Knox Chitiyo, head of the Africa programme at the Royal United Services Institute, on the Ivory Coast’s disputed elections :-
The Ivory Coast crisis has repercussions for Africa and the global system. Post-electoral disputes are nothing new in Africa but the fact that the two protagonists have formally established rival governments in the capital sets a complex and dangerous precedent. Neighbouring Guinea has just emerged from a hotly contested run-off election; national elections are due in Nigeria in 2011. The fragile and increasingly fractious power-sharing governments in Zimbabwe and Kenya are headed for elections in the next year or so.
There is thus enormous pressure on Ecowas and the wider community to ensure that Ivory Coast does not set a new template for post electoral meltdowns. If the impasse continues, the implications are that elections don’t matter and that defeated candidates who have military support can always use constitutionalism to subvert democracy. Given that Africa has actually made enormous progress over the past two decades in strengthening the institutions of democracy and in holding elections, it would be a tragedy for the Ivorian people and for Africa generally if the world sees the Ivory Coast elections as yet another example of failed African governance.