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.
Ahead of late 2020 presidential elections, former rebel leader and former national assembly speaker Guillaume Soro 14 Oct announced candidacy and govt continued to intimidate opponents through legal system. Electoral commission (appointed late Sept) 1 Oct chose Constitutional Council’s General Secretary Ibrahim Coulibaly Kuibiert as president, as opposition continued to criticise body for pro-govt bias; opposition coalition Together for Democracy and Sovereignty said eleven out of fifteen commission members favoured ruling party. No member of main opposition party Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), which rejects new structure, is included in opposition’s quota. President Ouattara 10 Oct announced state visit to Soro’s stronghold Hambol region 27-30 Nov. Govt continued to pursue strategy of intimidation against opponents. Court in Bouaké (centre) 3 Oct sentenced PDCI’s vice-president Jacques Mangoua, arrested late Sept, to five years in prison for “possession of weapons of war without authorisation”; Mangoua’s supporters protested his incarceration in Bouaké 2 Oct. Soro’s diplomatic visa was cancelled before expiration date of 31 Oct. Soro said govt tried to arrest him in Valence, Spain early Oct; govt denied.
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