Laurent Gbagbo doesn’t seem to understand that Africa as a continent has moved on. Gone are the days when a greedy politician will continue to hold on to power after the people have voted in numbers for change. Gbagbo’s desperation to hang on to the presidency, is a clear revelation of the true intent of this mad politician to get into politics in the first place. He is a power hungry maniac who has subscribed to the foolish illusion that power belongs to one man and has become drunken with the trappings that comes with it. Gbagbo has failed to recognise the resolve of the international community, including his own counterparts in the region, to ensure he stays out of Ivorian politics. He has been shown the door and must go. No matter what reckless determination he (Gbagbo) demonstrates, Alassane Ouattara is the duly elected president of Ivory Coast.
Gbagbo’s continued reluctance to give up power can only result in the strangling of the Ivorian economy as sanctions will be the ultimate punishment for a man who may have failed to notice the writing on the wall. When the economic repercussions hit, it will not be Gbagbo who will feel the pinch, it will be the innocent people who have been caught up in this nasty political game of poker. Laurent Gbagbo’s gamble seems to have all the hallmarks of a man who is determined to stay in power at all cost and whatever the price. But he is about to discover that isolation is one thing he may have to contend with for a long time to come. If he has any interest in the welfare of his people, with full cognizance of what the end results will be, he would walk away and maybe hold on to a bit of dignity.
But like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the dictatorial tendencies far outweigh the employment of common sense. The ruthless passion to maintain a grand lifestyle and the potency that the office of president carries for them, is too expensive to sacrifice. The pain of Ivory Coast’s past doesn’t seem sufficient to provoke any consideration in Gbagbo that will prevent him from destroying what is left of the political and economic fabric of the Ivorian society, that will see his people suffer one more time. The insignificance of this to Gbagbo resides in his flagrant abuse of the rule of law and his defiance to respect the will of his people.
The international community should stand by its resolve to ensure democracy holds in Ivory Coast. Failure to see this determination through, may ultimately define how politics operate in Africa. But sending a clear and powerful message of intolerance for this kind of barbaric style of leadership, is important in securing for Africa, a democratic political standard in the way its people are governed in the future. The dark cloud hanging over the Ivory Coast can only be lifted when we all come together as one and prevent another abuse of political power. The African Union (AU), should set the pace, and exert pressure on Gbagbo to vacate the presidency, as this entire episode threatens the very relevance of this continental organisation which may be the only political force that can actually make a difference. Failure by the AU to act now may only result in catastrophe in a country that has long been overdue of a democratically elected government!
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