Opinion: Roger Stewart On The Current Situation In Ivory Coast

Roger Stewart; a native of Los Angeles but originally from Ivory Coast shares his opinion on the current situation in the West –African nation of Ivory Coast.

American media have largely ignored the nasty civil war in a West African nation that was once a model of success. Our best hope is a quick end to the power struggle.

I woke up Friday, read the news and prayed that it was some sort of macabre April Fool’s Day joke. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This is one of the worst times in the history of Côte d’Ivoire, a beautiful West African nation that was once a model of economic success.

Yet I can’t seem to find any news from someone reporting directly from Abidjan. Why is it that all news is reaching the United States via Ghana, Johannesburg or farther away? I, for one, want to know what is actually happening on the streets, and what I hear through my own sources, via e-mail and on Skype from terrified friends in Abidjan is much different from what I read in newspapers and online.

Ivory Coast Crisis Worsens

The U.N. presence is severely limited and largely ineffective in protecting the people. As the rebels got closer to Abidjan, security disintegrated. Currently, there is widespread killing and looting by those on both sides of the conflict, but the rebels are clearly the current aggressors. I get reports of bodies being left on street corners, and homes burned and looted. Cars are being stolen then loaded up with armed rebel fighters; while tiles, furniture and anything not nailed down is carried off on foot. The U.N. and French soldiers have evacuated foreigners but have left the Ivorian people to fend for themselves. For those who fled weeks ago, there is no telling what they’ll return to — if they even choose to come back.

The international community, with unprecedented speed, proclaimed Alassane Ouattara the winner of last November’s election, but the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to surrender his office. So now that it appears Ouattara may finally become president, why are the international forces not protecting the Ivorian people in the same manner that they defended the Golf Hotel? Does it matter which side is doing the killing? I suspect that there are enough atrocities to go around. But the international community becomes complicit when it fails to protect all.

It has long been known that African journalists run the risk of being “burned” if they print something seen as offensive to either side. Many foreign journalists face the same type of reprisal. Previous firsthand reports from the Associated Press have now stopped. I’m told it’s because reporters fear for their lives and are in dangerous neighborhoods, unable to move. Other reporters previously on the ground left last week. This is because; unlike in Afghanistan or Iraq, there are no embedded reporters, or a reinforced “green zone.”

So when I read that Gbagbo supporters had released and armed prisoners from a local jail, I was appalled. I’ve since heard from numerous sources that it was in fact the Ouattara rebels who released and armed the prisoners. The credible Reporters Without Borders has confirmed this.

For months, we’ve heard and read stories about the plight of refugees fleeing to Liberia. Yet I hear of bus stations in parts of Ghana serving as de facto Ivorian refugee camps. But there are no news reports, and certainly no U.N. assistance. I have to ask, why is this?

So now, if you care anything about this country or its people, you have to consider, what is down the road? As I write this, nothing is resolved politically. There is no real endgame in sight. But I did read about how cocoa prices are starting to fall again, and the optimism is based on the pending Ouattara takeover. I understand business interests putting out these types of stories. But can we please get some real firsthand reports out of Abidjan? Can we please get more calls for Ouattara to control the rebels — if he even can at this point? Just think, if this had been done back in November, Côte d’Ivoire would not be suffering the agony it is now enduring.

Original story here: The Roots

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African Union; Why Include A Dictator (Mugabe) in Ivory Coast’s Mediation?

Original caption: President of Zimbabwe Robert...
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I’ve been following with keen interest; the revolutions that took place in Tunisia a couple of weeks ago and the very one happening in Egypt right now. I believe the citizens of those countries can’t take the oppression from their dictators any longer and are pressing for CHANGE.

Change they say; is always good for a positive cause. The American people called for CHANGE via US Pres. Obama and it was delivered on a “democratic” platter. Why can’t the same form of CHANGE be delivered to the good people of Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries calling for an end the dictatorships and oppressions?

On my time-line via Twitter over the weekend; @Bokuka re-tweeted @BBCAfricaHYS: Mugabe named as member of Ivory Coast mediator group.

Instantly, I become very angry and annoyed at the decision of the African Union in appointing a dictator to mediate in the on-goings in Ivory Coast. Has the African Union become that much of a group of bad jokes? What do the AU understands by mediation? Maybe, they need some clarifications/explanations.

According to Wikipedia:

Mediation; is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which also is a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement (facilitative mediation). In some cases, mediators may express a view on what might be a fair or reasonable settlement, generally where all the parties agree that the mediator may do so (evaluative mediation).

So, why are they appointing Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who’s been in power for the past 31-years as the mediator in the Ivory Coast negotiations?

A report indicates that;

The African Union decided to appoint Mugabe and a panel of leaders to join Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the Ivory Coast crisis.

The panel includes Presidents Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Jonathan Goodluck (Nigeria), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and the President of Mauritania among others and Mr. Jean Ping said the mediation already undertaken by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was part of the building stones towards achieving a realizable goal of peace in Ivory Coast.

Just when I was about to go all hard on this issue this morning; Reuters Africa reports that;

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe isn’t part of mediators for the Ivory Coast crisis negotiations. The lists of Presidents include: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma; Chad’s Idriss Déby, Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré; Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete & Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

When the following names: Muammar al-Gaddafi (42yrs in power), Robert Mugabe (31-yrs), José Eduardo dos Santos (32-yrs), Paul Biya (29-yrs), Omar al Bashir (22-yrs) and Hosni Mubarak (30-yrs) are mentioned in any domain; one word only comes to mind: DICTATORS.

I would never side with anyone who doesn’t respect the basic Human Rights of any group of people at any time because; “The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.” – Mahatma Ghandi.

A friend asked:

What’s the difference between Hosni Mubarak and Robert Mugabe ?


They are all over 80-years old, been in power for over 30-years and very good dictators.

What are your opinions regarding the current revolutions in Egypt and the rest of the Arab World? Where do you stand on the Ivory Coast crisis? Do you think, the chosen African Heads of State will bring peace at the end of it all? Which country is next to see a revolution soon after Egypt? Would it be Zimbabwe, Cameroon or Libya?


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