Thursday, December 2, 2010

4 killed in attack on Ivory Coast candidate office

By MARCO CHOWN OVED, Associated Press 

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – Gunmen attacked an office of presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara, killing four people, authorities said Thursday as Ivory Coast tensely waited for election results whose release was blocked by the president's followers.

The unidentified assailants used automatic weapons during the overnight attack and were able to get to the site and escape despite a curfew. Four people died and 14 were wounded in the attack in the Abidjan district of Yopougon, said Coulibaly Diomande, the local security chief for the opposition party.

Ouattara's party accuses incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo — whose mandate expired five years ago — of trying to steal the long-awaited ballot. Gbagbo loyalists, apparently fearing they don't have enough votes for victory, have prevented the commission from announcing results from Sunday's election, saying tallies from at least four of the country's 19 regions should be canceled.

Damana Picasse, a commission member from Gbagbo's party, on Tuesday night yanked a list of results from electoral commission spokesman Bamba Yacouba's hand and ripped them up, yelling: "We did not sign off on these results!"

The vote, which international observers declared free and fair, was expected to restore stability to Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer. But the longer the results are delayed, the more the uncertainty grows. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed "deep concern."

On Thursday morning, traffic was unusually scant in the normally bustling lagoon-side city of Abidjan as residents were too nervous to leave home. Security forces have beefed up their presence. Pickup trucks with machine guns mounted on their beds and small tanks took up positions on the main arteries Wednesday night.

This West African nation has been under curfew since last Saturday night. Gbagbo extended it by another five days on Wednesday.

Ivory Coast's electoral code stipulates the commission has three days to issue provisional results. The constitutional council then has seven days to consider appeals before making those results official. The Ivorian constitution states that under extraordinary circumstances the council — whose president Paul Yao N'Dreo is a member of Gbagbo's ruling party — has 24 hours to decide if the electoral process should be stopped.

"Authority now passes to the constitutional council," said Alain Mosso, 48, a law professor at the University of Bouake. "The council decides which results to announce and which results to throw out."

The vote was the first in 10 years following a brief civil war that split the country in two, leaving the northern half in the hands of rebels sympathetic to Ouattara. They have yet to disarm.

The country has been struggling to hold a vote since a 2007 peace deal, leading to the dismantlement of a U.N.-patrolled buffer zone that had marked the divide between the rebel-held north and the loyalist south.

Pillay warned late Wednesday that the country's leaders "may be held accountable for any violence committed in their name" and said that given the tense situation, the two candidates and their supporters must "refrain from statements that incite violence, and from any course of action designed to deprive the people ... of their right to democracy."

Gbagbo, whose five-year mandate officially expired in 2005, has stayed in office while claiming elections were impossible because of the 2002-2003 war. Disputes over who would be allowed on voter rolls — more than one-third of the population are economic migrants from neighboring countries — fueled the delays.

Gbagbo led the first round of voting in October with 38 percent to Ouattara's 32 percent. Ouattara then won the endorsement of the third-place contestant who received 25 percent.

Associated Press writer Frank Jordans contributed to this report from Geneva.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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