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Can a cocoa ban oust Gbagbo?

Ellen Otzen | 16:45 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

A file photo taken on October 25, 2010 shows a young employee harvesting beans from a cocoa tree in Amichiakro, a cocoa plantation in Divo.



Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president of Ivory Coast, has called for a month-long ban on cocoa exports. Ivory Coast is the world's biggest cocoa exporter and 700,000 households in Ivory Coast rely on the cocoa industry for income.

The brown beans are also a key source of revenue for Laurent Gbagbo, who has rejected pressure to step down.

 But can a cocoa ban oust Gbagbo?

 If not, what would? How do you find the right sanctions?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 25 January at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    I cry for my country. What is happening to C.I. it is like what happened to IRAK. Everybody is ill bent to go to war to oust the President not thinking of their consequence. France doesn't want to lose CI. If CI is lost, their influence in West Africa will diminish.

    To go to war because of an election is being disputed, it is madness. To think they are Ivorians (the same who failed in their coup d'etat) who are calling foreign forces to attack their own country, it is pitiful, pure madness. Sometimes, you wonder, where is the justice in all this.

    After 50 years of 'independece' for France or Europe to have a say in whatever happens in Africa it is sad, very criminal. We are cursed. What to do to get the monkey off our back?

  • Comment number 2.

    Partly cocoa ban can facilitate Gbagbo's ousting and possible incastration. But to me I think the ban should not be implemented but money on exported cocoa should not be paid to Gbagbo, in that case he would actually realise that this world that we live is dependant.
    Though either the ban or non payment (my conviction) of the exports would affect the ordinary farmer there, but then it's a necessary evil!
    I think another complementary sanction would be to cut his radio and telephone lines off air, may be!
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 3.

    As an African I feel sorry my brothers and sisters. the question here is when will the so called elected leaders will serve the nation? if Ouattara has conscience and is working for Ivorian, he should be ashamed to think not only to suggest the ban on cocoa exports. This is life of Ivorian people, how is he going to feed the population?
    Look at what happened in other countries, Zimbabwe for example. Do you think Mugabe went to bed with an empty stomach?
    Ouattara is well protected and well fed, and deep down everyone knows how many people died or suffered because of the war he supported and financed.
    To my understanding UN should be neutral, but in reality UN is the right hand for the super powers.
    Look in Rwanda, if you ask something in French, you will be lucky if you get home alive and not long ago it was widely used. What happened?
    I am sorry to say this, but the worst is coming to Ivory Cost wether Gbagbo leaves or stays! It hearts to see this happening to your brothers and sisters?
    May God help Ivorian people!

  • Comment number 4.

    I read about sanctions, travel ban, block of access to state funds, military invasion by Ecomog and know a month ban on coca. Who needs another civil war in Africa? How long would it take to analyse or investigate the electoral process?

  • Comment number 5.

    Cocoa revenue should be payed into escrow account till the political instability is resolved. The ban could inflate the price of the product thereby hurting innocent countries.

  • Comment number 6.

    When two elephants fight, only the grass suffers. In the case of Ivory Coast, we notice more than three elephants fighting. They all are pretending to be saving the interest of the poor Ivorains.This is a lie.

    A ban on cocoa will not oust Gbagbo. Gbagbo is not a farmer, instead the farmers are going to suffer. A suffering which may even last longer even when Ouattara should eventually be president.

  • Comment number 7.

    Forget! The fact that Gbagbo has refused to step aside despite worldwide calls for his resignation implies total lack of integrity on his part. This is typical of African leaders and any kind of sanction will only harm innocent Ivorians. One can be sure Gbagbo is currently consulting the likes of Mugabe who advise him not to step down regardless of whether the country collapses economically. Amidst such devastation, he'll be enjoying state security, state resources as he moves around in sleek limousines while Ivorians will start dying in droves once hospitals start running out of medicines.


  • Comment number 8.

    When people are talking about Financial and Travel ban against Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, it sounds like you are giving him more time to get strong, get prepared and earn power. If you are talking about Cocoa export ban, it will affect the farmers, local traders and others more than Gbagbo. Gbagbo and his supporters control the sea port, so who will know when Cocoa moves to other countries that supported Gbagbo, like Russia, China, etc.Gbogbo have already printed his own local currency and ready to have his own Central Bank.

    About Travel Ban; Gbagbo doesn’t travel much and he have even saying that he love staying in his country more than going any where else. Even though that he must travel out of country, some country like China and few others can accept him.

  • Comment number 9.

    I cry always for my country because they don’t know what they are doing. Mr. Gbagbo and his supporters said that they are ready for war, then why should anybody complain or have pity on them. I believe that war is never the best solution because of blood sharing, but for the fact that Gbagbo insist and have prepared for war, then there is no option than war.

    Mr. Gbagbo doesn’t have human sympathy or thinking about how many people have died or about to die for his sake. If he do, he could have leave the sit as Tunisia president (BEN ALI) do to avoid much and more blood sharing. I know that Gbagbo must run only when he hear that UN, France, Usa, Oau, Ecowas and other security council have agreed and prepared to send troop to remove him with force. If not, he is sitting back their and obtaining more power to remain on the sit.

  • Comment number 10.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator] My take on the saga that’s be come of Ivory Coast, if law rent stays he stays for the interest of Chinese and Qattara has already reached agreement with France and other western nations so where is the interest of poor Ivorian’s in this whole mess?... my suggestion ? Two of them should get out of the way.

  • Comment number 11.

    Bravo,all the good moves to oust Gbagbo from power were put in place to avoid bloodshed.Lastly,the cocoa ban to the outside market.Is it reality to oust the dictator from power through the ban?No.

    The idea by the ECOWAS leaders was the right theory advanced to oust Gbagbo from power through the use of military intervention is the only right approach to address all the mess of the dictators in Africa and let the African leaders realise the importance of good democracy/governance.
    I pray to the Britain,france,Russia,China and Germany to work a possible solution through the UN to address the issues of dictators in Africa.Let Gbagbo and all his allies be responsible for the lives and property lost before during and after the war.
    I strongly advocate for the only military intervention in Ivory Coast.

  • Comment number 12.

    What they will do is to force Laurent gbagba out of power,whatever the out come maybe he should be made to face the conciquiences,that is what would be used on him it needs force he is an Army so he is ashamed to accept defeat,he should know that after whatever happens in the Ivorians people he would face trial immediatelt he is out in office and he will be jailed depending his offence.

    African Leaders should realize that sit tight is no longer fiesiable this time.

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    There is every need to force him out because if they do not do that,then this type of scenario will continue in Africa as far as i am concerned,he must be out,Charles Taylor tried to stay in power but they force him out,so Gbagbas own will not be deference from this he must quit.

  • Comment number 15.

    cocoa ban is not the answer to the crisis in cote d'voir, this will instead bring in more problems to the producers who are the farmers themselves not Gbagbo or even Outara, please lets try to focus on peaceful means of removing him from power other than thinking of baning cocoa exportation since it is the source of income to the country.

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't think that will do. Paul Biya and other long serving heads of states of French Africa stand the best chance to convince him to go. Use a thief to catch a thief.

  • Comment number 17.

    Any one who fetches ant infected firewood would struggle to distance lizards from his dwelling, if Gbagbo has the interest of Ivory Coast @ heart he should understand the handwriting on the wall, 90% Ivory Coast people are farmers and solely depend on cocoa production for survival banning cocoa export would affect Ivorians in a negative way and enrich Gbagbo's allies who might be smuggling this product to China or other counties where they are accepted. I think peaceful resolution should be the way out, to enhance peaceful co-existence I plead with Gbagbo and the President elect Outtarra to put first interest of Ivory Coast and future of young youths, I wouldn't mind if both step down for the interest of peace.

  • Comment number 18.

    @Koffi Anderson, "Gbagbo should leave sit as Ben Ali did" I.C. is in different situation from Tunisian; in Tunisia the people voiced their concerns against the government and ousted the leader(s) unlike in I.C. where there are two different armies and both have support within the country, so no matter what happens right now the war is inevitable and the ban will make it worse even if Gbagbo leaves Ouattara will not be able to restore the unity. [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 19.

    I supported the first comment of Anderson, banning cocoa in ivory coast in order to force Gbagbo to step down is like pouring water on the leaf of cocoa yam, but in the other hand,i suggest that we should reason with the recent statement of Uganda president, the UN,AU and ECOWAS should go back and investigate the election counting before recognizing Mr Quattara as the winner, justice should not be distorted. the lives of the innocent people are more important than the so-called cat and dog.

  • Comment number 20.

    With recent 7 years steady living experience in the CI i can tell you that all the people who are asking Gbagbo to go down for Ouattara are either ignorant of the socio-political reality of the CI or they are those trying to support France's economic imperialism on G8 / G20 / UN permenet seat member grounds. Even if all the wealth and weapons of the world are given to Ouattara he can never be president of CI "for good". From his being given the citizenship to given same to about 2million "foreigners" in his strong hold are all dictated for Gbagbo by France and now he has seen the direction of the dictation. It is the real Ivoriens that are refusing to accept Ouattara not Gbagbo . At least the UN must give attention to Gbagbo's claim or voting irregularities in Ouattara's regions before a solution could be found on the CI issue . Gbagbo and real Ivoriens have accepted too much of France's dictation on their internal affairs and even France knows that.

  • Comment number 21.

    If people like Prez Mills of Ghana and Prez Muzevini of Uganda are altering Ecowas / AU's position every now and then, then we will not see any change in Gbagbo to give up power. The people of Cote D'Ivoire MUST learn to sacrifice now to force Gbagbo to go than to wait and go into a full scale civil war which will have a wilder ramification on the people and the country.

    The farmers should take this ban as a protest period to support the international community find an amicable solution to the crisis. I will also request that the international community should put in place an arrangement to assist the farmers by making funds available to support the farmers.

  • Comment number 22.

    we do need an immediate and effective action and not a western form of sanctions tactics. These tactics has little or no effects on African GOP as usual. Here is the problem,the ongoing intention can not stand long. The sanction tactics is a long term impact and not necessary at this time.
    solution:Ouattara need to address the issue facing both sides. I think Gbagbo and his supporters fear that his 8yrs of rule failed to unite both side. And ouattara who widely being supported by the other side,will not unite both side.

  • Comment number 23.

    Whatever happens, Ivorians are caught btw the rock and a hard place. Mil intervention will lead to deaths, the cocoa ban will also lead to deaths thru hunger, starvation and disease, the popular maxim: ‘where two elephants fights, it’s the grass that suffers’ has been propelled to the fore.

  • Comment number 24.

    The cocoa export ban will not oust Mr Gbarbo, but only to increase the poverty on the poor people. while not african realized from the past about Liberia, Sierra Leone and others nations that have generated poverty and hunger in their country instead of further developement that last for th next generation. mr Gbarbo does nt depends on cocoa export as to control his economics in the country. secondly, ousting Gbarbo will not still bring peace in that country and Gbarbo is not the problem in which that nation as devided into two. so the ban of cocao export in only giving him power to see his enemies as well to prepare for any action.

  • Comment number 25.

    Laurent Gbagbo is the right man for La Cote d ivoire...

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    I am just amazed by the slow actions of the International Community in protecting and preserving Democracy in the developing world. Ofcourse, everybody knows the double standards. Mr Ouattara might have seen that things are not moving the way they should because there is no oil in Ivory Coast, so he has decided to use the means available to him.Oh forgive me, I think I made a mistake blaming the Int.Comm when the lip service AU is sitting there with empty threats. It is disappointing but not suprising that Museveni of Ugabda is against the ouster of Gbagbo.Well, it is clear that he is a Dictator who is still clinging on to power and fears that supporting the ouster of Mr. Gbagbo will create the impetus to do the same to him if he rigs the forth coming elections.

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree with Real2, the problem is not Gbagbo, and the ban on Cocoa will make Gbagbo stronger as there are more countries that will be happy to get a good deal and as he has control of the port and airport, the cocoa will be exported wether there is a ban or not.
    The country has been divided into two, thanks to UN and super power countries (USA, France, Britain...), hope they will not build another Berlin wall like!
    The peaceful solution right now is to recognize the North and South as independent province which have differences socially and religiously and both current president become Governors and then an common body comprise of both province will be leading the united Ivory Cost.
    look in the western countries like Canada, USA each province have their own Government which will look out for their own people and there is a common government that comprised of representatives from each province.
    To my understanding this will work on the benefit of Ivorian people.

  • Comment number 29.

    What has Cocoa got to do with rigging election, or refuse the chance to be president. The advisers of Ouatara should think of a different strategy, because cocoa ban will instead make him more unpopular to even his own militants. West Africa and the world should live Ivory Coast to solve their differences and if any help can be done is to give positive political advice to the leaders of Ivory Coast, rather than putting fire in the house. No country is without problem, what matter most is the way to resolve this problems. West African leaders should instead concentrate and put order in their respective countries which, may be worse than that in Ivory Coast.

  • Comment number 30.

    A critical view can see that Ouattara is a fraud. How could someone with a country's best interest at heart risk economical hardship and social degradation for one's own selfish ends? This is the action of someone who has very likely taken similar selfish measures in the past. A certain old book tells a story of two women claiming one baby. The one who was happy to have the baby harmed was proven to be the wrongful parent. Ouattara in this case is the wrongful parent. There are too many discrepancies with his claim, and, in the first instance, the AU and ECOWAS electoral observers who were denied the observation of the elections whilst armed men intimidated voters on behalf of Ouattara can attest to this. Then, the other discrepancies can be addressed in documented chronology like his false declaration of victory.

    Additionally, in today's world, it need not be said that if the people of Ivory Coast did not approve of their president retaining his office, in line with their votes, it would be very obvious to say the least. This does not however extend to victimisation of an unsubmissive populace by the Ouattara rebels and unfortunately, abusive United Nations soldiers who have committed atrocities such as firing upon unarmed youths. The entire role of the UN should be brought into question, and the role/ motivation of France in the position of the UN in relation to the animosity of France toward the President.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think to some extent it can have an effect on him if only and only if the ban is done with the highest degree of vigilance .This will ensure that the cocoa are not smuggled outside the country to the nearbouring countries to effect sales.But however the issue should not be of whether it can oust him but should be about forcing him out carefully or negotiating with his supporters since they are those making him who he is .

  • Comment number 32.

    I think and very firmly too that this is the most lame thing for anybody who has the peoples interest at heart to do.How can you,Alasane,put a bann on people's livelihood.He continues to proove himself as a french stoogie taking after all instructions.A voted president should have the support of his people,why does this one have the support of international bodies and countries only.
    A bann will only stupidity the so called "international president" will only loss his popularity and at another instance his sanity because believe me,cocoa exportation will still take place through black marketing and income will keep coming in.This is not a sanction that can bring down Gbagbo but can work to bring down Ouatara.

  • Comment number 33.

    The banning of cocoa will have no effect on Gbagbo. He and his people will still find ways to spirit cocoa out of the country and sell it to lots of willing buyers. Charles Taylor did that for years when there was an arms ban on Liberia by the UN, which Subsequently prolonged the crises. The same will happened in the CI. Gbagbo should realize now that it is he alone against the international community, and under no circumstances they will allow him to win. He should get out now since he still has the chance. Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor both of Liberia did the same thing. Where are they now?

  • Comment number 34.

    There was an election, held in a sharply divided country, where Rebels hold one half and Loyal Forces another. I think it was irresponsible for the election to have gone forward in the first place without disarming the rebels, and unifying the army.

    Secondly, there is clear evidence of vote rigging in many parts held by both contestants. I guess the right thing to do is to do recount of the ballots where such rigging are suspected or alleged. What will be the cost of such recount and for how long as compared to wagging war and economic sanctions, besides unleashing many years of economic, political and social instability? Gbagbo has called for such recount, Ouattara is against that. Why will anybody be against or afraid of such vote recount if you don't have anything to hide?

    Plain simple, there are three elephants in this turf fight, Gbagbo, Ouattara and France. It appears to me France still has huge neo-colonial interests in the Ivory Coast. Their companies dominate the Ivorian economy like no other, and it is France that has engendered the whole imbroglio going back many years, including bombing out the whole Ivorian Air Force, as to weaken the hand of the central government vis-à-vis the Rebels (New Forces).

    To go to war to install Ouattara, whose stronghold in the north is suspected to have benefited from massive vote rigging, will in fact be rewarding very bad behavior contrary to every democratic tenet. Let's recount the votes, what is there to lose? It is the right thing to do in every hot and closely contested election, like Bush-Gore, 2000, in USA. Why must it be different for the Ivory Coast? Do not insult our intelligence, France and her allies must back off. It is Africa, 21st Century, not 1874.


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