Former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo has been captured. But is this the end of the Ivorian crisis or the beginning? Is it time for the refugees to return home? Some Liberians have been giving their own thoughts on the capture and the status of Ivorian refugees in the country.
Moses Youlo, Electronic Technician
“The arrest of Gbagbo should not make people too jubilant because we saw the same thing in Liberia. When Doe was captured and killed, people were thinking that that was the end of the war, but it was the beginning of the war.
The government needs to be serious by trying to have a national conference which will bring the people together once again. Because there are differences now in Ivory Coast between Ouattara and Gbagbo’s supporters. There may likely be ethnic conflict if the government fails to unite the people.
The refugees should not go back home. The government has to take over the entire country. If the government takes over the entire country, and things get stable, with security back in place, then the refugees can return.
I’m appealing to the international community not to take sides in this conflict, because I believe they took side in Ivorian conflict. When Gbagbo asked for the votes to be recounted, the international community should have honored that, but they did not and they asked him to leave power. At least, the recounting of the votes could have convinced people whether Gbagbo won or not.”
J. Clement Wright, Liberian citizen
“I think Gbagbo deserved what he got. After being very hard-headed for the period of four months, he got the result of his hard-headedness.
The war in Ivory Coast is a critical one with the turn it is presently taking. Phase one of the war is over. Phase two has to do with ethnicity. We will see people of different ethnic backgrounds supporting Gbagbo. He has immense power in Ivory Coast unless president Ouattara comes up with a strategy.
I disagree with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) plan from Ouattara. Liberia and South Africa are my examples. It did not work in the two countries and I don’t think it will work in Ivory Cost if it is established, except in areas where people will be willing to talk truth.
The war in Ivory Coast was not too long, so I don’t think a T.R.C. should be established. I heard refugees have started going home, but some people from Gbagbo’s ethnic background will stay in Liberia.”
Geeba Kaba, student AME Zion, Economy and Management “We can say yes, and we can say no. No in the sense that He was a nightmare. However, his arrest will bring some relief. But president Ouattara has a lot of task on hand. One of it is to recognize the people. He has to abolish witch-hunting. And to abolish witch-hunting, he has to stop attacking a particular ethnic group.
For instance, I lived in Ivory Coast before, I know the people there are violence oriented people, so the best thing is for him (Ouattara) to be somehow flexible and set up a government of national inclusion.
We should applaud Gbagbo because he was the father of democracy in Ivory Coast. He brought multi-party democracy in that country even though he has now been arrested. I’m appealing to president Ouattara to handle Gbagbo well, take care of him, if judgment will take its course, it should be that way. If there will be some set of ethnic violence in some areas, I ask the refugees to stay in Liberia.”
Scott Blaye, UL Business College
“I will tell you no, the crisis has not come to an end because of the manner in which it went. The international community took sides from the beginning of the elections to the end. The elections were not free and fair according to Gbagbo. Rebels were not disarmed in the north of that country when the elections were conducted; people were harassed not to vote for Gbagbo in the north.
Right after the elections, Gbagbo came up to say the elections were not fair, they took the results to the Constitutional Court and the court said the votes from the north were not indeed fair, for this reason it should be recounted. The international community said no. Since the Elections Commission announced that Ouattara won, indeed he won and Gbagbo must step down.
African leaders must be sensitive. I can say Africa is not completely independent because we can’t make our own decision and solve our own problems. And each time the international community comes in to solve a problem, they take side with the person they want to be president, because of special interests, and if I may say so, because they want a leader they can control.
We saw it in 2002, when Gbagbo’s aircraft was brought down by French troops. I thought the coming in of the international community was to find the root cause of the crisis and stop the conflict, but rather, they stood by Ouattara. I think there will be tribal wars and I think it is very, very much dangerous for the refugees here to go home, because if you think by arresting Gbagbo everything is over, it’s just the beginning.
The rebels and forces loyal to both Gbagbo and Ouattara need to be disarmed before the refugees can go back home”.
Yeabea Clarke, Administrator, Sinoe County Health Team
“Well, I will say that crisis has not come to an end yet. Experiences from my own country will tell me so. We have similar situations around the world. The war in Iraq is an example. When Saddam Hussein was captured, people thought the war had ended, but as I speak the crisis is still going on in Iraq. So the capture of Gbagbo is the beginning of the war. A lot of work need to done and Ivory Coast is in real trouble.
Tribalism and religious ties have some negative effects on the peace process. So I think no refugees should go there now.”
D. Siaffa Dennis Morris, Liberian
“I lived in Ivory Coast for four (4) years, and so I understand the inner dynamics of Ivorian politics: the way they look at things and the way they address issues. The way we saw Gbagbo on TV yesterday, in an undershirt, it’s not the end of the war. I’m afraid the crisis will be worse. Just by seeing that picture alone, it’s enough for more fighting.
If you look at the crisis, you will know that it is the United Nations and the fighters that arrested Gbagbo. Ouattara does not represent the Ivorian people whether people want to hear it or not. The refugees must stay here because that war is not over yet.”
Samuel A. Hasay, UL, Business College
“I heard people saying Gbagbo was arrested by Ouattara’s forces: it’s a lie. He was arrested by international forces. The refugees, I think, if you are for Gbagbo, you can wait. If you are for Ouattara, you can go because he’s in power now and if he knows you that you are for Gbagbo, you could be killed.”
Eugene Nimely, Lion Stationary worker
“I think the crisis has ended. The reason why our crisis did not end at the time Doe was arrested is that there were many factions. In Ivory Coast, there are only two: Gbagbo forces and Ouattara forces. So the arresting of Gbagbo will surely lead to the end of the crisis.
With no other faction to oppose Ouattara’s forces, after a month there will be stability in Ivory Coast. Right now it’s not too good to go back as a refugee, but two or three months from now they can go back, the crisis will be over by then”.