Uhuru-Spirit News


June 10, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Former Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo

Former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo has again accused France, in a recent interview, of sabotaging his presidency.

Gbagbo was the incumbent president during the second round of the controversial 2010 presidential election.

He refused to recognize the results of the election from the country’s northern regions that were under occupation by armed rebels.

According to the results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara was the winner.

Gbagbo's party had complained of fraud and called for the votes from nine regions occupied by the rebels be annulled, but the claims were disputed by the Ivorian Electoral Commission and international election observers.

However, the Constitutional Council, in accordance with its legal powers in article 94 of the Ivorian Constitution nullified the results declaration based on alleged voting fraud, excluded votes from the nine northern areas and then declared Gbagbo as the winner.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara were sworn in by their respective supporters, thus precipitating a national crisis. Bloody clashes between the supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara had also swept parts of the country raising the specter of a full-blown civil war.

The Africa Union (EU) and ECOWAS would later declare that Ouattara was the duly elected president and called for Gbagbo to respect the will of the people.

The European Union (EU) then followed and began imposing sanctions and freezing assets belonging to Gbagbo and some members of inner circle.

On 11 April 2011, pro- Ouattara forces supported by the French army moved to seize Gbagbo at his residence in Abidjan after failed negotiations to end the presidential succession crisis.

Gbagbo was seized on the afternoon of 11 April 2011 and held in the Golf Hotel by pro-Ouattara French forces, but the UN police had accepted his request for their protection.

In October 2011, the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into acts of violence committed during the conflict after the election, and ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo visited the country. The ICC formally issued an arrest warrant for Gbagbo, charging him with four counts of crimes against humanity – murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and "other inhuman acts", allegedly committed between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011, although many supporters allege that it is not true.

Gbagbo was arrested in Korhogo, where he had been placed under house arrest, and was placed on a flight to The Hague on 29 November 2011 without knowing where he was being led to. An adviser to Gbagbo described the arrest as "victors' justice".

Since then, he has remained behind bars while his trial is still going on.

Accusations of Foreign Meddling and Interference

In the interview with Mediapart, Gbagbo said that it was France that overthrew his government and is responsible for his fate.

He said he knew from the beginning that Paris was behind the rebellion of 2002 and that its then president, Jacques Chirac, played double play.

Gbagbo said that Silvio Berlusconi, president of the Italian Council at the time, had warned him that the French head of state "would plant a knife in the back".

He said that through the 2003 Marcoussis agreements, France had succeeded in imposing the ex-rebels on the government. "I found myself with illiterate ministers," said the former head of state.

He was also very scathing about former French President Nicolas Sarkozy whom he accused of using the 2010-2011 presidential election as a pretext to enthrone Alassane Ouattara, who was backed by France in 1989.

He disclosed that the French company Sagem was imposed by Paris to act as the technical operator of the electoral register in order to rig the election. Laurent Gbagbo further accused the French of having raised mercenaries in the region in order to overthrow him.

Gbagbo said he is a "hostage" and not a prisoner

At the heart of his accusations: the neo-colonialism of Paris. Laurent Gbagbo said he was, "too independent-minded" for Paris. "If we do without the French, it is as if we are attacking them. France wants to dictate the way forward to Côte d'Ivoire,” he reproached. He said he even told Jacques Chirac in 2006: "I am not a sub-prefect ".

Gbagbo also accused Paris of having wanted to "stifle" the Ivorians after the adoption of a budget limiting external aid, to have nothing to ask anyone. He said he was also punished for having bought weapons from Libya and Angola.

Today, Gbagbo is saying that he is not a prisoner but a "hostage", "to allow Alassane Ouattara to be in the presidency" and the French to retain control of the country.

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