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Socialist Democracy April - May 2003 | Index

IVORY COAST: A DEAL FOR PEACE?

 

On September 19th, 2003, army mutiny aimed at over-throwing the government of President Laurent Gbagbo crystallized into armed rebellion in different parts of the country and since then the country has not known peace.

At present, the northern and central parts of the country are under the formidable umbrella of the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) and they have vowed to topple what they see as the genocidal regime of President Gbagbo. Also, two armed dissident groups, known as Ivorien Popular Movement of Far West and Movement for Justice and Peace, have joined the degenerating conflict, stressing that they emerged to avenge the killing of General Guei.

The on-going armed rebellion in Cote d'Ivoire is traceable to the policy named Ivorite. The policy is a concept of pure Ivorien parentage or true citizenship, which former President Henri Konan Bedie and successive regimes of General Robert Guei and incumbent President Gbagbo employed to their own political advantage to thwart the presidential ambition of Alassance Dramane Quattara, a vigorous opposition figure from northern part of the country, whose parents are alleged to have migrated from the neighboring Burkina Faso.

On December 23, 1999, the military struck and overthrew Konan Bedie. The coup d'etat led by Robert Guei was popular. On assuming the office, General Guei set up a transition government made up of members of all major political parties. The election that produced the President Gbagbo was a contest between Gbagbo and Robert Guei. Both of them claimed victory at the polls which led to violent confrontation between supporters and sympathizers of Gbagbo and Guei. Laurent Gbagbo went ahead and announced that he won the election and proclaimed himself the president of the country.

Apart from the loss of lives and properties, the civil war in Cote d'Ivoire has also had adverse effects on its economy. This is seen in the areas of disruption of export of cocoa (the mainstay of its economy) and exodus of businessmen from the war torn country. All efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and French government to bring the war to an end by sending troops with a view of maintaining 'peace' have been proved abortive.

The warring factions in the crisis including President Laurent Gbagbo recently signed a peace deal to end the four-month civil war in the country. Under the plan, Mr. Gbagbo is expected to cede some of his powers to a Prime Minister who will head a government of national unity. The government of national unity is to be headed by Seydou Diarra- who was also prime minister from 1999 to 2000 during the period of military rule in Ivory Coast. The agreement was reached recently after nine days of talks in the French capital between the main Ivorian political parties and the country's three rebel groups.

Though, all the warring parties have signed a peace deal, only time will tell if the agreement in the deal will be adhered to. It is not unusual for any of the warring parties to renege on its promise to abide by the peace deal. Even, if the agreement in the deal is adhered to, this could not transform the lives of students, youths, artisans and working people of Ivory Coast into better. The youth, students, artisans and working people of Ivory Coast should not put their destiny in the hands of any government of national unity. Instead, they should come together to form a working people's party and strive to transform the country along socialist line whereby the commanding heights of economy will be managed and controlled democratically by the working people.

 

 

 

Socialist Democracy April - May 2003 | Index