Friday, December 10, 2010

U.S. Wants Era of Bad Elections in Africa to End

By Charles W. Corey

Staff Writer

Source: America.gov


Washington — The United States wants the era of bad elections in Africa to end and calls on President Laurent Gbagbo to act like a statesman and hand over power and authority to Alassane Ouattara, who on November 28 won the second round of Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election.
If that does not happen, the United States will take further steps such as travel bans and sanctions directed against President Gbagbo, his family and associates, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson told reporters December 9.

In a press conference by telephone with reporters across Africa, Carson said, “It is the determination of the U.S. government to do everything we can to ensure that the votes of all Ivorians are counted and respected and that the legitimately elected president of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, is allowed to take office … as reflected by the votes.”

The Ivorian people, Carson stressed, “seek democracy, stability, development and economic opportunity. They don’t seek a continued contestation over an election that was clearly won by Alassane Ouattara.”

Carson told reporters there is “substantial and undisputed evidence showing that Alassane Ouattara won.” The special U.N. representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Ambassador Y.J. Choi, had all of the results that were posted from the country’s districts, “so he had the exact information … and detailed information on voting across the nation,” Carson said.

“The United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] and a number of international organizations observed the elections and said they were ‘free and fair’ and reflected the will of the people,” Carson said.

“There was relatively little violence, and so when the votes came to Abidjan and officials started to say people were unable to cast their ballots because of intimidation and violence, this was wrong — because there was no intimidation or violence and everybody had seen that votes had been cast properly,” he said.

Ambassador Johnnie Carson, who has served in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania, believes “the era of stealing African elections is over.”“More critically,” Carson added, “was the fact that the numbers were known and they were known by the international community — through the U.N. — which had a heavy, heavy invested stake in this process.”


Ambassador Johnnie Carson,
who has served in Kenya, Zimbabwe,
Uganda, Botswana,
Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania,
believes “the era of
stealing African elections is over.”
 Carson told reporters: “We have seen in the case of Côte d’Ivoire the value of international observation and monitoring. We have seen the value of having a third source beyond the two competitors — to be able to certify the legitimacy of elections. We believe and hope that the era of bad elections [is] over. This should not happen. We hope that President Gbagbo will step aside, will do the mature, statesmanlike thing and … hand over power and authority to the person who actually won.”

“I hope that the statements that have been made by ECOWAS two days ago that said very clearly that Alassane Ouattara had won the election and that Gbagbo had lost would be a signal of the views of the region, that it is time for Mr. Gbagbo to leave,” Carson said. “The U.N. Security Council issued a presidential statement affirming its support for the report made by the special representative, Ambassador Choi. It endorsed the ECOWAS statement and we have also seen equally strong statements coming from leaders in the African Union.”

Carson told reporters the current AU president, Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, has stated that he supports the determinations of the United Nations and ECOWAS that Ouattara won. “I think that if all Africa stands up and puts its political voice and its political weight behind a free and fair election and the outcome that favors Alassane Ouattara, that that will be the kind of momentum that is required,” Carson said.

Responding to a question about possible U.S. military intervention, Carson said the United States “has no plans to engage or intervene in any way militarily in Côte d’Ivoire. It is not for us to do this. This is not that kind of situation and we have no desire to do it. We hope that African voices, African pressure, will be sufficient. We hope that the AU will do precisely what ECOWAS has done, and that is to suspend a government led by President Gbagbo from participation in its organs. ECOWAS has already said that any government led by President Gbagbo will not be able to participate in ECOWAS. We hope that the AU will make that same kind of pronouncement.”

“If President Gbagbo does not step down, the United States is looking to take further additional steps against him, his family, his wife, his children and his immediate entourage and those individuals who are helping to keep him in power illegally,” he warned. “We will consider travel bans on him and his family and his immediate entourage. We will consider economic sanctions against him and his immediate entourage.”

“We think that the era of stealing African elections is over,” Carson said. “This should be an example for all of Africa that this can no longer be tolerated. Theft of elections should not be a part of the democratic process.”

“West Africa has great promise and great potential,” Carson said. “Just as we have seen the return of democracy after five decades in Guinea-Conakry, we believe that it is time for the people of Côte d’Ivoire after a decade of instability to be allowed to have the democracy that they seek and desire.

“It is time for the leadership to allow the economic growth that has been stalled in Côte d’Ivoire to return,” he said.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)

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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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