Watch Cébastien Gnahoré, Germain Yao, Patrick Smith and Hamadoun Touré discuss the situation in Abidjan. Part 2 is here.
It is clearly not the best debate, since both the LMP and RHDP representatives are very poor speakers. Patrick Smith, editor of the African Report still gives a good opinion, with references to Angola, and criticizes the United Nations.
The main point of the first part is the question they all come to : was it wise in the first place to hold the elections without disarming the two sides first ? Looking back, hoping that elections could have solved the crisis was very idealistic. Any result would have angered the armed supporters of the losing side.
Gbagbo played his cards better, and reinforced his security apparatus when he realized that a significant part of the population, and the international community would not support him. The question is to know how far he will push his brinkmanship strategy ? Does his plan have limits, or is he ready to push the country towards a bloody civil war ?
Côte d’Ivoire is now on the verge of the worst case scenario, where the explosive post-election status quo has allowed both sides to radicalize and arm their troops, and completely shut down the economic activity. The most likely scenario now seems to be a return to an all out war, such as the one which divided the country in 2002. The civilian involvement in the 2002 violence was limited, despite the hundreds maybe thousands of casualties that followed. But the situation is much worse now and we might witness an unprecedented and unlimited wave of violence in the country. Unlike the 2002 conflict, the political and ethnic violence is likely to erupt within the communities, increasing exponentially the number of victims.
I believe it is the duty of ECOWAS and UN leaders to push for a fast military intervention. The African Union mission conclusions, and all the difficulties it faced only showed us, as said by UN envoy Choi, that the time is not for discussions anymore. The UN mission is clearly not able to control the situation in some neighbourhoods of Abidjan, let alone in the whole country. The African and International governance are at stake: are they able to act better from their massive failures in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola or Rwanda ?