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What lessons can Africa learn from Ivory Coast crisis?

BBC AfricaHYS team | 17:18 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

As the EU prepares to impose travel sanctions on Laurent Gbagbo, Africa Have Your Say is discussing the long term implications of the crisis in Ivory Coast.
Laurent Gbagbo 

Will voters in other African countries feel confident about their own upcoming elections, given the process in Ivory Coast has gone so wrong? And what will be the repercussions on Ivory Coast's neighbours?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 21 December at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    None whatsoever - and this is an utterly pointless question, in any event. Because as the BBC must know, our rulers didn't voluntarily embrace the idea of democratic elections: it was imposed on them by so-called aid donors (I shall not bother readers with my reasons for using the term "so-called" here). Which itself explains why these rulers vry seldom go beyond the usual fraud-ridden charade of periodic "elections" aimed solely at presenting a facade of democratic legitimacy - aimed solely at keeping the "donors" themselves happy. Ever since they supposedly abandoned the idea of military rule, this has been the case in almost every general "election" on the continent. You only need to recall the ugly events in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria to realize that Mr Gbabo's self-serving antics have become the norm: he knows he'll soon be invited by the same "donors" to join a "government of national unity" at the very least (as happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe), and all will be forgiven.

    What "lesson" can possibly be "learnt" from what has become an predictable (if tragic and shameful) phenomenon, therefore?

  • Comment number 2.

    Liberian must play significant role in restoring peace in the French Ivory Coast no matter what!
    The question is will imposition of travel sanctions on Laurent Gbagbo affect only he and his families without affecting the innocent civilian population? If such sanctions will affect the civilian population in Ivory Coast negatively the entire purpose is defected. Another issue that must be looked at is what will happen in surrounding countries like Liberia and others if all hell breaks open in Ivory Coast? Is Liberia prepared to take in the size of a refugee population bigger is population? What are the draw backs? The situation in the French Ivory Coast is extraordinarily precarious because lives of innocent people especially so remnant of Liberian refugees continue to still live in cities and villages in that country. Ivory Coast current situation is worth watching. While it is true that Ivory is a sovereign nation, Liberia cannot sit and watch her closet door neighbor disintegrate into a country of lawlessness. Doing so would mean putting Liberia at risk. The fact is Liberia is a very small country without the capacity to house even a million refugees due to lack of infrastructure. Besides, mass poverty, and a broken justice system in a country such as Liberia makes the country unhealthy to hold any refugee population. Liberia’s justice systems is already not respected by its citizens because of allegation of the presence of war crimes suspects running the entire show of the executive and justice system in that country. Like the Ivoirians, the possibility of Liberians taking the law into their hands should any political party question the results of the elections in 2011 is very high. The outcome of Ivory Coast current situation could be used to deter those who wish to use conflict as a means to ascend or stay in power in west Africa. Also the area of Liberia is 111,369 sq.km (43,000 sq.mi) slightly larger than the state of Ohio in the USA. Liberia’s population is only 3.955 million while the Ivory Coast area is 322, 500 sq.km. (124,500 sq.mi) with population of 18,900,000! If the situation in Ivory continues, Elections results in West Africa will never be taking seriously anymore. Also, Liberia should expect at least 3, 0000,000 to 4, 0000,000 refugees entering the country. This means poor sanitation, epidemic outbreak, increase crime rate, and over population. Liberia being a member of the international community and a very close neighbor to the Ivory Coast must play a proactive as well as a caring-member role in resolving the situation. The developments in Ivory Coast are followed closely by many Liberians and by public opinion, in particular in West Africa. Liberia is still in a post-conflict situation and undergoing difficult democratic transition. The outcome of the present constitutional crisis in Ivory Coast must be looked at critically but with objectivity by the Liberian government. The response of the Liberian government to this crisis is vital. Liberia must play a major role as a regional champion of democracy. Liberia must contribute to a peaceful resolution to the Ivorian situation because this is the right thing to do at this time. Also because the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast is “the highest decision making body” in that country, it must also play an important role in solving the current problem amicably between the two rivals to avoid citizen’s lack of trust and confidence in the justice system of the country even after the conflict is resolved. While the elections in the Ivory Coast may have been held under democratic conditions, I am tempted to believe that members of the election commission as well as the Supreme Court may have complicated the process due to conflict of interest as a result of party loyalty. Such difficult conditions could not have produced a transparent election result as have been claim by some members of the international community. The word democracy must be clearly defined as it relates to the Ivorian situation. After all, members of the democratic institutions in Ivory Coast are all members of either of the parties in question; thus it makes it very difficult to call the process a free and fair democratic process due largely to conflict of interest. At this time it would be a wise idea for a non- Ivorian independent body of investigators from countries that have not recognized the two political candidates to be put in place to mediate the current situation in the French Ivory as well as create an atmosphere for the authentication of the actual results of the election.

  • Comment number 3.

    Voters will feel confident of their votes if the processing of their votes is being handled by the electorate merely. Confident, they (voters) will always have, once their votes are being counted by the electorate and the results are announced by electorate only.

  • Comment number 4.

    It seems each time the African continent moves forward as a progressive force, something happens to set us back! Gbagbo is an usurper, a democrat turned dictator but can we blame him when we have watched Kenya and Zimbabwe turn their noses up at constitutionality and the rule of law, fairness and Equity. In both cases, foreign powers set a precedent and I am afraid its a fashionable trend that looks like staying![Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 5.

    The problem in Ivory Coast will have no repercussions on voters in other African countries about their own upcoming elections because each African country has a peculiar problem. The problem of Ivory Coast is mainly due to external interference trying to dictate to and preventing a state from asserting itself. Let me correct the impression that the election process in Ivory Coast went so wrong, NO, nothing is wrong with the election process. What went wrong in Ivory Coast was the inability of the international community to take GBAGBO’S COMPLAINT of massive fraud in the rebelled held north into recognition; the north is his opponent’s strong hold and naturally they could have done one or two things to frustrate those that could have voted for Gbagbo. Gbagbo’s camp wasn’t given a hearing, instead the UN hastily announced the result proclaiming Gbagbos opponent the winner. From the action of the UN and utterances coming from France, its obvious that they have already even before the elections decided whom they want. GBAGBO deserve a kind of respect from UN and FRANCE, this is the point Gbagbo and Ivory Coast is making.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    The only two countries that I know of that have had free and fair elections over the last number of years in Africa are in the nations of Botswana and South Africa. The rest - for better or worse, have yet to show any interest in what democracy is. Tribalism, Colonialism, Exploitation or whatever excuse you have has rendered the masses into enslaved afterthoughts of the rich, greedy elites running their countries. Gbagbo, Mugabe, Mubarek are simply modern incarnations of Banda, Mabuto and Kuanda. Africa needs more of those like Mandela, Nkrumah and Kenyatta who have seen that violence does not work versus those many who beat the shield of "What's in it for me?" I fear for the nobility of the common African. "Nkosi Sikeleli Africa" and Amen.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wonder, even before Kenya's, Zimbabwe's and now Ivory Coast's electoral chaos, whether there has ever been any country in Africa which was confident about their own election. Elections in Africa have been a matter of life and death and troubles are usually felt way before the voting day comes. The persons running for office will rally their tribal base, play up their fears about what will happen when the other tribes get the "highest office" in the land and why they should be stopped by all means.
    Electoral commissioners and judges are usually compromised. They are supposed to be neutral to safeguard the process but as appointees of the interested parties, they throw their core duties out of the window and side with their appointers no matter what.
    The incumbents always have the advantage of controlling state apparatus like security, public communication and authority. When you have that, you will stay by all means.
    Ivory Coast's situation confirmed something for us all: the transition of power in Africa is not as secure in any country as the idea of democracy would like us to believe. Transition has been the only point that African dictators have not been able to fake.
    Ivory Coast's repercussions go beyond its neighbours. Each and every country in Africa will be affected by what happens now and how the world deals with Gbagbo. With the upcoming Ugandan election, Museveni must be all eyes in Ivory Coast. He hasnt said a word about it, because he is most likely going to do the same. I dont see him passing the reins of power to any other person, let alone losing an election.
    There are no good moral lessons to be learned in any African democracy - the governments and oppositions all play major part in dirtying them.
    "When your companion is being shaved, throw some water on your head too," African proverb, it means other democracies should be readying themselves for the same too.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Gbagbo’s intension to hang on power is typical of African leaders. Force is really necessary to push him aside, so that other African leaders will learn. If he is forced to step down, President Paul Biya in Cameroon, will learn a lesson .Biya has been in power for 28 years and things are not moving in Cameroon.Cameroon is going to the poll in 2011. What is wrong with African leaders?

  • Comment number 11.

    This development where most Africa where heads of state have tuned "Election result robbers" is disturbing. Africa is now ruled by individuals devoid of dignity and honesty.This is the greatest threat to peace in Africa.The UN cannot afford to back down this time.I suggest tha[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]t the UN should set up a permenent election commision for Africa which would conduct elections in countries in the continent.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    USE DIPLOMACY INSTEAD OF FORCE WE DONT WANT BLOODSHED .UN SHOUL NOT BE PARTIAL

  • Comment number 14.

    The problem is not with African Voters, The problem is that of our leaders,like Gbagbo, Mugabe and there likes who have failed to come to terms with the changing African wish for Democratic form of electing there leaders. let me assure you that we Africans are determined to keep participating in all elections. we will have our say in who leads us. the likes of Gbagbo will continue to be exposed to the outside world.
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 15.

    I do believe the ivorian election is a very good study case.
    We need to acknowledge what went wrong?
    The fact that these elections were held when the country was not reunified is a crucial element in the post election situation.
    The choice of the members for the "independant electoral commission"is the second cause- this commission should be freed of all political interest.
    The third reason in my view is the way western countries are so quick to choose a winner even before the end of the entire process and can sometime interfere with the results.
    For all the reasons above and much more, africans could easily lose confident in elections- why should cast my vote when the results are made up elsewhere(Congo, Gabon, Togo...)
    Africans should not give up and i believe in this new generation desiring more freedom and balance relationship with "western power", to succed in their quest of fair and true elections.
    Thank you
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 16.

    The timing of the current Ivory Coast post election drama is appropriate if not best for Nigeria. It send a clear signal to candidates that gone are the days of getting away with electoral fraud and all sort of sit-tight system of power. In this same line, the role ECOWAS and AU played for me is very commendable given that Africans has to take the first bold step in condemning what is wrong. That in turn will attract massive support from the International Community as presently seen in the Ivory Coast Crisis.

    However, there are fears of escalating conflict in Ivory Coast is care is not taken. Given that Gbagba has asked the UN peace mission to leave, the question of where lies the authority in Ivory Coast is then under question. Has Gbagbo the authority or Ouattara? If the former does not recognise the latter as the President and with his control over the Army, Ivory Coast might be in for another civil war. The means that external powers might view Gbagbo's authority as constituting terror to the state and Qauttara who is the recognised as the President by all external forces might call on them to intervene. The signals are that France, AU, ECOWAS and largely UN might support him.

    On Nigeria as a power in the region, it comes as two edged sword. If civil war starts in Ivory Coast, it might involve Nigeria to control the region because of the implication it might have on the region. That means that our resources might move to Ivory Coast. This might also create gap for electoral fraud in Nigeria.

  • Comment number 17.

    All leaders aspire to be dictators, they just don't tell you that when you have to vote for them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Africa is just a couple hundred years from the days when survival depended entirely on the elements. The do or die (survival of the fittest) mentality stems from this. Fair play is not a virtue that has been with us for 5000 years. So democracy and democratic practice will take time to evolve here. True if we are lucky and we have a few more Mandela's spread around the place we'd catapult the Democracy agenda, but i think the realistic thing is to try and win in small ways, insist on fairness when the guns are not pointed at our heads (death in these things must never be unavoidable) and keep voting, keep voting and keep voting.

  • Comment number 19.

    Before these few past weeks, i used to see BBC as the most accurate source of information. But having more insight in the ivory coast crisis, one can only be sadened by the way you are covering it. You did'nt pubblish my comment as i expected.
    You want only a one sided debate like 'Gbagbo is blood sucker'. But i hope you moderators are not blinds. Just have a look on Africa, you will that french speaking african, although rich with natural resources , are among the poorest. As long as a dictator hands all the resources of his country to France he is maintain in power.
    SO HOW CAN YOU TALK OF ELECTIONS IN AFRICA WITHOUT MENTIONING THE ROLE OF FRANCE?
    See for instance the case of Pascal Lissouba the former president of Congo who is now a political refugee in the UK. Being the president, he was thrown out just because he wanted to know the quantity of oil extracted daily in his country by ELF.
    Can you moderator, ask to Mr. Gordon not to know the omount of petrol extracted in the UK?
    So please moderators, don't treat africans as babes. Africa is now full of intellectuals. You moderators are doing just like the UN. You want people to act as you want, or their comments won't be publish

  • Comment number 20.

    let us ask ourself first,how did him get to be the President at first,that is what will should asking ourself.i hope Nigeria will not be next,because what all our politicians are talking about is zoning i.e some are saying the presidency should go to the North,while others saying it should go to South,that what really cause ivory coast issue.
    Furthermore,Africa leaders are power drunk.

  • Comment number 21.

    elections in africa is just a test but does not include changing the government by vote they use elections to fool the people and western countries that the country is running on democratic lines
    if the president is lacky he gets the majority and he will continue and if he fails to get majority heuse all means to remain in power [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 22.

    I am writting from Ivory Coast,for the sake of peace and life of ordinary people and let us say the truth,this election has stage very peaceful and won by Dr.Ouatarra fair and wide,it is very bad that Mr.Gbagbo will still taking handing over power this so long to the extent of telling the UN and FRANCH TROOPS to leave Ivory Coast,for the past three days now and we are not sleeping becuase of some military people that come and kill people in diferent area,while goverment of Gbagbo that control army and police impose curfew,please i am using this medium to plead with AU,ECOWAS,to intervain with military intervention becuase Mr.Gbagbo is not the kind of person that will listen or bow becuase of any sorts of sanction,if this trend deos not check this time and i am afraid that Africa hope has dashed,please i am crying to world leader and AU,ECOWAS to come to the rescue of Ivoirian,becuase Liberian and Angolan mecenaries has been hired and use them to kill people in the night,what need now is action and that is Military intervention and that is the only language Gbagbo goverment will understand,please moderator remove my email address for my security reason,God help Ivory Coast and africa in General.

  • Comment number 23.

    elections in africa is a weast of time and money we should use that money for other development things instead of buying materials

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    The attempt by Mr. Laurent Gbagbo to defy the will of the people of Ivory Coast has a positive side to it. It shows that some of the Independent Electoral Commissions are unwilling to condone and connive with incumbent presidents to steal the mandate of the people. We are fortunate that the Electoral Commission with the support of the UN decided to release the results that reflect the choice of the people. We in the sub-region of West Africa should show interest in the election process by voting based on the merit of candidates and monitor the outcome of the elections. I am convinced that the decision of the Electoral Commission in Ivory Coast to declare the true results will inspire other Electoral Commissions to do same regardless of the consequences.

    Democracy is evolving in West Africa and I am convinced that over time the situation will improve. I am an eternal optimist. A few countries in the sub-region such as Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, are trail blazers and will help influence change in this part of Africa.

    I will, however, emphasize that Gbagbo should not be honoured with a power-sharing government. If this bad example is set, it will serve as a terrible precedent in the sub-region and consquently mar the evolving democracy.

  • Comment number 26.

    If the international community hesitate to take action or carry out justice over this nasty issue, that means African leadership and democracy will soon become a child,s play, despite Gbagbo,s back-up, he is too small to cause secession and political unrest in Africa.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    we only hear threats of financial sanctions against a leader when he is asked to leave power. It is an irony as before the poor African are never told about their leaders having huge accounts in London, Paris , Zurich, New York u can name the rest.

    Africans have never been allowed to have a true democracy, one that is grass rooted and can rely on the support of those who built it (bottom-up democracy). they are mostly told how democracy works and how it allows for economic liberalization. yet the common man in the streets sees nothing more than elites who serve multinational interest rather than their country men own interest.

    These despots are all over africa, from egypt to cameroon to zimbabwe, they have served their western masters, now their days are running out. the chinese are coming into africa, europe/america needs to wake up, their strategy of support for dictators who promise stability in the days of repression are over. expose them and help african built a lasting democracy. it may just be the best legacy u leave in africa. because now it is not a good one, that is why people like gbagbo use pan africanism to try and rally support because there are a sizeable proportion in africa who are ready to stand behind anyone who is anti west. play the mugabe trump card.

  • Comment number 29.

    Two main lessons,
    One common issue arising from this election and previous ones in Kenya and Zimbambwe is that African States are as artificial today as they were when created by conialists. In a way nationalism is easily equated to tribalism or ethinicity. Any body outside the tribe or ethinic grouping is foreign. In fact most african rulers directly responsible for ethinicizing their countries. We must recognise this and deal with it other than hidding behind artificial borders created by people whose aim was more on area than the people within the boundaries.

    Two Would Ivory Coast have performed better if the late president had not held on to power until death? Perhaps not

  • Comment number 30.

    Question (1) how did we get two captains in a ship? No ship with two captains ever sailed peacefully?
    Question (2) why is the phenomenon of clinging on to power by all means majorly found in the the tropical regions of the world?

  • Comment number 31.

    It is a trend that most of our Africa Leaders are following and are also afraid of the step they have set. They are afraid of their shadows.

    I cannot imagine, Gbagbo is considering UN Force to be consider as Rabel if not leaving Ivory Coast.

    I am a little bit gittering of our own election in Sierra Leone come 2012. The Mano River Union Countries are not setting a good democratic process. I am a bit gittering.

    One other solution can be let Gbagbo be in peace in Ivory Coast.

  • Comment number 32.

    Let Africans not be naive by Gbagbo's actions, he is not the only african leader who has suprised the Africans and the rest of the world but the point is that its time to replace all old regimes in Africa because we have learnt nothing only corruption,bribes, sticking on power. undemocratic and working for their families not for the cause of African development...

    So all the youth in Africa its is time to control our countrie.

    Alex Binta Magezi Uganda

  • Comment number 33.

    Is Gbagbo right? Yes and no. He is right in the sense that Ivorians should decide who their president is. Not " London, Paris or Washington). Why the Western Countries think africa has always to turn them for guidance. After all these so called democraties started all the ills of humanity.
    Gbagbo is wrong for hanging too long on power and refusing to compromise. After ten years of ruining the country's economy/society, he should know that it is TIME to to GO.

  • Comment number 34.

    The other question is: Will voters in other European countries feel confident about their own upcoming elections, given the process in Belarus has gone so wrong?
    Note that the 'winner' of the Belarus election has been in power for nearly two decades!!
    The Ivorian issue is peculiar to the Ivory Coast, and must NOT be used as a yardstick to measure every country in Africa.

  • Comment number 35.

    The international community especially the west have made Africans lost faith in elections. Tell me which African leader besides Mandela, has actually won a free and fair election? We don't have elections in Africa, we have an occassion which comes up here and then to satisfy our donors

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    I strongly oppose African leaders who want to create feudal republics and rule to the grave. They must put and abide by mechanisms of smooth transfer of power. We are tired of them. But that apart, there is also need for deeper analysis of problem, like that in Ivory Coast, rather than jumping to haste and superficial solutions of external powers, the UN and leaders like Oginga Odinga. Surprisingly, Odinga should know best as he faced exactly the same situation in Kenya. The underlying issues in Ivory Coast can be similar to most African states, and they are historical as most African countries were artificially fabricated for colonial expediency. They have since been adjusting to have consensus in diversity, with some cases harbouring ingredients of genocide. The biggest problem is the tendency to superimpose conventional models in a "one fit all" style, and such is the "multi-party elections equals democracy" model, with its "majority equals winner", thus "take it all". Look at the division of Ivory coast into two nearly equal identities, North versus South! In such a case, do political parties represent cross-cutting classes like Republicans vs Democrats in the US, or ethnic identities? In Odinga's case, it was the Luo versus Kikuyu; in Rwanda, the Tusti versus Hutu; in Sudan, the Arabs north versus South. Sometimes Africa is despised, but the same was Palestine or Ireland vs Britain, so it is never easy. In Ivory Coast, Gbagbo gets 46% or 51 versus Outtara's 54% or 49%. The margin of error is so close that simply handing victory to either "to take all", can mean alot for the equally sizable ethnic group. How, therefore, do we build consensus. I miss the wisdom of Nyerere in stitching Tz; Clinton in Ireland and what Kofi Anan did for Kenya. Let us bring them on a round table, and find a formula of sharing.

  • Comment number 39.

    i know some people like Mr. Bernard are concerned more about liberia, which is true and i cannot dispute the fact is one of the neighboring countries but Liberia is not the only the country shares border with Ivory Coast we have Mali, senegal, Guinea, Ghana and so on to host refugees if that is the case. However,as a formal peace Education teacher, Peace always start with force. That is the first step in conflict management continuum therefore, i surport the spokesman for Mr. Ouattara for UN security Councilto fufill its mandate by forcing Mr. Gbagbo to step down. One thing most of African politicians are power greed and everyone wants to follow suit Morgabe and is a poor representation of the people you stand for and fade away your country's repretation in the international forum at the same time disquarlifies you as a civilize country. This also kills down your political career. Who knows, you might win in the coming election if you desire to become Mr President again. My only advise to Mr. Gbagbo is that he needs to step down and work hard as a patriotic citizen so he can prove his capability to move Ivory Coast further.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem with Cote D'Ivoire is common with most Black African countries. Africans cultural background has a great influence on their politics. African tradition holds that the only way to give up power is death. An example of this is King Paul of Cameroon. Moving side by side with this is the issue of inheritance. One does not need to organize an election to hand over power to his son. If anybody doubts this then send a telegram to late Kings Bongo and Nyasengbe of Gabon and Togo respectively. Chieftainships and "Fondoms" are Africa's model of leadership. Reasons why they would not give up power once they are crowned.
    History teaches us that those who get power very easily would hardly give it up. Trace King Paul's (of Cameroon) and Gbagbo's rise to power and it would be understood.

  • Comment number 42.

    Is Laurent Gbagbo bigger than Ivory Coast?

  • Comment number 43.

    Does Elections really matter in Africa taking into consideration the many troubles of past elections, and now the case of Ivory Coast. Many African countries are going to hold their elections next year…more gloom and doom? People in these countries that are holding their elections next year are aware of the approaching doom but are helpless to avoid it. So pathetic!
    As far as I am concern, elections in Africa are more violence than peace, more under-development than development. I see it as smokescreen by African politicians where the helpless voters are abused, misused….worst still, got killed. Why should we have elections if the answer is misery?
    I feel particularly perturbed with this chapter that Gbagbo is writing again in our continent’s history book. We have seen in recent past, where election outcomes are trampled upon by ruling presidents or parties by refusing defeat and, simply quit their offices…they instead went ahead and generate violence and endangered the lives of the very people whom they took oath to serve and defend. Look at the cases of Kenya and Zimbabwe, a lot of people died….for what reason, DEMOCRACY? Should we still use the western characteristics of democracy, or should we design our own democracy that suits well with our features. Because we cannot have it by the western standards, we have seen new awkward developments in Africa’s democracy…constitutions altered, Presidents and Prime Ministers coming up in countries where they use to have just Presidents. So why do we do the quick fixes and later the system collapses again just in the name of “peaceful resolution”?
    I am currently in China, a country with the largest population on planet earth….and they have a different democracy with Chinese characteristics. They have a well organized representative democracy that takes into consideration the societal makeup of their country and with a term of office for government officials…starting from the President, Vice President, Premier and Vice Premier. The country is peaceful and they are progressing in all areas of their society....the government is working very hard to improve the living conditions of its people, and also improving on their human rights records.
    Of course, they have their minuses, but their pluses well outweighed their minuses. Just as Elizabeth Taylor the British novelist noted "Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells."
    China, from nothing in 35 years ago, to attain the world’s second economy after America, is as a result of its organized system of governance.
    Please don’t misunderstood me to be an anti-democracy, I am only questioning the part of holding elections which is one key characteristic or tenet of democracy. Democracy as a theory on paper and practiced in the west is good, but in Africa it’s a SHAME and SHAM!
    I am not sure we will ever get a “one size fits all” kind of democracy. Don’t we think it’s time for Africa to have it own form of democracy? Please share your thoughts with me.

  • Comment number 44.

    ...what is happening in Ivory cost in Africa is another sad example to confirm the backwardness of most countries there. You get these leaders that think they are the only ones with good ideas and a bunch of opportunists that surround them. If a leader stays on for more than two five year terms in this century, you know that country is being held at ransom and really backward and has no hope for the majority of its people. The constitutions of most African countries can be tweaked anytime and the courts do no have much credibility due to fear and corruption and greed too.
    Just because the soldiers seem to support one or that you can shoot does not make you the best economist and social administrator. Once soldiers get involved too much in politics, then you know things have gone awry.
    They will sit on the tanks and think that is how to run foreign affairs etc. However if they do what they are trained to do and have a sense of how far their responsibilities go, that would be great.
    USA and UK and south Africa, though with some flaws themselves and a few other countries, to date offer the very best examples of accountability in the world. You see strong leaders like Bush, Brown, Mandela, Thabo Mbeki step aside--then you know there is progress in those countries. Tanzania is also a great example is East Africa despite the monopoly of one party. However,many other like Uganda, Kenya, Ivory cost, Rwanda and the like--one has to be so naive to believe there is any credible democracy there regarding presidential election. Some in the population are also to blame because they just follow some leaders like a cult and the leaders put on military fatigues as if that adds anything other than myth to their ability. When it comes to voting they just vote without any conviction-but gets easily bribed with little things like lunch and soap!
    Examples: Libya, Egypt, North Korea have set undesirable examples that perhaps look great to the cult minded leaders on the Africa continent and their admirers/followers.

  • Comment number 45.

    I plead with my fellow african brothers and sisters to stand up. Where are all the law abiding, noble, open minded, tolerant leaders. It IS possible to be principled, attached to your community, respectful of other communities, resolute, charismatic, visionary...All at the same time. Look to examples of other post colonial nations that today stand up to their former masters as equals...South Africa, India, Phillipines. These are countries much bigger and more divided than Ivory Coast, yet they trusted their leaders to care for all of them. Why not give President Outtarra the chance he has earned, don't worry...you are not alone. Ask for help Ivorians! Peaceful Non Violent Disobedience for all those without children and dependents. Gbagbo will be a forgotten speck in the sands of time, but your voices will echo through the ages

  • Comment number 46.

    Elections in Ivory Coast will have Avery big impact on African voters, this shows that all African leaders are the same when it becomes to power, they rig the elections and also intimidate voters, this has given Africans to become strong and fearless after the elections that they go out on the streets no matter what will happen to them,
    For example in Kenya and Zimbabwe, last year people went on streets because they totally disagreed with electro commission results, then today it is in ivory coast,
    Next year it will be in Uganda. This is because president Museveni has been rigging elections and the same time intimidating voters who not supporting his party; this has also included terrible human rights abuses done by his soldiers and police plus security agents. Dictators like Museveni are always power hungry that is why he is too supportive to security agents who committed these atrocities , for example in the past elections so many people were tortured ,
    The international community are always on their side though they see they know what is going in African countries. This is the time of change in Africa that is leaders refuse to leave, we have to send them by force and this will happen soon in Uganda because we are tired of dictatorship.
    In acountry like Uganda, we need to do the same as it has been done in Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

    Ddungu Musa Evans
    Ugandan

  • Comment number 47.

    The Ivory Coast situation is a real disgrace to African politics. What lessons do we learn from it? The real lessons will be learnt based on how the problem is solved, who will be involved in finding the solution. I am interested to see what pragmatic steps other African countries will take to restore order and sanity in Ivory Coast. This is because most of them, including my country Zambia, have been caught in similar circumstances before. In 2001, an opposition leader in Zambia is widely believed to have won the election but never became president of Zambia despite the evidence available for all to see and this situation has continued to date where the incumbent uses their position to go through. After being declared winner in controversial polls, you see the haste (few hours) in being sowrn in just to assume the powers needed to protect the position. What a shame!

  • Comment number 48.

    I am really disgusted reading some commentators referring to Ivory Coast as French Ivory Coast. Its like referring to Nigeria as British Nigeria. This might as well be an eye opener as to why that country as well as many other African countries are getting it wrong everytime. I am yet to see a situation where an African election won by a non Western backed candidate is considered Free and fair. If Western power could for once put their interests aside and just remain neutral, it could help. Taking sides overtly the way they do in Ivory Coast today does not necessarily favour Mr Ouattarra who could be seen as a stooge or a traitor. It is actually encouraging Mr Gbagbo's claim's national sovereignty and patriotism. I hope reason will pravail and that the common Ivorian man and woman will not be the greatest loser. Again, I dont share the pessimism that getting it wrong in Ivory Coast will mean getting it wrong elsewhere in Africa the same way that getting it wrong in Bielarus has not meant getting it wrong elsewhere in Europe. Afterall, Ghana and Mali and more recetly Guinee have been able to change governments in spite of the quirks in kenya and Zimbabwe. So why should Ivory Coast be different?

  • Comment number 49.

    The current situation in La cote d'ivoire shows the greed of many african leaders. Gbagbo 10 years in power - show the progress made during thise period.

    Gbagbo was happy with the methods used during the first round - why? As long as he was in the lead no problem. He thinks he is the only one qualified to rule Ivory coast. Shame and disgrace.

    The Constitutional Court (Unconstitutional Court) or whatever you call that body made up of hand-picked Gbagbo cronies is just as guilty as Gbagbo for the lives of innocent people lost. African leaders are often quick to invoke the sovereignty clause but they forget that their actions in their so-called sovereign states has serious repercussions for their neighbours. During the civil war refugees and guns/arms flow into other countries jeopardising their security. Gbagbo must go. Ecowas, AU, EU, US and UN stop barking. It is time to bite. There should be no hiding place for Gbagbo and like minded people. The should pass through the ICC-Hague on the way to been locked up for life. neighbouring

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    the same constitutioanl court said some paragragh that in case there was a problem in some certain place during election that the constituitional court will be mandated to call for rerun within 45dats why is that not the case of ivory coast.
    in the protest of the thursday and friday before my very eyes two people were killed in 2plateaux and the figure didn't even mentioned by the gbagbo mo*inister of interiour. There was gross voilation of human rights. If at the tale end of the whole things the un didn't do anything. I think it is time to call un woman force

  • Comment number 52.

    I don't agree with Berinde's idea that because the margin of victory was small then Gbagbo remain in power. In 2001 (or?2002) what was Gbagbo's margin of victory when he led prostestors to the street to force Gen. Robert Guey out of power. We should not allow any one (not even an incumbent) to pick and choose. That will be a farce and not democracy.

    Don't tell me that only people from the North voted for Ouattara (or that no one in the North voted for Gbagbo)- remember that Henry Conam Bedie, from the South, is in the same hotel with Ouattara. The issue of the diversity of Ivory Coast is not new. Gbagbo must first declare that he lost, Ouattara should be sworn in as president then the desired changes can be made to the constitution.

  • Comment number 53.

    believe me sanction can not do the gbagbo anything this man is ready to be isolated. The saying says when two elephants the grass suffers most. Is not about sanction somebody like him is not ready to give up beacuse of sanction. I think the solution is militarily. if the world has recognised alassane as the president. Let them follow every instruction his prime minister gave. Apart from that don't expect Gbagbo to go.

  • Comment number 54.

    some days ago i heard him saying he was fighting to be independece from france. while on the 7 of august he celebrated the 50yrs indepence from france. what does that man take us for? fools no wonder that any time an evil president want to remain in power they had a language which they implies. Mugabe was right on land ownership, gbagbo was independence from france. Afriac has been freed sine 50yrs ago. Gbagbo should stop decieving the illtrates he's governing and concentrates of knowing fully well that he failed the election that the people has decided that they want change and in change we believe. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 55.

    people should stop saying that we are impossed to be governed before the arrival of the colonalism we have chief and kings and it was either by election or by birth and they chose their entourage by election. nobody impossed the election as many africans claimed.

  • Comment number 56.

    Africans can learn that we are still under the command of the rest of the world.
    When the war broke down in 2002 I did not see this same international community get all excited. The rebels have always wanted alassane ouattara to be the president and so have the french people. alassane has also denied being behind the rebels so how come today he is peacefully going around his head quarter surrounding by them. Nobody cares about all this.
    Rebels have committed attrocities in his name and continue to do so.
    Lives have been lost but nobody cares about them. nobody mentionnes the fact that electoral commission is pro alassane.
    Today dictators from other african countries are asking Gbagbo to step down.
    Please enough is enough, let the ivory coast be or keep quiet [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 57.

    The problem of Cote D'Ivoire should not be consider as Cote D'Ivoire problem rather the problem of Africa.Because we Africa believed that ¨an injury to one is an injury¨Africans are known to be their brothers keepers not their brothers killers.I will adivse a peace way of dialogue rather than using the word force.Because the word force has never helped to resloved problems in Africa.In Liberia, fellow Africans where use to kill their fellow brothers thesame in Sierra-Leone,Rwanda,Congo and now what is the fate of those country.It think Africa has come to a stage where all hands will be on desk for peace and unity.
    VIVA COTE D'IVOIRE,VIVA AFRICA.

  • Comment number 58.

    It will be stupid for ECOWAS to wage war on the Ivory Coast as ECOWAS has no constitutional authority in Ivory Coast. The highest court of the Land, the CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL has the final say, and it ruled to grant the presidency to Mr. Gbagbo by disallow votes from certain part of the country due to massive ballot irregularities - these irregularities have not been denied by ECOWAS, or the United Nations in a convincing manner. Do something better with the money by fighting diseases

  • Comment number 59.

    why delay ECOWAS carry on the force let him go

  • Comment number 60.

    Cote D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Tunisia, Venezuela, Belarus...etc, the issue at hand is not African, Asean, or Latin American. It is rather an issue of maturity and the capacity to accomodate and embrace democracy. The capacity to conceptualize the idea of living in paece and persuing life to the fullest is less likely to exist in societies, in which the majority are poor/illiterate/farmers/tribal, ethinically isolated and insulated, or in societies that have been under suppressive systems of governance for many generations, such as Belarus, Khazakstan..etc. The common enemy/disease is chronic ignorance. Take a long term approach to change societies in uprooting ignorance. Thanks

  • Comment number 61.

    What is happening in Ivory Coast won't prevent africans from thrusting in democracy.
    The problem in I.C is due to the interference of the so called international community in the affairs of a sovereign country.
    At the begining, i was a fan of Outara. After what happened, i asked myself, why is France so involved in rushing to sostain a candidate before the end of the process?
    From when has France become a freedom fighter in Africa?
    Before the second round, both Gbagbo and Ouatara agreed to accept the result of the constitutional council. The CEI was unable to do their work within the 3 days according to constitution of Ivory Coast. Hence it was the turn of the CC to settle problems and publish the result. How credible are the results illegaly pubblished in the headquaters of Ouatara without other members of the CEI? Was it the CEI the one to pubblish the final result?
    Brothers, don't be misled the devil is not Gbagbo. All is about interests. France is only fighting for its interests. It does'nt matter how many Ivorians will die. They want only natural ressources. Ivorians don't even worth being killed by french.
    Why are they going to dirty their hands while brainless africans can do the jop for them?
    Centuries ago, africans were the ones catching their brothers to sell them as slaves. More than 400 years later, Nigeria is the one in charge of selling Ivory Coast to the imperialists. We have learned nothing from the past. Poor africans. When are we going to stand together against our oppressors?

  • Comment number 62.

    Learn to get France, Britain, and the U.S. out of their countries once and for all. The West continues to extract cocoa, gold, oil, diamonds, timber, and anything they can get their hands on. Why are their French troops in this sovereign nation? Why are U.S. Troops on nations across the world? To protect their interests in those nations' resources. U.N. "peacekeepers" (with guns) are funded by the West to protect those interests as well.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    It actually defeats the purpose of whole election process.There is need to recpect the constitution and institutions,above all the people's verdict should be respected.We are setting a bad precedent where outgoing presidents will stick to office no matter what just because he or she stands chances of gaining from the power sharing deal.This is an infectious disease, it happened in Kenya, Zimbabwe and now Ivory Coast and this may spread to become the order of the day in Africa.

  • Comment number 65.

    I do not think Ivory Coast is in a position to teach. Neither is Africa able to learn. What is happening in Ivory Coast is the norm in Africa. We continually put ourselves through a charade choreographed by touts and henchmen we call elections. What democracy is there, when coming out to vote could mean possible death and if you do brave it and vote, your vote wouldn't count because of the likes of Gbagbo, Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir and the list goes on. It is quite pitiful that we as Africans have been held captive by a bunch of power intoxicated, blood thirsty, greedy, common thieves we call our leaders. I believe in a couple of months we will be asking this same question about the upcoming elections in Nigeria.

  • Comment number 66.

    Ivory Coast is charade;LIES,INTRIGUE and DECIET.Any one with a discerning mind knows how the drama will end especially any one who have lived in Ivory Coast from 2004.The international communities;main gladiators,should pay more attention on how to save lives of those living in Ivory Coast citizens and foreigners while they accomplish that which have already been determined.There are courts; Constitution court,ICJ ... but God will judge all.God is watching.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Gbagbo has called the bluff of the international community- ECOWAS, AU, EU, US, UN. He says he is ready to fight to the end. Sure his end will be a sad one and indeed it should be. If there are mass graves (created by him and his supporters) then his grave should also not be marked.

    All these international bodies must let Gbagbo and his cronies know that they mean their words. He should not be given a sanctuary anywhere since hae has turned down all overtures for peace. I heard one of his supporters saying (from the comfort of London, UK)that those intending to use force should know that they are not go to work into s supermarket. He has forgotten that but fo rthe intervention of French and other forces the New Forces could have marched to Abidjan. The New forces are still there!

  • Comment number 69.

    I strongly disagree with petit_piments comment. In the full glare of all international media a Gbabgo supporter snatches the results that the Electoral commissioner is ready to announce. Gbagbo's security machinery refuses to take any action.

    The speed at which the "Constitutional Council" took the decision to declear Gbagbo winner is amazing. They were basically waiting for the so called 72 hours to elapse before setting in motion their diabolical plan. Did they wait for the other party to say their side of the story? Africa should also grow. Africa, through our leaders are always blaming "someone else" for everything bad that happens. If we don't want to be nations but want to villages and towns ruled by chiefs then we should say so.

  • Comment number 70.

    The views expressed by me do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Peace Corps.
    Currently, I am in Zorzor, Liberia, just to the west of the Ivory Coast. As my name suggests, I'm an American Peace Corps Volunteer. Naturally, I feel really anxious about the whole situation going on with our neighbors, not because I think violence will spill over [which I'm pretty sure won't happen], but because it seems to cast a gloom over the upcoming elections here. People are getting registered to vote pretty soon, and it's such a big deal that they are closing schools for a month all over the country!
    Mirroring the situation with the Ivory Coast, there are plenty of people who are pretty peeved with Madam Surleef. For one thing, she has decided to run for reelection, after saying that she wouldn't. That however, doesn't hold a candle to what she plans on doing just before the elections take place. She is aiming to widen the roads in Zorzor (I don't know about other towns yet) by an additional 25 feet or so. The roads are already about 60 feet wide. This means that all the small businesses and houses that are within that boundary are due to be demolished, thereby ruining all kinds of people's livelihoods (a lot of people are struggling just to make it, as it is).
    She visited my town earlier this week and gave the police department a lot of money. Anyone who has travelled through Liberia will tell you that cops do little else accept take bribes; and now the president is giving them more money? Later that same day, a guy from the Jimmy Carter Institute walked around with a megaphone protesting the action.
    Anyways, I could go on, but I've painted the picture well enough. A lot of resentment is being sown around here just before elections start.
    Of course, this doesn't translate immediately to a relapse of the 14-year civil war. People here are pretty unanimous that war is bad, but I'm still nervous and filled with dark forebodings, too. [I'll see you on the dark side of the moon!]

  • Comment number 71.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    The situation in Ivory Coast is extraordinarily precarious to the People of Grand Gedeh County in Eastern Liberia. Remnants of Liberian refugees from Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Maryland Counties still live in cities and villages along the borders of that country and their lives are at risk.

    Liberia must play a major role as a regional champion of democracy. Sitting by and allowing the situation in Ivory Coast to get out of hand will give rise to three million or so refugee entering Liberia. And if that should happen, it would be catastrophic to the country given that Liberia has only 3 million people of which 95% go to bed on a hungry stomach continuously. Liberia has a vital role to play in the resolution of the Ivorian situation in the interest of regional peace.
    Bernard Gbayee Goah

  • Comment number 72.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]This is more than just election, Ivory coast has deep rooted problems that has to be address comprehensively. If my memory serves me right mr. Ouattara has been barred from previous elections because of questions on his nationality,There is tension b/w the christian south and muslim north and no doubt all of this is interspiced with ethnic tension. The international commuity needs to take a pragmatic approach to the situation,I am afraid she has not-Ivory coast neighbors cannot handle whatever blowby that will result if the international community continues on it present path. This in no way excuses mr. Gbagbo of hijacking the will of the ivorian people. But Mr. Gbagbo knows that the political and economics calculus in the region works in his favor.

  • Comment number 73.

    Africa has some lessons to learn.The main lesson to learn is that the international community does not know the reality in most of our countries.How can they accept an independent electoral commission dominated by either the ruling party or the opposition.In Ivory Coast, the opposition dominated the CEI and even the Prime minister was Opposition.They connived and published results which the UN accepts as genuine.
    The present political leadership of Ivory Coast has divided the country too much.None of them can effectively rule the country.We need some new faces to unite the country.Ouattara, Bedie, Soro and Gbagbo should leave the scene.They are old rivals of years.Since the days of Boigny Vs Gbagbo.

  • Comment number 74.

    It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

  • Comment number 75.

    That is not anything unique of the confusion of the African democracy!

 

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