Gbagbo: A Stone in the Ivory Coast's Shoe?
The attitude of president Laurent Gbagbo following the Paris agreements, signed by himself, the political
parties, the insurgent militaries of September 19, 2002, and by representatives of the international
community, carry heavy consequences, not only for the future of the Ivory Coast, but especially for his
own political future. That Gbagbo signed the agreements of Marcoussis, immediately named from Paris a
Prime Minister in the person of moderate Saidou Diarra, and then retracts thereafter once returned to the
country, is an attitude that will remove any national and international credibility with the person of Gbagbo.
The question arises then if his departure from the capacity is not the best solution to the Ivory Coast crisis.
The last violent demonstrations in the streets of Abidjan against the agreements of Marcoussis showed the
destruction of the French cultural centre and goods, and by the return of hundreds of families in France.
Other demonstrations quite as violent continue. During this time, the "death squads" continue with impunity
to assassinate persons in charge for the parties of opposition suspected by the government of complicity
with the insurgent soldiers. And Gbagbo keeps a conniving silence. Contrary to his promise to address the
nation on January 25, 2003 to explain his decisions taken in Paris and to calm his excited and extremist
supporters of the streets of Abidjan. In his last speech, he rather went into abundant criticisms of the
agreement he described as a simple proposalsa that could not take precedence over the Constitution; the
very Constitution about which Côte d'Ivoire is now seriously divided. The UN Secretary General, the AU
president, the ECOWAS president, the French president and African presidents signed the Paris
agreement. Therefore it is an international agreement. And it is writen in the Ivory Coast's Constitution that
international agreements take precedence over the Constitution.
By his costly, prolonged silence, Gbagbo lets understand that he is a prisoner of the demonstrators of the
street (moreover harangued and doped by his party?s press media, such as ?La Voie?, and by
xenophobe political leaders like Charles Ble Goude) and can change any decision that such demonstrators
would dispute, be it an international agreement. However, the danger he runs is to be judged by the
national and international opinion as a shady politician who handles and uses groups of extremists,
generally from his own Bété ethnos group, to impose his personal will contrary to the wishes of many
Ivorians and foreign investors and workers.
Foreign investors, more particularly, would see from now on Gbagbo and his street supporters as a
danger raised for their investments and interests in Ivory Coast. However the economy in this
west-African country is primarily extrovert, resting for much on relations of confidence with foreign
partners. Under the direction of Gbagbo the Ivory Coast does not reassure as for the provisioning without
obstacle of the world market with cocoa. It is the same for the contracts signed by the president or the
State of Ivory Coast that are likely to be denounced overnight by the Gbagbo government under the
pretext of "the pressure of the street".
At the national level, the denunciation of the agreements of Marcoussis by Gbagbo and his supporters
confirms the assertion according to which "Gbagbo says something and makes its opposite". This gives
credit to the remarks of Guillaume Soro, former companion of Gbagbo and today the political leader of
the MPCI close to the rebels, according to whom "Laurent Gbagbo passed from Socialist in the
opposition to tribal-Socialist once at the capacity".
Goagbo will have acted with the agreements of Marcoussis as he had acted about the assassination of the
General Robert Guéi (former head of State who organized the elections and yielded the capacity to
Gbagbo) by keeping silence on the murder. It is advanced that the "death squads" close to Gbagbo had
assassinated Robert Guéi during the turbid moments of the mutiny, under the pretext that he was the brain
of the mutineers; whereas on the contrary the heads of the current rebels (in particular the warrant officers
Tué Fozié, Chérif Ousmane and the other ones formerly exiled) are those who carried out a missed coup
in January 2000 against General Guéi. Sponsorship by Gbagbo of the assassination of Guéi is at the origin
of the creation of the two other rebellious movements of the West, that have complicated even more the
It thus appears that Gbagbo is really the stone in the shoe of the Ivory Coast.