The former Ivorian head of state, Laurent Gbagbo, addressed the Ivorians on Thursday 17 June 2021. Absent from the country for a decade, he took advantage of this return made possible by his acquittal and the endorsement of the Ivorian government to thank the Ivorians and all the African people. In a speech that was both moving and galvanizing, he went back to the unfortunate events that occurred during his forced exile without forgetting to demand the mobilization of his party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) in view of the upcoming electoral deadlines.
I am happy to be back in Côte d’Ivoire and Africa. We are from somewhere. I am from Côte d’Ivoire, but I learned in prison that I am from all over Africa. All of Africa supported me. All Africans helped me to hold on. Heads of State helped me hold on, the people helped me hold on. When I arrived from The Hague to Brussels, there were times when people believed that I was Cameroonian, so much the Cameroonians were mobilized to support me. I came here mostly with tears in my eyes because I wasn’t there when my mother left me.
In 2011, when I was arrested, she fled as well. She was in exile in Ghana. After a few years, when she knew her end was near, she returned to Côte d’Ivoire. A few years after her arrival in Côte d’Ivoire, she died. I was not there to honour her one last time, when she made me. Without her, I would not be a history doctor today. I would not be President of the Republic. I could not honour him. I asked a friend, a brother, Sangaré Aboudrahamane, in my absence, to organize my mother’s funeral.
He organized my mother’s funeral. He moved to Bete country, to Blouzon where she was buried. My friend Sangaré did not even wait for me to come and say thank you. Before my acquittal, Sangaré died. So, he also caused me a lot of pain. I came, I will ask the secretary general to give me a few days to mourn my deaths. I’m very pleased to be with you. I congratulate the members I see here. We have a caucus. You know, I was there and there were people who said that the Fpi did not have many MPs.
We have to make comparisons. Since we went to the election, without being in power, that is the largest number of members we have today. Honourable members, dear comrades, I congratulate you and thank you. We had 100 MPs in 2000, but I was President of the Republic. Here, the people, for the legislative, are legitimist. It votes for the President of the Republic. It elects the deputies for the President of the Republic. The people are legitimist in Côte d’Ivoire. Thank you very much.
You fought a good battle. Thank you for that. Secretary General, that’s what I wanted to say for today. Next time, we’re going to work. You’re going to tell me when…. I’m your soldier, I’m mobilized. Thank you.