Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.
Persistent tensions between former rebels and govt, and among security forces led to renewed violence. Demobilised former rebels 9 July blocked entrance to Bouaké in centre demanding FCFA18mn (about $32,000) each; police dispersed them with tear gas. Soldiers 15 July fired shots and clashed with fellow soldiers at two military camps, in Abidjan in south and Korhogo in north after military leaders said they would not receive bonuses, three soldiers killed in Korhogo, six soldiers arrested in total. Demobilised former rebels and active soldiers 19 July raided national police academy in Abidjan’s Cocody neighbourhood, killing police officer and stealing weapons, and attacked security institutions in Yopougon neighbourhood. Same group reportedly attacked gendarmerie post in Azaguié near Abidjan 22 July, no casualties reported. Five people including three soldiers arrested for attacks late July. President Ouattara 19 July reshuffled cabinet as tensions grew within ruling coalition Houphouëtist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP). Govt suspended deputy spokesperson of coalition member Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) Jean-Louis Billon 12 July; Ouattara dismissed head of State Inspectorate General and nephew of PDCI President Bédié, Gnamien N’Goran 13 July. Amid tensions within Ouattara’s Rally of Republicans (RDR), govt by presidential decree fired two officials close to former rebel leader Assembly Speaker Guillaume Soro 13 July. Police 3 July searched Abidjan house of Souleymane Kamagaté, Soro’s close associate in whose house in Bouaké weapons cache used by army mutineers was found late May; seized two mobile phones. Gendarmes 14 July interrogated two of Soro’s security detail.
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 second round of the Côte d’Ivoire presidential elections risks degenerating into violent confrontation unless an appeal for calm is launched.
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.
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