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In front of the crisis line!

7th August, Independence of Côte d’Ivoire… 1990, advent of multiparty… 1993, death of Felix Houphouet Boigny, 1st president and coming into affairs of Henri Konan Bédié as provided by constitution… 24th December 1999 military coup-d’état against Henri Konan Bédié… October 2000 election that brought Gbagbo to power… In the night of 18th to 19th September, tentative of coup-d’état ending with rebellion in the North… 21st November second round of election… Results: Gbagbo and Alassane claiming presidency bringing uncertainty, confusion, fear and threat of external military intervention to solve the problem…
I don’t know what to think, what to believe… I am seeking for truth base on facts and not beliefs.

Small history
Côte d’Ivoire is a west-African country, sharing borders with Ghana, Burkina-Faso, Mali, Guinea and Liberia. The economy is based on agriculture (coffee, cocoa essentially). After the death of our 1st president, his successor Henri Konan Bedie organised Presidential election on 22 October 1995. Which election was boycotted by the opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) of Laurent Gbagbo and Rally of the Republicans (RDR) of Alassane Ouattara. Life went on with some crisis at university and secondary school but still there was a politically cool atmosphere.
This peaceful country where I spent my childhood has turned since 1999 into a scene of several violences. The reasons? Armed Forces were complaining about their condition (accommodation, salary…) and brought one of their former commanders, Gl Robert Guei, into power. After about a year, Election were organised on 22nd October 2000. But another issues came up: 1st, out of 19 candidates, 14 were excluded for various reasons. 2nd, the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) and Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire-African Democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA) boycotted the election because of their candidates rejection. 3rd, despite the results giving Gbagbo as winner (59.4%), General Guei (32.7%) declared himself president. The polation invaded the street and with the army standing for Gbagbo, he was sworn-in President. Before we could breathe from all these new turmoil and violences, in 2002, 18th to 19th September, gunshot, chars and cutlass reducing peoples life to death. With some accords (Lome, Linas Marcoussis, Accra, South Africa and Ouagadougou accords) and peace oriented effort, the country survived the attack that divided the nation into two. Hopes were founded on the last election (31st October and 28th November 2010) to reunify the country and pave the way for peace and development.
And today (as am writing this assignment), “Gbagbo still controls government buildings, state television and the security forces, while Ouattara remains trapped in the lagoon-side Golf Hotel, under guard of U.N. troops. He has set up a rival government with international (UN, France, African Union and ECOWAS) backing, but no power” in a UN comments on the net words.

What happened?
With all the accords signed to solve the rebellion that divided the country into two, arrangement were made to revise the Constitution and allow some people (Alassane Ouattara particularly) to be eligible at presidency. Provisions were also made for the Independent Electoral Commission to be formed with members from all political party in the country. Election results were to be announced by the Independent Commission, validated by the Constitutional Council and Certify by UN with about 1200 observers.
After the 1st round, results were given, the former president Henri Konan Bédié presented a request contesting his ballot number, request rejected by the constitutional Council for late submission and the UN certified the results. The second round was set for 28th November. On the third day, time provided by the constitution proclaim result, the Independent commission was not able to get consensus on what results to give. On that effect, the 1st Dec, Wednesday at 11: 42 pm, almost 15mn before the time elapse the independant commission president replied, to a question on his ability to give the results before the deadline, that it was not yet midnight. But still at midnight nothing happened. We sat in front of the TV till 2 am (my friends and myself) or 4am in the morning (for most people) no results were given. The Constitutional council informed that the idependant commission was no more allowed to give any results due to failure of doing the same within the 3 days. But around 3pm on the 2nd Dec., France 2 and France 24 show the president of that commission giving results of the election in Golf Hotel were Alassane Ouatara has been staying for campaign since October and proclaiming him president. On the other end, the Constitutional Council being in charge of the results had received a contestation from Laurent Gbagbo about fraud and violence on his representative. Upon analysis of the reclamation, the Constitutional council cancelled the voting of 7 departments for violence and fraud and proclaim Gbagbo president. On the 4th Dec Gbagbo was sworn-in by the Constitutional Council and Alassane Ouattara sworn-in by a letter addressed to the same constitutional council. Funny? Pitiful? Impossible? True! Reality as it happened. May be you have your comment about it.

I have met different people, discouraged, ashamed, angry, passionate, fed-up and tired. Follow their thoughts and you will understand the “island” we are living on.
According to Mrs A.A, Mr S.R, Mr A.N, Miss G.G, Alassane is the president. Gbagbo has only one thing to do, be a good democrat and render power. He now understands that power is sweet, he has forgotten when he was pressurizing Houphouet Boigny. Now he wants to overstay. But what good can he do for us. In ten years all he succeeded in is poverty, bloodshed, embezzlement. While people are dying, he is just stuck to his seat, fighting for only that. He has made sure his friends were at the Constitutional council to change things. Mr. TP has purposely looked for the Electoral Code to buy: “No where it is stated that the Constitutional Council has power to cancel part of the country ballot, so why should they do it? It is because their friend lost. But the world is watching”. Accusing UN soldiers or France will not solve the problem. All we want is peace. He has made our brothers and sister die too much in this country.

The moderate ones are just asking for both of them to leave the presidency they are claiming. Miss K.L is so annoyed she wants a transitory government without these two men. Military or neutral civilian government. Some even want they death. K.C believes that if they are not dead they will still get people to support them and get the opportunity to worry our peace and development. Today I do not watch TV except cartoon; Local channel: only Gbagbo and people explaining why they think he has won, foreign News TV: giving news that can keep you worrying the whole night and ultimatums with Soro (Alassane prime minister) insulting. We are tired of all this. They should stop using us for their game, stop counting dead people as trophy. Sais A.B and P.M.M. People are suffering in their heart.

Those I fear are the ones supporting Gbagbo. Mrs N. is ready to die instead of having Alassane ruling the country. For Mrs BC "he brought rebels to kill us because of power so he should go ahead and kill all the Ivorians before he will rule". “I do not understand why the first round, all the Electoral Commission representatives were present and the second one, the president was alone in that room where no one apart themselves can access” said Mrs S.A.C. For Mrs D.R, it is because the international community has interest with him that they are backing this Alassane because, under their nose in France, 8 voting centre had problem and the Electoral Commission president , without informing the others, went on TV to cancel the entire ballot in France just because Gbagbo won there. That one they did not see and will never see. We are just a small country but we will defend it even if it means dying. Today all the rebels are eating with Alassane, threatening us while the whole world is applauding it.

UN, France, International Community, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and African Union (UA) are seen as hopes and target at the same time.
After announcement of results by the Electoral Commission, the observers and UN backed up the proclaimed president rejecting the results given by the Constitutional Council, urging gbagbo to renders power. Followed UA and ECOWAS, who announced recognising only Alassane signature on all document involving Cote d’Ivoire
After the failed attempt of Alassane to take control of national TV and Government building, country’s army has established a blockade around the Hotel he is living in to force him leave the place
The UN has displayed their army to protect him while France is providing him with food, threatening to use military means to remove Gbagbo from power.
On 30th Dec. and 3rd January a delegation of ECOWAS and a representative of the UA were on mission to find pacific solution after announcing the sending of Ecowas military force to sack Gbagbo from power the weeks before.
Today, all ambassadors, appointed before election, are deported back, Gbagbo’s children abroad have been deported and his belongings frozen.
But things are getting less hot from Ecowas and African Union (UA), they have gotten the two belligerent to agree on a meeting for discussion, not without conditions.

I will speak from my heart.
I was a mathematics shark in primary school, so let’s make some simple calculation of the problematic 2nd round ballot.
Registered voters: 5,700,000 percentage of voters 70% giving 3,990,000 voters for the 2nd round
The result given by the Electoral Commission’s President:
Gbagbo Laurent : 2 107 055 votes, 45.32%
Alassane Ouattara : 2 483 164 votes, 54.68%
Amazing score in human history, 100% ballots no invalid/blank votes!
Let’s add the votes we will get 4,590,219 voters, meaning 80.53% of the registered voters instead of the 70%.
I have only one question: where did the 600,219 extra voters come from?
Either the first percentage was wrong or one of the runners’ ballots has been deliberately increased. Whose results should we take the extra 600,219 from? That is where the “mistake” came from?
I am just looking for explanations, trying to understand what went on… But who will explain to me?

Not the international community because they are not explaining anything, just taking decision and threatening to bring soldiers. They tried saving Irak, but today, destroyed, the country is cut into pieces that will take decades to rebuild. And the saviours are not feeling the pain.

Not the African Union or West African community, they are all concerned about signatures on bank accounts and seat shares.
Burkina-Faso President Blaise Compaore has been president since a military coup in 1987 and has always been re-elected at more than 80%. He is an exemple.
After Late Eyadema death, His son Faure took control and is still on power in Togo. With all the violence and irregularities they faced, Observers from ECOWAS say they believe the vote was fair, but they are expressing concern about the reliability of totals reported to the electoral commission after a breakdown in the satellite system that was to transmit returns from polling stations. And period.
After the death of Bongo, hi first son took Control in Gabon and after contested elections, Ban Ki-moon just Urged Calm and restraint. "The secretary-general urges all the presidential candidates and their supporters to resolve any electoral grievances through legal and institutional channels, and calls for any such complaints to be reviewed and adjudicated in a fair and transparent manner."
Wade in Senegal wrote a constitution that was adopted, later tried changing it to be eligible and stand for the third time. But vivid reaction from population prevented him. He is now preparing his son to follow.
Why different treatment with us? Is Côte d’Ivoire the worst case earth has ever experienced? Why this sudden love and call for violence?
Rwanda, Angola, Congo, Liberia are recovering from atrocities and painful destruction…through discussion.
If that is the case why don’t we sit down and negotiate, discuss, straight from the beginning and save our poor lives?
We are not asking for money, not for food to fall from the sky. All we ask is that our lives been spared. We just want to live and resolve our problem one by one.
Who is listening to us? Who is thinking of the children being use to guns, drugs, violence, rape, division, threats to their education and rights…

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Comments

HARMONY's picture

I'm done, Not without

I'm done, Not without difficulties. There is so much to talk about !
The fact is that I choose a different topic in the beginning. But thank you Lydia and Pat, for helping me understand the difference between frontline and feature story!

Now I am on it. I tried being fair and honnest and hope I suceed!

Please help with feedback and suggestion!

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

vivian's picture

Mathematics shark!

You have a strong voice. I felt as if I was there at the frontline of the crisis. You have given a good picture of the situation of cote d'ivora. Your style of presentation is good and you have a good frontline story. Thank you for sharing this with us on world pulse.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

HARMONY's picture

Hi Vivian

Thanks for encouraging. I must admit I was not too sure of how to present it. But finally I chose this!
Thanks !

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Wow, Harmony!

Sister, you have told your story with so much candor and passion that as I read I could imagine the bloodshed, the pain and the disillusionment that has wracked your beloved homeland over the years. I know how it is .... because we've been through military rule and civil war, too ... and you would never ever wish the next generation to suffer the way you do. That's why we need to talk about it, to work on it, to bring change little by little ... that we can leave a better world than the one we found. All the best to all of us, Vivian...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

HARMONY's picture

Hi Emie

I am sure yu know and understand what the pain can be and how it can affect lives.
But litle by litle as you said we will live a better world than we found.
Thanks sister!

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Emie Zozobrado's picture

We are going there, Harmony!

Yes, sister! That's how things have been since the world begun ... But, of course, big bundles are made of small pieces! We can change the world - and we start with ourselves... We will be there ... all the best ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Sarvina's picture

Hi sister Harmony, You have a

Hi sister Harmony,

You have a good frontline article writing. Wonderful, congratulations!

Love,
Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

HARMONY's picture

Hello sweet sister

Thank you! I just sent you an email...

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Sarvina's picture

Hi sister! Many thanks for

Hi sister! Many thanks for your help...I got your email. I dont have any words beside THANKS, wish you all the best:)

Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

warona's picture

MATHEMATICS SHARK!

Dearest Harmony,

Mmmm! Today i do not watch TV except cartoon,only Gbagbo and people explaining why they think he has won, foreign News TV: giving news that can keep you worrying the whole night and ultimatums. We are tired of all this. You can say this again and again.The crisis in your country has been well outlined,The world is listening to you through this piece and i personally have picked up what is happening there.Where is the truth,whats wrong and many other questions that were bothering me.

Congratulations sisy,work deserves applauds

Wish you all the best

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

HARMONY's picture

Dear Warona

Hi sister,

I am glad you have been able to understand what is wrong in all this scene of uncertainty!
My headache is how we can get out of this...

But it will come!

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Excellent work Harmony

Wow, your frontline journal is witty, totally brilliant and objective. Like Warona, it's all the same...but no one ever bothers to get to the core. Aime, a friend of mine from your home country has been trying to explain for the past two years but I never really got it like now. Right now I do and the last paragraph sums it all up. When is this going to end, who suffers the most and who is listening. Thank you so much and well done for pulling this one of so well!

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

HARMONY's picture

Thank you dear Rudz. I am

Thank you dear Rudz. I am happy you now understand the situation in Cote d'Ivoire after two years.

If you understand it means to me that we are getting closer to the solution. You listened and all my sisters here are listening. It is a good beginning foor now.

Thank you for listening. I am waiting for you frontline story...

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dearest Harmony, This is

Dearest Harmony,

This is really a great frontline journal and lemme say a big Congratulation to you. I really understand how it feels to be infront of the crisis, for most of my childhood i spent in terror and civil war and i dont wanna see another african country experiencing the same. When the rebelles were fighting with the regime (the last president who came power as a military coup) everybody wanted to get rid of him and nobody cared what will happen but look what happened after he left. The country rocked with civil war, women were raped as young as two years, men were killed and tortured, even some people have been slaughted like goats!

I wish if i can tell others how it feels and they can listen to me. Look Iraq there was a hope to save them but what is the situation now? Look Mogadishu (the so called capital city of Somalia) at least it was a bit better before Ethiopian troops came and later AMISON we were expecting to see better life and a bright future but now it seems like its going back to where it was in 1991.

I wish if your leaders can just listen to me. I wouldn't have suggested to struggle in that presidential seat but to imagine what the community needs and to forgive one another. a foreign country cant bring peace to any country its the people and leaders of that country who can resolve their disbutes in their own way.

I pray not to see your country in civil war and people have resolved their disbutes.

Warmest regards,
RA

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dearest Harmony, This is

Dearest Harmony,

This is really a great frontline journal and lemme say a big Congratulation to you.

I really understand how it feels to be infront of the crisis, for most of my childhood i spent in terror and civil war and i dont wanna see another african country experiencing the same. When the rebelles were fighting with the regime (the last president who came power as a military coup) everybody wanted to get rid of him and nobody cared what will happen but look what happened after he left. The country rocked with civil war, women were raped as young as two years, men were killed and tortured, even some people have been slaughted like goats!

I wish if i can tell others how it feels and they can listen to me. Look Iraq there was a hope to save them but what is the situation now? Look Mogadishu (the so called capital city of Somalia) at least it was a bit better before Ethiopian troops came and later AMISON we were expecting to see better life and a bright future but now it seems like its going back to where it was in 1991.

I wish if your leaders can just listen to me. I wouldn't have suggested to struggle in that presidential seat but to imagine what the community needs and to forgive one another. a foreign country cant bring peace to any country its the people and leaders of that country who can resolve their disbutes in their own way.

I pray not to see your country in civil war and people have resolved their disbutes.

Warmest regards,
RA

HARMONY's picture

Dear Ruun,

Thanks for sharing your pain and exeriece whith us.
We are just praying because it seems that is the only and last thing we can do since the whole world has signed our death sentence. UN and African Union troops are already here in Cote d'Ivoire are we hearing. We know that any moment from now we won't be able to count dead body. But we believe there will be end and hope that those still alive by then will learn a lesson and build a better life.

Thank you sister and may your country revive and rebuild in unity and peace, true and real peace.

A big hug...

With love,

Harmony.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Leina's picture

Congrats Harmony,

Congrats Harmony,
Well written piece.I pray for peace in your country.
Love
Shekina

HARMONY's picture

Thanks Shekina and welcome

Thanks Shekina and welcome back!

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

NI NI AYE's picture

Tricky

Hi Harmony

I feel confused in mathematics and politics. I mostly feel that the politic is tricky. In our last election I heard there were 200 extra ballots at a voting place( I don't know how to call it in political term ). Someone there was counting the number of the voters and he found out the extra after they counted the ballots. hanks for sharing the similar story.

Best Regards

NI NI

Congratulations on Very Happy Teachers Day through ten years journey!

HARMONY's picture

Thank you Aye! I don't know

Thank you Aye!
I don't know why they look for tricky ways to win election. But even though I don't involve in politics I have no option, it is part of our lives.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

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