In Côte d'Ivoire, the popular belief is that we have 60 ethnic groups, but I think there are four or five major cultural entities.
We have the Krou group, West of the Bandama River, with a social organisation, political succession and different types of political values.
Then, to the East, the Akan group defining themselves more or less as the "Kôtôkô". That group extends to Togo and Benin with a social and political organisation whereby succession to the chieftaincy, is passed on differently.
To the West of the Bandama river, it is inconceivable that in the household, a woman's son could become the head of the family.
According to their tradition, succession goes from the man of the family to his descendants.
In the East, the woman's son holds power and inherits wealth.
Here we have two completely different systems, which I can even qualify as antagonistic.
In the North, we have profoundly Islamised and patriarchal Malinke societies. The largest ethnic group in that society is the Senufo, who initially transferred power in the same way as the Akans, i.e. through the woman's son and not through the man's.
Finally, we have a small group called the Lobi. They are also called the Voltaic group. But they have not yet completed their settlement. (...) Because they are nomadic people moving between Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana.
Roughly speaking, we are in a heterogeneous setting.
Our history has locked us all in the same country, with the same borders. But this is our history.
If we do not have recourse to democracy, as a necessity for a social and political organisation,
if we do not have recourse to the Republic, how are we going to organise ourselves politically?
The Krous will cry foul if we want to impose a matrilinear succession.
The Akans 'Kôtôkô' will cry foul if patriarchal succession is imposed on them because, just as in the old empire of Ghana, matriarchy would be fairer. After all, biologically, the child belongs to the mother.
If we want to impose the Akan matrilinear succession on the Malinke, there will be an outcry.
We know what happened in the kingdom of Korhogo when, after the death of 'Zôkôgnon' Gon Coulibaly, Péléforo Gon Coulibaly, the brother's son, succeeded the chief. It led to armed conflicts in the Senufo kingdom of Korhogo. The king of Sikasso had to send in an army of "Koné" to protect Péléforo Gon Coulibaly.
Since then, in Korhogo, the "Koné" have had a large neighbourhood surrounding the Gon Coulibaly compound.
We cannot go back to war, and we don't have to.
This Ivorian example is valid for all the other countries in Africa.
All over Africa, you will find different societies with opposing types of political organisations.
That is why I say the Republic is our salvation. The republican form of organisation of our States is our salvation. Democracy is a way of operating daily because the clocks are re-set to function in peace.
So I am for the Republic because I am African.
I am for democracy because I am an African.
I believe that this has been the basis of our struggle for democracy for over 30 years.