Jacob Zuma attacked by pro-Ouattara in Abidjan
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Reuters
More than fifty supporters of Mr. Ouattara expressed their hostility to the South African president, widely regarded in their camp as an ally of Laurent Gbagbo. Gathered at the lobby of the hotel, they created a stampede and then booed, shouting “Thief Zuma “or ” Zuma tell the truth! ” before he was surrounded and eclipsed by his armed escort.
The South African president Jacob Zuma was taken to task Tuesday by young supporters of Alassane Ouattara while participating in the efforts of a delegation of heads of state mandated by the African Union to try to defuse the crisis Côte d’Ivoire.
Four of the five heads of state charged by the AU mediation continued their mission in the absence of Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore.
After meeting, the day before, with the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, they went to the Gulf hotel where is entrenched Gbagbo’s rival northerner, Alassane Ouattara, [who challenged Gbagbo and won] the presidential election on November 28.
Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission, the UN, the AU, the Economic Community of West African and almost all of the international community. But Gbagbo proclaimed his re-election by a Constitutional Council in his hand and refuses to cede power.
When the car of the head of the South African government was about to park outside the hotel, about twenty young supporters of Alassane Ouattara surrounded the vehicle and his bodyguard [South African] had to intervene physically.
“Zuma, Zuma, tell the truth,” cried the young protesters.
The AU remains divided between a majority [that] favours a hard line against Laurent Gbagbo – this is the case of countries of West Africa, including influential Nigeria – and a tiny minority who, like South Africa, clearly do not recognize the victory of his rival northerner.
Pretoria notably supported the request made in vain by the outgoing president for a recount of presidential ballots.
The Head of State of Burkina Faso and James Victor Gbeho, chairman of the AU Commission, decided not to go to Abidjan [with the delegation].
The Young Patriots, a movement of activists loyal in body and soul to Gbagbo have threatened to prevent the landing in Côte d’Ivoire to the plane of President of Burkina Faso, accused of taking up the cause of Ouattara.
ECOWAS believes that “this threat was serious enough that he shoulkd cancel his participation” in the AU mission, but was surprised that it was decided to maintain the visit in the absence of the President of the regional organization [James Victor Gbeho.
Ecowas said it would continue to cooperate with the AU, more divided than herself about how to resolve the political stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire, but the situation in Abidjan was not conducive to ” mission critical “it nevertheless expects the record.
No announcement has been published regarding the discussions of Presidents of South Africa, Chad, Mauritania and Tanzania in Abidjan, where a relative calm had returned Tuesday after the death of six supporters of Ouattara killed by security forces or henchmen of his rival.
Gunshots were heard Tuesday in Abobo, however, northern district of Abidjan acquired Alassane Ouattara.
Since the presidential election, expected to end the prevailing division of the country since the civil war of 2002-03, some 300 Ivorians have been killed.