Accessibility links

Adviser to Ivorian President Gbagbo Calls Bank Access Ban 'Illegal'

  • Peter Clottey

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo (Dec 2010 file photo)

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo (Dec 2010 file photo)

A special adviser to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has described as totally illegal a decision by regional leaders over the weekend to prevent the embattled Mr. Gbagbo from accessing funds at the West African central bank.

Ambassador Yao Gnamien, who is currently in Europe to lobby support for Mr. Gbagbo’s administration, told VOA the decision by the regional leaders undermines Ivory Coast’s constitution, which he said is supposed to be the supreme law of the country.

“If you have never been empowered by the highest court in your country, you cannot act on behalf of a sovereign state. In our case, in Cote d’Ivoire, if you have not been empowered by the Constitutional Court, you cannot act on behalf of the sovereign people of Cote d’Ivoire,” said Gnamien.

“We need to adapt our self to this kind of decision and what the whole world must know is that what is going on in Cote d’Ivoire is the beginning of the destabilization of West Africa because Cote d’Ivoire is an essential country within the western part of the [African] continent.”

This came after West African leaders forced the head of the regional central bank to resign, after he defied an order to cut off Mr. Gbagbo's access to funds.

The move is the latest attempt by the sub-regional leaders to force Mr. Gbagbo to step down and cede power to his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

Gnamien blames western powers for the ongoing crisis in Ivory Coast.

“We can say that the ‘cold war’ is coming back into West Africa because of our raw materials and because they want to control all of us. In Cote d’Ivoire, we can say that we are experiencing once again the cold war, the cold war not based on ideological problem, but [a] financial one,” he said.

“Most of the superpowers, members of the P-5 [five permanent U.N. Security Council members], they want to control the western part of the continent so they are fighting each other through the crisis of Cote d’Ivoire. We can say that they are manipulating the head of state. If they are not careful, it can be like a fire which will burn all of us.”

A statement later read on Mr. Gbagbo’s-controlled Ivorian television appealed for calm and said measures have been taken to ensure the smooth functioning of the country's banking system.

Ambassador Gnamien also said the decision will not, in his words, meet its intended objective, which is to financially cripple Mr. Gbagbo’s administration.