If anyone should take part in any mediation effort related to the political impasse in the Ivory Coast, it should not be Jacob Zuma. Who on earth made the decision to include him in any mediation team? The African Union should have taken a close look at the South African president’s track record. It showcases a combination of immoralities with sexual scandals that will make historians gasp for extra oxygen as they embark on writing about his presidency. Jacob Zuma carries with him a loose baggage of incompetence, recklessness and imbecility that renders him unfit to take part in any serious deliberation on matters to do with solutions to Africa’s problems. Simply put, Zuma has no credibility to lecture anyone about good governance in Africa. Zuma has shown his lack of statesmanship in Zimbabwe, where he has condoned the brutal and autocratic regime of Robert Mugabe. For Zuma, the suffering of the Zimbabwean people is not as pertinent as to ensure his pal-in-crime Mugabe stays in power to continue to suffocate the rights of his people. The African Union should not allow its hard-earned reputation to be tainted by a man who has lost his moral compass.
ECOWAS has been working very hard to resolve the crisis in the Ivory Coast, where a dictator who share similar propensities with Zuma, has deprived his people of the fundamental right to select who they want to rule them. If the words of the ECOWAS president is anything to go by, it is a damning verdict on a man who has lost the respect of his colleagues in the region. Victor Gbeho in a statement said: South Africa is undermining efforts to resolve the political crisis in Ivory Coast. According to the ECOWAS chief, widespread support for the United-Nations-certified winner of the Ivory Coast elections, is fast being eroded by countries that are siding with incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to yield power. In an unprecedented verbal attack, Gbeho went on to say: “Apparently because of certain geopolitical interests, some countries are keen on awarding a failure back to ECOWAS, at this stage, so that they themselves would shine, and so they are saying that the whole matter should be looked at, that it seems, that Gbagbo was the winner, and if that is the situation, they must negotiate. South Africa is undermining ECOWAS efforts to force Mr. Gbagbo from power.”
In continuing, the ECOWAS Chief said “We find that others are encouraging Gbagbo not to yield probably because they can give him certain supports that ECOWAS does not have. There is a South African warship docked in Cote d’Ivoire. Actions such as that can only complicate the matter further. I am surprised that a distinguished country like South Africa would decide to send a frigate to Ivory Coast at this time.” Gbeho also accused some African Union leaders who are publicly criticizing ECOWAS, saying they are breaking with a tradition of regional responsibility. The ECOWAS strongman also said that West African leaders yielded to the Southern African Development Community on political crises in Zimbabwe and Madagascar. And so he asks, “why are others not prepared to respect this tradition when it comes to Ivory Coast?” “They are making statements openly disagreeing and calling for the marginalization of ECOWAS,” said Gbeho. “The concern we have is that if we go like this, we will destroy the solidarity that has always existed on our continent, the solidarity that has brought us this far.”
Gbeho said he welcomed any dialogue on Ivory Coast, but that dialogue must respect the wishes of the Ivorian people, as expressed in a vote that Ivory Coast’s electoral commission says was won by former prime minister Alassane Outarra. “Whatever combination or permutation you bring out must leave Ouattara as the head of the state,” The ECOWAS boss said that West African leaders reserve the right to act independently, including the possible use of military force to remove Mr. Gbagbo. Gbeho said that ECOWAS will patiently wait for the African Union panel to complete its work before taking any action “If it resolves the question of Cote d’Ivoire, so much the better for all of us, but if it does not, ECOWAS will have no fears about taking its own action.”
In response, South Africa said that the frigate is a support vessel with no military purpose. But this surely raises some serious questions about Zuma’s intentions. Why is it that Zuma is always supporting tyrants and dictators? South Africa should recognise that Nigeria, as current head of ECOWAS is capable of taking any leadership role in Africa, and for all intent and purposes, it seems, this is Zuma only trying to flex his rather feeble muscles on the might of Nigeria. But ECOWAS has already taken the path of lecturing this political buffoon about a thing or two on political astuteness and maturity.
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