Monday, January 17, 2011

Mission to Abidjan - Will Raila's Carrots and Stick Strategy Work?


Nairobi — As we went to press, the African Union chief mediator in Cote d'voire, Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, was to travel to Abdjan on Sunday, to start what has been billed as the hard part of negotiations to resolve the political stalemate in what arguably was one time one of the strongest economies in West Africa.

The EastAfrican has learnt that Mr Odinga, who will be accompanied by the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, a top official of the AU and the president of the Ecowas, James Victor Beho, will spend between three to seven days in Abidjan.

His assignment is to establish a permanent and formal negotiating forum on which both president-elect Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo will nominate representatives.

The arrangement is that Mr Odinga will be chairing the negotiations, alternating with Obasanjo in his absence.

The plan is that after chairing the initial sessions, he will then leave and embark on a major diplomatic missions in selected African and world capitals, including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom and France.

During the visits, Mr Odinga will be seeking public assurances and support of these presidents of their readiness to participate in military action in Cote D'Ivoire, just in case the mediation process falters.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is the African Union's special envoy to Cote d'Ivoire.

This carrot and stick strategy is expected to convince Gbagbo to take the negotiations seriously.

During discussions with the chair of the African Union Commission, Dr Jean Ping, in Nairobi this week, one of the issues discussed was the budget for the operation in Cote D'Voire.

The AU will be fundraising to create a basket fund mainly financed by the international community to get the money to establish a temporary secretariat in Abidjan to co-ordinate the operations of the mediation process in Cote D'Voire.

It remains to be seen whether the Odinga-led mediation process will get Gbagbo to step down.

The thinking within Ecowas and the AU right now is that if he decides to play hard ball, then President Gbagbo must brace for a very tight sanctions regime.

The sanctions will include visa revocations for Gbagbo family members and key allies, freezing of assets, expulsion of his diplomats, closure of international borders and a naval blockade.

Also being considered are revocation of bilateral air service agreements, suspension of all forms of financial assistance, a trade embargo and getting international organisations to commit to receive and work only with officials appointed by Ouattara.

Political prebssure
"A combination of sanctions and continuous beating of drums of war remain the keys of getting a Gbagbo compromise," says an internal AU/Ecowas document seen by The EastAfrican.

On the diplomatic front, the AU plans to exert pressure on President Atta Mills of Ghana, who despite having signed and personally endorsed the resolution of an emergency Ecowas summit in Abuja, calling for the ouster of Gbagbo by force if necessary, has turned his back on the Ecowas and AU position.

Ecowas is working on completing its military preparedness and assessment of Gbagbo's military strength by end of this month.

The 15-member body also plans to apply diplomatic pressure on Liberia and Angola, which openly supports Gbagbo to have them give assurances at the highest levels of political leadership that they will not provide mercenaries to Gbagbo.

Cote D'Ivoire is now rigidly polarised - more or less two countries in one.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara carry the title president each with a prime minister and Cabinet.

Ouattara draws his legitimacy from international recognition based on election results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and certified by the United Nations.

Gbagbo claims, albeit without international recognition, legitimacy on the basis of election results pronounced by the country's Constitutional Council.

Meanwhile, two armed groups exercise effective control over two separate geographical areas in the North and South of the country.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara appear to be preparing for an inevitable armed confrontation.

Gbagbo swears and insists - without substantiation - that foreign powers are already arming the Ouattara group in preparation for war.

On the other hand, the Ouattara group is convinced that - as the legitimate winners of the elections - they have a right to seek external military assistance to secure their democratic win.

The rhetoric from the protagonists is getting more and more strident - and public debate more and more divisive.

Gbagbo has invoked parochial nationalism - manipulating public opinion by stoking the so called "Ivorite" question and dismissing Ouattara as a foreigner who does not deserve to lead indigenous and authentic Ivorians.

His claim is that the country's national sovereignty is under threat.

While Gbagbo's willingness to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis without preconditions, and Ouattara's readiness to ensure a dignified exit for Gbagbo presents a glimmer of hope, the actions by Gbagbo since the mission by Mr Odinga and the Ecowas team early this month, have dimmed that hope.

He has not honoured the pledge he made to the mission to lift the blockade around Ouattara's temporary headquarters.

News Headline

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


Statements and opinions expressed in articles, reviews and other materials herein are those of the authors. While every care has been taken in the compilation of information on this website/blog, and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, I cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this website/blog. The content of any organizations websites which you link to from this website/blog are entirely out of the control of Inside Liberia With Bernard Gbayee Goah, and you proceed at your own risk. These links are provided purely for your convenience. They do not imply Inside Liberia With Bernard Gbayee Goah's endorsement of or association with any products, services, content, information or materials offered by or accessible to you at said organizations site.