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Opinions Tue, 21 Dec 2010

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President Mills should publicly rebuke Laurent Gbagbo

By Abdul Sidibe

Last Saturday’s news file program finally discussed the Ivoirian crisis. More

importantly, Samuel Okudzato Ablakwa was on the program and he threw some light on

President Mills’ position on the ongoing conflict in Ivory Coast. Mr. Ablakwa

contended that government supports the position of ECOWAS and the international

community. But the Mills administration is still reluctant to openly condemn Mr.

Laurent Gbagbo for usurping power even though he clearly lost the Novemeber 28

election to his opponent, Alhassane Outtara.

Although, President Mills’ ideological sympathies with Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivoirian

Popular Front is understandable because both the President’s party and Gbogbo’s

belong to the Africa’s left lining parties. Africa’s leftist party, usually

suspicious of Europeans because of their colonial and post colonial experiences, are

more likely to support each other.

But that is not an excuse for President Mills to remain adamant in condemning what

many in the international community called a “power grab” or coup d’tat de la carte

by Gbagbo and his supporters. Some African leaders such as Kenya’s Prime Minister

Raila Odinga and the Botswana’s President Seretse Khama Ian Khamae have issued

strong statements on the Ivoirian crisis. Mr. Odinga was even of the view that

military action should be on the table. Ghanaians expect President Mills to do the

same. African leaders should not allow dark-age despots like Laurent Gbagbo to hold

democracy captive.

Pan-Africanism is also not an excuse to throw the entire region into a civil

conflict and deny the already devastated sub-region a chance to heal it wounds and

solve it numerous problems. Many democratic minded Africans supported Gbagbo’s

struggle for democracy in Cote d’Ivoire during his fight with Houphouet-Boigny. That

sympathy is eroded. It turned out that Mr. Gbagbo is far worse than

Houphouet-Boigny. He is nothing than a war-monger in civilized skin.

As the events in Ivory Coast indicate, Mr. Gbagbo and his self proclaimed

Pan-Africanist youth leader Charles Blé Goudé are mere ethnic entrepreneurs. They

are hiding behind national sovereignty and tribal identities to incite violence and

war. The Ivoirian people have suffered enough, it is time to have peace in the once

glamorous West African country. Peace can’t be achieved without recognizing and

accepting the legitimate will of the people. Mr. Gbagbo had lost the election. Any

attempt to use softly spoken words to down play the impeding carnage in the Ivory

Coast by calling for prayer would not help.

It is against this background that we should all support the call from Nana Akuffo

Addo that President Mills, like several other world leaders, openly condemn Mr.

Gbagbo and members of his party for refusing to accept the results of an

internationally supervised elections in that country. President Mills may have

wished that Gbagbo had emerged winner in that election, but he lost. It is time for

the President to call on him to go for the sake of his country and the sub-region.

Failure to do so will send a wrong signal to others and could have implications on

Ghana’s democracy. Democracy is not just about peace, its core principles include

accepting and living by the judgments of the electorate no matter how tough it is

for the candidate. It is in light of these core principles that Rawlings handed

office to Kufour in 2000 and Kufour handed over to the President in 2008. Without

these principles democracy will be just a mere facade.

Instead of calling for a national day of prayer President Mills should call on his

friend Gbagbo to exit power and allow peace to prevail. God does not elect

presidents in a democracy. The people do, and in the case of the Ivory Coast the

people have spoken. 54% of Ivoirians want Outtra, and not Gbagbo, to be President.

Gone are the days of the crusades when Deus Vult, as declared by Pope Innocent, was

the order of the day.

Columnist: Sidibe, Abdul

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