Trading And Investing In & Out Africa

ISSUE 121 - VOL 2
January 15 - April 14, 2011

Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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Facts to Understanding the Post-Electoral Imbroglio in Ivory Coast

By Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum

It is all over the news worldwide, and at the time of this writing on January 14, 2011, Ivory Coast has two presidents and two appointed prime ministers.

This being the result of disputes after the presidential ballot of November 28, 2010, which opposed the incumbent president (in place since 2000) - Laurent Gbagbo, the leader of the so-called Presidential Majority (LMP) - an alliance of Gbagbo's Popular Front of Ivory Coast (FPI) and several other minor parties and individuals, against Alassane Dramane Ouattara, anointed by the Alliance of the Houphouetists (RHDP), a combination of Ouattara's the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), and Bedié's PDCI - The Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire.

Alassane Dramane Ouattara had been declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) with 54.10% of cast votes against 45.90% to Laurent Gbagbo. These results certified true and valid, by the Special Representative in Ivory Coast of the UN's Secretary, head of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire - UNOCI

And the Constitutional Court of Ivory Coast (CCIC), on its part - after the CEI proclaimed Ouattara the winner as above outlined, declared Laurent Gbagbo the winner with 51% of cast votes.

How that's possible? How comes that two different institutions provide two different results for the same ballot? That's what will be briefly sorted out in this delivery.

- A bit of political history about Ivory Coast

From 1988-89 to 1990, Ivory Coast was confronted with a drastic economic crisis, due to the falling prices of the national cash crop - cocoa beans, on the international marketplace.

The founding father, Houphouet Boigny, who managed to guide the country towards a relative prosperity from 1945 onwards, was now "officially" 89 year-old and tired. He call upon Alassane Dramane Ouattara, the then head of the French Speaking West African Countries's Central Bank (BCEAO) to turn around the economy and stop the spiraling crisis.

He appointed him, in April 1990, the Chairman of the Interministerial Committee for the Economic Recovery Program. Ouattara remaining at the same time head/ governor of the Central Bank - BCEAO. From November 7, 1990, Ouattara was appointed Prime Minister of Ivory Coast - leaving the position of BCEAO's governor.

And that was the beginning of the real cause of Ivory Coast's political crisis: the rivalry between the founding father's heirs, Alassane Dramane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie, that opened the golden highway to the then opposition's leader, Laurent Gbagbo, to grabbing the state power - in the presidential ballot of year 2000.

Indeed, according to Ivory Coast Constitution, the president of the House of Representatives (Parliament) is second to the list of succession, to the presidential position, in case of vacancy or invalidity of the incumbent. And that person at the time was Henri Konan Bedie. He was a sitting duck since 14 years - at the time when Ouattara had been appointed prime minister.

So to understand what is happening currently in Ivory coast, you have to review above listed links. And others listed here

- Lack of confidence, trust and mistrust

When the coup of September 2002, staged by the Northerners to topple Gbagbo's regime half succeeded - the rebels capturing a half chunk of Ivory Coast's territory as shown on the image at the left side of this paragraph, the round of meetings, and mediations started: Marcoussis Agreement, Accra I, II, III Agreements, Pretoria Agreement, Ouagadougou Agreement, and so forth. Click here for more

Amongst the flurry of mediations and signed agreements, two stand out as corner stones that shape the course of the current events in Ivory Coast:

1- The Pretoria/ Tshwane Agreement, signed on April 7, 2005 after three-day intensive negotiation under the leadership of the then South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki, brought together the five main protagonists to the conflict, President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Seydou Diarra, New Forces rebel leader Guillaume Soro, and Ivory Coast's main opposition politicians, former president Henri Konan Bedie and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

The five leaders agreeing to continue implementing the peace process, to resolving the outstanding issues of the Linas-Marcoussis, Accra, I, II and III agreements. They also agreed to start disarming militia throughout the country, and to begin first, the process of demobilizing, and second, reintegrating members of the New Forces into the national armed forces.

And most importantly, with regards the current post electoral snafu, they agreed for presidential ballot to be held on October 2005, and asked for the support of the UN to organize the election, and to certify the results, as true and valid. Click here for more

Unfortunately (for Ivory Coast prosperity and stability,) the scheduled election never took place as programmed, due to the fact that Gbagbo requests for the disarmament (of the rebels) to take place before any election could be scheduled.

The rebels on their part requesting that identity cards be issued to million of people, most of them Northerners, branded foreigners because their families migrated from neighboring countries, particularly from Upper Volta, during the period when Ivory Coast and Upper Volta - now Burkina Faso - were bound together as a single French colonial territory, up to mid 1940s.

In order to untangle the stalemate, Gbagbo invented the so called Direct Dialogue between the rebels and his government, asking Burkina's Compaoré to be the mediator. The Direct Dialogue led to:

2- The Ouagadougou Agreement, signed on March 2007, exclusively between the rebels's leader, Guillaume Soro, and Gbagbo's FPI. Other opposition parties, the Ouattara's Rally of the Republicans (RDR), Bedie's PDCI, and the several other parties who signed the Marcoussis Agreement were not part of the deal. These opposition parties, however, retained ministerial positions in the government, in accordance with Marcoussis Agreement's stipulations about the transitional government.

The Ouagadougou Agreement calls for elections to be held within 10 months.

That did not happened. Gbagbo uses all the tricks of the trade to disagree, and succeeded in postponing six times election scheduled dates - over 5 years, from 2005 to 2010. The main argument being that the rebels should disarm before any election could take place; and the rebels ready to disarm only if a fair and transparent ballot takes place - request in line with Ouagadougou Agreement's stipulations and articles.

Finally, Gbagbo agrees, under intense international pressure, to the last schedule of October 28, 2010, followed by the second leg of November 28, 2010, which results led to the current imbroglio, the country having two head-of-states and two prime ministers.

Alassane Dramane Ouattara, however, being the only one recognized by the UN, the African Union, the international community, and aid organizations - as the sole and unique elected president, together with his appointed prime minister, Guillaume Soro.

Click to view continuation to the article.

About the author: Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum is the principal/ managing director of Dr. Quenum & Associates, IBC; an experienced Investment & Business Planner with 30 years consulting practice in African countries; author of Africans, Stop Being Poor! and the editor in chief of Africabiz Online

1- Ivory Coast: From Re-Foundation to Tutelage
Un's resolution 1464 places Ivory Coast under United Nations' tutelage...
2- The stupid dive to hell
Of once prosperous African countries...
3- The Marcoussis Agreement
To Ending Ivory Coast's Political Crisis
4- Houphouet as head of State
The strategy implemented by Ivory Coast's founding father to gear the country towards prosperity
Ivory Coast's Transitional Government
Linked to the Marcoussis Agreement
6- Facts behind the downfall of Bedie's regime
Bedie cooks the Ivoirité nationalistic concept to stop Ouattara from running for the presidency
7- Accra II Agreement
To Implementing Marcoussis Agreement
8- The collapse of Ivory Coast
The Rebels made Bouaké, in the heart of the country their capital-city.
9- Accra III Agreement
To Implementing marcoussis Agreement
10- Ivory Coast Military Declares
The End Of The Civil War
11- Security Council Resolution 1464
On Ivory Coast Crisis
12- Ceasefire Agreement In Ivory Coast
Rebels and Gbagbo's government agree on a ceasefire

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Many thanks for subscribing to Africabiz. See you here on April 15, 2011

  Dr. B.M. Quenum
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