Artists and Activists
Members of the internationally successful Ivorian music group Magic System expressed their concern on Friday over mounting political tensions in Côte d'Ivoire in light of the upcoming presidential election in three weeks.
Lead singer Salif Traoré, known as A'Salfo and also appointed as UNESCO ambassador for "literacy and culture of peace" in 2012, called on President Alassane Ouattara and his main challenger, former President Henri Konan Bédié, to sit down at the same table to discuss in order to reduce tensions and have peaceful national elections on October 31.
Mounting Political Tensions
The appeal comes in reference to the growing fear amongst many Ivorians who do not want to see a repeat of the deadly electoral violence from ten years ago that took the lives of around 3,000 people after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge his electoral defeat at the hands of Alassane Ouattara.
The famous group will embark on a new series of events on Friday — which include a huge giant concert in Yamoussoukro (centre) Saturday, for a week in partnership with the European Union to advocate for "peaceful elections."
Elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2015, 78-year-old Ouattara announced in March that he would not seek a third term, before changing his mind in August after the death of his runner-up, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
About 15 people died in August in violence that followed the announcement of his controversial and perceived unconstitutional candidacy for a third term.
The Ivorian constitution provides for a maximum of two terms, but the Constitutional Council said that with the new constitution of 2016, the counter of Ouattara's first two terms has been reset to zero — to the dismay of the opposition and many Ivorian citizens.