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.

Multimedia

Audio

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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs