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Gambia committed to finding solutions in Ivory Coast

Dec 31, 2010, 11:23 AM | Article By: Picture: Dr. Njogu Bah

The Gambia government Tuesday issued a statement reiterating its commitment to fully partake in all peaceful initiatives, at all levels, aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire.

The statement was read on national television and on its behalf by Dr Njogu Bah, the Secretary General Office of the President and Head of the Civil Service.

In the statement, the Gambia government declared that it does not subscribe to the use of force or any resort to violence to solve the crisis, following the disputed election results, as that would be interfering in the internal affairs of a member state which, the statement said, is illegal under both the ECOWAS and AU Charters.

Below is the full text of the statement:

The Government of the Republic of The Gambia hereby informs members of the diplomatic corps in The Gambia, as well as the diplomatic missions accredited to The Gambia but with residence outside territory of The Gambia, representations of international organizations, and the general public as follows:

It will be recalled that a few days ago, an Extraordinary Meeting of Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was convened in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to discuss the political impasse in the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. 

The Abuja meeting concluded with the Heads of State present in Abuja agreeing to assume all means necessary, including the use of military force, to compel the government headed by the incumbent president of Cote d’Ivoire to relinquish political power.

The Government of the Republic of The Gambia has serious reservations about the final outcome of the Extraordinary Meeting and, therefore, opposes it given the apparent adverse consequences that could emanate from the implementation of the decision of the use of military force to compel the incumbent government in Cote d’Ivoire to hand over political power.

The Gambia Government does not subscribe to the use of force or resort to violence to solve disputed election results as that is interfering in the internal affairs of a member state, which is illegal under both the ECOWAS and AU Charters.

ECOWAS, therefore, has no legal mandate to intervene militarily to topple the current Government in Cote d’Ivoire.  Also there are many questions that ECOWAS should answer before they can claim any moral authority in this situation:

Why didn’t ECOWAS intervene when the rebels invaded Cote d’Ivoire in 2003, which led to the civil war that killed thousands of innocent people?  These are the same rebels that are claiming victory to an election that has been decided by a constitutional court. 

In all Francophone Africa, the constitutional courts have the final decision in the event of elections disputes. In Cote d’Ivoire’s case, the court ruled, and ECOWAS is not accepting that ruling only because of pressure from some Western powers whose vested interests in the natural resources of Cote d’Ivoire is an open secret.

We remember in the United States of America of a presidential race that was decided by the Supreme Court, and it was accepted. Why can’t ECOWAS and the international community accept the decision of the constitutional court of Cote d’Ivoire?

Guinea Bissau has faced a fair share of coup and assassinations in the recent past. ECOWAS has never intervened to put an end to the carnage and impunity in Guinea Bissau. Why didn’t ECOWAS intervene in Guinea Conakry to put an end to the former criminal government of Captain Musa Dadis Camara that ended up slaughtering many people including innocent women and children?  Even after this horrible crime, ECOWAS never intervened militarily to topple that criminal regime. Why did it take ECOWAS so long to intervene in Sierra Leone after witnessing thousands of innocent people being butchered, maimed and raped in their thousands?  ECOWAS should have intervened from the outset in Sierra Leone; that could have saved thousands of innocent lives, but No!

ECOWAS, which has been established to bring economic prosperity to the West African people, will not be allowed to be turned into a war machine to embark on military adventures in the pursuit of foreign interests that are very detrimental, to say the least, to Africa in general, and West Africa, in particular.

“African countries should be aware of those neocolonialist powers who are only interested in setting up puppet regimes in natural resource endowed countries, in order to continue the daylight robbery of our resources.  It is high time that foreign powers are forced to respect the independence and sovereignty of African countries; as well stop them from interfering in our internal electoral processes.  Africans should put an end to this dictatorship of the neocolonialist and racist powers deciding for us who should lead African countries.

The people of Cote d’Ivoire should know that if they opt for war, their own kit and kin are those that are going to be killed. They would kill each other just for the sake of a few individuals who are only interested in assuming political power at any cost, disregarding the terrible price that the citizens of Cote d’Ivoire will have to pay.

The Gambia Government urges the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) to tread on the path of dialogue in a bid to avert bloodshed, and the possible recurrence of civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, with envisaged attendant consequences on the stability of the West African sub-region.

“Being a proponent of peace throughout the world, and a staunch adherent to the principles of peaceful resolution to all crises as the only solution beneficial to humanity, the government of the Republic of The Gambia’s position on the current political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire is that only dialogue between the people of Cote d’Ivoire, and assisted by well-meaning members of the international community and not exploiters, would bring about a solution that would be in the interest of both Cote d’Ivoire and the West African sub-region. 

The Gambia Government stands ready to support any action or steps being taken to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

It is, therefore, in the spirit of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states as enshrined in the ECOWAS Charter that we urged ECOWAS to bring both sides to the negotiating table rather than take sides in a matter that only the people of Cote d’Ivoire, using their constitutional provisions, can solve peacefully.

In this regard, the Government of the Republic of The Gambia declares its total disagreement to the use of force, and reiterates its commitment to fully partake in all peaceful initiatives at all levels, aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the Cote d’Ivoire crisis.