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Gbagbo Adviser Sees Plot to Unseat Him

  • Peter Clottey

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, center, gestures during a photo opportunity with his newly-named cabinet, with Prime Minister N'Gbo Gilbert Marie Ake, front left, at the presidency in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Dec 7, 2010

A legal adviser to Ivoirian President Laurent Gbagbo said the refusal of U.N. troops to leave Ivory Coast, despite demands to do so, shows a long concocted plot to “delegitimize” the embattled leader.

Attorney Augustin Douoguih maintained that President Gbagbo is the legitimately-elected leader of Ivory Coast as, in his words, enshrined in the country’s constitution.

“For the U.N. and the French to say that President Gbagbo is not the legitimate leader of the country is sheer nonsense. And, it shows that this plan was concocted long before the election (and that) the election was just an excuse.”

President Gbagbo’s government, in a televised statement, demanded that all foreign peacekeepers, including the U.N. troops, leave after accusing them of backing former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.

But, the United Nations rejected the demand describing it as irrelevant. The world body, along with other international organizations, said Mr. Ouattara won the disputed 28th November presidential run-off vote and asked President Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to his rival.

But, Douoguih said the demand for the embattled leader to step down is “sheer nonsense.”

“The proof is that President Gbagbo was elected in accordance with the constitution that the people of Ivory Coast freely gave themselves. That constitution says that, in a presidential election, the last word belongs to the Constitutional Council. (But) the U.N is basing their position on the fact that the commission, which was foreclosed from giving the results, declared Ouattara as the winner,” said Douoguih.

“How do you go to a country and ignore its laws? Can we in the United States say that a District Court’s decision is the correct decision and the Supreme Court decision is to be ignored? People will laugh at you if you say that. But, because this is in Africa, foreign powers can go there and choose to ignore the constitution of the country.”

Meanwhile, The United Nations is reporting a wave of killings and abductions in Ivory Coast, where Mr. Gbgabo is refusing to give up power.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, issued a statement Sunday saying more than 50 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in violence since Thursday.

Pillay said there is growing evidence of "massive violations of human rights" in Ivory Coast. The U.N. mission says it has received hundreds of reports of people being kidnapped from their homes by armed men in military uniform.

Pillay did not say who the United Nations believes is to blame for the alleged killings and kidnappings.