News / Africa

    Sanctions Increase Against Stubborn Ivorian President

    UN peacekeepers maintain a highly visible presence in Abidjan, Ivory coast, amid concerns of escalating post-election violence in the country, 29 Dec 2010
    UN peacekeepers maintain a highly visible presence in Abidjan, Ivory coast, amid concerns of escalating post-election violence in the country, 29 Dec 2010

    Multimedia

    As the international community presses Ivorian President Gbagbo to step down, economic and political sanctions appear the tools of choice. But will they work?

    It's been more than a month since Ivorian presidential elections which most countries consider were won by challenger Alassane Ouattara. But Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo clings to power. He gained more time Tuesday, after a delegation of West African leaders failed to convince him to step down. Threats of military intervention by the West African regional group ECOWAS are on hold as negotiations continue.

    Still, Washington-based analyst Nu Akuetteh says the widespread international condemnation of Mr. Gbagbo is striking. Akuetteh is former director of the U.S. nongovernmental organization Africa Action, and has spent years working in West Africa. "Africa has had similar crises a lot. But this one is unique in how united the African Union and ECOWAS has been in saying Mr. Gbagbo has to go," Akuetteh said.

    For now, economic and political pressure appear the tools of choice. The European Union and the United States have imposed travel restrictions on Mr. Gbagbo and his entourage. The World Bank has frozen loans to Ivory Coast and West Africa's central bank has transferred control of state reserves to Mr. Ouattara.

    France, Canada, the European Union and the United Nations no longer recognize Mr. Gbagbo's ambassadors; Mr. Ouattara's newly appointed UN ambassador has already begun work.  And France's Le Figaro newspaper reports the EU may impose new sanctions in early January, if Mr. Gbagbo does not step down.

    Akeutteh believes tougher sanctions are needed now - including freezing overseas bank accounts belonging to Mr. Gbagbo and his wife. "I absolutely agree that we have to try sanctions first," Akeutteh explains. "But they must be serious sanctions. I don't think the sancitons that have been pushed so far have been pushed quickly enough and sharply enough."

    Video clip: Ivory Coast Diplomat Warns Crisis Threatens to Bring Genocide

    Venance Konan, a prominent Ivorian author and independent journalist based in Abidjan, agrees on the need for stronger financial sanctions. "We hope the international community will increase the pressure and we hope that this pressure will work ...not on Mr. Gbagbo, because I think he's absolutely crazy, but on the military, the soldiers who protect him," Konan stated.

    Konan says tightening the financial noose may deprive Mr. Gbagbo of the means to paying these soldiers, who may turn against him if they don't get their salaries.

    International sanctions have so far failed to dislodge the leader of another African country - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. But Daniel Bourmaud, Africa analyst and professor at the University of Bordeaux in France, says the case of Mr. Gbagbo is different.

    Bourmaud says Mr. Mugabe has always managed to secure a degree of support from some African countries. By contrast, he says the unity of African states in demanding Mr. Gbagbo cede power, is unprecedented.

    Meanwhile, observers warn that another option - military intervention to remove Mr. Gbagbo from power - may spark fighting that spills into other African states.

    "We're afraid the military option will cause a lot of deaths. But at the end, if the sanctions and the international pressure doesn't work on Mr. Gbagbo, maybe the military option will be the Last," Konan said.

    As time drags on, analyst Akuetteh says, it is playing into Mr. Gbagbo's hands.  After years of conflict, Ivorians are tired. And Mr. Gbagbo is an expert at stalling - managing to stay in power for five more years after his presidential mandate expired. "He thinks people will lose interest," he said. "He thinks the international community will turn its interest elsewhere."

    If sanctions fail, French analyst Bourmaud says they will show the limits of international diplomacy and African unity. But if they succeed, he believes they may set a precedent for resolving future African crises.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora