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12.11.2004 General News

Ivorian Crisis Vindicates Me -Bagbin

By Larry-Alans Dogbey (Network Herald)
Ivorian Crisis Vindicates Me -Bagbin
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Minority Leader and Member of Parliament of Nadowli North Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin says current happenings in the Ivory Coast have vindicated the submission he made at an NDC function in Kumasi that the International Community had lost confidence in the handling of the Ivory Coast crisis by ECOWAS Chairman President Kufuor. “When I said it, for three solid weeks the media gave people including my political opponents the opportunity to abuse me. Today what do we see? I didn't lie. I just don't talk for the sake of it. I said the rebels and the international community had lost confidence in President Kufuor that is why they withdrew their ministers from the unity government. I said it”. According to him the bombing of rebel-held territories, Bouake and Korhogo (140 miles north of Bouake) on Thursday, by aircrafts belonging to Gbagbo's government with huge civilians casualties and the subsequent outbreak of fighting was an indication that leaders in the West African sub-region had failed in their attempt to bring peace to the once prosperous French speaking West African country. Mr. Bagbin said the outbreak of the fighting and the ensuing demonstrations in the economic capital Abidjan, where buildings housing opposition parties and newspapers accused of colluding with the rebels had been burnt is an indictment on the leaders. He thought particularly that despite the huge sums of money and the numerous trips to Accra, Lome, Paris, Abuja among others places, President Kufuor has not been able to lead the people towards peace. He also accused those spearheading the talks of refusing to rise above partisan politics to include certain key personalities within and beyond the Sub region and contended that unless that was done, peace could continue to elude the people of that country. The Minority leader predicted that “Africa will always remain in the vicious cycle of wars, abject poverty and hopelessness,” until these leaders are able to avoid the politicization of the many other conflicts that have besieged the continent and the Ivorian crisis in particular. “We shouldn't throw away experience; we should not politicize peace talks no matter where it held. A non partisan approach is the key,” he continued. Bagbin told the Network Herald that the inability to broker any lasting peace in that country is largely due to the monopolization of power by the leadership of the process. He suggested Mr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana and many other opinion leaders on the continent he said are capable of helping to broker long-lasting peace in Ivory Coast. “More resources have been wasted on the peace talks but nothing realistic has been achieved. It about time ECOWAS leaders changed their approach in the Ivorian crisis.” He said it must be informative that however nastily the government may loath Jerry Rawlings; the man would continue to command lots of respect in the international community due to the many years of peace and tranquility he engendered while he was the Head of State of Ghana. “Even President Laurent Gbagbo respects him highly”. Bagbin cited the recent talks in Accra which was attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. He said even though he and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ken Dzirasah had been tasked by Parliamentarians for Global Action, an international parliamentarians association affiliated to the UN to attend, the Ghanaian government prevented them from attending under the guise of it being just an in-camera meeting between the Presidents and their Foreign Ministers. Both the UN and AU have condemned last Thursday's raids which started after the New Forces withdrew Ministers from the Unity Government. Ivory Coast has been split in two since last year's peace deal. Presently, some 10,000 French and UN troops monitor the ceasefire in that country. Much of the recent violence in the city has blamed on Young Patriots, a group reported to be supporting President Gbagbo. UN troops last Friday stopped two Ivorian army vehicles convoys in the central town of Raviar, a UN-patrolled buffer zone attempting to cross over. But however French forces on Saturday destroyed two Ivorian government planes at an airbase soon after a bombing which left 23 French soldiers injured. The destruction of the planes according to the BBC was carried out upon the orders of the French President Jacques Chirac to destroy any Ivorian plane used in an air raid which resulted in the death of eight French peacekeepers. UN said it believes two New Forces soldiers and 16 civilians had been killed in the attacks as at Saturday.

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