News / Africa

Ouattara Takes Oath of Office as Ivory Coast President

Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence
Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence

Multimedia

Audio

Ivory Coast's president has taken the oath of office, formally ending the violent political crisis that followed November's disputed election. A U.N. human rights team is investigating a possible mass grave in an Abidjan suburb where the new national army has been battling loyalists of the ousted president.

President Alassane Ouattara swore to respect and defend Ivory Coast's constitution and protect the rights and liberties of all citizens.

In a brief ceremony at Abidjan's presidential palace, he said it is the start of a new era of reconciliation and unity for all Ivorians.

Ouattara has been the country's de facto leader since last month's capture of former president Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to hand over power sparked a wave of political violence.

Gbagbo is now under house arrest in northern Ivory Coast where prosecutors Friday questioned him about his alleged role in that violence. Two French lawyers retained by his daughter were turned back at Abidjan's airport.

President Ouattara's office says he will have a formal inauguration in the political capital Yamoussoukro May 21. Friday's oath of office followed the constitutional council officially making him president.

Constitutional council president Paul Yao N'dre says the council endorses the African Union decision to settle the crisis and therefore proclaims Alassane Ouattara President of the Republic of Ivory Coast.

N'dre helped set off this political crisis five months ago by annulling as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast to announce Gbagbo's re-election. The United Nations certified electoral commission results that showed Ouattara won the vote by eight percent.

N'dre says the council overturned its previous ruling because Ivory Coast is a member of the African Union and recognizes "international norms and standards accepted by competent national organs" as more authoritative than internal decisions.

Fighting in Abidjan's Yopougon neighborhood has continued as militia still loyal to Gbagbo are holding out against Ouattara's new national army.

Red Cross officials say they have collected 60 bodies in Youpougon this week. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says investigators are examining a possible link between an alleged mass grave in the neighborhood and a Wednesday attack on a Baptist church.

Ouattara is moving to restore security in Abidjan. He has already reopened banks and resumed cocoa exports.

The European Union is delivering $63 million of aid for the agricultural and justice sectors as the first installment of what will eventually be $261 million  in assistance.

The United States is providing $43 million to help relief groups deliver health care, clean water, and household items to displaced civilians.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says the priority now is reopening health centers that were closed by the political crisis.

"In regions of Montagna Moyen Cavally, 55 out of 106 health centers are not operational and five out of eight hospitals. And this is due to the lack of personnel. It is due to looting of drugs and medical equipment or partial or total destruction of health infrastructures. Sixty percent of health workers are absent, and those who have stayed have not received salaries for three months," he said.

WHO says it is working to help pay health workers in Ivory Coast, especially in rural areas. It says most of the health centers in Abidjan are open but do not have enough supplies.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid