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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid