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 landscape continued to shift ahead of 2020 presidential elections as former rebel leader Guillaume Soro resigned from position of parliamentary speaker and said he was open to meeting his former enemy, former President Laurent Gbagbo. President Ouattara 10 Feb said he had until July 2020 to announce whether he will run in presidential elections later that year. Guillaume Soro 8 Feb resigned from position of parliamentary speaker and said he was looking for “more comfortable chair to sit in”, fuelling speculation that he intends to run for president in 2020. Soro 15 Feb launched new movement, Political Committee, “to reflect on major issues of national interest” and work toward “promotion of democracy… consolidation of the rule of law” and “strengthening of republican values”. Soro same day said he was open to meeting former President Gbagbo. Belgium 4 Feb agreed to host Gbagbo after International Criminal Court (ICC) 1 Feb ordered his conditional release, pending possible appeal against his acquittal. Soro’s supporters 16 Feb transformed association into new party, Rassemblement pour la Côte d’Ivoire (RACI). Soro 23 Feb met head of opposition Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) and former President Henri Konan Bédié in Daoukro, Tchologo area in north; Soro and Bédié said they would work together to build opposition coalition against President Ouattara ahead of 2020 election. Soro’s close collaborator, former minister and current MP Alain Lobognon, who was sentenced to one year in prison in Jan for “spreading false news and inciting hatred”, was freed 13 Feb after court of appeal revised sentence to six-month suspended prison sentence. In 11 Feb report, Amnesty International criticised violations of freedom of expression, saying arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, harassment of opposition, civil society and critical media were common practices.
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