AFRICAN UNION AND RESOLUTION OF THE POST 2010-2011 ELECTION CRISIS IN COTE D’IVOIRE.
Cote d’ivoire in the west African sub-region, recently faced political crisis that emanated from the presidential election that was conducted in October 2010, this present unique features of armed conflicts that aroused the interest of international community such as the United Nations, ECOWAS, African Union, France etc in the country’s peace process. African Union, a defunct of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was created to handle the issue of resolving conflicts in the African continent to maintain and promote African unity. The AU was able to set up the Peace Security Council and Wise Men Panel to oversee the conflict situation in Cote d’ivoire. This study posits that the post election crisis of 2010/2011 is a watershed of the several variables that are central to conflicts situations in Africa. Using the functionalist theory, the study interrogated the following questions whether the African Union Peace Process mechanisms in Cote d’ivoire enhance the resolution of the conflict and If there is a link between the postelection crisis and the violation of human rights. Qualitative method of data collection was
employed to gather data/information for the study while the method of data analysis relied on
descriptive analysis and this study notes that the apparent success recorded by the African Union in reducing the escalation of the conflict lies in the collaboration between the organization and other concerned mediators and the commitment of factions in the conflict in a way of finding a solution to the political crisis in the country.
African Union (AU) officially came into existence in 2001 to replace the Organization of African unity (OAU).The African Union is a regional organization for economic and political coordination for the continent’s fifty- three (53) Nations. The structure consist of the following
– The Assembly
– The Executive Council
– The permanent Representative Committee
– The Commission
– The Specialized Technical Committee
– The Pan-African Parliament
– The Court Of Justice
– The Economic Social and Cultural Council
– The Financial institution
– The Peace and Security Council; Which have 15 members responsible for monitoring and intervening in Conflicts using Early Warning System regarding threats on the continent According to Article 3 of the Constitutive Act of The African Union, the organization is charged with many responsibilities among which include;
– To promote Peace, Security and stability on the continent
– Promote democratic principles and institution popular participation and good governance
– To promote and protect human and people rights in accordance with the African Charter on human and peoples right and other relevant human right instrument.
Also the organization has some basic principles on which form the basis of their operation, Article 4 of the Constitutive Act outlined it ,among it include;
– Peaceful resolution of conflicts among member state of the union through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the Assembly.
– The right of the union to intervene in a member state pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances namely war, crimes, genocide and crime against humanity.
– Consideration and rejection of unconstitutional changes of Government.
Africa is a continent with high number of armed conflicts .There is no gain saying the obvious that since the eve of the 21st century, Africa has been challenged by a variety of complex political, economic, environmental and social upheavals in degrees and intensities that is unprecedented in the continent. These challenges have launched the continent into series of devastating intra-state conflicts ever experienced in a single continent anywhere in the world in the last decade and a half. Eight of the fifteen
complex emergencies’’ declared by the United Nations department of Humanitarian Affairs were in Africa (Herbst, 1998; Collers and Mills, 1999). In line with the above, Galadima (1990) took a concise view of the continent as thus: Conflicts erupts into ethnic warfare in central Africa Zaire, Burundi and Rwanda. There was armed uprising in the Northern Uganda civil war in Sudan and border conflicts between Ethiopia and Eriteria.Somalia has remained a collapsed state in spite of attempts to resuscitate it. In Southern Africa, Lesotho witnessed an armed uprising, Angola was in turmoil. In West Africa, Liberia was almost a collapsed state even as rebels embattled Serria leone and Guinea Bissau. While Cote d’ Ivoire experiences armed rebellion, Sudan is encountering humanitarian catastrophe arising from a bitter intra-state conflict, almost of a genocidal proportion.
African Union has made effort to become an active player in conflict resolution of African conflicts.
A civil war was fought in Cote d’ Ivoire between 2002-2004, this has to do with the government of the then President Laurent Gbagbo and the rebel forces Nouvelles de Cote d’Ivoire (New forces) representing Muslim Northerners who felt that they were being discriminated against by the politically dominant and mostly Christian Southerners. In 2002, France sent its troops to Cote d’ Ivoire known as the Operation Unicorn as Peacekeepers, also in February 2004, the United Nations established the United Nations Operation in Cote d’ Ivoire (UNOCI) to facilitate the implication by the Ivorian parties of the peace agreement signed by them in January 2003. Most of the fights ended by late 2004 with the country splitting between rebels held north and a government held south. In March 2007, the two sides signed an agreement to hold fresh elections though it ended up being delayed until 2010, five years after
Gbagbo’s term was supposed to have expired.
Alassane Ouattara was declared the victor of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election by the country’s independent Electoral Commission but the president of the Constitutional Council-an ally of Gbagbo declared the results invalid and announced Gbagbo as the winner. Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claimed victory.
The International Community’s including the United Nations, the African Union, the ECOWAS, the European Union and former colonial power- France, has affirmed their support for Ouattara who was almost universally acknowledged to have defeated Gbagbo at the ballot box and called him to step down.
The post-election crisis in Cote d’ Ivoire broke out in March 2011 when the crisis escalated into a full scale military conflict between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, the President of the country since 2000 and supporters of the internationally recognized President elect Alasane Ouattara. After months of unsuccessful negotiations and sporadic violence between supporters of the two sides, the crises entered a critical stage as Ouattara’s forces seized control of most of the country with Gbagbo entrenched in Abidjan, the country’s largest city.
This study therefore focuses on the African Union and the resolution of the post-election crisis of 2010/2011 in Cote d’ivoire. It would be sub-divided into five chapters to vividly present the facts that form the body of the work.