The Ivorian head of state, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, announced Wednesday, April 7, 2021 that former President Laurent Gbagbo and his former Minister of Youth, Charles Blé Goudé can return home if they wish. Accused of crimes against humanity, they were completely exonerated by the International Criminal Court. At the inaugural Council of Ministers of the new government formed on Tuesday, April 6, the Ivorian President, at the beginning of his remarks, that “Messrs Gbagbo and Blé Goudé are free to return to Côte d’Ivoire when they wish.”
Now is the time for concord and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire. The President of the Republic, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, decided to let his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo and his former minister Charles Blé Goudé, return to Côte d’Ivoire. Acquitted by the International Criminal Court while they were accused of crimes against humanity, the two politicians are no longer declared “persona no grata” in the country.
Not only that, the State of Côte d’Ivoire plans to cover “the travel expenses of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and those of his family members.” For Charles Blé Goudé, no special provision was made for him. The officially declared benefits are only granted to Laurent Gbagbo due to his status as former President of the Republic.
However, some observers fear that the former head of State will be arrested as soon as he disembarks for the case of the “BCEAO” (Central Bank of West African States). The case, which was considered a state scandal, led to the opening of the Bceao coffers during the post-election crisis between 2010 and 2011. Laurent Gbagbo and three of his ministers were accused of being behind these events.
But, on this specific point, the government spokesman, Amadou Coulibaly, reassures national and international opinion on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Unless you think the head of state is particularly cynical, I think it’s a little big to offer travel expenses to someone just because you want to put them behind bars.” , he said. This suggests that an amnesty could be granted to former head of state Laurent Gbagbo, as was the case with his wife Simone Gbago in 2018.
No clear details are given about the fate of these two politicians once in Côte d’Ivoire. What is certain is that former heads of state enjoy colossal advantages in Côte d’Ivoire. According to the decrees signed in 2005 and 2006, the former presidents of the Republic have a life allowance of 10 million FCFA each month without counting the housing allowances and the miscellaneous expenses which amount to 7.5 million FCFA. This means that any former head of state in Côte d’Ivoire receives a total of 17.5 million a month. The privileges do not stop there since the former tenants of the Palace also have an aide-de-camp, a dozen security agents, a chief of staff, a protocol officer, a chargé de missions, two secretaries, a cook, a gardener, all managed by the State of Côte d’Ivoire.