Ivory Coast 2018
Ivory Coast. As in 2017, rioting broke out among soldiers in Bouaké, the country’s second largest city. In January, a military base caught fire after soldiers plundered it on weapons and ammunition. Forces from an elite band located on the base intervened and battles erupted, however, without anyone losing their lives. According to Countryaah.com, Yamoussoukro is the capital city of Côte d’Ivoire, a country located in Western Africa. Bouaké was also affected by severe water shortages. The reason was that the pond where most of the city’s water had previously been collected has almost dried up. The residents instead had to collect water from tankers.
In March, the first election for the upper house (Senate) was held in Parliament. All opposition parties boycotted the election, but a number of independent candidates opposed the ruling party’s Houphouetist Democracy and Peace (RHDP) meeting. Of the 66 seats that were at stake, and which are added through indirect elections, RHDP received 50. In total, the Senate should have 99 members, 33 of whom are appointed by the president.
In July, President Alasanne Ouattara dissolved the government following a conflict within the government coalition. The Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) had announced that it wanted to launch its own candidate for the 2020 presidential election, while Ouattara himself earlier in the year expressed the view that he could be a candidate himself, despite sitting the two mandated terms allowed. According to Ouattara, that rule would not apply because the country was given a new constitution in 2016. A few weeks after Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was commissioned to form a new government, several of the coalition parties formally joined the RHDP. PDCI, on the other hand, abstained and declared that it would stand as an opposition party in the upcoming local and regional elections. The elections were held in October and PDCI, led by Henri Konan Bédié, became the second largest party in total. However, RHDP gained power in most regions and municipalities. In connection with the elections, unrest erupted in several parts of the country.
In August, President Ouattara issued an amnesty for about 800 prisoners. Several of them had been sentenced either for participating in the violence after the 2010 election or for crimes against the state after 2011. One of the released was former President Laurent Gbagbo’s wife Simone Gbagbo.
Try to register Gbagbo and Soro as candidates in the presidential election
Supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro will register as candidates in the October 18 presidential election. This is after both the Election Commission and a court have banned them from participating (see 25 August 2020).
Gbagbo is not allowed to run in the presidential election
Former President Laurent Gbagbo is not allowed to run in this autumn’s presidential election. Thus, a court upholds the decision previously made by the election commission, with reference to the fact that he has been convicted of a crime. In 2018, Gbagbo was sentenced in his absence to 20 years in prison for looting the West African Central Bank (BCEAO) in connection with the conflict after the 2010 election (see January 2018). The verdict was appealed, but in November last year, the appeal was rejected by a court. Electoral Commission President Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert said earlier in August that all candidates convicted of a crime would not be allowed to run in the presidential election. In addition to Gbagbo, former rebel leader and former president Guillaume Soro and two others were removed from the list of candidates. However, Gbagbo’s supporters say they will still run for president.
New unrest in the south
Protests against Ouattara’s candidacy break out in Divo in the southern part of the country. Young men from the Dida people and dioula, who have their roots in the north, collide armed with machetes and clubs. Gagnoa, the former hometown of former President Gbagbo, is protesting by setting up barricades and burning car tires. There are also unrest in Bonoua. At least two people were killed during last weekend’s violence and many were injured. The material damage is also great: among other things, a bus station, bars and shops are set on fire and looted.
Tensions are rising ahead of the presidential election
Political tensions are growing ahead of this autumn’s presidential election, which has now been formally nailed to 31 October. As of August 15, at least six people have been killed and more than 100 injured in riots erupting across the country after President Alassane Ouattara announced his candidacy in the autumn presidential election. At least 68 people are also said to have been arrested for violating the government’s demonstration ban. The most difficult unrest has taken place in the city of Daoukro in the central part of the country, where former President Henri Konan Bédié has strong support. The violence has gradually taken on ethnic signs, with residents from the Baoule ethnic group supporting Bédié’s candidacy in the presidential election and Malinke supporting Ouattara.
Simone Gbagbo appeals for amnesty for husband
Simone Gbagbo, wife of former President Laurent Gbagbo, calls on President Alassane Ouattara to grant her husband an amnesty and thus the opportunity to run in this autumn’s presidential election. She urges the president to provide him with a diplomatic passport. Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted in 2019 by the ICC of accusations that during the riots of 2010 and 2011 he had been an “indirect accomplice” in murders, rapes, persecution and other inhumane acts (see January 2019). However, the verdict has been appealed. Gbagbo is still in Belgium and cannot travel to his home country as he does not have a passport. Simone Gbagbo was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years in prison for, among other things, threatening state security and organizing armed groups, but was pardoned by President Ouattara two years later (seeAugust 2017).
Green Brigade will protect the rainforest
Ivory Coast forms a new “green” army brigade of 650 soldiers. Their task will be to combat illegal deforestation and various environmental crimes in the forest areas and which affect wildlife and water sources. The country has lost much of its rainforest over the last 50 years, largely due to the increasing use of land for cocoa cultivation. At the end of July, a plan was also announced to plant five million trees during the year to combat deforestation.
Ouattara is running in the presidential election
President Alassane Ouattara has announced his intention to run in the October presidential election after being officially nominated by the ruling Houphouetist meeting for democracy and peace (RHDP). He thus goes against those who say he is not entitled to a third term as president, and claims that his first two terms do not count since a new constitution was adopted in 2016. The opposition describes the news of Ouattara’s candidacy as a coup. Originally, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was to run for RHDP, but he passed away in early July (see July 2020).
Affi N’Guessan becomes FPI’s presidential candidate
The Ivorian People’s Front (FPI) announces that former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan will be the party’s candidate in the October presidential election. He now has a strained relationship with FPI’s founder Laurent Gbagbo, who was once his mentor. The other major opposition party, the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PCDI), will be represented by the former president, now 86, Henri Konan Bédié in the presidential election. Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Foreign Minister between 2016 and 2020, has also said that he will run in the presidential election.