Post Election “Demo-crazy” is Brewing Up in Ivory Coast Once Again
When will Africa fit into the democratic tradition of honorably accepting election defeat and putting the country above all else?
Post election events in Ivory Coast is clearly symptomatic of bad times in the offing for the West African nation. The recent elections were to a great extent, peacefully conducted and everything appeared to be moving on well until last Friday when the Electoral Commission declared the opposition leader, Alassane Quattara as the winner with a marginal majority of 54.1%. When the Electoral Commission pronounced the winner, it was flatly rejected by the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters in the military.
There is no doubt, that this was a hotly contested race between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Quattara, a long time opposition politician from the North. The African Union and the United Nations peace keepers in the country considered the earlier declaration by Electoral Commission as a credible and a realistic result of the elections but the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo who has the overwhelming support of the Army and the Judiciary quickly went to the Constitutional Court and secured a reversal of the earlier results which pushed him from 45.9% to 51.4%. 500,000 votes belonging to the opposition leader were deliberately discarded by the constitutional court with such rediculous reasons such as….”the 500,000 vote were undemocratic”!! Now it seems to me that whenever you have a winner vote over the African incumbents, that winning is considered undemocratic!!
African politicians have made such a big mockery of democracy that many of us in Africa are wondering why periodic elections are conducted at all if incumbents are not often willing to concede defeat. I would not care if such incumbents were benevolent dictators like Paul Kagame of Rwanda whose purpose of leadership is to deliver service to the grassroots and he has generally demonstrated that he is there to improve the objective conditions of the population of the entire country. Unlike Kagame, many of these greedy and erstwhile dictators in Africa want power to satisfy their insatiable greed for personal wealth. They use the Army as the coercive machinery of the state to patronize over the distribution of national resources to close associates and a few selected regions at the expense of the rest of the country. We saw this kind of post election trend unfold in Kenya and in Zimbabwe not so long ago, where many lives were lost merely because the incumbents were not willingly to relinquish the power they had obviously lost.
In Ivory coast, we are likely to see the army clump down hard on the population and forcibly back the loser for another 5 years. Out of political shame, Gbagbo may invite Alassane Quattara for a power sharing deal and because he, Alassane Quattara is also an African politician whose primary goal is to survive, chances are high that he will accept and join the government as a Prime minister or a Deputy, just like Rhaila Odinga and Morgan Tsangirai of Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively did a few years ago! How can we as a continent heal this “Demo-crazy?”