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I am in control of the country – Ouattara

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Allasane Outtara, opposition leader in the disputed elections in Ivory Coast says he is in control of the country, despite a political stand-off  that threatens wide-scale violence.

After a November 28,  2010  election run-off for which Ouattara and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo both claimed victory and subsequently got themselves installed as presidents, Ghana’s western neighbour has been sitting on a powder keg.

The international community however, says Ouattara is the winner of the elections.

Ouattara who is holed up in a hotel in the capital Abidjan said in a BBC interview monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com Thursday that he is in control of the country. He said Gbagbo is in the presidential palace because he has the support of some members of the Ivory Coast army, militia and mercenaries.

The hotel has been surrounded by soldiers loyal to Gbagbo.

According to Ouattara, the army voted for him. “The army voted 63% for me,” he said.

Ouattara also doesn’t believe that ECOWAS’ threat to remove Gbagbo out of office by force is a bluff. He believes ECOWAS, would use ‘legitimate force ‘ to remove his opponent from power and install him as the legitimate president of Ivory Coast.

The stand-off has led to the killing of over 200 people and about 20,000 Ivorians have fled the country to seek refuge in Liberia, according to the UN.

Gbagbo has however, agreed in negotiations with ECOWAS to remove the blockade of the hotel where Ouattara is running his parallel government and negotiate for a peaceful settlement of the stand-off.

Gbagbo however has come under severe criticism from the international community which is pressuring him to stand down and handover power to Ouattara. The community has also imposed economic sanctions on him believing that if he is unable to have access to the country’s funds to pay salaries, the army may turn against him.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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