The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have spoken. Unlike in previous times when the community had spoken without a distinctive voice, our leaders on the West Coast of Africa, for once, did not muffle their voices.
In a clear tone, they told Laurent Gbagbo, the disgraced ex-leader who sits at the Presidential Palace at Yammoussikro with a stolen verdict, to vacate the scene. The new lyrics are: Gbagbo out; Allassane Ouattara in.
It is one decision that has brought a cheer or two to long suffering nationals on the West Coast of Africa. We rejoice in the fact that our leaders appear to be responsive to the cry of the people. We hope and pray that the talk in Abuja would not remain mere paper guarantee.
The Chronicle urges our leaders to ensure that Gbagbo is truly shown the exit. In a number of such conflicts, the defeated candidates had benefited from power sharing deals, by hanging on and using the power of incumbency to attract leniency from leaders of Africa, many of whom do not have proper mandates from the people, anyway.
When the likes of Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso and Yahaya Jammeh of Gambia, who seized power with the aid of the intimidating powers of the gun and remain glued to the presidential seat for more than two decades, after the illegitimate seizure of power, are involved in the decision-making process of such proportions, we stoop to applaud their action.
The West African sub-region and the continent on the whole do not have any worthy examples on how to deepen democracy. Faure Gnassingbe in Togo is a father to son transmission of power, as if the presidency in Togo is by inheritance.
On the continent, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Egyptian Head of State, Hosni Mubarak, Mammar Gaddaffi of Libya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda among others, cannot be role models in any democratic experiment. Leadership in Africa is a lost cause.
The Chronicle is submitting for serious consideration by those of us inhabiting the continent with the largest concentration of the black race, to make it a point of working to eradicate the autocracy being perpetrated in the name of democracy on the African continent.
We have a duty to clean our acts by calling errant leaders to order. For a start, we appreciate the stance of ECOWAS, and hope that those who gathered at Abuja and took the decision would walk their talk. Gbagbo should leave the scene. That should be without compromise.
As a History Professor, the disgraced former leader of La Cote d’Ivoire should have a fare idea of what eventually happens to leaders who overstay their welcome. Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent removals inevitable.