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Côte d’Ivoire: Freemason solidarity cracks with political crisis

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 19 November 2020 19:38

Hamed Bakayoko, in January 2020 in Abidjan. Luc Gnago/REUTERS

The freemasons are well anchored in the political scene in Côte d'Ivoire. The political stand-off between the supporters of President Alassane Ouattara, and those who support the opposition PDCI is now creating faultlines in the fraternity of senior politicians who belong to the organisation.

Behind the scenes, tensions are rising within the Grand Lodge of Côte d’Ivoire (GLCI), whose Grand Master is Hamed Bakayoko.

There are several reasons; but the major fault lines remain the election.

Several Freemasons within the GLCI — the main Masonic obedience with 40 lodges and about 2,000 members — have criticized their Grand Master Hamed Bakayoko (Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Côte d’Ivoire).

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Their key complaint is not supporting their brothers in the opposition in the name of fraternity – including those of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) and the Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d’Ivoire (UDPCI).

Dismissed

The “Brothers of light” who preferred not to join the ranks of the presidential coalition – the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), of which Bakayoko is one of the vice-presidents – were dismissed.

Some were imprisoned, like Georges Philippe Ezaley, who was arrested on November 3 at the Cocody-Ambassades residence of former head of state Henri Konan Bédié.

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Ezaley is one of the GLCI’s brokers. He wielded the ceremonial sword, a powerful symbol in freemasonry, during work at the national temple of Marcory Zone 4, located south of Abidjan.

Some “brothers” are threatening to boycott the enthronement ceremony of their grandmaster for a second term, scheduled for before the end of the year in Abidjan.

 

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