Tags: Analysis: Leader’s Tactics Threaten Ivory Coast

Analysis: Leader’s Tactics Threaten Ivory Coast

Monday, 18 July 2011 09:50 AM

President Ouattra has made reconciling a fractured and war-torn Ivory Coast a top priority, but current conditions, a long history of conflict, and the president penchant for political score-settling make prospects for success doubtful.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara emphasized the need for reconciliation during a government seminar last week in Abidjan as he attempted to lay out a plan to move the bitterly divided nation forward after months of violence triggered by last November’s disputed presidential election. Ouattara offered a positive outlook as he pledged to improve security, enhance the provision of basic services, and create economic growth, according to Reuters.

Crafting a workable reconciliation will be difficult. The clash between Ouattara’s rebel forces and supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo left some 3,000 dead and over 300,000 displaced according to the UN. The vast majority of refugees are Gbagbo supporters, many of whom fled to neighboring Liberia fearing retribution from Ouattara’s Republican forces. Few have ventured back, wary of ongoing hostilities. Last week UN officials reported the torture and summary killing of 8 Gbagbo supporters by Ouattara troops. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating allegations of war crimes committed by both sides during the six-month conflict.


The seeds of reconciliation are unlikely to find any fertile ground in Ivory Coast for some time. Mass killings by both sides will not quickly be forgotten, especially as long as violence continues, mainly against Gbagbo supporters. Many villages have been destroyed leaving thousands of refugees homeless, disenfranchised, and bitter. While Ouattara’s plans to bolster security and economic opportunity, his initiatives are unlikely to reach the root of the problem.

President Ouattara has worked hard to convince the West of his ironclad commitment to security, reconciliation, and even-handed justice. However, his actions at home have continued to undercut this rhetoric. Little of Ouattara’s tough-talk will gain any credence as long as he continues to indict former Gbagbo officials without investigations into allegations against his own supporters. Moreover, Ouattara’s recent decision to formally indict Gbagbo on a number of charges after holding him prisoner for three months could easily roil reconciliation efforts. Ouattara will find it difficult to both pursue Gbagbo and reconciliation at the same time.

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Analysis: Leader’s Tactics Threaten Ivory Coast
Monday, 18 July 2011 09:50 AM
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