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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Columnist: Akyeampon, Nana A. D.

Ivorian Crisis: The Role Of Precedence

A cyclical crises has raised its ugly head and questioning whether the blacks are truly capable of managing their own affairs without calls from their former Masters pressurising and calling us to SANITY. With all eyes on Ivory Coast, the world is waiting to see how Africa has matured by way of the lessons learnt from previous electoral conflicts and how those lessons have helped us develop the measures that will ensure that the unreasonale conflicts that have killed and continue to kill thousands upon thousands do not happen again. Have we learnt our lessons? Have we passed the test? Are we truly capable??

I need not repeat the facts here but the bottom line is that the declaration by the Ivorian Independent Electoral commission has been set aside by a constitutional body with a counter declaration. Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara has been denied an obvious win by government functionaries led by allies of Gbagbo. The legitimacy of allegations of fraud are unverifiable but one thing is sure; the body that set aside the declared results headed by a close ally of President Gbagbo, in a typical conflict of interest situation, did the supposed 'investigations', passed judgement and declared President Gbagbo the winner based on which results it deemed credible. Electoral commission insists Alassane Ouattara won the elections. Conflict is looming. World leaders are calling on Prez Gbagbo to hand over.

But why should Gbagbo hand over power, looking over his shoulders to see the sort of dangerous precedents the AU has overseen with the participation of our own Kofi Annan? A viral sickness termed "Power Sharing" is what has plagued Africa. The people of Kenya spent millions of dollars of their tax money to choose whom they wanted for a leader; to choose who had a credible and viable agenda to meet the needs and challenges of a new era. In the end, a delegation of AU led by Mr Kofi Annan only succeeded with the saddest option that kept rule of law under wraps, rewarded impunity, violence and 'imposed' the two men against the clear will of the people. A toothless and helpless AU could not enforce any stringent measure to ensure the sovereign will of the people were respected. The AU should re-orient its agenda, energies and an enforceable legal framework to serve the interest and collective will of the people not the whims and big-for-nothing egoes of economically clueless and backward thinking leaders.

A similar AU failure happened in Zimbabwe and as usual, a very predictable 'solution' was found; Power Sharing, and one will wonder.. now that both opposition and incumbent are 'in power' who is checking who? Who is ensuring accountability? In the first place a unity government in itself is an indication of a disunited understanding and cannot, in the long run, work for the good of the people. All it now takes to be in power is ability to gather artilleries, fighting rebels and unreasonable agitations, some sizeable killings to make headlines and for sure, some elders of the continent will trip in to offer the cheapest solutions one can think of. With such a sad expectation in mind why should any 'smart', power-drunk leader hand over power? This is the sad reality of African politics today, We have no solid precedents to look up to. The AU has no way of bringing the needed pressure to ensure SANITY in our continental politics. Why should African leaders treat their people this way? After failing to develop sound economic and social policies, after failing to curtail corruption, with no good supply of basic amenities to make life decent enough for the people who made them Lords, our leaders still can't leave with their booties peacefully and want to leave only after they've been begged?

Now since the AU is in no position to get rid of an illegitimate leader, we are rather hoping that Gbagbo will do us a FAVOR, yes A FAVOR out of his 'mercies' to listen to his conscience and former colonial masters and probably step down if he wants. Africa when, just when will we consider our under-developed state of affairs, return to sanity and concentrate on acts, deeds and nobilities that will bring prosperity and progress to our beautiful land? That our leaders can choose when to listen to sovereign voices of the people. Other potentially unscrupulous leaders are also watching to see what happens; to see how far they can also push their luck the next time they also lose elections. Who will save us from the recurrence of this mess? Can the AU unite and take a coercive stand that can FORCE out illegitimate leaders? Imagine the irony of AU chairman Muamar Gadhafi advising another President to hand over power. Ivorians should not be robbed of their choice.

If the people of Kenya back then really wanted to have both opposition and incumbent 'in power' would they have senselessly spent millions of dollars to go to the polls? Yes the violence was ended(..cheaply) but what of culpability? Did the law take its course to ensure deterrence? What were the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led delegation to ensure such disgraceful and deadly adventures do not recur? Now the chickens are back home to roost as expected! Martin Luther King said Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of Justice. Though a leader who hands over power needs no thanks from the people, it is such acts as these that seem to make Saints out of Rawlings, Kuffour, and also Mills and Akuffo Addo for responsibly respecting the declaration of the Electoral commission but come 2012 will any power sharing 'moves' in Ivory Coast 'inspire' any unnecessary agitations?

IT'S high time the AU takes its place as a formidably tenacious body proactive enough to be able to ensure strict compliance with the tenets of the founding charter that leaders are accountable to the collective will of the people they claim to serve and put a stop to the cheap sugar-coated superficial solutions they always try to offer but rather develop solid legal framework so we can end these conflicts drawing back our continent. We do not need any power sharing solutions this time, what Africa need from the AU is precedent of principle and leadership, restoration of law and order, enthroning the sovereign will and choice of the people, stimulating thorough investigations and bringing to justice anyone who has played any role in this attempt to thwart and subvert the people's choice so a clear message can be sent to any other leader harboring such ambitions. God bless AFRICA.

Author: Nana A.D. Akyeampon. email: