Third Time is Not the Charm
President Alassane Ouattara will run for a third term in the October elections in Cote d’Ivoire, and some fifty-odd Ivorians are indignant as they took to the streets of Abidjan — the capital city, where they blocked roads in protest of the recent decision. Around four people have already lost their lives in the series of violent manifestations sparked by the national political discord.
"We are manifesting for the departure of President Ouattara because the constitution has been violated. And we don't want to accept a third term. We call on all Ivorians to join us to have Ouattara step down by all peaceful means," expressed Hervé Séka, an impassioned protester.
On an official level, the opposition Wednesday banded together originating from several political platforms close to Henri Konan Bédié, Laurent Gbagbo, Guillaume Soro and Charles Blé Goudéto. They collectively demanded the withdrawal of the current president’s candidacy from the run for the presidency as well as required significant modifications to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) — which they have found to be of questionable standing.
They even called for the immediate resignation of its president alleging that the electoral list - which they also urged be made public, had been manipulated with the assistance of the Voodoo Communication agency.
A spokesman for the IEC, Emile Ebrottie, gave this response, “That's what appeals are for. Any foreigners added? "The opposition has to prove it. Dead people, infants, duplicates? All this could be due to clerical errors that can easily be rectified through litigation.”
He also denied any involvement of Voodoo Communication in the establishment of the electoral list. This stance was confirmed by another source who claims that the IEC has no contractual engagement with the agency.
Danièle Boni-Claverie, the president of the Republican Union for Democracy, in addition to expressing his distaste for public manifestations also cautioned that Ouattara running could spell political disaster in the country, "It's a dangerous game so we really say that the government should pull itself together while social peace is in its hands."
The Ivorian government insists that Ouattara — who has been in power since 2011, is authorised to run for the presidency following the adoption of the constitution of 2016. A stance which could potentially result in a national crisis.
Politics in Côte d'Ivoire took an unexpected turn during the last few months when Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly — who was the ruling party’s candidate, passed away suddenly.
Other candidates in the running this year are Pascal Affi N'Guessan, the former president, Henri Konan Bédié, nominated in July to run from the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) — the main opposition movement and former foreign minister and Marcel Amon Tanoh, a dissident presidential candidate of the ruling party who declared his run about a week earlier.
Ten years after the post-electoral crisis that left more than 3,000 people dead, the October elections in Cote d’Ivoire might prove to be just as heated.