End Game For Laurent Gbagbo

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[Black Star News Editorial]

If Laurent Gbagbo cedes power without a fight he will be remembered as having valued the lives of his compatriots in the Ivory Coast above his political fortune.

Whether, as he claims, he won the November 2010 vote or not is now moot.

If he orders his Presidential Guard brigade to put up a futile fight and much blood is spilled for Abidjan, it will be difficult for him to secure exile anywhere. All the international diplomatic momentum is against him. Most likely, the International Criminal Court's Luis Moreno Ocampo, who is the sherrif for Western leaders, will probably unseal an indictment. This isn't to say the ICC still won't indict Gbagbo. In this world of ours, to the victor go the spoils.

Gbagbo of course has insisted for months that he actually won the presidential run-off elections and even declared he was willing to submit to a binding recount. The United Nations and the African Union disagreed as did France and the United States. Alassane Quattara was recognized by much of the outside world as the victor. He's been holed up in a hotel protected by UN troops.

Now with the defection of his military chief of staff, Gen. Phillippe Magnou, it seems that the game is up for Gbagbo. The leader of the military police reportedly has also defected.

The Ivory Coast was once lauded for it's booming economy and political stability. That's no more; and the country had been pretty much paralyzed politically and economically for over 10 years now. Rigor mortis set after the disputed November vote.

Political violence had erupted and escalated in Abidjan, the commercial capital, in recent weeks. The country had been split in half practically for the last decade, with fighters loyal to Quattara controlling the predominantly Moslem north and Gbagbo's the mostly Christian south. Now Quattara's forces, perhaps with a wink from Western countries, are on the march, unimpeded, and are reported to have reached the gates of Abidjan.

The Ivory Coast does not need a civil war pitting north against south, and Christians against Muslims. Clearly with the shift in military balance on the ground, Quatarra has gained the momentum.

Gbagbo prides himself as a nationalist and pan-African. He should now bow gracefully from the stage and let the healing begin.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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