Kwesi Pratt to NPP: Troops are sent for war, not to dance

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The Insight managing editor, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. says he has a great difficulty reasoning with the opposition New Patriotic Party on exactly what the party and its leadership’s position is on the Ivorian crisis.

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“Frankly, I don’t know what the New Patriotic Party is about. It is extremely difficult for me to say what the point is in the numerous statements that the New Patriotic Party has been making over the last couple of weeks. Now listen, the New Patriotic Party and its flag bearer make the point that they are not for war in La Cote d’Ivoire. That, war in La Cote d’Ivoire will have dangerous consequences for the people of Ghana. And yet, the same people are opposed to the president declaring that he would not commit troops to a war that they disagree with. This is incredible! To make it worse, they say they don’t want war, they are fighting the president for refusing to commit troops to a war that they don’t want, and at the same time, they say that they support the ECOWAS position which includes the use of war. So it is not clear what the position of the New Patriotic Party is and I would like to know, in very clear terms what the position is.

“Do they support war or they don’t? And if they don’t support war, why would the president commit troops to La Cote d’Ivoire? Would those troops be sent to La Cote d’Ivoire to go and dance Tango, to go and dance Abele? Troops are sent to wage war and that is the only reason why the president would commit troops to La Cote d’Ivoire and that point needs to be made very, very clear.”

Pratt, a panelist on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji on Saturday, maintained that the entire debate over the Ivorian crisis has been dominated by “complete ignorance” rather than facts, and that the ignorance is misleading everybody.

Proceeding to set the records straight, Kwesi Pratt said the impression has been created that President J.E.A. Mills is betraying the so-called international community, but facts on the ground increasingly suggest that the position of the president and Ghana are too mild, relative to the positions other heads of state and organizations have taken.

Quoting from what he said was a statement issued by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, “a key member of the African Union” when he met the diplomatic community in Angola, Kwesi Pratt said President Jose Eduardo dos Santos objected to the use of military intervention as a solution to crises such as the Ivorian situation, because, among other reasons, it ignores “the rules of international and domestic law and sometimes the very evidence presented by the facts.”

Pratt quoted President dos Santos exhaustively, as saying;

“The facts specifically tell us the following; “1.The president of the Electoral Commission released the results of the second round of the presidential election, when it was out of his competence to do so, since his time, for purposes defined by law, was expired and since the issue had been transferred to the Constitutional Council for due consideration and treatment.

“2. The United Nations representative in Côte d’Ivoire in a hastened move, certified and announced those results when the relevant UN resolution states that certification should focus on election results validated by the Constitutional Council, which had not yet made a pronouncement.

“3. The declaration by the United Nations representative misled the whole international community since the Constitutional Council had not validated the provisional results released by the president of the Electoral Commission as a result of having accepted objections and complaints of serious irregularities and fraud which undermined these results.

“4. The Constitutional Council is in fact the only organ with the legal competence to validate and publish the final results of the elections.

“5. Under the law, The Constitutional Council should recommend the holding of new elections within 45 days, but it did not proceed in this manner and instead reported results that attributed the victory to another candidate.

“Considering the above facts, it is difficult for Angola to accept that there is an elected president in La Cote d’Ivoire.

“”We believe however, that there is a constitutional president, the current president of the republic, who happens to be Laurent Gbagbo, who must remain in power until the new election as established by the electoral law of that country. The greatest difficulty now is that the 45 days are not enough to create a favorable climate for elections, and the current crisis complicates the matter further.

“We are therefore of the opinion that any military intervention in the particular case of Côte d’Ivoire would have an adverse effect, with serious consequences beyond its borders.”

Pratt said the Angolan president rather recommended dialogue, skillful negotiations and political will in addressing problems on the continent using the institutions of the AU for solutions that would benefit the people of Cote d’Ivoire rather than solutions imposed from outside.

“This is the president of Angola!” Pratt exclaimed.

“Compare this position to the position of President Mills and it is clear that President Mills is endorsed by any standard.”

He emphasized that what the Angolans are saying is that law must attend the solution to the Ivorian impasse, and that you cannot have democracy outside the ambit of the constitution. “What is democracy if you ignore what is provided for in the constitution? What is democracy if it is violation of the laws of the country…?”

Kwesi Pratt also argued that the Angolan President’s position was also buttressed by the Central African Republic, which denounced any military intervention, as well as The Gambia, which has actually gone on to declare solidarity with Laurent Gbagbo.

He said the electoral commission in the Ivory Coast declares provisional election results and not who a winner is, which duty is the responsibility of the Constitutional Council.

“Then you have some apologists of Ouattara, they come out, and they say look, the legal position is that that provision of the La Cote d’Ivoire constitution was suspended because an agreement was reached under UN auspices.

“My brother, this is a joke. Is anybody telling me that the UN, ECOWAS, AU or any international organization can amend the constitution of a country without reference to the people of that country? Does it make sense? And yet we are pushing this position. ..”

Kwesi Pratt stressed that any war to install Ouattara as president can only “reckless” and “irresponsible” saying if he were a soldier in any of the countries contributing men and resources, he would rebel because the order to wage war in Cote d’Ivoire would amount to signing one’s death warrant, a “suicide mission.”

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