News / Africa

West African Leaders Suspend Ivory Coast Over Political Crisis

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a press conference on December 7, 2010, after a special summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) heads of States on Ivory Coast's electoral crisis.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a press conference on December 7, 2010, after a special summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) heads of States on Ivory Coast's electoral crisis.



West African leaders are calling on Laurent Gbagbo to step down as president of Ivory Coast in favor of a former prime minister who won the United-Nations certified vote.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan chairs the Economic Community of West African States. Following an emergency meeting with the leaders of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Togo, President Jonathan said Mr. Gbagbo should step down because he lost last month's vote.

"The votes of the people must count. Where we have a democracy where the votes do not count, ECOWAS will no longer accept such a pseudo or false democracy," said Jonathan.

President Jonathan says West African leaders agree that former prime minister Alassane Ouattara won the election and is now Ivory Coast's rightful leader. "We reviewed the whole issues, the whole elections, and have come to the conclusion that Ouattara was the person who duly won that election.  Of course you know that we no longer accept illegitimate government within the subregion," he said.

So the regional alliance suspended Ivory Coast from all of its activities.

Mr. Gbagbo says he is the president because Ivory Coast's constitutional council annulled as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast, giving him 51 percent of the vote. Mr. Ouattara says he is the president because the United Nations certified the original electoral commission results that show him winning 54 percent of the vote.

Both men have named new prime ministers and have the support of rival armed forces. Mr. Gbagbo is supported by senior military officers who control southern regions. Mr. Ouattara is
supported by former rebels who control northern regions.

President Jonathan called on the United Nations and the African Union to work with West African leaders to keep the peace. "We know we have a challenge on our hands. We have two people claiming to be the president. We have two prime ministers. We have two sets of executive councils. And of course that is a very, very abnormal situation. But we believe that we will get over this ugly phase of the history of the subregion," he said.

The first sign of the conflict's regional impact is the arrival of refugees in neighboring Liberia.

Liberian refugee agency official Morris Nelson says more than 600 people have crossed the border into Nimba County since late last week. "At the moment we are building tents where these refugees can seek refuge for the meantime. But what is more alarming is that these Ivorians do not have any food to eat. So we are calling on humanitarian organizations like the WFP (World Food Program) to hurriedly come in to provide support to these Ivorian refugees," he said.

The rebuke by his former colleagues is unlikely to change Mr. Gbagbo's approach to the political crisis. ECOWAS joins the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, Britain, France, the United States, and Canada in calling for Mr. Gbabgo to yield power.

Mr. Gbagbo dismisses international support for Mr. Ouattara as foreign interference that threatens Ivory Coast's sovereignty. His new prime minister named a new cabinet Tuesday.

President Jonathan says West African leaders want Mr. Gbagbo to yield power without delay because they do not believe a government of national unity is in Ivory Coast's best interests. Given the experience of power-sharing governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the Nigerian leader says that does not really work.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs