May 6, 2011, 12:08 PM
We consider the on-going political impasse in Ivory Coast as shocking, and an insult to all those promoting the democratic dispensation witnessed in Africa in recent times.
While the country's independent electoral commission has declared veteran opposition leader Alassan Ouattara winner of the second round of the election, the constitutional court has overturned the verdict of the electoral commission, and ruled in favour of Gbagbo.
Consequently, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassan Quattara were each subsequently sworn in as the President of the country. So, we now have the peculiar situation, in Ivory Coast, where the country has two heads of state.
This development reminds us of the earlier post-election crises in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
We wish to state, in no uncertain terms, that democracy and the rule of law must prevail in Ivory Coast, and to warn that those whose actions may plunge the nation into another civil war would be made to pay for their crimes before the International Criminal Court, at the Hague.
We recall that the ICC deputy prosecutor has warned that the court is watching the events unfolding in the West African nation.
Several countries and international organisations - including the US, the UN, France and the IMF - have backed Ouattara as the true winner of last Sunday’s run-off.
It is our conviction that African leaders must be ready to leave office, when their citizens decide to part company with them, and stop making themselves the laughing stock of the world.
Gbagbo, who has been declared as the loser by the election Commission, must accept the decisions of Ivorians, listen to the international community and ensure that peace prevails in his country, which over the years has seen the needless killing of innocent citizens.
Indeed, the current political impasse in Ivory Coast could not have come at a worst time, that is, shortly after the dust caused by another dispute over election results in Guinea Conakry has started settling.
The international community, especially the ECOWAS, should closely monitor developments in the country and leave no stone unturned in its efforts to defend the democratic gains and maintain stability in Ivory Coast.
We, therefore, add our voice to that of those calling on the population to remain calm, while efforts are being made by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, an envoy of the African Union, to restore harmony in the country.
The people of Ivory Coast are, no doubt, tired of the political bickering and violence, and peace must be given a chance. Enough is enough!
“Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.”