News / Africa

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Rejects AU Mediation Proposal

Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized President, Alassane Ouattara, right, addresses journalists following a meeting with African Union commission chairman Jean Ping, left, at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 5, 2011
Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized President, Alassane Ouattara, right, addresses journalists following a meeting with African Union commission chairman Jean Ping, left, at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 5, 2011

Representatives of Ivory Coast's incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have rejected an African Union proposal to resolve his country's leadership dispute. A second day of negotiations is underway in Addis Ababa as a panel of five African presidents tries to mediate the dispute. The panel appears divided over how to settle a feud that threatens to push the world’s top cocoa exporter back toward civil war.

Members of the AU high-level panel on Ivory Coast brushed aside reporters’ questions as they arrived for day two of difficult talks. When cornered, the usually vocal AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping pleaded that only the presidents on the panel could speak.

"They will tell you. No, they will tell you for sure because you have presidents there and they like to speak and they will speak. Me, I am not allowed to speak too much," said Ping.

The African Union acted forcefully last December, suspending Ivory Coast’s membership when it became clear that Gbagbo was refusing to step down after losing a runoff election to challenger Alassane Ouattara.

Since then, however, the continental organization has wavered in its support for the internationally accepted election result.

The high-level panel meeting in Addis Ababa is said to be split between those insisting Ouattara is the legally-elected president, and others - including South African President Jacob Zuma - who reportedly favors a power-sharing deal similar to those negotiated in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Gbagbo rejected the efforts of an early AU mediator, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, refusing to see him after he made it clear results of the election would have to be recognized. Odinga later was fired after he told reporters Gbagbo was trying to overturn the people’s will.

Cote d’Ivoire symbolizes the great tragedy that seems to have befallen Africa, whereby some incumbents are not willing to give up power if they lose. This refusal is particularly egregious in Cote d’Ivoire’s case, since never has there been such internal, regional and international unanimity among independent institutions about the outcome of a disputed election in Africa.

Odinga was widely regarded as the winner of Kenya’s disputed 2007 election, but became prime minister after a power-sharing deal was struck with President Mwai Kibaki.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, also kept power through an agreement negotiated by South Africa after an apparent electoral defeat. Mugabe arrived in Addis Ababa Thursday for a specially-called heads of state level meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on Ivory Coast and Libya. That meeting begins after the mediation panel completes its debate.

Before he was fired in January, Kenya’s Odinga called power sharing negotiations damaging to democracy.

"Africa will never have a stable political base unless we internalize the democratic culture of ceding power after losing in a competitive electoral process," said Odinga. "If one’s vote does not count in determining who will lead a nation, which is the most elemental dimension of democracy, elections will become meaningless, democracy will lose its luster, and the future will be riddled with widespread unrest and instability."

Prospects for a positive outcome of the latest mediation effort dimmed when Gbagbo decided not to attend. He sent a delegation instead, led by former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan, who heads Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front. N’Guessan Thursday described as ‘unacceptable’ an AU proposal calling for an orderly transfer of power to Ouattara.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs