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DC Lobbyist: Stop Trying to Help a Democratically Ousted African Leader

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You've reached your term limit as president. You've nonetheless forced the country into elections and then lost big time. Everyone and their mother is calling for you to step down.

What do you do?

Call a famous Washington lobbyist and see if exorbitant sums of money from one of the world's poorest nations can pull a few strings.

Such is the case for the Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo, who by most counts lost last month's presidential elections, but is now paying $100,000 a month to high profile DC lobbyist Lanny Davis for "crises management", mumbo-jumbo-speak for 'use my country's money to get me out of this situation.'

The Ivory Coast Election Commission declared Alassane Ouattara winner of the November 28 elections with over 54 percent of the vote. But the Constitutional Council, a body packed with President Gbagbo's appointees, then decided to exclude votes from districts supportive of Ouattara and declare President Gbagbo the winner.

International observers have sided squarely with the electoral commission, as have the United Nations, United States, African Union and European Union. Even the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), not a body known for criticizing its own, has said its time for Gbagbo to go.

So President Gbagbo turned to Davis. But rather than admit that he is being paid to represent the interests of a president who international observers say has lost an election and who's term has anyway reached its constitutional limit, Lanny Davis has depicted himself as a peacemaker, hired by President Gbagbo for 'crises management.'

Lanny Davis is not a United Nations-appointed mediator. He is a high-profile lawyer taking exorbitant amounts of money from the ousted leader of one of the poorest countries on earth to help him suppress the democratic decision of his people.

It's time to end this charade. If Lanny Davis wants to promote Mr Gbagbo, he should do so without taking the Ivorian people's money. If he prefers to play peacemaker, he should contact the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union or the United Nations to see if there are any openings.

Call on Lanny Davis to return all the money he has been paid from the Ivory Coast's public purse and to immediately drop President Gbagbo as his client.

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