Our November 2019 editorial could not have been more foreshadowing: ” 2020 - Only one man can "lie with" the crocodiles of Yamoussoukro.”
It was a metaphor depicting the dangers lying beneath the murky political waters of our beloved nation. Far from being doomsayers, we also predicted that only one man held the golden key to the palaces of the ghost capital, Yamoussoukro. Little did we know that, nine years after they were transferred to The Hague to face charges of war crimes for their alleged role in the post-electoral crisis, the international criminal court would hand over Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé to President Alassane Ouattara, free to travel and acquitted.
Ten years after the bloody events, another election is looming on the horizon with arguably the same configuration. This time though, Mr Ouattara withdrew himself from the equation. One would probably argue: what are four months in the life of a nation when a nine years mandate didn’t seem sufficient enough to reconcile a population in dire need of forward-thinking. The answer is, better late than never.
Mr Ouattara has been handed the baton for a glorious finish line. Only he can transform the essay for the ages and exit the political arena with the legacy of a true man of peace in a nation united around the common goal of true brotherhood with prosperity in sight.
“An entire country now awaits the return of Laurent Gbagbo and that of Charles Blé Goudé, because it's only fair. He is the main link in the reconciliation process. Life is only cycles and the wheel is always goes around.” Genevieve Goetzinger, Radio France International Director (2008-2012).
Published By Claude B. Djaquis Editor-In-Chief
November 2019 EDITORIAL -2020 - Only one man can "lie with" the crocodiles of yamoussoukro
Nine years ago this month, battle-hardened "Forces Nouvelles" soldiers led by Guillaume Soro, a former student union leader turned rebel frontman, crossed the decade-old french army buffer zone separating North and South of Côte d' Ivoire on route for the mother of all battles in Abidjan which proved to be the bloodiest of combats in the brief but deadly civil war the country had suffered since its independence from colonial France.
The aftermath of those bloody hours is entrenched in every Ivoirian's memory, thus longing for exorcism from the myriads of men of God who have since invaded the country.
With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, it all seems as if the demons of our violent past are back in the starting blocks for the much-anticipated second leg of the crisis that led former President Laurent Gbagbo and his youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé in the abyss of the International Criminal Court.
In April 2011, defeated, humiliated but still standing, Gbagbo and his supporters went on the perilous road to either prison and exile or certain death for the less fortunate, whilst the "RHDP" of Alassane Ouattara, Henri Konan Bedie and Soro Kigbafori Guillaume reigned supreme in Abidjan.
Fast forward to 2015 after a five years honeymoon when cracks started appearing in this political alliance of victors. Long knives were now all visible for all to see. Bedié could no longer bear to be engulfed in the smokescreen of a third Republic unwilling to let go of the privileges of Power. A new constitution allowed President Alassane Ouattara to run for the highest office in the land if he wished so, according to him, whereas Soro saw his chances of ever succeeding his mentor fast disappearing.
The cracks were so huge from the foundation to the whole political structure of RHDP, that Soro could only end up allying with Bedié whilst laying the cornerstone of a new political committee, after having been forced to resign as National Assembly President, but not without declaring: "For the last 24 years, I overcame adversity. I am galvanised by adversity".
Away, on conditional release from the ICC, Laurent Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, two "Goliaths" of the Ivorian political scene, are licking their wounds by forming unthinkable alliances with both Bedié and Soro, although their return home may hit the major roadblock of long custodial sentences by homegrown judges for various crimes alleged to have been committed during the post-electoral crisis… Until then, the stage is set and the arena is full to the rafters by "pros" in all corners of the globe for what could be a mirror image of 2010.
This time around though, the "ONUCI" is long gone. Former French President Jacques Chirac recently died. Nicolas Sarkozy is as far possible from the Elysee palace as any lame-duck politician could be. The French forces based in Abidjan are now more of a liaison division in support of those battling jihadists in the Sahel of Burkinafaso-Mali-Niger.
All have their eyes on the 2020 prize but one man holds the golden key leading to the futuristic palaces of Yamoussoukro, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Meanwhile, the country holds its breath on whether or not that man. Mr Ouattara will handpick his successor from the young talents in his stable or stand for another two terms.
As far as the latter option is concerned, not in a million years say his opposite former partners. As a result, vitriols laced political speeches that do not reflect appeasement in an atmosphere in dire need of policy debates, alliances and rallies punctuate the lives of the People.
Published By Claude B. Djaquis Editor-In-Chief