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Éric Zemmour in Côte d’Ivoire: the candidate’s very discreet agenda

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:28

Eric Zemmour, during a televised debate with Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, on 9 December. ISA HARSIN/SIPA

The far-right candidate in the French presidential election was in Abidjan on 23 December. An express round trip concocted by his relatives which takes on the appearance of a pre-campaign visit.

Éric Zemmour has not publicised his trip to Côte d’Ivoire, but his arrival at Abidjan airport on 22 December, accompanied by his “strategic” campaign director, Sarah Knafo, did not go completely unnoticed. According to our information, the far-right polemicist left the next day the Tiama Hotel, where he was staying, to go to the French Forces in Côte d’Ivoire (FFCI, ex-BIMA) at 10 am local time.

Informal meeting

He planned to meet with the 43rd Marine Infantry Battalion until 2:30 p.m. Zemmour had made a request to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, which accepted it in the name of fairness between all the presidential candidates, but on condition that he would not communicate about this visit.

However, he published a “message to the armed forces in operations” on his social networks in the middle of the day, promising “particular attention to the means that will be allocated to them” if he is elected and thus confirming his presence in Abidjan.

In the afternoon, from 3 p.m., in the district of Biétry (commune of Marcory), Zemmour attended an informal meeting with about twenty French people living in Côte d’Ivoire – a restaurant has been booked out for the occasion. During these debates, he listened to their demands and take the pulse of their expectations. The French community living in the country traditionally votes on the right.

According to our information, one man in particular is in charge of his schedule: Jean-Michel Lavoizard.

This former officer of the French Special Forces, boss of the company Aris-Intelligence and contributor to the far-right website Boulevard Voltaire, is one of his entry points in Côte d’Ivoire. Based in Abidjan for several years, he organised the meeting and drew up the guest list. He also dined with Zemmour on 22 September. Contacted by us, he did not respond to our requests.

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