(Ivory Coast) PPA-CI constitutive congress - Laurent Gbagbo rises to the occasion

Published By Claude Djaquis

Editor-In-Chief. 18/10/[email protected]:36


With the PPA-CI constitutive congress behind us,  Laurent Gbagbo’s new political party is in full swing for posterity. 

In his keynote speech, the former president greeted his comrades, the grassroots, and the refugees of the 2010-2011 war. He thanked the African diaspora for keeping lit the lantern of resistance during his time in prison. He called for the release of those still incarcerated following the crisis (civilians and soldiers). 

Former president Laurent Gbagbo during his key note speech at PPA-CI congress in Abidjan, 17-10-2021. Photo: Censors
Photo of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah (born: September 21, 1909 - died: April 27, 1972). First President of Ghana and a founding member of the Organization of African Unity.

Then, the former history professor spoke about Kwame Nkrumah’s dream to unite Africa.

"Pan-Africanism is not a slogan. It is a reality"

“Unless we stop being microstates flying lone flags on top of our modest huts and singing our so-called national anthems, we will never achieve anything. Theories are not worth the effort. You have to look at the facts. The only three countries with a tiny economic power in Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. We are the leading producers of Cocoa. San Pedro is the first cocoa port in the world, and then what?"

"Europeans are regrouping. They already have a common currency, and they are moving forward. This process will lead to the formation of a state in the future. That state will at least compete with big blocks (the USA, Russia and China) who are dominating the world,” he said.

“Europe is following in the footsteps of the USA. That is why I talk about Pan-Africanism. The stakes are high, hence the formation of a pan-African party that leads to the union of African progressive parties to spearhead the political struggle for the emancipation of Africa”.

“I am the first President of Côte d'Ivoire who had an Ivorian elected general secretary of the OAU because I believe in the pan-African organisation. Essy Amara, a seasoned and well-respected diplomat was the first president of the AU commission. I transferred the Cocoa Commission here from London. Then the war started. For my remaining years in office, I had no other concern than to put an end to the war. For ten years, I had no government. People were brought in from abroad. Capable, competent and good, but they were not my choices. In the first phase, in 2000, Affi N'Guessan was appointed. In the second phase, it was AKE N'gbo. But he never got the opportunity to settle down before the war swept us out," he said.

"Pan-Africanism is not a slogan. It is a reality. When you are a small country with only Cocoa to offer, it is not enough to compete. You can only borrow from others for your projects. I never wanted to borrow. During my tenure, we managed the country's affairs with what we called the secured budget.  "I took pride in providing for the necessary state expenditure out of what we earned. I did not borrow 1 Franc CFA. I used our capital. This is why the West does not like me." He concluded.

With this historical speech, Laurent Gbagbo offers HOPE to millions of Africans and Afro-descendants who believe in the reality of pan-Africanism for dignity and sovereignty. It is nonetheless a speech tinged with melancholy for its premonitory undertone.

“We will resume our journey together," Gbagbo told delegates. "I will be in politics until I die!" He added to a standing ovation.

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Political representatives from a dozen African countries attended this weekend congress.

The 76-year-old, whose 2000-2011 terms were marked by turbulence and division in the world's first cocoa-producing country, has been highly visible since returning.

He was removed from office in April 2011 after a short civil war that claimed 3,000 lives. Gbagbo was then flown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face accusations of crimes against humanity resulting from the conflict but was eventually acquitted.

Laurent Gbagbo has just added one cornerstone to the building block of Africans (Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Nasser, Kaddafi, Sankara and others who dreamed of unity before meeting untimely deaths.

The man, the historical leader, the child prodigy with a phenomenal destiny, blessed amongst his peers, the father of the Ivorian multi-party system hinted it was time to pass the baton. Like the Greek mythology Hydra, he once again rose from his ashes to make history.