus
o After the legal deadline of 72 hours for the declaration of provisional results, IEC official statement by its President and in accordance with the constitution referred the case to the Constitutional Council.
o The Constitutional Council receives and processes complaints as well as IEC results. They proceed with the announcement of final results by proclaiming Laurent Gbagbo, elected with 51.45% of the votes.
o Surprisingly, the chairman of the IEC appears on a foreign TV channel, France 24,as participating in a press conference at the rebel HQ in the Golf hotel and announces alone – without the presence of any other IEC member and outside the legal deadline – the results of the election (bulk figures and no details) and declares Mr. Ouattara as winner and President-elect in front of small group of journalists. The national television and media are not present and not invited. He has not reappeared publicly since and is supposed to be held at the Golf Hotel.
o Surprisingly Mr. Choi, the United Nations’ representative in Côte d’Ivoire declares Mr. Ouattara winner of the ballot as well and certifies the results of the election on ONUCI Radio channel.
Mr Choi Youn-jin goes beyond the Constitutional Council and does so in violation of the UN Charter, which stipulates that each country is sovereign. In fact, the UN is not allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of states. Management and declaration of election results are part of sovereignty of states and not organizations. The UN is to support the CI electoral process and certify the elections. "
3. The basis for supporting the re-election of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo
· Due Process in following the pre-agreed rules for the election (with joint responsibility of the IEC, the Constitutional Council, the UN and the party representatives)
· Constitutional Council (Declaration and Inauguration)
· Observers (from several IEC approved organizations)
· The Ivorian people
· The Ivorian army
· Sovereignty of the State
4. Grave breaches of the international community
· Sequestration of Bakayoko
· Choi’s mistake in going beyond his rights and obligations
· The certification of final results is done by the CC and not by the IEC which proclaims temporary results
· The United Nations Charter has not been applied
5. Ouattara as a rebel in the republic
· Alleged supporter and financier of the rebels' coup of 1999 and the 2002 rebellion
· The media Coup d’état (Announcement on foreign media and outside of the IEC or CC headquarters)
· The forced Investiture on paper and at the rebel’s HQ
· Plan for CI destruction (the rumor mill has never been so strong with all sorts of allegations floating through SMS and Internet sites: army chief in custody, northerners chased in Abidjan, president on leave, president supporters hiding etc.)
· Intoxication and communication War: Divisive themes on foreign media and local newspapers, false claims and partisan journalism (not fact based)
· Results Proclamation on illegal websites (www.votci.net; www.presidentielle2010.co.nr; www.lesgrandesoreilles.com ) as soon as Monday 29 November when the official structures were still counting votes.
· Participation rate is 70% instead of the abnormal rate 85% declared by M. Bakayoko, which provides for a number of ‘new’ votes unaccounted for
· 8 out of 20 regions for Ouattara (participation up to 99% participation and 100% of victory
· Election irregularities throughout the north. (Regions were Ouattara wins with giant scores)
This brings the following questions:
* Why such a rush to announce results when the consensus was not reached by all parties?
* Why force pre-agreed results trough all media when counting was still going on?
* How do we reconcile these numeric inconsistencies on participation rate and voters total?
* Why is the International Community led by France so resistant to listening to the other side of the story?
* Why is it repeated that the CC is for one party when the IEC is clearly not independent and nobody states that?
* Why are the violence acts in the north not condemned and minimized when all the parties know for a fact that armed rebels in a region can influence voting patterns?
* Why is the opposition stubbornly trying to be divisive and creating a theory of chaos when everybody sees a town back to work and anxious to be over and done with the process peacefully?
6. Why CI should be assisted in this election crisis
· Major Strategic and Economical Role of Ivory Coast in West Africa
· Reinforcement and enhancement of democracy and of the rule of Law: The CC is not an ad-hoc institution but one that has been in existence for over a decade. Why is it contested now when elections results are not in favor of the opposition candidate?
· Extortion against population: the past 8 years have been an example of what CI should not be in the northern part
o Absence of state law and representatives
o Absence of citizen and goods protection: none of the goods seized by the rebellion have been given back despite the 2007 Peace Agreement
o Armed rebels are still managing and controlling the region
o All the infrastructures have been systematically destroyed: hospitals, schools, industries, farms etc.
o The rule of terror in those regions can easily be attested by religious leaders and NGOs and is in strong contrast with what is going on in the Southern regions
o Despite this absence of the rule of law, the government throughout this period has provided water and electricity.
· Al-Qaeda close to Ivory Coast
o Mr Ouattara has introduced religion as a basis for his elimination on 1995, where the basis was more citizenship and loyalty to the state as he had served under Burkina Faso in previous roles
o This generated support from all neighboring Muslim populations and extremist leaders in mosques do not hesitate to ask their worshipers to support the Muslim<>
o Al Qaeda has been making inroads in West Africa up to Mali and should not be allowed to progress any further
o Extremist leaders are looking for this opportunity to create mass support
o Lebanese Hezbollah is already present in the country thru the strong community established locally
· Africans in general are less and less supportive of international diktats in choosing their leaders, their policies and their way of living.
o Important that the International community be seen as bi-partisan
o France has not been fair historically in CI and their role in 2002 and 2004 is still perceived as colonial
o Future leaders have to be strong and seen as resisting these diktats, despite the ever-growing pressure to obey and be submissive
o Facts spreading worldwide on Internet and thru email and SMS allow people to be well informed and to make their own choice.
o The Rule of Truth can no longer be avoided and hidden. It is an expectation by all.