Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List editions that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2020. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Edition of the Watch List 2020 includes entries on Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar, northern Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.
Amid political manoeuvring and positioning ahead of presidential election planned for 31 Oct, opposition voiced further concerns over electoral framework, and military launched its first joint anti-insurgency operation with Burkina Faso against suspected jihadists in north. After electoral commission 6 May said electoral census operations initially scheduled 18 April-2 May would take place 10-24 June, former President Bédié’s Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire same day said timeframe was “unrealistic” and 30 days were needed to complete revision of electoral list; 18 May condemned current revision of electoral code by ordinance and accused govt of trying to avoid parliamentary debate. Authorities continued legal proceedings against former PM and self-declared candidate to presidential election Guillaume Soro. Public prosecutor 5 May said security forces in recent weeks arrested nineteen individuals suspected of coup-plotting, including five civilians and fourteen military personnel; arrests conducted after investigators found stock of weapons and ammunition at headquarters of Soro’s Generations and People in Solidarity party in economic capital Abidjan. In cabinet reshuffle 13 May, President Ouattara dismissed Higher Education and Scientific Minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri, leader of Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d’Ivoire (UDPCI) and potential presidential candidate, and appointed Albert Findé, Toikeusse’s main rival within UDPCI, as minister for integration, in alleged attempt to isolate Toikeusse. International Criminal Court 28 May authorised under certain conditions ex-President Gbagbo and pro-Gbagbo rebel leader and former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé to leave their European cities of residence following their acquittal last year of crimes against humanity, potentially opening way for their return to Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara 8 May lifted COVID-19 curfew and other restrictions throughout country except in economic capital Abidjan, where measures remained in place until 15 May. Military 24 May said eight suspected jihadists were killed and 38 others arrested in first joint anti-insurgency operation with Burkinabè forces launched 11 May in cross-border region north east of Ferkessedougou city.
Face à la percée jihadiste au Burkina Faso, porte ouverte sur les pays du Golfe de Guinée, ceux-ci craignent des attaques sur leurs territoires. Les Etats de la région devraient améliorer le partage du renseignement, renforcer les contrôles aux frontières et renouer un lien de confiance avec la population.
Working to reduce tensions in western Côte d’Ivoire, a flashpoint for ethnic, political and economic rivalries, is imperative to ensure lasting stability and pave the way for national reconciliation.
President Alassane Ouattara’s coalition is walking a dangerous path toward polarisation by repeating mistakes made by previous governments that could ultimately lead Côte d’Ivoire back to crisis.
Despite a marked improvement in economic governance and the holding of legislative elections in good security conditions on 11 December in Côte d’Ivoire, the divisions within the security forces carry a risk of violent confrontation while the victor’s justice targeting only former President Gbagbo’s followers hampers reconciliation.
Forced to fight five months for the power his November election should have given him peacefully, Côte d’Ivoire’s new president now faces multiple urgent challenges to keep the country from fragmenting.
Côte d’Ivoire is on the verge of a new civil war. This tragedy can only be avoided if Africans and the wider international community stand firm behind the democratically elected president, Alassane Ouattara, and he launches an initiative for reconciliation and a transitional government of national unity.
The problem with the army [in Côte d'Ivoire] is structural disorder that can’t be sorted out with the punctual signing of cheques, even if the cheques are big.
This week’s summit of African and European leaders in Abidjan is a chance to find a win-win solution.
Originally published in IRIN
With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU now imminent, a dramatic power shift is changing the balances behind the scenes of the fifth African Union-European Union summit this week in Côte d’Ivoire. It is an opportunity for the EU to forge a new Africa strategy.
Originally published in Berlin Policy Journal
Originally published in Jeune Afrique
Among the three principal politicians who have struggled for power in Côte d’Ivoire since 1995, President Alassane Ouattara, 73, is the only one still in the game and is most likely to win the presidential election on 25 October. The significance of this election is not so much the electoral outcome – which seems to be a foregone conclusion – as much as the political choices that will result from a renewed Ouattara mandate. Without meaningful political, security and judicial reforms, Côte d’Ivoire could face yet another prolonged period of violence.
Originally published in Daily Maverick