The just concluded AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia had two key problems to address: the political crisis in Ivory Coast and the legal battles involving six Kenyans who face charges at the ICC. So far the continental body appears to have failed on its attempts to address both problems.
In the Ivory Coast, Mr. Gbagbo’s camp has already declared that the five person panel formed by the AU is dead on arrival unless Burkinabe president, Compraore is dropped. The Daily Nation reports:
The president of Burkina Faso, named on a high-level African Union panel tasked with settling Cote d’Ivoire’s leadership crisis, is “not welcome” in this country, a top ally of strongman Laurent Gbagbo said here yesterday.
And in Kenya, the political football involving the setting up of a credibly clean local judicial system to try perpetrators of the 2007-8 post election violence diminished the prospects of a deferral from the UN Security Council. Kenya must guarantee that it will try the suspects for the ICC to consider a deferral. It does not help that the appointment of high members of its judiciary, including the chief justice, the attorney general and the director of public prosecutions has already been soiled by political grandstanding.
The BBC reports that both Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo have sworn themselves in as president. It is becoming ever more apparent that Cote d’Ivoire is on the edge of plunging back into civil war.
Laurent Gbagbo, through Cote d’Ivoire’s constitutional council, has declared himself winner of the Sunday presidential runoff. Ivory Coast’s independent electoral commission and UN and other observers continue to maintain that Alassane Ouattara, the opposition candidate, won the election with 54% of the vote.
The ethnic arithmetic of the election disfavored the incumbent Mr. Gbagbo (a Bete, 6%) after the third place candidate, former president Konan Bedie (a Baoule, 23%) endorsed Mr. Ouattara (a Dioula, 1.4% but who also commands most (up to 90%) of the northern Muslim vote).
Gbagbo should not be allowed to get away with this. Cote d’Ivoire’s election was not a close call. Ouattara won, fair and square. If any unity government is formed Mr. Gbagbo can only be a junior partner in it.
Needless to say this outcome may plunge the country back into civil war, mostly along the same ethnic and regional contours as in 2002-04.