Ivory Coast election: Ouattara’s win – a victory for France, US

Alassane Ouattara might be the ideal President for the West African nation – Ivory Coast, following his victory in the runoff poll against incumbent Laurent Gbagbo – as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission in the country, but the 54 % win may just mean an open invitation to former colonial power, France, and imperialist – United States to detonate the country from serving the Ivorian people.

Though the government body – the Constitutional Council of Ivory Coast – has rejected the announcement by the electoral commission which declared Ouattara, leader of the Rally for Republicans (RDR) party, as the winner of the presidential election on grounds that there were disagreements on the results of some areas, and that the mandate of the Independent Electoral Commission had expired following the delays of the election results, Ouattara is definitely poised to be sworn into office as the next president of the largest cocoa producing country in the world.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged the constitutional council to “respect the will clearly expressed by the Ivorian people”, while the US White House has said that “no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process”.

Alassane Ouattara decleared winner

There is little or no doubt that Ouattara might make a better choice for the presidency in Ivory Coast – given his experience as a former Prime Minister into whose hands the affairs of the country were entrusted for 18 months including the period of March 1993 to December 1993, while the late president Félix Houphouët Boigny was ill, and the fact that he is an economist, manager, and policy maker of international repute (having served as Counsellor to the Managing Director of International Monetary Fund – IMF, and later Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, as well as Governor of the Central Bank of West African States known by it’s French acronym – BCEAO).

But there are equally some concerns as to how Ouattara would manage the growing influence of France and the United States in the internal affairs of the country.

The devastating consequences of the country’s civil war that broke out in 2002 were hugely blamed on foreign forces particularly from France, and on the other hand from the United States. France deployed troops from its base in the country to stop any rebel advance. The French said they were protecting their own citizens from danger, but their deployment directly got the French involved in the war. Both the government and rebels fired accusations against the French – though the two camps opposed the French at varying degrees; the rebels at one point said the French were supporting the government while the government accused the French of supporting the rebels – and the game continued.

U.S. forces, from a transit base in neighboring Ghana, arrived quickly as tension escalated. The pretext again was to take United States citizens to safer quarters.

But as Le Pays, a newspaper published in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast’s northern neighbor, pointed out, the dispatch of these troops confirmed the behind-the-scene plot of foreign forces under such crisis circumstances. It is impossible to even imagine, Le Pays, noted, that Ivory Coast might send its troops to France to save its citizens who are being mistreated there. Neither can any body on earth imagine that Ivory Coast can do same in the United States.

In the meantime, it is not an overstatement to point out that Ouattara who enjoys good relations with France, the United States, and other big powers in the international scene, would fully throw open the doors of the country to these countries, especially to France where he had sought refuge (at the French Embassy in Abidjan) when the civil war broke out, leaving his house behind to be burnt. With very clear comments from the current French administration in Paris, and the White House in Washington warning against any interference with the work of the Independent Electoral Commission that declared Alassane Ouattara winner of the presidential election, it may no longer sound like a theory wherein inferences could be drawn for a possible conclusion that Ivory Coast is now in a platter, waiting for the foreign powers to bid over – and France together with the United States will definitely emerge the highest bidders.

However, perhaps, the fate of Ouattara’s victory hangs on Ivory Coast’s Constitutional Council which claims to be fully responsible for sorting out disputes in presidential elections. The body now finds itself in charge, in finding a solution to the disagreements, and proclaiming the definitive presidential election results.

But these claims from the Constitutional Council may nevertheless  soon fade away as there is  mounting international pressure against any manipulation of the already declared results.

The United States ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice has remained unambiguous on this issue. Following a close door meeting with members of the UN Security Council, Rice reiterated their readiness to take the appropriate measures against those who obstruct the electoral process and, especially, the work of the Independent Electoral Commission, reported the BBC.

While foreign parties with huge economic interests in the world’s largest cocoa producing  nation – Ivory Coast, turn attention to the unraveling of events following the runoff election results, caution must also be exercised, else another war that may further deepen the divide in the country may just be at the corner. The rebel dominated North is in full support of Alassane Ouattara – this means a lot for future stability of the country.

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