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Time is running out

Jan 20, 2011, 10:54 AM

How distressing is it to once again read that former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is still holding on to power, and showing no sign of letting up.

Despite international pressure and sanctions, Gbagbo, who lost to opposition leader Alassan Ouattara, who the international community recognizes as the legitimate winner of the November polls, is making mediation efforts by the African Union impossible.

Alassan Ouattara was proclaimed winner of the poll by the electoral commission, and is internationally recognised as president-elect, but Gbagbo has refused to go, alleging the vote was rigged. He maintains control of the army, much of the cocoa sector and state institutions.

Whatever the case, Laurent Gbagbo must, as quickly as possible, respect the decision of the Ivorian people, who voted against him, as time is running out.

Failing to do so will lead to the loss of lives of innocent Ivorian citizens, as has already been happening.

There has been lots of efforts to peacefully resolve the stand-off between the two rival claimants, with the risk of sending the world’s top cocoa grower back into a civil war.

Indeed, the latest comments by Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga, the African Union mediator, that an African effort to mediate Ivory Coast’s disputed poll had failed, is of great concern, and the crisis calls for an urgent solution to save lives.

Ivorians have had enough of violence, and Gbagbo must put this at the back of his mind and save Ivorians from further violence.

Meanwhile, we hope and continue to pray, that the African Union, ECOWAS and the international community find a peaceful and lasting solution to the political impasse in Ivory Coast.

“There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”

A.S. Muste