Wednesday, April 23, 2008

UN Report on the security situation in Cote d’Ivoire

From Secretary-General, dated April 15.

The good news is the overall security situation stable, along with the country’s budding political atmosphere. However, the report raises worries about the disarmament about the northern-based Forces Nouvelles and militias in the western part of the country. Violent crime remains a concern, especially armed robberies.

In the political arena, the opposition party Rassemblement des republicans held its convention in Abidjan and named Allassane Dramane Ouattara as the party’s candidate for the presidential election scheduled for November 30. The ruling Front populaire ivorien held a rally in the former rebel capital Bouake.

Prime Minister Guillaume Soro attended a Women’s Day celebration in President Laurent Gbagbo’s hometown, and claimed the northern-based prime minister has a good working relationship with the president.

Civil society groups still clamor to be included in the Ouagadougou Agreement. Burkinabé president Blaise Compaore expressed desire to hold a national meeting with such groups.

Regarding the sticky issue of voting rights, more than 110 mobile courts have been dispatched throughout the country to issue duplicate birth certificates to any Ivorian over the age of 18 and not part of the previous census. By April 8, the courts had issued more than 565,000 certificates. They hope to finish by the end of the month.

While the legal framework for the electoral process has not been finalized, its budget has: $83 million, which the Ivorian government will chip in $18 and the European Union, Japan and Korea will provide $25. This currently leaves $40 million unaccounted for. (Any takers?)

The International Crisis Group is a little less sanguine about the political situation. In a recent report, the group points out that in the presidential election certain candidates may be willing to go to extremes, reigniting a potentially explosive environment.

The report also claims implementation has been shaky of many of the Ouagadougou Accords that brought a halt to the civil war. Importantly, they claim voter identification has not completely determined who is a citizen and who may vote. However, the largest worries go to all major political parties sticking to the Ouagadougou Accords and insuring the election is carried out in a transparent manner, with proper identification for all registered voters and a security situation that allows people to vote in peace.

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