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Côte d’Ivoire: Soro sends Ouattara a message in a Facebook post

By André Silver Konan
Posted on Friday, 20 September 2019 14:10

Speaker with a new mouthpiece: Guillaume Soro on his last day as parliamentary president. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

The former rebel chief Guillaume Soro, who resigned as parliamentary speaker in February, chose the 17th anniversary of the start of Côte d'Ivoire's civil war to express his frustration with his former ally, President Alassane Ouattara.

A year ago, Soro described the anniversary of the rebellion as “the birth of a new hope”. This time, on the date of the uprising that ended with the fall of Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April 2011, the tone is less triumphant. In a message posted on his Facebook page on Thursday 19 September, Soro spoke of forgiveness, a theme that has he has dwelled on over recent months, and particularly after his official rupture with President Alassane Ouattara in February.

An attempt to mediate between the former parliamentary speaker and the head of state in August, arranged by friends of Soro, fell flat with Soro claiming he had neither called for it nor been informed. Ouattara, however, was open to the meeting.


Reading between the lines

In reiterating “the sincere Pardon that I have always advocated”, Soro went on to “call on all actors and co-authors who recognise themselves to do the same”.

While Soro always claimed to have played a part in the rebellion, he never declared himself the main instigator. In November 2010, during the televised debate between candidates in the second round of the presidential election, Laurent Gbagbo laid the responsibility on Ouattara without being able to demonstrate it. Could Soro go so far as to reveal the names of the “actors and co-authors”, if they really exist?

Revving up for 2020

Soro, who now heads a political committee of parties and movements supporting his unofficial candidacy for the October 2020 presidential election, also used his message to make political demands for the first time.

He put forward four requirements for the future elections:

  • “A new Electoral Code in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of 8 November 2016,
  • a new Independent Electoral Commission,
  • the renewal of the electoral list so that the right to vote of each Ivorian citizen is respected
  • and a new division of the electoral districts.”

“Implicitly, Guillaume Soro acknowledges that the aims of the rebellion, namely the establishment of a democratic state, have not been achieved, 17 years later,” says political analyst Innocent Gnelbin. “Moreover, his demands repeat quite insistently the solutions that were contained in agreements during the resolution of the crisis caused by the rebellion. He is clearly raising some questions.”

This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.

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