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.
Political leaders continued efforts to strengthen their hands ahead of 2020 presidential elections. President Ouattara 3 April appointed 33 new senators, including some politicians who had defected from opposition party Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) of former President Bédié, notably former PDCI MP Allomo Paulin Kouassi and former president of Gbeké council Abonouan Jean Kouassi. PDCI disciplinary council 4 April expelled from party VP Duncan, Presidency Sec Gen Patrick Achi and four other officials for creating pro-Ouattara branch, PDCI-Renaissance, in Dec. Former President Gbagbo – in Belgium on conditional release from International Criminal Court (ICC) – made efforts to regain control of party he founded, Popular Ivorian Front (FPI), from legally-recognised president Pascal Affi N’Guessan; latter late March refused to step down, but three FPI executives resigned to side with Gbagbo. International Criminal Court 11 April said it would release Gbagbo if he was accepted by country that would cooperate in enforcing any future court decisions, thus including sending Gbagbo back to The Hague for retrial. Defence Minister Bakayoko 12 April met Burkina Faso President Kaboré in Ouagadougou to discuss regional security; spokesman of former parliament speaker and now opposition leader Guillaume Soro 14 April said meeting part of plan by Ouattara to deliver Soro to authorities of Burkina Faso, where Soro has been mentioned in trial of those held responsible for 2015 failed coup.
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.
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