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Ivory Coast's future hangs in the balance

Andrew Harding | 11:25 UK time, Monday, 14 March 2011

I'm inside the cramped, furnace-hot interior of a United Nations armoured car, grinding through another makeshift roadblock in Abobo, Abidjan. Outside, men in balaclavas - the so-called "Invisible Commando" that's seized control of the neighbourhood - wave us through.

Abobo - a huge suburb - is enjoying a brief lull in fighting which erupts again soon after we leave. Smoke from burning rubbish drifts across the road. Dogs scavenge. I see three women half-running down a side street. Most shops look like they've been looted.

While the rest of the city remains accessible to forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Abobo is "liberated territory" held by supporters of his rival, the internationally recognised President Alassane Ouattara.

The last roadblock was made of the wreckage of several cars. This one is mainly furniture. I can see pistols, and a couple of machetes through the grimy window. Slumped beside me, two UN peacekeepers from Niger are drenched in sweat - two hours into an eight-hour patrol. It must be nearly forty degrees inside here. By our feet are bottles of water and clips of ammunition.

"Somewhere between a cold war and a civil war," is how the head of the UN mission in Ivory Coast, Choi Young-jin, described the situation in the country to me a couple of days ago. It's now moving inexorably closer to the latter - although quite how soon it will all kick off in earnest is still hard to tell.

The New Forces, loyal to Ouattara, seem confident - overly, no doubt - that a blitzkrieg will sweep Gbagbo's loyalists out of power after just a few days of fighting. They're certainly making quiet, but highly significant advances in the west of the country. There's much talk of high-level defections in the military - or at least the groundwork for such defections.

In Abobo, gunmen attempted to hijack a private car we'd hired to pick us up after we'd finished filming the UN. They were talked out of it. But 4x4 vehicles are apparently being targeted actively now. The UN's Mr Choi summed it up neatly:

"We have evidence and intelligence that both sides are preparing for the future."

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  • 1. At 1:10pm on 14 Mar 2011, Positive Change wrote:

    "While the rest of the city remains accessible to forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Abobo is "liberated territory" held by supporters of his rival, the internationally recognised President Alassane Ouattara." Andrew Harding reporting for BBC.

    Andrew, Cote D Ivoire has been under occupation since 1960 by French forces all through out the reign of Fellix H. Boigny till today. Providing intelligence and security was guarantteed for Boigny and in return, he assured the french total control of virtually all sectors of Ivoirian life.

    Gbagbo's determination to end this second fiddle relationship is what is bringing him trouble today, begining with the coup d etat of 2002. Since then, that country has not known peace. In 2002 and 2004 the French occupational troops which currently numbers more than 5000 armed to the teeth men, though officially said to be 900, massacred ivorians in conjunction with the rebels, who are now trying to installed their brainchild into power.

    Harding you seemingly have unlimited access to the occupational forces, research and tell your readers the real number of french troops in Cote D Ivoire.
    These same troops destroyed the Ivoirian airforce in 2004 when President Gbagbo launched an assault that was bound to re-unite the country. Under the pretext that a french military based was bombed, the occupational troops lauched an attack on Ivorian air force. The real author of the attacked remain a mystery.

    It should not have been a problem if elections were not rigged and i would have had no issue supporting mr Alasane. But since his so called victory is entangled by massive fraud, he has no legitimacy in the eyes of the few ivoirians who even went to the polls. The man is even ready to kill most ivorians before even getting to power.

    Do some research on the background/history and current actions of the two protagonist in the ivoirian crisis and tell us who is more prone to violence.

    Cote D Ivoire has therefore been never any liberated country and there is no liberated territory there as Harding is trying to make his readers believe.

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  • 2. At 1:30pm on 14 Mar 2011, Andrew Harding BBC wrote:

    Thanks for your comments on the earlier Ivory Coast entry, and here.
    To those of you questioning the UN’s role in Ivory Coast, can I nudge you gently towards the forceful recent comments by Mr. Choi, regarding lies and war crimes. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/13/uk-ivorycoast-media-wars-idUKTRE72C2QO20110313
    And to those still inclined towards a conspiratorial interpretation of the November’s – exhaustively monitored – election process, why not delve into the African Union’s panel of experts’ recent works (not drafted, as far as I can tell, in either Paris or Washington), which offer a solid and detailed defence of the international consensus.

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  • 3. At 1:37pm on 14 Mar 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Côte d'Ivoire is heading towards civil war (again).
    Can the tragedy be avoided?
    Only if Africans & the international community stand firmly behind the democratically elected president, but is this democratically-elected president: Alassane Ouattara?
    The counting and declaration of results seem suspicious to me, and must therefore seem suspicious to the citizens of the Ivoery Coast.
    I know that Alassane Quattarra is the WESTERN darling - western trained, western educated, western employed - a long time associate of the IMF.
    Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to accept defeat. Is he right?
    If Gbagbo is right, why should he step down - just because Ouattara is offering to negotiate an agreement for unity, national reconciliation and an interim transitional government with Quattarra himself at its head (but WITHOUT the former president).
    The UN peace-keeping mission stands firm to carry out its civilian protection mandate; the international community unequivocally supports any decisions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including deployment of a military mission.
    I agree that the Gbagbo regime is a serious threat to peace & security in the whole of the West African region. The election was part of a peace process; it was endorsed by several accords - incl. the 2007 "Ouagadougou Political Agreement" that all candidates, including Gbagbo, accepted and that set out compromises on organisation and security for the balloting.
    Ouattara won the run-off with a margin of more than 350,000 votes over Gbagbo...but some of these votes were subsequently disallowed.
    The UN certified the results. What did they look at, the ballots?
    The country's highest court threw out some of the votes. How did Gbagbo influence the higest court in the land? Were there justified reasons for throwing out thousands and thousands of votes that went to the western darling, Quattarra?
    People are dying; rapes are occuring; abductions are occuring. Security forces are disappearing. ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) have recognised Ouattara as president-elect and asked Gbagbo to step down. Why is Gbagbo being so resistent? I don't like what Gbagbo is doing - the anarchy, war and economic disaster.
    But he is right about the voting, or is he wrong about the voting.
    Is the highest Court in the Ivory Court so open to pandering and corruption?
    Where are these votes? Can they not be examined? Can the United Nations and the AU not examine them with Gbagbo and Quattara to establish the real winner once and for all?
    Would this not be better than sanctions?
    Also because this too has been raised as a question, the illegitimate Gbagbo regime's sources of finance should be examined. African states in particular need to show unity, but only if the facts are true and independently verified.
    Crisis Group West Africa Project Director, Gilles Yabi: "The most likely scenario is an armed conflict involving massive violence against civilians that could provoke unilateral military INTERVENTION by neighbours." Does neighbours mean the west, which very much supports Quattarra?

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  • 4. At 1:52pm on 14 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    #1postive change: No, don’t worry about us readers, we already got use to the drivel Andrew keep writing, we know that before he came to Ivory coast he was detecting any move on Zimbabwe to hear violence and then air it with passion, and what he came up with is the article “Zimbabwe protest a conspiracy” now the guy who could not go to cover the Egyptian revolts, now he fly from Beitbridge to Ivory coast for what he know best. He will always be like that.

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  • 5. At 5:26pm on 14 Mar 2011, sagat4 wrote:

    Catastrophe can only be avoided if both sides come together and put aside their differences and put the needs of the people forst and foremost. There is no need to keep on using "lets blame the west" arguement here when people are dying needlessly. We have the power in our hands to change things and not keep living in the past - moving forwards is the only way out of this mess we have found ourselves in

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  • 6. At 5:46pm on 14 Mar 2011, miqmiq wrote:

    Interesting to see that the Gbagbo loyalists know English so well. Wonders will never cease I suppose.

    Andrew, it's probably better that you're seeing Abidjan now as I lived there last year prior to the elections and have fond memories of the city, but from all accounts now, it is not the city I remember from just six months ago. It's sad to see what one man can dish out on an otherwise quite wonderful place.

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  • 7. At 5:58pm on 14 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 10:01pm on 14 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    Is the highest Court in the Ivory Court so open to pandering and corruption?

    YES, most definitely

    One of the proposals of the high level AU panel was to initiate judicial proceeding against the Ivorian constitutional council for High Treason. They attempted the disenfranchise the sovereign people of Cote d'Ivoire of their right to chose their leader.

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  • 9. At 10:01pm on 14 Mar 2011, Oaken wrote:

    Life in Abobo. I spent this afternoon Skypeing with my friend in Abobo, Abidjan. He is in the second year of a maths, stats and economics degree but his university has been closed since the end of November. He sometimes has water with sugar for breakfast, no lunch and a small evening meal with his family. Today the family was at home, terrified by the many artillery poundings that shook the earth and the continual shooting during which a man in his street was shot. Yesterday he went to buy oil to cook the family rice with. The usual shop had run out. The next shop wanted 300 Francs instead of the ususal 50 Francs. He went home with none. The people's hardship is caused by the policies of various organisations, world, EU, African. It would be much easier to have another election than to destroy Ivory Cost. We, the civilized workd are depriving these people of their basic human rights. There has to be a better way. Shame on us.
    The cruelt and deprivation we are inflicting should stop forthwith.

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  • 10. At 02:28am on 15 Mar 2011, Ekuwa wrote:

    Is the UN really an objective and impartial broker of peace in this IVC crisis? The Western part of the IVC is under REBEL control where hundreds of thousands of people have been chased out of their villages into neighbouring Liberia, why are we not looking at the atrocities being committed by the rebels against civilians in the IVC? When are REBELS good enough to rule a country and when are they not? This brings to mind the story of the international community and Ousama Bin Laden…

    We need to be reminded that the IVC voting pattern was partitioned along geographic (tribal, ethnic, religious) lines where the northerners voted en block (or almost) for Ouattara and those in the South, en block or almost for Gbagbo. Why are we not looking at the root causes of this crisis and try to unify the country by bringing the two sides together to talk, but rather in a hurry to push one of the two "tribal" leaders on the entire country? This is not, in my opinion, an impartial way of brokering peace! It is only preparing for more trouble to come! This is a recipe for entrenched hatred among the two groups. My two cents!

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  • 11. At 06:47am on 15 Mar 2011, Positive Change wrote:

    Harding will not allow any link but i want to ask Harding why the likes of his press have delibrately refused to report about the 30 containers of amunition labeled on it UN Mission Buaoke seized in Cameroon a few weeks ago. The containers were scanned to yesterday in Douala and it was confirmed that they are weapons.

    Question . Were the containers UN arms to be used in causing war or suppoting the ongoing war in CI?
    Were the containers labelled UN Mission Buake but destined "for the rebels to use in liberating the whole of Cote D ivoire as they have liberated Abobo and the North as per Harding of the bbc?"

    Were the containers being shipped by Gbagbo to fight the insurgents?

    We are already know who was behind the deal.

    Harding, may be the BBC in Africa could also do her part.
    I however, thank BBC through Harding for giving their own views and opinions about what is happening in Cote D ivoire and also giving us the opportunity to add our own little information.

    However, when views focus just on side and with a particular angle, there is a big problem.

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  • 12. At 10:33am on 15 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    @ Positive change
    First the Cameroonian government had no business inspecting UN shipments.
    Second, where is proof that these are actually arm shipments?
    And thirdly, if these are weapons and are really destined for UNOCI Bouake, then very good. The UN peace keepers are not going to protect themselves and citizens here by throwing bananas at the Gbagbo thugs? Peace keepers need weapons too...

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  • 13. At 1:34pm on 15 Mar 2011, Andrew Harding BBC wrote:

    some interesting electoral arithmetic here - would be interesting to hear responses from those crying foul. http://fakegbagbo.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/has-ouattara-won-heres-some-strong-evidence-he-has/

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  • 14. At 1:51pm on 15 Mar 2011, Quik wrote:

    Andrew - great to see you actually standing up to the ridiculous propogandists commenting on your journalism. It really riles me to see people propogating lies and accusing bias like Positive Change here.

    Positive Change - you obviously feel liberated by the anonymity of posting on this blog, whereas Harding is a renowned journalist who has reported impartially on many huge stories and conflicts during his career - just look at his track record. What evidence do we have that you're not just another Gbagbo tool trying to manipulate readers here? When you accuse everyone against Gbagbo of bias and colonial aspirations, are you accusing your African neighbours? The AU? Do you really think the Ivory Coast is such an important country to the rest of the world that every single other country wants to control it?

    Unless you can answer these questions without posting some more meaningless drivel peddling further Gbagbo lies and obvious propoganda, maybe you should stop posting entirely.

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  • 15. At 1:56pm on 15 Mar 2011, Quik wrote:

    ...also - Bluesberry - the voting was independently monitored by the IVC Electoral Commission. The Constitutional Court that threw out the votes had no business doing so, no authority over the results and no jurisdiction over the voting processes. The election was also heavily monitored by the AU and UN, both of which declared them fair and free. By now the votes cast could have and likely have already been severely tampered with (by both sides I might add) and in the current state of affairs there could be no chance of a new fair and free election.

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  • 16. At 4:45pm on 15 Mar 2011, wwhiteface wrote:

    Two remarks:
    First how can free elections be conducted under rebel control?
    The word "rebel" and "free elections" do not seem to tune together.
    Second are western "electoral interventions" intended to promote democracy in Africa or haven't they long become key instruments in implementing neoliberal global strategy and its objectives by forcing institutional and corporate penetration into sovereign states thus solidifying long unacceptable unequal and exploitative linkages purporting crony and predatory capitalism.
    It is impossible to resolve a crisis where not just the key protagonists, but also the mediators, seem to have irreconcilable interests, hidden agendas,....
    Africa and Africans do not need handouts for development (as a BBC report says on this site)a simple reinstating of ownership of the continents resources can change all this "un-development" in few years. Development as viewed by the West is a contestable mater but most off all it is a task that should be done by the nations and peoples concerned themselves not by someone from outside.
    Indeed, there is more joy in doing one's duties than the duties of others.
    "In Third World conditions, Western style democracy is as much as a three-piece suit in the desert." (anonymous Sudanese General)

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  • 17. At 5:30pm on 15 Mar 2011, Positive Change wrote:

    @Ben. Please be informed that the AU report said what happened in the North was everything but elections. So the AU position is even contrary to that of ther own obeserver mission. Harding could help you with that report.

    Secondly, read what the EU Mission wrote about the North 3 days to the second round. Even on the election day they had to have some of their observers airlifted from the North due to security concerns. I dont know why Hardin refuses giving those details. I . Unfortunately i cannot post the link here. That EU report on the elections is therefore a total contradiction to what i read on that earlier draft report on the elections were.

    Oncemore Harding, thanks for the link. At least, it is good to look at another views.
    My issue is that there was not only fraud but, fraud beyond proportion. Under no circumstance can Ouattara rule Cote D ivoire peacefully when he is not considered legitimate. Such a leadership can only be accepted in the north where his rebels have been in control since 2002.

    Among member of ECOWAS and the AU {amel, nobody should be surprise because Burkinsa Faso, Chad are all dictatorial regimes supported by the French. Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Togo are all the same. Cote D ivoire was the only budding democracy in French Africa but Ouattara and his rebels want to take the country back to the Hougheout Boigny era.

    IT was but normal that democracies like those in Ghana and South Africa distant themselves on what some people are bold enough to refer to as the democratic election of Ouattara. Democracy and massive fraud are not bed fellows.
    Since what we need now are solutions i encourage Ouattara to take the post of PM and make sure he diarms his rebels before the next elections take place even if that will take the next 15 years.

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  • 18. At 10:05pm on 15 Mar 2011, Toure wrote:

    Everybody has the right to air his or her view on this topic.
    But we need to bring in good suggestions,idea and advise on how
    our country will move forward with out all this repeatation of
    preaching on an irrelevant sermons.

    We will not have two President in this country,this is my first
    time to observe such,are we not ashamed of ourselves to the out
    side world,can we go to any country tomorrow and be proud that
    we are Ivoirians,once stable and prosperous country that other
    countries are trying to emulate because of our progress, stability
    and hospitality.

    We are now at a cross road because of our leaders greediness to
    stay put to power,washing our brains with what is not relevant to
    the matter,like france did this,United Nation,AU and Ecowas did
    that.My kneel is on the ground,whoever that knows where to reach
    him Gbagbo,should tell him to have pity on the citizenry,does he
    enjoy blood letting,people are dieing everyday because of his and
    her wife's selfish interest.

    One thing we all will not forget,is that no going back because the
    deed has been done by the whole organisations in the World that matters
    and the talking is a waste,the more he refuses to cede power the more
    we civilians will continue to be suffering,one man cannot hold us hostage.

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  • 19. At 01:01am on 16 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    @ Positive change, #17
    I few corrections are called for...
    "...Please be informed that the AU report said what happened in the North was everything but elections. So the AU position is even contrary to that of their own obeserver mission...."

    The AU never released an official report on the second round of the elections or made any comment on the elections in the North. The wrongly appointed Head of the AU observer mission, Ex-Togolese PM Joseph Kogiffoh, unilaterally, and and against the will of ALL other observers on the AU mission, went on state TV to read out false statements on violence and intimidation in the North as prepared for him by the Gbagbo camp. The AU issued an official disclaimer on Joseph Koffigoh disassociating themselves with any actions or statements of his the very next day. "Unrelated"; Kogiffoh was in Abidjan 2 weeks back at the Pullman hotel to promote his new poetry book and received a full 5 minutes on prime-time news on RTI.

    "...Secondly, read what the EU Mission wrote about the North 3 days to the second round. Even on the election day they had to have some of their observers airlifted from the North due to security concerns...."

    That some EU observer were airlifted because of death threats is correct. If you cared to read their final report you will not have failed to notice that they were not air lifted from the North but from "Strongholds of the incumbent" in central regions of Ivory coast because of death threats from the "incumbent's supporters" . There is not one contraction in the EU observer mission reports, not one. There is nothing Harding hides from you.

    "...Cote D ivoire was the only budding democracy in French Africa but Ouattara and his rebels want to take the country back to the Hougheout Boigny era...."

    Niger yesterday? Guinea Conakry? Mali? Senegal? Gbagbo murdered over 200 unarmed people in May 2004 when they went on the streets to ask for free and fair elections? We all know that Gbagbo was an accident,he was never voted for in free and fair elections. Gbagbo has been in control for 10 years. 5 of those without a mandate... Budding democracy? 5 years in power by suppressing everyone? I think we were referring to a "budding dictatorship".

    "...Democracy and massive fraud are not bed fellows.
    Since what we need now are solutions i encourage Ouattara to take the post of PM and make sure he diarms his rebels before the next elections take place even if that will take the next 15 years..."


    Democracy and massive fraud are certainly not bed fellows. Gbagbo and Paul Yao N'Dre will be summoned to the Hague to answer questions as to why their temporary removal from their grass huts in Mama gave them the right to try disenfranchise the Ivorian electorate of their sovereign right to choose their leader. What was Gbagbo doing smiling away in Bouake lighting the flames of peace to mark the end of disarmament prior to flying off to Morocco for his teeth bleaching ritual? Was it not for disarmament? Was this show another Gbagbo fraud?

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  • 20. At 01:03am on 16 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    For some reason the links to the EU observer report are not allowed here google for " CÔTE D'IVOIRE FINAL REPORT Presidential Election 31 October – 28 November 2010 EUROPEAN UNION ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSION "

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  • 21. At 2:20pm on 16 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    to Andrew Harding and his propaganda colleagues, please remember that you can fool some people sometimes but cant fool the whole people the whole time. We are very tired for the European manipulation of Africa; we died so much, we have been exploited for so long, we have been robbed so much for so long. Now all of that is not enough, after you got rich by our hardship and minerals, now you don’t want even see us, you open the doors for the Romas, the polish the Ukrainians etc and shut the doors for us who made you rich and fought in all of your wars.

    So if you are not tired of doing evil, but we are very tired of suffering on your hands. Please have look at this videos focus on the current Ivoirian issue.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IhegIEonww
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgFDgVpKSXo&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

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  • 22. At 2:40pm on 16 Mar 2011, sagat4 wrote:

    Mze-djimba funny man. As usual with your rants, you don't propose solutions. Ok what solution/s do you propose for the crisis here? please genuinely answer the question and don't keep using your familiar arguements

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  • 23. At 3:13pm on 16 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    You can fool someone sometimes but can’t fool the whole people the whole time. We are very tired for the European manipulation of Africa; we died so much, we have been exploited for so long, we have been robbed so much for so long. Now all of that is not enough, after you got rich by our hardship and minerals, now you don’t want even see us, you open the doors for the Romas, the polish the Ukrainians etc and shut the doors for us who made you rich and fought in all of your wars.

    So if you are not tired of doing evil then we are very tired of suffering on your hands. Please have look at this videos focus on the current Ivoirian issue.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IhegIEonww
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgFDgVpKSXo&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    @#22 sagat4: my emergency solution is what the AU had calls for; Government of national unity. And my long solution is the 3 axis of evil to back off from anything in Africa.

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  • 24. At 5:04pm on 16 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 5:21pm on 16 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 26. At 9:53pm on 16 Mar 2011, Toure wrote:

    Gbagbo should stop all this history lectures he is showing us
    at RTI and do what he is suppose to do by clearing out from that
    Presidential house and office,he can continue on his lectures
    in any university of his choice to those that cares.We are all
    tired of all this Bullshit,Presidency, is it by force or is it
    a do or die affair.Why is Gbagbo over ambitious.If he loves this
    country he could have hearkened to the voice of reasons,but he
    hate this country pretending as if he loves it,rather paving way
    to distroy what he did not build.

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  • 27. At 04:35am on 17 Mar 2011, Cotiboto wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 28. At 11:41am on 17 Mar 2011, Mze-djimba wrote:

    @Andrew Harding and BBC: what is really going on here? Why you suppressing even public videos from you tub? did your aim have anything beside intending to keep people on the dark side until they kills themselves because of the polluted & bias things YOU ARE TELLING THEM?

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  • 29. At 05:54am on 18 Mar 2011, Positive Change wrote:



    What also makes the future of Ivoirian to hang on the balance is the precarious current health situation in country. In a bid to forcefully installed Ouatara, his allies stopped the exportation and importation of everything to and from the country including of very essential medications.

    VERY unfortunately, No "international" human right organisation nor even Doctors without borders have talked about this. The death toll from the crisis as a result of fighting is currently estimated at 400 by the UN but reliable sources say those who have died nation wide because of no access to medication have already passed 500. But these cases are not announced by mainstream international media because it may shift the focus from the deaths attributed to the Gbagbo by the same "internatonal" human right bodies.

    I therefore concur with what others have said on the dire need for Africa to diversify its markets. Africa must make use of emerging markets and stop this dependence on nations which are ready to kill the people for easy access to raw material or because they want to have their staunch allies at the helm of various nations.. India, China, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia should be given needed attention by Africa leaders.

    May be Harding could "shed more light" on the number of people who have died nation wide in Cote D ivoire due to the band on importation of medication.

    As a solution i think Ouattara should give up his ambitions because even if he is forcefuly installed it will not work out well. I will consider that the legimisation or the legalisation of electoral fraud. This will therefore serve as a great lesson for those incumbent and other oppositon parties who think that they can rely n fraud to get to power. Democracy and fraud are np bed fellows.

    It is ridiculous when fraudsters always prepared this statement in advance. " There was fraud but it could not change the out come of the result". We must say no to fraud and any of such cases must be [unished according as has been the case in Cote D Ivoire.

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  • 30. At 10:03am on 18 Mar 2011, Allo johnson wrote:

    I still dont know why African leaders never accept defeat in the spirit of sportmanship.

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  • 31. At 5:04pm on 18 Mar 2011, Onwards ensemble wrote:

    I have been to Ivory Coast many times on business over the past two years. It is such a shame what is happening there. I would say that a country that depends so much on exports, must surely accept that trading with the outside is the way towards development and improving the lives of Ivorians. That will happen more quickly by accepting the election result, as it was globally fair. What country can, in this globalised world develop by isolating itself?

    Sadly the debate is confused by historical, ethnic and nationality, which seem to count for more in the eyes of those holding on to power, than economic development.

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  • 32. At 11:08pm on 18 Mar 2011, Mzwelindiwe wrote:

    Another fine African mess - it saddens me to see what is happening to my continent.

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  • 33. At 03:42am on 19 Mar 2011, clement bane wrote:

    Dear mr. Harding.

    I think it would serve the image of the BBC well if you would comment specifically on a number of incidents and facts directly referred to by those doubtful of mr. Ouattara's victory and his wary of his dubious past.
    As for your call for comments on the "statistical" exposition of "fakegbagbo" I can only say, that everything stands and fall with his contention, that "actually 65% of these new voters in the south on average voted for Ouattara". On what is that based? How has that been measured? It stands out like a completely unfounded prerequisite for the entire exercise.

    As for the many trustworthy controllers from the UN and EU, let me repeat what I wrote on the other string:

    When George W. Bush stole the precidency for the second time, beating Kerry in the decisive swing state of Ohio, a number of controllers were the from my country; members of PARLIAMENT. They were in shock as they reported to local newspapers, that the had been told by the FBI NOT ONLY to stay far away from the polling stations, BUT TO REMAIN IN THEIR HOTEL ROOMS!!!

    Now, typical of our subdued and submissive media, that piece of information NEVER became an issue of public debate and was never re-printed, but it is still on record and still undisputed. Now can you understand, that I have ceased to accept any claim by the media or power-holders, that challenges my intellect? There are many many suc claims in the case of Ouattaras claimed victory.

    It is very obvious, that the Sfrican Union has been subject to immense pressure from the UN and the West. Their "verdict" was due on feb. 28th; information difted to the media, that they were going to call for new elections. Immediately, the "verdict" was postponed. It smells from Dakar to Washington.

    ALL differences aside, do you not agree, mr. Harding, that there is every indication, that two major groups of the Ivorian population are seriously at odds and that one is very unlikely to accept the rule of the other? Can you not support a "Sudanese" solution with a permanent partition of the country being the subject of a referendum?

    Sincerely yours

    C. Bane

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  • 34. At 03:52am on 19 Mar 2011, clement bane wrote:

    Positive Change wrote:

    "What also makes the future of Ivoirian to hang on the balance is the precarious current health situation in country. In a bid to forcefully installed Ouatara, his allies stopped the exportation and importation of everything to and from the country including of very essential medications.

    VERY unfortunately, No "international" human right organisation nor even Doctors without borders have talked about this. The death toll from the crisis as a result of fighting is currently estimated at 400 by the UN but reliable sources say those who have died nation wide because of no access to medication have already passed 500. But these cases are not announced by mainstream international media because it may shift the focus from the deaths attributed to the Gbagbo by the same "internatonal" human right bodies."

    This is absolutely true! All of you (self)righteous supporters of Ouattara, of international sanctions, not to say military intervention, what a bunch of hippocrites you are! The HRW reporting from Cote d'Ivoire is a scandal that has forever erased any respect I have ever had for that organisation.

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  • 35. At 07:58am on 19 Mar 2011, Onwards ensemble wrote:

    Re. 34 Clement Bene - I thought that the problem of pharmaceuticals had more or less been solved? There was talk of many months of supplies in stock in Abidjan?

    Sadly sanctions impact the general population much more than the ruling elite. For sanctions to work there has to be an uprising of contempt for those holding on to power. I'm sure Gbagbo will not be impacted by a shortage of medication, if that were to happen. But for how much longer will he sit and watch his fellow countrymen and women die because of his refusal to accept a result widely held to be globally fair and accurate?

    I cannot believe that the media would ignore that story if it were true, in any case. Either the Red Cross or the UNHCR would also talk about it.

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  • 36. At 09:46am on 19 Mar 2011, Bugbow wrote:

    Clement,

    "actually 65% of these new voters in the south on average voted for Ouattara". On what is that based?
    That is based on the first-round numbers countrywide and the second round numbers of the Southern states (the ones Gbagbo won). Both of these sets have been approved by the Independent Electoral Commission, the United Nations and indeed by the Constitutional Council with only very minor differences that do not change the result in any significant way.

    How has that been measured?
    The base data is linked to in that very article, as is my spreadsheet which performs the calculation that results in the 65%.

    It stands out like a completely unfounded prerequisite for the entire exercise.
    It only does if you care not to read the detailed analysis explicitly linked to in said blog entry ("Feel free to verify the numbers and assumptions that went into the calculation yourself.").

    Again: This whole exercises is supported by actual numbers, agreed upon by all parties: the first round vote countrywide and the second round vote in the South. It shows that under the stated assumptions Ouattara has won by a generous margin. I dare say these assumptions are mostly fair and reasonable and were they are not they favour Gbagbo.

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  • 37. At 5:56pm on 19 Mar 2011, Chris wrote:

    There is no need for talk about "Sudanese solutions", nearly 70% of Ouattara's votes came from the south of Cote d'Ivoire. He is the chosen president for the North and South of Cote d'Ivoire.

    There is no embargo on medicines in cote d'Ivoire. Gbagbo uses state money to pay his soldiers and mercenaries while people die in Hospitals...
    If we talk about hypocrisy, then let us talk about why the EU and US have not sent forces to save 21 Million Ivorians from Gbagbo and thugs instead of the 6 Million Libyans?

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  • 38. At 10:32pm on 19 Mar 2011, Toure wrote:

    @Chris,thanks for ur writeup,i also think in the same
    direction as u thought,the crises in Ivory coast started
    first before the Tunisia,Eypt uprising and the Libyan
    own uprising just croped up few weeks ago,the coalition
    forces are now out to rescue the situation,leaving us to
    die in the hands of this dictator.Anyway Gbagbo should
    have a rethink and very fast before it comes to his turn.
    He should not allow shame and pride to kill him.

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