Tuesday November 17 at the Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Alassane Ouattara is the inevitable star of the first post-electoral political council of his occasion, the Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la democratie et la paix (RHDP). The re-election of the Ivorian president was validated ten days earlier by the Constitutional Council, but in addition – and this nervous him extra – soberly greeted by Emmanuel Macron, the Western chancelleries and the foremost African organizations.
Despite the aid, the president’s tone at the lectern is severe. “I am revolted”, he declares, pointing to civil disobedience and the lively boycott of the opposition which have led, in line with him, to quite a few violence in current weeks in Côte d’Ivoire. If he multiplies his spikes, the Head of State additionally praises the dialogue initiated per week earlier with the opposition, to which all diplomats have inspired him.
On November 11, for the first time since August 2018, Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bédié met once more and mentioned. The assembly occurred at the Hôtel du Golf. It was there, ten years earlier, that the Ouattara and Bédié camps had discovered refuge and had been scrapping collectively in opposition to President Laurent Gbagbo (2000-2011), who refused to depart energy. There too had apparently solidified the friendship between the two rival “sons” of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the father of independence. Misleading look…
Wednesday, November 11, subsequently, in entrance of a cloud of cameras which got here to cowl this symbolic second, Alassane Ouattara affirmed that it was about“A first meeting to break the ice and restore confidence”. The two political adversaries indicated there their need to have interaction in a dialogue, in order that “The country is what it was before [les violences] “, defined for his half the former president Henri Konan Bédié (1993-1999).
Six days later, going through the viewers of elected officers and RHDP activists, Ouattara nevertheless recalled as soon as once more the limits of the dialogue to return: “For all those who have ideas about a transition, they can always dream: there will be no transition in Côte d’Ivoire! “
Several opponents behind bars
Bédié’s Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) seems to have taken a step in the direction expected by the government. Since the reunion at the Hôtel du Golf, the opposition party no longer mentions the “National Transitional Council” (CNT) in its press releases. Formed two days after the first spherical of the presidential election on October 31, the CNT was meant, in line with the opposition, to “Prepare the framework for the group of a good, clear and inclusive presidential election” from which the outgoing president would be excluded. An initiative considered an act of sedition by the Ivorian government.
In recent days, the absence of mention of the CNT in the official publications of the PDCI has been widely interpreted by some as a gesture of compromise towards the authorities… but also towards part of the opposition. According to several sources, Laurent Gbagbo, still in exile in Brussels, had let it be known that he did not recognize himself in this transitional structure, which he considers illegal. On condition of anonymity, figures from the PDCI share this position. In addition, several chancelleries informed Bédié that this desire to launch a transition was a dead end.
If the slogan of civil disobedience has not been lifted, the interview between Ouattara and Bédié will also have made it possible to calm political and identity tensions after months of violence and tension. In a report dated 16 November, Amnesty International is concerned about “The horror of post-election violence”, recalling the “Dozens of individuals killed”, the “Hundreds of wounded” (officially 85 dead and nearly 500 injured in three months) and the “Dozens of members of the opposition arrested”, some of whom “Arbitrarily”. What the government strongly contested, deploring “Openly oriented character” of the report.
It prevents. In the wake of the formation of the CNT, many opponents had been arrested. Of the twenty individuals arrested at Bédié’s house on November 3, 5 are nonetheless behind bars. This is especially the case of Maurice Guikahué, the govt secretary of the PDCI, detained at the Abidjan Detention and Correction Center, in addition to two influential senators of the occasion. And after just a few days on the run, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the president of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), nonetheless in battle with Laurent Gbagbo, was additionally arrested. “Ouattara put a stop to the opposition by arresting the noisiest, observes political scientist Sylvain N’Guessan. And he isolated Bédié, who remains today the only opponent still free of his movements. “
Towards a government reshuffle?
Unless he will soon be joined by Gbagbo? Even though Ouattara announced in mid-November that he would ask his foreign minister to issue a diplomatic passport to the former head of state, his lawyer says no document has been received for the ‘hour. And for Gbagbo, out of the question to negotiate a passport that he considers owed to him as an Ivorian citizen. His return to the shores of the Ebrié lagoon, announced for mid-December, is therefore once again dotted.
It is Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko who is today responsible for resuming dialogue with the PDCI and the FPI, “In order to allow them to resume their place”, Ouattara said during the RHDP political council. A way of reconnecting with the three great figures who have structured the political scene for more than twenty years.
But many points remain to be settled. “They [les opposants] want the release of political prisoners, but this will be done with respect for the rule of law ”, warns Minister Mamadou Touré, deputy authorities spokesperson. Another grievance that the energy refuses for the second: the presence of a global mediator to handle the battle. On the facet of the PDCI, mediation is desired, nevertheless it can’t nevertheless emanate from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), thought of too near Ouattara.
Very recently, the Ivorian president summoned ministers and elected officials to express his dissatisfaction. One way, it seems, to prepare minds for a reshuffle. The head of state does not want a government of national unity, but it would not be surprising to see new faces appear. As a gesture of conciliation towards the opposition, he would on the other hand be ready to postpone the legislative elections to the first quarter of 2021 in order to allow him to reorganize and let his potential voters register on the lists. Finally, in the great bargaining of power, behind the most visible posts of the ministries, exist those, much more profitable, of the various state boards.