Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings said the cost of a military intervention in Ivory Coast will be far higher financially and economically than seeking a re-election or a recount.
President Rawlings was speaking at a dinner reception hosted by His Excellency Kwesi Quartey, Ghana’s Ambassador to Ethiopia at his residence in Addis Ababa.
Defending his stance against a military intervention in the tense standoff in the West Africa nation, President Rawlings who is also the African Union (AU) High Representative for Somalia said, “if Africa wants to reject coup d’états then we must replace it with an electoral process that has integrity
“If we replace coups with an electoral process that lacks integrity then people will be asking what is the difference between this and a coup.”
The former President said he believed a re-evaluation of the vote in Ivory Coast as suggested by South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni will be setting a precedent which will affect some of the questionable leaders on the continent and “may be some of us do not want that”.
“If some of us are insisting that we do not want to recognise the sanctity of the right of election, the integrity of the process and the election results and we are insisting on the military factor, what interpretation do most people put on it?”
President Rawlings said it was important that a re-evaluation takes place in Ivory Coast so in future some leaders on the continent who have the coercive power of the state do not rig the election and impose the results on the people as the aggrieved electorate can seek a re-evaluation with the precedent that has been established.
The AU High Representative also lamented the growing trend where certain world powers have made it a dangerous trend of pronouncing that one leader has stayed in power for too long so every effort will be made to pronounce that leader a loser even if he wins.
Touching on Somalia, President Rawlings said he agreed to take up the role because the crisis affects the entire continent.
“The crises has taken a life of its own and cannot be contained in Somalia, spreading internationally through piracy. It is going to be a difficult task and I am not going to be presumptuous and state that I have the solution. I have a whole learning process to go through. I hope the various factions will find me accommodating enough to work with me,” President Rawlings said.
In his welcome address, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey said the appointment of President Rawlings to the Somalia role brings hope and optimism to the peace process.
He described the former President as a unique and colourful personality who restored integrity and credibility to the state and government in Ghana.
The dinner was attended by Foreign Minister, Mohammed Mumuni, Lord Boateng of the British House of Lords, Vice-President of the African Court of on Human and People’s Rights, Justice Sophia Akuffo, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra, Special Representative of the AU Chairperson in Somalia, members of the diplomatic corps and a cross-section of the Ghanaian community in Ethiopia.
The Peace and Security Committee of the African Union will meet at the level of heads of state to deliberate on the issue of Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday evening.