Thursday, December 23, 2010

Laurent Gbagbo denied access to Ivory Coast state funds

Mr Gbagbo says
the presidential
poll was rigged in
rebel areas that backed
Mr Ouattara
Source: BBC News

The bank says only appointed members of Ivory Coast's "legitimate government" will have access to the deposits there.

The BCEAO had been urged to restrict access as it will make it difficult for Mr Gbagbo to pay the military, and increase pressure on him to step down.

Violence since last month's disputed election has left 173 people dead.

A senior UN official said its investigators had also found evidence of extrajudicial executions, more than 90 cases of torture and 500 arrests, as well as abductions, kidnappings, acts of sexual violence, and destruction of property.

The UN Human Rights Council expressed deep concern about the unrest, and unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the "atrocities".

Mr Gbagbo says the 28 November poll, meant to unify a country split by civil war in 2002, was rigged in rebel areas that backed Mr Ouattara.

The Independent Electoral Commission ruled that Mr Ouattara had won, a decision later certified by the UN. But the Constitutional Council said Mr Gbagbo had been elected, citing vote rigging in some areas.

The UN General Assembly gave Mr Ouattara a further boost late on Thursday, by unanimously deciding to recognise his choice of diplomats as the sole official representatives of Ivory Coast to the UN.

At the same time as the UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva, finance ministers in West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) agreed to tell the BCEAO to hand over control of Ivory Coast's state accounts to Mr Ouattara.

"The Council of Ministers has noted the decisions of the UN, African Union and Ecowas [Economic Community of West African States] to recognise Alassane Ouattara as the legitimately elected president of Ivory Coast," a statement said, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The council had decided that only "officials regularly designated by the legitimate government of Ivory Coast" could access the country's deposits and represent it within the UEMOA, the statement added.

The ministers instructed the central bank and all regional banks "to take all security measures to ensure the rigorous application of these measures".

The BBC's John James in Abidjan says the decision cuts off a major source of funds for Mr Gbagbo, who has shown no sign of stepping down.

Mr Gbagbo still has control of state television and the public support of the army, but without access to Ivory Coast's state accounts it is going to be extremely difficult to pay the salaries of soldiers and civil servants next month, even if he almost certainly has other financial reserves, our correspondent says.

But, analysts say the move by the finance ministers is risky, because Ivory Coast is by far the most important economy in the West African CFA monetary zone, whose eight members all use the franc CFA.

Although Mr Gbagbo has tried to paint the international condemnation of his decision to stay on in power as a plot by former colonial power France, West Africa's leaders have been some of the most vocal critics, our correspondent says.

On Friday, they will gather in Nigeria for an emergency meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and are likely to consider a range of measures against Mr Gbagbo, including the possibility of military action, he adds.

It sent troops to bring peace to Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

'Avoid violence'

Mr Ouattara and his supporters are currently holed up in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, protected by 800 peacekeepers from Unoci. They are in turn being blockaded by soldiers loyal to Mr Gbagbo.

The incumbent president has demanded that UN and French troops leave the country immediately. A close ally even warned that they could be treated as rebels if they did not obey the instruction.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that any attempt to "starve the United Nations mission into submission" would not be tolerated, told the international community that it "cannot stand by".

Guillaume Soro, the former rebel commander appointed prime minister by Mr Ouattara, meanwhile urged the use of force to oust Mr Gbagbo.

"The Ivorians cannot engage in talks with a dictator," he said.

A US government specialist on Africa, William Fitzgerald, told the BBC that various options for defusing the crisis were being considered, but that "we're really trying to avoid violence if at all possible".

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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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