It is deplorable to observe that there have been many calls for military intervention to solve the disputed outcome of the Ivorian presidential elections of November 28th, 2010. Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president, and Alassane Ouattara, the presidential opponent, have both demonstrated a certain level of irresponsibility in not letting legal institutions to be transparent in the electoral process and particularly its contested results.
Those from the international community who have sided with one camp to condemn the other have all together forgotten Ivorian population’s interests in their consideration. Ouattara’s camp and its supporters who have been calling for military intervention to oust Laurent Gbagbo don’t seem to care about the welfare of the people of that country who would be caught in the struggle, or any disastrous consequences that such intervention would have on the region.
On the one hand, after ten years in power, it should normally be for Laurent Gbagbo time to give space to another political leader. He has done his time. What he hasn’t been able to deliver during that period, he cannot achieve it by staying longer. On the other the Nordic rebellion and other political groups that Alassane Ouattara represents, despite some genuine grievances they spearhead shouldn’t be rewarded suspiciously through a contested vote for having created havoc in the Ivorian country.
Lessons from other African countries which have experienced civil wars in their time (Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc) should teach African nations and Africans in general that rebel movements, though they may sometime be the only alternative to any given dictatorship or discriminatory regime, should not be seen or encouraged to be considered as the legitimate way to get into power. Experience has demonstrated that no rebel movement had transformed itself from a dictatorial leadership prevailing into bush struggles into a democratic system of society once into power.
Ivory Coast has been damaged socially and economically by its civil war, which also saw the country partitioned into two. This regrettable situation has been partially imposed on the Ivorian population by greedy and selfish politicians helped by external and imperialist forces which don’t care about Africans as human beings entitled to a decent life like other citizens around the world. Considered the devastating and unpredictable consequences of any military intervention in resolving the Ivorian post electoral crisis, we, Africans in the Diaspora and other goodwill people from different corners of the world,
- Call for a stop to any use of military force to settle issues of the present Ivorian political crisis or intention of sending into exile the incumbent president; African leaders need to learn to live alongside their political opponents; that is one of the ways to experience tolerance which is very indispensable in politics
- Invite the protagonists to pursue a negotiated and political solution, with the help of African countries and mechanisms
- Suggest a power sharing scenario for a period of eighteen months during which there would be continued presence of UN peacekeepers, demobilisation of rebels and enhanced financial, legal and expertise support for a strong civil society
- Propose another election at the end of the power sharing period where current protagonists need to find in their respective camps other contenders than themselves. Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara should be invited not to participate in the new political contest because of their regrettable involvement in the unrest that Ivory Coast has been the theatre for the last ten years.
- Consider that African leaders who have been in power for ten years at least should give space to others not supported or backed by rebel movements through well organised and transparent elections;
- Advise Ivorian institutions and people to settle all grievances presented by rebels through dialogue with the help of other African countries and international community
- Invite the international community through the UN peacekeepers and other representatives to act responsibly by not siding with any of the Ivorian political protagonist groups, and avoid to be used for selfish interest of external powers
Only those who haven’t been personally victims of any war can call for one. There is nothing like experience.