Gbagbo: The Thief In Abidjan Must Go

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[Black Star News Editorial]

We warned in a previous editorial that bloodshed would follow in the Ivory Coast unless Laurent Gbagbo backed off his coup d'etat. The usurper stole the elections there after losing in a runoff to Alassane Quattara.

We also were the first to call for Gbagbo's prosecution.

His excuse for the coup was that the Election Commission had announced the results one day after the deadline that it had set for itself; the lamest reasoning for any election theft in all of recorded history.

Ivorian civilians protesting the election theft were mowed down by soldiers of the national army, who are following orders from General Philippe Mangou, the chief of staff, who is in essence committing treason by following orders from Gbagbo, who --with the general-- may well end up before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as we called for in our earlier editorial.

Yesterday, ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, had it right --something very rare for him-- when he declared that the political and military leaders responsible for deaths of innocent civilians in Ivory Coast, would be prosecuted by the Court. This is well.

What is remarkable is that even with the writing on the wall, army commanders would still support Gbagbo: on what universe do they live, not to see that Gbagbo is probably now negotiating a deal to avoid prosecution. All the foreign powers that once backed him have demanded that he pack his bags.

At this stage, it may be late for Gbagbo to escape punishment.

Even if he steps down, which it now seems he will, before Christmas, which country is going to grant him exile? Even if he is granted exile, what is to guarantee that his host won't pull an Obasanjo, on him? The former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, famously granted asylum to Charles Taylor, but then later turned him over to the ICC.

If Gbagbo and his top generals meet a similar fate, no one should shed tears. Other usurpers-in-waiting are watching Ivory Coast carefully. The world must help Ivorians prove that the days of elections thieves in Africa has ended once and for all.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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