News / Africa

    US Senator: Obama Administration 'Wrong' on Ivory Coast

    Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)
    Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Clottey interview with Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma

    Peter Clottey

    A U.S. senator says President Barak Obama’s administration “got it wrong” in its handling of the ongoing crisis in Ivory Coast following violent clashes between rival forces, which has left hundreds dead and tens of thousands fleeing the West African conflict.

    In a VOA interview, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma says the Obama administration is backing the wrong side in the conflict and offered to provide evidence that it was mathematically impossible for Alassane Ouattara to win the disputed November presidential run-off vote over embattled President Laurent Gbagbo.

    “I do know that the French have always had pretty much control of the government in the Ivory Coast and that’s just the way the French operate, until President Gbagbo got there and, of course, the French have been running against him ever since that time,” said Inhofe.

    Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma
    Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma

    “I have shown on the Senate floor how they took the margin of victory that went to Ouattara… what precincts they stole that vote at and how they miscalculated it. How is it statistically possible for the primary election for Gbagbo to have received thousands and thousands of votes in that northern part of Cote d’Ivoire and then, in the run-off, he got zero? Statistically, that is impossible,” he added.

    However, Inhofe acknowledges that his concerns about what he calls a “stolen election” have been overtaken by current events. Inhofe, who is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says France is leading the charge to force Gbagbo to step down and cede power to Ouattara.

    “The French have come in and over a thousand people have been killed in Deukoue, a town in the western part, and those were the people who are Gbagbo supporters. So it’s a reign of terror by Ouattara and it’s supported by the French... [I] am afraid I’m losing this one, but somebody has to tell the truth,” Inhofe said.

    France has denied the accusation of killing civilians. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says his government is working within the framework of international law, notably U.N. mandates, to protect civilians. He said France has no intention of deploying a more offensive foreign policy.

    “Absolutely, they [Obama administration] had it wrong. They are wrong and I have sent letters to the secretary of state and to the administration giving them evidence of the election. It was totally ignored and so I criticized my own administration, as well as the French,” Inhofe added.

    The United Nations is investigating reports of massacres in Duekoue, which pro-Ouattara forces seized from Gbagbo troops last week. Both sides have been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths since post-election violence began last December.

    Inhofe also says the United Nations violated its charter by using military force against Gbagbo loyalists.

    “They went in and immediately assumed that it was a legitimate election and, yet, we have all the evidence to the contrary. By the way, there are a lot of people in Africa who agree with me,” he said.

    The Obama administration says Gbagbo lost a legitimate election judged by poll observers as free and fair. It has repeatedly called on Gbagbo to step down and cede power to Ouattara, who the international community recognizes as winner of last November's election.

    In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Inhofe cited one official regional election return document suggesting Ouattara was credited with more than 90,000 votes beyond what was actually tallied. The Senator asked the administration to change its position and call for a new internationally-monitored vote.

    Meanwhile, Ouattara forces launched an assault on Gbagbo’s home Wednesday after he refused to admit electoral defeat and surrender. The forces met strong resistance from pro-Gbagbo troops, despite the fact that most solders from the regular army have laid down their arms.

    Witnesses say they heard gunfire and explosions from the compound where Gbagbo, along with members of his family, is believed to be holed up. The fighting died down around midday Wednesday. Witnesses say the Ouattara forces retreated.

    Aides to Ouattara say the fighters have been told to capture Gbagbo alive.

    A Gbagbo spokesman said U.N. and French forces were involved in the assault, an allegation French officials have denied.


    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.