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.
Former rebels, now soldiers, mutinied again in major cities forcing govt to pay them off. Spokesperson for soldiers (former rebels) who mutinied in Jan 11 May apologised and dropped all financial demands; govt had given each mutineer FCFA5mn of FCFA12mn it had promised (about $8,300 of $20,000). However spokesperson’s announcement triggered four more days of mutinies by dissenting soldiers: soldiers blocked roads and fired shots in air in Bouaké in centre, capital Abidjan in south and six other cities. Mutineers 14 May violently broke up demonstration against them in Bouaké, injuring six civilians. Mutineers and govt 15 May reached deal, reportedly that mutineers would each receive another FCFA5mn (about $8,300) immediately and FCFA2mn (about $3,400) end of June. Govt 17 May said four people died during mutinies. Weapons cache, to which mutineers had access, found in house of director of protocol of assembly speaker and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro late May. Security forces clashed with demobilised former rebels protesting in Bouaké 23 May to demand FCFA18mn each (about $30,000), four protestors killed. Govt early May said country will contribute 150 combat troops to UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for first time.
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