International community’s response to the Ivorian situation.

I have no access to foreign tv news and radio at the moment, as it has been cut off through the government in an attempt to stop what is being termed “illegal” announcements of a Presidential winner. I have been trawling the internet searching for the international response to the current situation trying to gauge international opinion and what information is being released where.

The election happened last Sunday, and since then things have gone severely downhill. What most frustrates me about what I have so far read in the international news is that several states and bodies (the UN, the EU, the US, the French, etc.) have taken it upon themselves to declare who the winner should be. I see major problems with this bold assertion.

The elections have been marred with political intimidation and violence– and conflicting evidence has been found that makes the election at least suspect. Declaring a winner smacks of colonial imperialism. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cote D’Ivoire earlier expressed that the tally sheets were being transported normally, while EU electoral commission was suggesting that there were many irregularities and serious tension at the vote. Then they seemingly unanimously stand with Ouattara and announce him as rightful President without finding the full facts first. Instead of automatically declaring a winner, I feel that a more democratic approach would have been an appeal for peace, an investigation, release of the actual results from each district and recounts or investigation into contested areas so that the true voice of the Ivorian people can be represented. By asserting a winner, the international community is overstepping its role and only increasing tensions.

I have also been inundated with email messages since posting my last entry only a few hours ago, which was quite surprising to me as I don’t usually receive so many comments immediately following a post. There are clearly very strong feelings about both candidates. Frankly, it is not for me to say which candidate should have won here and I would never make that suggestion, I am merely trying to paint the situation as I have observed from local media so far. I am saddened to see the strong cultural violence that has been reiterated in many of these messages and comments, and have to say, that unfortunately– if your comment is one-sided without a proof to back it up or contains insults or disrespect directed towards one group– I will not be re-printing your message. I am willing to engage in conversation about the subject, and if you feel I have wrongly withheld your comments, please try messaging me again and provide some backings for your claims. Sorry to anyone that this offends.

All I can hope for is peace and calm and for the voice of the Ivorian people to be respected, and that no more deaths come from this election.

Peace!

Rebecca

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for the balanced approach you’re taking in covering this story. I appreciate your efforts at understanding and articulating more than the international community would have the world at large know. keep it coming…..

  2. You certainly are making a case for Gbagbo. And Please don’t take this as an insult, It has to be the influence of state TV. The “western” (many are Black Africans) media is free/independent and most of them live with us here in Cote d’Ivoire. This Media generally report based on the input of Ivorian Journalists. They are free to form their own opinions as opposed to the ladies and Gentlemen on state television/radio. If you speak French, I recommend you have a look at Venance Konan’s blog or perhaps try interview him? http://www.venancekonan.com

  3. Deryck, I’m not sure how I’m “making the case for Gbagbo” in this article. I am certainly not suggesting that Gbagbo should be called as President, or that he has in fact won the elections. Far from that fact, I believe Gbagbo has committed mass amounts of fraud in this election and is doing his people a great disservice by his current actions. I also believe, however, that Ouattara has also committed mass amount of fraud in this election and is also doing a great disservice by his actions. I have no love for either candidate.

    The UN’s mandate calls upon it to thoroughly investigate elections before verifying them, especially if there are any claims of irregularities or intimidation. They did not do this. Every single election monitoring body in the country reported irregularities and intimidation. In fact, the EU monitors even left the capital Yamoussoukro because of threats upon their persons. How is there no intimidation here? They were unable to monitor this area even slightly because they were not even there and in the sites they did monitor, they noted MANY irregularities. This is not taken from state TV, it is taken directly from the monitor’s reports. The international community did not follow its own protocol in this case. That is a problem.

    The “western” media is hardly “free/independent”, as many stories are quickly quashed or edited to suit a higher purpose. And many of the western journalists currently in the country are themselves staying at the Golf Hotel, where Ouattara is camped out. I’m sure that they are hearing balanced views from inside…

    All of the local blogs I have read are slanted to one side or the other, and the one that you recommend could also fit under this category based on what I have read. It is hard for people to remain impartial in a situation like this, especially when vast amounts of propaganda are being spread on both sides.

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