Gbagbo lawful president of Ivory Coast, says ACDP

2011-01-20 12:54

Laurent Gbagbo is the lawful president of the Ivory Coast and attempts to remove him are a “travesty of justice”, ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said today.

“Our conclusion is that Gbagbo is lawful president of the country, his presidency is supported by the constitution and the laws of the land,” he said in Johannesburg after a December visit to the West African cocoa-rich country.

During his visit, Meshoe and two other church leaders met Gbagbo, who related to them that he wanted a recount of the election results, but was denied.

Meshoe failed to meet Gbagbo’s rival and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, despite attempts to secure an audience with him.

Ouattara’s aides said he was “tired” and “needed rest”.

“It is an acceptable practice for an aggrieved party in an election to request a recount of the votes when there are suspicions of irregularities. The fact that Mr Ouattara and his supporters have refused to recount raises some serious questions that must be answered,” he said.

Ouattara, he said, was announced the winner of the country’s November 28, 2010 election by one Constitutional Commissioner in the absence of the other 30.

Gbagbo has refused to step down as president after the election authority announced he lost the elections.

“A member of the electoral commission who also met with us told us that the announcement of the provisional results by their president in front of the French media was not only illegal and unlawful, but also took the other 30 members of the electoral commission by surprise.

“We are saddened by the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union that have endorsed this travesty of justice.”

Meshoe’s delegation wanted to know who gave the UN authority to announce the winner of the “disputed” election – before a formal investigation.

“We want to know if indeed Africa is free from colonialism, or whether there are certain ‘sovereign’ African countries that are still under the yoke and control of foreign powers.”

He believed the UN, France, the AU and the EU violated Ivory Coast’s constitution by pronouncing Ouattara as president, which “must be corrected”.

According to Meshoe the country’s army and police – reportedly under Gbagbo’s control – were not in support of any individual, but the country’s constitution and should be “applauded” for this.

“We want the international community to know that if civil war breaks out in Cote d’Ivoire, the blame should be on France, the UN, the EU and the AU that undermined the rule of law... and not President Gbagbo who is wrongly accused.”

Meshoe said he would seek to meet President Jacob Zuma to discuss the matter. He also did not rule out talks with the United Nations over his findings.

Pressure was mounting on Gbagbo to cede power.

The latest attempts at securing a peaceful resolution to the crisis by AU mediator Raila Odinga had reportedly failed.

Reports indicate Gbagbo had refused all offers to give up the presidency -- including exile and protection from prosecution for crimes against humanity.

UN envoys have expressed concern over the risk of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing in the country, French press agency AFP reported.

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