Home IVORY COAST IVORY COAST – 77 years of Laurent Gbagbo, a life of thorns,...

IVORY COAST – 77 years of Laurent Gbagbo, a life of thorns, combat and dignity

Crédit photo : lsi-africa.com

Article directed by Dan Singault de Blagouin from Abidjan.

This Monday, May 31, 2022, Laurent Gbagbo blows his seventy-seventh candle. And around the world, tributes are pouring in to celebrate this man with an exceptional political career. Mama’s Woody as his admirers and supporters call it did not have an easy life. His path marked by difficulties, prison stays but also brilliant victories testify to the tireless grip of this son of Mama.

Laurent Gbagbo was the political opponent who dared to stand up to Félix Houphouët Boigny, the first president of Côte d’Ivoire. It was under his pressure that this country returned to multiparty politics in 1990. Even though he lost the first multi-party presidential election in the same year to the ‘Vieux ” Houphouët, he has the merit of having made things happen. He courageously attacked everything he believed was harmful to the proper functioning of the country: Tribalism, corruption, France- Africa… With his former party, the Ivorian People’s Front, he has placed the freedom of the Ivorian people at the centre of his concerns, notwithstanding the deprivation of freedoms and various restrictions. In the face of temptations and trials, he remained worthy.

Today, he appears almost as a miracle. After his term was violently disrupted by a rebellion that broke out in 2002, the man held out until his arrest on 11 April 2011. Despite the partition of the country in 2002, Mama’s ‘Woody’ held firm the country’s handles while keeping its economy afloat through its ‘Secure Budget’. Few observers of the Ivorian political scene bet on his return after his imprisonment in The Hague in 2011. But the man has hard skin. He was acquitted after ten years of detention and returned with panache to his country on 17 June 2021. His ever more numerous followers, devote a real cult to him. Laurent Gbagbo is still popular. His new party, the African Peoples Party, PPA-CI, is in full construction. Like a sphynx, he is reborn from the ashes. As a political strategist, he got rid of the FPI and the judicial machinery that threatened him with this leadership conflict with his former prime minister Affi Nguessan Pascal. Neither the prison nor the political trials will have overcome the Woody.

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77 years and Laurent Gbagbo is still in the political arena! ‘I am your soldier’, he said on his return to Côte d’Ivoire. And it seems to hold the political front well, for the happiness of its activists.
Happy birthday to Mama’s Woody!


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