Unrest mars Cote D’Ivoire poll, results awaited
By John Eche
Unrest has marred Saturday’s presidential election in Cote D’Ivoire though the ruling party and government is saying that the situation is under control and that contrary to the expectations of the opposition, the process has indeed been a success.
According to opposition leader and presidential hopeful, Pascal Affi N’Guessan as many as 12 people were reported killed. Add to this, the previous figure of 30 victims that had been recorded since incumbent President Alasane Ouattara announced in August that he would be running for a controversial third term in office, then there is now a combined figure of 42 casualties.
” We deplore, yet another time, deaths where there have been clashes, a dozen deaths for the moment, including four in Goh and two in the sub-prefecture of Niablé,” N’Guessan told reporters.
In the capital Abidjan, which had seen many business owners and residents, closing shop in anticipation of further election-related violence, the police dispersed protests that had broken out in the city. There were also reports of disturbances in other locations including the setting up of bonfires and barricades and the burning of electoral materials.
The ruling Rally of Houphetistes for Peace and Development party, which is named after Cote D’Ivoire’s founding leader, Houphet Boigny admitted that there were indeed challenges associated with the polls but that these were premeditated “attacks” that in the main involved “violent elements organized by the opposition”
The opposition had earlier called for a boycott of the polls after the electoral commission had announced that 40 of 44 presidential contenders had been disqualified.
Results are yet to be announced but all indications are that there may be some further unpleasant reactions should Ouattara be formally announced as re-elected. The results must however be announced by maximum Thursday according to the electoral laws.
Voting was expected to have been carried out in 22, 000 polling stations but reports indicate that several of them could not open for security reasons and some others that opened were ransacked by protesters. A low voter turn out is also expected to have been recorded.
A pre-election trouble shooting manouvre by the regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS failed to produce any significant results.
President Alasane Ouattara’s call for the opposition to halt its ongoing and subsisting campaign of civil disobedience has equally not been heeded.
President Alasane Ouattara