Source : | Fri 24th December, 2010 12:46 GMT

RawlingsFormer President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has reiterated his call for extreme restraint in the management of the crisis in Cote d¹Ivoire.

In a statement issued on Thursday, three days after he called for restraint and maturity by all stakeholders in the crisis, President Rawlings said the situation in Cote d¹Ivoire was not a simple electoral dispute but a web of ethnic and political complexities that should be handled with tact and diplomacy rather than the open hints of forceful intervention.

The former President said the disputed results clearly indicate that Cote d¹Ivoire is sharply divided on ethnic lines and that is a matter that should worry major stakeholders such as the ECOWAS, AU and the UN as they consider options to resolve the impasse.

The two men at the centre of the dispute have both indicated their preparedness to see a recount or further verification of the results by neutral observers. Is there any hidden motive in refusing to take up the challenge being offered by the two parties?
It is also important that we do not rush into any form of forceful intervention.

That will not guarantee a definite resolution of the crisis and may further exacerbate an already volatile situation that could erupt into a full-scale civil war with horrific consequences.

Attempts to marshal support for a military intervention lack any justification and rather will expose the UN, ECOWAS and AU as being hypocritical.

More outrageous election results have taken place without intervention.

How can we justify an intervention in this instance, when the results are so close and divided along ethnic lines? Let us investigate all the peaceful options available rather than a military intervention that cannot establish a peaceful political transition in Cote d¹Ivoire.

The situation in there is definitely embarrassing to Africa, but equally worrying is the fact that a lot has been left unreported by the international media. Reports by some of the major election observers condemning the conduct of the elections in several parts of the country have been totally ignored by the international media.

Some regions recorded votes higher than the total list of registered voters with one area have 159,788 valid votes from a list of 48,400 registered voters.

These, plus the fact that in certain areas electoral commission staff and some party polling agents were not allowed to manage the process, requires that a proper investigation should be urgently instituted.
There are many unanswered crucial questions.

The details of the report of AU envoy, President Thabo Mbeki should be made public to help unravel the nature of the situation.
It is also imperative that ECOWAS calls an emergency meeting to invite both parties in the crisis as well as representatives of all observer missions who covered the elections to state their case. This is what pertained in the past and will go a long way in finding a solution.

We have to tread carefully for the sake of the people of Cote d¹Ivoire who are the real victims of this tragedy. I am appealing to ECOWAS and other international institutions involved in the crisis to take a hard look at the situation and do all in their power to resolve it in a peaceful manner, President Rawlings said.