The people of Ivory Coast have put up with a lot of hardship over their country’s life-long history. These resilient people people survived a ten-year civil war that left their country on its knees yet they moved with speed to rebuild the credibility of their country along with its badly damaged infrastructure. For over 10 years now, Gbagbo has ruled the Ivory Coast and continues to illegitimately hold on to power.
Quattarra remains hold up in a hotel surrounded by armed troops, watching and waiting and attempting to participate in his country’s present and future politics. According to election officials and indeed the rest of the world, Quattarra won the election but Gbagbo refused to concede defeat and relinquish power. An AU Mediator in the name of Honorable Prime Minister Raila Odinga was sent in following near world wide condemnation of Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat and hand over power and its instruments to the rightful leader, President Elect Quattarra, but, was unable to bring these two leaders to an amicable settlement of a delicate situation for the sake of the citizens of Ivory Coast.
Gbagbo refuses to leave, Quattarra wants a presidency he believes he won legitimately and the people of Ivory Coast, the great people of Ivory Coast, remain in the middle, watching and waiting and perhaps hoping that they do not return to another state of war. For those calling for the use of military power, I urge you to listen to the cries of the mothers and children of Ivory Coast. Where will they run two when these two elephants begin to fight over grass, thus trampling the ground that the citizens of Ivory Coast are on? Gbagbo will make a quick exit and find amnesty in another country, Quattarra will most probably be evacuated by the peace keepers on ground to a safe haven. Who will save the ordinary citizenry in Ivory Coast if military intervention becomes a reality? Who will protect them? Who will shield them from the bullets and mortars fired? Who will give them food after their crop has been scorched? Will this same international community be there when the mothers and children of Ivory Coast are suffering from wars and rumours of war they did not create, nor intend.
Who will cry for the mothers of Ivory Coast when they send off their sons to war, and watch their husbands, brothers and sons take up arms to protect them? Who will feel that pain with them? It is better to avoid war and press for peace than preach a war where the biggest loser will be the people of Ivory Coast, bearing in mind that no side wins in a war.
That said, the answer to the impasse in Ivory Coast lies with the people as they stand to lose the most should this situation continue to deteriorate. Like the people of Tunisia and South Sudan, the citizens of Ivory Coast need to take matters into their own hands. They need to rise up and let their voice be heard. They need to speak without fear of Gbagbo, Quattara or the international community. Fathers of Ivory Coast, rise up and begin to secure the future of your families. Mothers of Ivory Coast, rise up and defend the rights of your children, defend the rights of your children to have life in all its fullness, to have a future free of war, turmoil and injustice, to have a future where there is justice and equality for all. To the youth of Ivory Coast, the future is no longer tomorrow, it is now. Rise up, join your fathers and their fathers and forge a common way forward for all of Ivory Coast. This is your time young people, your time to shape the destiny of your country.
To the people of Ivory Coast, whatever you decide, Africa shall be with you. Do not let your future be jailed and mistreated and sentenced to hard labour by two men who are of selfish ambition and power thirst. Pick up that hope that you see when you look into the eyes of your children, pick up the faith you have in democracy….Let your voice be heard, let your voice echo across Africa….Let ECOWAS here you, let the AU be awed by your great presence and let your thunderous approach shock your irresponsible leaders to submission. Bring your leaders to their knees and let them serve you and your country for a change.
This is your time, your destiny, your Ivory Coast. Cease it, and embrace it confidently, for it shall be an example to those who practice tyranny….It shall be an example to those who believe they own the right to leadership.. Africa has not the time nor place for such tomfoolery. Africa has no place for silly shenanigans. Africa is a place where justice and peace will rule both the hearts and minds of its people. Show us the way ohh! people of Ivory Coast and we shall keenly follow. Show us the way and we shall learn from your great example. Show us the way and you shall be part of the revolution that we are all trudging on towards.