Monday, December 6, 2010

UN to evacuate non-essential staff from Ivory Coast

Minor protests have continued on the streets of Abidjan Continue reading the main story

The UN is moving non-essential staff out of Ivory Coast, following the state's disputed presidential election.

Some 460 staff would continue to carry out their duties from the Gambia, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Earlier, Botswana's President Khama Ian Khama urged African heads of state to strongly condemn what was happening.

He also told the BBC that President Laurent Gbagbo should step down, saying it was clear a majority of people had voted for his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

The World Bank and African Development Bank meanwhile said Ivory Coast had to resolve its political crisis or face having its aid frozen.

"We wish to continue working with the people of Ivory Coast in the fight against poverty but it is difficult to do so effectively in an environment of prolonged uncertainty and tension," said a joint statement.

"We will continue to closely monitor developments and reassess the usefulness and effectiveness of our programmes given the breakdown in governance."
“We indeed hope that the leadership of this country will do everything it can to make sure that peace is maintained”

The result of the 28 November presidential election run-off has left Ivory Coast with two presidents, who have each named separate cabinets.

The BBC's John James in Abidjan says there are even rumours that two sets of ambassadors will be appointed, creating even more confusion.

Western nations have thrown their support behind Mr Ouattara. Initial results issued by the electoral commission gave him a clear victory over Mr Gbagbo.

But the results were later overturned by the country's Constitutional Council, which awarded the victory to the incumbent.

Our correspondent says both sides are currently firming up their positions, leaving little room for compromise.

As the tension mounts, the UN announced on Monday that it would evacuate non-essential personnel - a decision that parallels similar moves by overseas companies like French Telecom and many of the cocoa exporters that work in the world's biggest producer, he adds.

The UN continues to have around 10,000 peacekeepers, some of whom are protecting Mr Ouattara and his self-declared government.

Several Western countries have also advised their citizens not to travel to the country, while Belgium has said it has deployed special forces personnel to protect its embassy.

On Monday night, the African Union's envoy, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, left Abidjan after two days of meetings with both sides.

He said he would submit a report to the African Union, and pleaded for both sides to help the regional grouping mediate.

"I'd like to say is that we indeed hope that the leadership of this country will do everything it can to make sure that peace is maintained, and indeed give space to the millions of other Africans represented by the African Union and other organisations to give them the space to come back to assist," he told reporters.

"Every effort should be made to ensure this transition to democracy succeeds."

Our correspondent says attention will now turn to the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas), which will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to consider the crisis.

Neither Mr Gbagbo nor Mr Ouattara have been invited.

Elections 'hijacked'

On Monday, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the crisis risked stability and peace in the country and the region.
“One would have hoped that by now, on the African continent, we would have gone past those days [of] coups and ridiculous situations like we have now in Ivory Coast”

A spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said sanctions could be imposed if no solution was found.

International organisations and African leaders including Botswana's President Ian Khama have called on Mr Gbagbo to step down.

Mr Khama described the situation as a "real tragedy" and urged all African leaders to condemn what is happening.

"One would have hoped that by now, on the African continent, we would have gone past those days [of] coups and ridiculous situations like we have now in Ivory Coast," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

He also urged the international community not to broker a power-sharing agreement, as it did in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

"Elections there were hijacked by the ruling party and if that's going to happen every time someone wants to dispute an election result and then may stay in power by default through a mechanism of power sharing - it's wrong!" he explained.

Ivory Coast was split in two during a civil war in 2002.

This year's presidential election was the culmination of years of peace talks between the government and the rebel movement which largely controlled the north of the country.

It was hoped that the election would help to reunify the country, but analysts say the result and subsequent impasse threaten to set the peace process back years.

Mr Gbagbo is a southerner and is popular in Abidjan; Mr Ouattara draws most of his support from the north.

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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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