The long-awaited meeting between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara took place on Tuesday, to the general satisfaction of the Ivorians who admired the relaxed atmosphere that prevailed yesterday at the presidential palace in Abidjan. A fundamental step has been taken towards national reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, this is true. But after the euphoria, you have to ask yourself the right questions about what happens next.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021! This day will certainly be inscribed in the political annals of Côte d’Ivoire. So much has it left its mark! Indeed, this Tuesday, Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo gave Ivorians, Africans and beyond, the whole world, an extraordinary show. The two enemy brothers shared hugs, wide smiles and warm handshakes. They held hands and spoke with one voice.
“How are you, Laurent? Good to see you». It was with these words that the Ivorian President welcomed his predecessor on the porch of the presidential palace, as he descended from the vehicle in which he had taken his seat. After a 30-minute one-on-one meeting, the two men greeted a “fraternal” and “relaxed” meeting in front of the press. The Ivorians did not expect anything better. This meeting is an essential step in the process of national reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire.
Gbagbo meeting – Ouattara, yes. And then?
Beyond the symbolic act that took place yesterday, it is important to examine the sequence of events. Given the deep differences between them, we can wonder if the broad smiles, the complicity displayed in front of the cameras by the two ex-rivals were sincere. All the more so since his return to Côte d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo has not given a gift to Alassane Ouattara in his interventions. Less than a month ago, in Daoukro, at the home of Henri Konan Bédié, he did not hesitate to attack the third mandate of Alassane Ouattara.
“If we don’t want the country to burn, we have to respect what is written,” he said, adding, “we can decide that we have no Constitution and live like that. But if we have a Constitution, we have to fight to be on the side of the Constitution. Respect the texts, respect human beings”. Before Daoukro, Laurent Gbagbo had already launched a few pickets at Alassane Ouattara, in his village, in Mama. “An awkward competitor had to be removed and I was transferred to The Hague,” he said.
A few days ago, the Ouattara and Gbagbo camps exchanged insanity. But it is true that in Mama, Laurent Gbagbo had also emphasized an essential element in democracy: If we must always agree, there is no more democracy. It is because we do not agree that there is democracy. Here, we are holding discussions.” In any case, the very good atmosphere that prevailed yesterday at the presidential palace in Abidjan, if it were desired and is welcomed, should not however lull the Ivorians.
Moreover, on social networks, their reactions go in all directions. While Ousmane Adell Diakité extols like many other Ivorians, Touré Siaka Moustapha tempers. The first writes, in fact: My heartfelt congratulations to the Presidents and many thanks to the President ADO for his greatness of spirit to see a united and reconciled Côte d’Ivoire in itself. It is a strong signal to all statesmen and opinion leaders to resolve their differences for the happiness of their people.”
And the second reacted: Let us hope that Ouattara is sincere. In my opinion, a meeting of this kind does not necessarily answer the problem that hinders national reconciliation, except during civil disobedience, the same Ouattara had a meeting with President Bédié, but it did absolutely nothing. The good faith of man must be called into question, I personally do not believe in this gentleman until he really opens the voice of discussion with all Ivorian political actors without distinction».
The sequence of events will allow us to get a precise idea of the sincerity or not of the two men. For example, Alassane Ouattara is expected on the issue of the release of Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters arrested during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011 and who are still behind bars. Is the Ivorian President ready to meet this request of his predecessor? Will it allow the release of prisoners as it has allowed in recent weeks, the return to the country of several political exiles? Let’s wait and see.
Meetings are announced, after August, between the two Presidents, with the association of other Ivorian political actors at the appropriate time, since, as Alassane Ouattara himself pointed out, “it is important to restore trust and to ensure that Ivorians reconcile.”
The two men, and especially Alassane Ouattara who presides over the destinies of Côte d’Ivoire, are expected on this ground of the restoration of trust which is indispensable for reconciliation. And trust-building means inclusive dialogue.
Source : Ecofine