EDITOR: Yet again, an African president has refused to hand over power peacefully! In so doing, Laurent Gbagbo has not only maintained the legacy of power-clinging and hungry African leaders but moved it to another level.
He is the kind Barack Obama described as â€˜unwilling to unclench their fistâ€™, one who thinks he is more important than the entire Ivory Coast. Democracy does not count for anything to Gbagbo. To him it seems to be merely Western propaganda.
Considering the fragility of the Ivorian political situation, a product of a peace agreement, what he is doing is suicidal. Ivory Coast is primarily a divided country, with two groups of armed forces and was a nation on its way to unity and democracy till Gbagbo's blunder.
It would not be so bad if he at least had the support of the joint army but he sadly does not. The northern armed forces made up of former rebels are clearly backing Alassane Outtara. This explains why he has managed to last this long. Not only does this increase the possibility of civil war, it affirms its imminent eruption. Let us not be deceived by the United Nations' presence in Ivory Coast as an assurance of peace maintenance. The cat and mouse role the UN has played in Africa is very clear even to the blind.
The UN has shown its distaste in solving African conflicts but they are always quick to bask in the post-conflict glory with patched-up stories about their role. Rwanda is a case in point. Somalia is even a clearer example. This proves how the prospect of war is a mere question of when, not if it will happen. It is bad for Gbagbo that the circumstances that favoured his predecessors are very different in his case.
For instance, the outspoken Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe managed to organise the one-man election successfully as he had the full backing of many state, security and financial agencies, something Gbagbo does not! For most of these countries, war was never considered.
What Laurent Gbagbo is doing is suicidal