ECOWAS can’t bite Ivory Coast – security analyst


A security analyst with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Anning, has downplayed the guts of ECOWAS to forcibly oust Laurent Gbagbo for holding himself as the president of the Ivory Coast.
According to Dr Anning the sub-regional body is only blowing hot air over the dicey situation and does not have the necessary security force to invade that country.
Many fear the Ivorian situation could trigger a genocide.
“ECOWAS does not have the capacity. La Cote d’Ivoire is part of ECOWAS standby force, has been part of the discussions of establishing the ECOWAS force and knows the strength and weaknesses of member states.”
Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to step down despite his rival, Alassane Ouattara, being internationally accepted as the presidential election winner.
Mr Gbagbo has said Mr Ouattara’s victory in November was illegitimate. Both men have been sworn in as president.
Dr Anning was also critical of the appointment of Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga as a mediator by the African Union, describing his choice as “horribly atrocious” whose “credibility is not up to scratch”.
“What moral authority does he have to come and issue instructions in La Cote d’Ivoire,” he questioned.
He called on ECOWAS and AU to tap the experience and expertise of the many “fine minds” on the continent to resolve the crisis. Names that readily came to his mind included former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano.
The security analyst also called on the two bodies to combine forces, speak with a single voice and possibly send a single delegation to mediate in the crisis.
He said even though the mediation option is the best option for now, that has not worked well, so far, because, “The ECOWAS side also makes all these bombastic statements, pushed itself into a corner, the end result is that they sent barely three weak presidents to go and talk.”
Meanwhile, information available indicates that ECOWAS has decided to shelve its decision to use force to drive Mr Gbagbo out.
Story by Isaac Essel/