In the Comoros Islands, the union government says Anjouan’s embattled President Mohamed Bacar has up to November 24 to organize free and fair elections to usher in a legitimate government or face an air and sea blockade. This follows a recent meeting in South Africa between officials of the African Union and the union government, which sought to resolve the political impasse in Anjouan.
But Bacar, in a live television broadcast, dismissed the ultimatum, as frivolous, saying the island is not ready for fresh elections. Ahmed Gaffar is the foreign minister of Comoros union government. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Moroni, that more stringent measures will be taken against Bacar’s government if the ultimatum is not respected.
“This follows a meeting we had in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria and the security and peace council decided to take this measure to push Anjouan authorities to go through with the elections. So now, the 45 days began on 10th October and the end would be on the 24th of November. And this blockade measure is just to make way for the movement of these authorities, Anjouan authorities to go away,” Gaffar noted.
He said more stringent measures would follow if Bacar’s government refuses to abide by the ultimatum.
“They can’t go anywhere now, and there is another blockade of their accounts in all banks (all over the Island). So that is the first measure. And after the 45 days, we will expect another measure like to black any flight or any ship to go to Anjouan,” he said.
Gaffar said he does not expect Bacar to comply with the ultimatum.
“We don’t think so because we know Bacar’s position. Bacar’s position is to not accept the election in Anjouan. So we tried to sit with the African Union on how we can push him (out). But we know that he made a speech on television there in Anjouan to say that he is not ready to go to this election,” Gaffar pointed out.
He dismissed last weeks meeting between Bacar and the president of Grande Comoros, saying the controversial meeting is of little importance to the union government.
“And last week there was the president of Grande Comoros who was in Anjouan, and he discussed with him. But we don’t recognize this meeting because Bacar is not legal. Bacar is illegal, and since he is in that position, we can’t recognize him. So we try to see. So we hope that with this measure, the African Union measure can push him (out) or so we can see how we can have the elections by another way,” he noted.
Gaffar ruled out any dialogue with Bacar, whom he described as the illegitimate president of Anjouan.
“No, no, we can’t now, because Bacar is illegal as far as we are concerned on this decision. We can’t discuss with him because we need to have a legal authority in Anjouan. So if he accepts to go to election, then, after, we would see. But now, we can’t hold talks with Bacar, and we know that Bacar has proposed for us to hold a roundtable talks between Comorians. But now, we are asking that how can we stay with Bacar when Bacar is not legal”? Gaffar asked.