16.01.2011 Feature Article

La Cote D'Ivoire: What The Major Players Said

La Cote D'Ivoire: What The Major Players Said
16.01.2011 LISTEN

"We have been fighting for a true democracy in our country for a very long time, that is why the day of election should be a day to celebrate democracy. I also wish that all Ivorians will understand that I am aware of the problems occurring in some regions, and I am monitoring them.”

“I am glad that the President has accepted to lift the curfew as of this morning. I think this will reassure all Ivoirians and the counting of the votes will take place in good condition as well as the proclamation of the results by the electoral commission which will of course be validated by the constitutional council.

JEAN-MARIE NGONGJIBANGANGTE (Cameroon), Head of Delegation, Co- ordination of African election Experts.

" I am the head of Delegation of Observers from Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Morocco, Gabon, Togo. We have deployed our members to the regions of korogho, Bouake, katiola, Seguela, Yamoussoukro, and Abidjan. Compared with the first round of Cote d'ivoire's Presidential election, the second round took place amid a lot of violence. The Observers of the Co-ordination of African Election Experts have noted that people did not go to the runoff polls in as large a number as the first round. After sharing information with other national and international election observers, we hereby state that the second round of the presidential elections in Cote d'lvoire was held amidst major problems in the regions of Korogho, Bouake, Segue la, Tortiya, Garango. These problems where stealing of ballot boxes, arresting of candidates representatives, multiple voting, refusal to admit international observers to witness counting of ballots and the murder of representatives of candidates. To that effect, we hereby declare that the second round of voting was not free, fair and transparent in these localities." SEYNABOU NDIEGUENE {Senegal} Head of delegation Observation de la Societe Civile Africaine pour la Democratie et I' Assistance electorale {OSCADAEl.

" In accordance with the recommendations of the declaration of the International principles of Electoral observation adopted on 2ih October 2005 initiated by the United Nations and the engagement of francophone countries in Bamako in November,2000 on free and fair election observation. As per the request of the Independent Electoral Commission of Cote d'Ivoire to have the presence of international observers in the north, west and central regions of Cote d'Ivoire, the OSCADAE have sent its members to Korogho,Touba, Bouake"Mankono,Seguela,Odienne,Tingrela,Madinani,Douekoue, Guiglo,Yamoussoukro and Abidjan. From the reports of our observers who have visited 620 polling stations we can confirm the following; the exercise has been quite violent, the curfew was not observed in the north, west, and centre of the country. Opening of polling stations were delayed by thirty minutes to an hour.

Representatives of LMP-President Gbagbo-were refused access to polling stations to do their work, especially in Korogho. Ballot boxes were transported by men in military uniform on bicycles without representatives of the electoral commission.

People were told who to vote for at the entrance of polling stations. Voters of LMP were physically attacked in Korogho, especially in Soba Primary School.

Voting was done in some polling stations without the necessary equipment. In view of the above, our mission can confirm that the credibility of the runoff in these localities is doubtful.

JOSEPH KOKOU KOFIGOH, former Prime Minister of Togo and Head of AU Observers.

"The delegation has noted a lot of violence, loss of life, arrests, intimidation, attempts to kidnap, destruction of election equipment. These facts should give the relevant organizations a clear appreciation of events and determine their impact on the results. Moreover, the delegation regrets the kidnapping of two of its members; who were thankfully freed with the help of UN forces."

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