News / Africa

Ivory Coast President Gbagbo Scrapes to Survive in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has also been able to count on the support of southern and western-based militias (File Photo)
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has also been able to count on the support of southern and western-based militias (File Photo)
Nico Colombant

Analysts, diplomats and his political opponents say incumbent Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is using all sorts of methods to stay in power despite growing international pressure and sanctions to force him to leave office after controversial elections last year.

Meetings took place in Mali's capital Bamako Tuesday among West African military chiefs to discuss a possible regional military intervention.

Meanwhile, diplomats in Abidjan said African Union mediator Raila Odinga again failed to convince Mr. Gbagbo to leave office, or even have him meet his challenger, the internationally-recognized winner of the November 28 run-off Alassane Ouattara.

There were a flurry of other meetings to discuss the seven-week crisis including one between the president of the former colonial power France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, one of many previous mediators in the Ivorian stalemate.

In an upcoming meeting, West African heads of state are due to meet Saturday in Bamako to discuss effectively blocking the Ivorian account from Mr. Gbagbo's government at the Senegal-based West African regional bank. The block was previously approved, but has not yet been implemented.

While all this talking is taking place, Africa analyst J. Peter Pham says many actors in the international community are finding out more and more about the resilience of Mr. Gbagbo, a former history professor and long-time opposition activist, who had already managed to push back the elections five years amid failed peace deals with northern rebels.

"He has got two things, patience from being an opposition politician, and as an academic, he tends to be very legalistic," he said.

This includes having had the country's constitutional council throw out votes from the rebel-held north, and overturn results that were announced outside legal delays by the national election commission. He has also hired French lawyers to defend his case in international courts.

Financially, Mr. Gbagbo has pushed cocoa businessmen to pay advances on export taxes, as part of efforts to keep paying civil servants and southern security forces, a monthly tab evaluated at up to $100 million.

Mr. Ouattara, who is holed up in a hotel in the main southern city Abidjan, has warned any payments made to Mr. Gbagbo will have to be paid back to his own government.  

Ivory Coast also owes money, but Mr. Gbagbo's side says since it is not recognized, it has stopped paying interest payments due on existing government bonds.

Diplomatically, analysts say a chess battle is taking place as well. Mr. Gbagbo's teams of embassy officials in several Western and African capitals are being asked to leave, to be replaced by Ouattara-appointed ambassadors.  But analysts say Mr. Gbagbo has pushed back by reinforcing ties with African allies, most notably Zimbabwe and Angola, while also looking for divisions within the West African grouping ECOWAS.

Militarily, Mr. Gbagbo has responded to the threat of outside military action, by saying this could spark a genocide. He has also sent security forces to carry out raids in Ouattara strongholds in an effort to suppress any type of people power movement.

Daniel Chirot, another U.S.-based expert on Ivory Coast, says he does not believe ECOWAS has the logistics to carry out an operation against Mr. Gbagbo. "In order to do that in Cote d'Ivoire, they would need the logistical support of a major outside force which in this case would mean the French and I am not sure that the French at this point would be willing to engage in that," he said.

After his meeting Tuesday with French President Sarkozy, Burkina Faso President Compaore said he did not wish for any military intervention for the time being.

A Nigerian official who was at the meeting as well, Salamatu Suleiman, said she believed a military intervention would be more effective if it was based on the authority of the United Nations.

Mr. Gbagbo has asked both U.N peacekeepers, and an assisting French rapid reaction force, to leave Ivory Coast, a request that has been ignored.

But in a victory for his side, an expected U.N. Security Council vote on Tuesday to send additional peacekeepers to Ivory Coast was postponed over objections from Russia. Analysts and diplomats are pointing out that Russia's oil giant Lukoil is currently exploring for crude in Ivory Coast, and that Russia is another country which could give Mr. Gbagbo much needed financial, strategic and diplomatic backing in the days ahead.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid