Politics: Laurent Gbagbo and the right to 'difference'

Le 31 janvier 2013 par resetdoc.org - Laurent Gbagbo and the right to 'difference'.

Since November 2011 Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Côte d’Ivoire, has been detained at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, accused of being an “indirect co-author” of serious crimes against humanity during the post-election crisis in his country. But many people ask why and doubt the legitimacy of these charges. For many it is his political opponent of the 2010 presidential elections, Alassane Ouattara, that should be in his place detained at the Hague, along with Guillaume Soro, the current President of the National Assembly, who headed the 2002 rebellion that divided the country in two.
Why is there no trial for the serious crimes committed by the rebels who attacked Côte d'Ivoire in 2002 in the Central, North and West regions (known as CNO), which remained under their control until 17 March 2011 when Ouattara appointed them as the national military force renaming them the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI)? A large international resistance movement was born to reclaim truth and justice in this odd story.

Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of the 2 December 2010 national elections by Youssouf Bakayoko, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). According to the Ivorian constitution, this commission is allowed to declare only the provisional results.

Ouattara’s victory was announced in a room at the Hotel du Golf — the headquarters for Ouattara’s election campaign — in the absence, and therefore without the approval of the Constitutional Council, which is responsible, according to the Ivorian constitution, for declaring final election results.

IEC head Bakayoko was alone, without the presence of his colleagues from the commission when he made the announcement of Ouattara’s alleged victory at the Hotel du Golf. Instead the other commission representatives were waiting for him at the IEC headquarters where they needed to reach a consensus on the provisional results.

Thus the provisional results, unapproved by all IEC members and without the presence of the representatives of the respective candidates, were declared as final election results.

It is still a mystery who actually won the elections in the run-off on 28 November 2010 between the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, a historian, socialist and the founding father of the multi-party system in Côte d'Ivoire and Alassane Ouattara, who was Prime Minister under the dictatorial regime of Félix Houphouët-Boigny from 1990-1993 and then pursued a career in international diplomacy at the Central Bank of West African States (BECEAO) and the International Monetary Fund.

Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, who had an important role as a mediator from the beginning of the crisis in 2004, visiting Côte d'Ivoire from 5 to 7 of December 2010, concluded in his mission report that the elections could not be considered valid. In What the World Got Wrong on Côte d'Ivoire, he recalls how the United States ambassador in Abidjan, Wanda L. Nesbitt, had already warned her government in 2009 that without some basic requirements fulfilled – a territorial and fiscal reunification of the country, the return of the national administration to the north, and especially the total disarmament of the rebellion, the Forces Nouvelles, implanted in the north since 2002 – no democratic elections could be held.

This disarmament (the only request made to the rebel pro-Ouattara forces, Force Nouvelles, and repeated in eight peace agreements since 2003, was never respected) still today not achieved, is the basis of the climate of insecurity the country is currently living. [1]

Faced with threats to the republican legality from the anti-constitutional behavior of the IEC (which was also approved by the Special Representative of the United Nations for Côte d'Ivoire, Choi Young-Jin, although this was not within his mandate) and severe violence in the north during the elections, the Gbagbo coalition, La majorité présidentielle (the presidential majority), submitted appeals for the annulment of the vote. Election observers in numerous rebel-controlled departments (regions) reported death threats, assassinations, intimidations, physical violence, kidnappings of personnel and aggression against representatives and activists of the presidential majority coalition. The Constitutional Council declared Laurent Gbagbo as the winner of the second round of voting on 2 December.

Ouattara’s coalition, the Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP) did not submit any appeals for procedural irregularities in the second round.

In the Ivorian constitution it is specified that election results should be annulled if the result is open to debate. However, in the case of 28 November 2010 voting, the Constitutional Court cancelled ‘ dubious votes’ and declared Laurent Gbagbo the winner in the midst of conflicting polls and increasing violent outbreaks.

Subsequent criticism from the EU and international organizations on the role of the Constitutional Court becomes misleading when considering the anti-constitutional actions by the IEC and the security threat fueled by the rebellion.

How did these elections go? It was obvious that to organize elections with an armed rebellion present in the northern part of the country that supported Ouattara as a candidate was not a promising electoral exercise, as pointed out by Arsène Touho in Côte d'Ivoire, Leçons du 11 avril 2011, where he analyses the last 10 years of political choices made by the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). Touho believes that having agreed to hold elections, despite the failure of the rebellion to disarm, was one of Gbagbo’s main errors [3] because it made his representatives vulnerable at polling stations in the CNO regions under rebel control.

The final report of the European Union election observation mission states that they covered 4.7% of the polling stations - 943 out of 20.073 stations - and that overall the elections were properly carried out except for “a few problems in the regions under the control of the incumbent President Gbagbo.” It also says that “on the conduct of the elections the Ivorian TV gave voice to unknown African observers missions”[4]. Violations only in areas under the control of Gbagbo? Unknown observer missions? Yet the missions of the African Union (AU), the la Coordination des Observateurs de la Mission Internationale de la Société Civile Africaine (COMISCA), the Observatoire de la société civile africaine pour la démocratie et l’assistance électorale (OSCADAE), the Coordination des Experts Électoraux Africains (EAEC), the Cadre des émissaires pour la Promotion des élections Crédibles en Afrique (CEPECA), the mission of the Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (ECOWAS) et la Mission du Comité de l'Interparlementaire UMOEA are not entirely “unknown.”

More than half of these organizations denounced the serious circumstances in which elections took place in the north of the country under rebel control.

The EU report mentions 16 observers who had to be evacuated for safety reasons, a significant number considering there were 120 observers in all. But the report makes a serious mistake by saying that the evacuations had taken place in the areas under the control of the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.

This fact is contradicted by an article in France Soir that published the invoices of the airline hired to bring the European observers to safety, where the evacuation areas are specified: Man and Khorogo, two cities under rebel control since 2002. Frédéric Lafont, owner of the airline, recalls that his own pilots were afraid while evacuating the observers. [5]

The African Union, which had seen two of its observers kidnapped and released with the help of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) writes: “The mission has discovered with regret acts of violence with serious loss of life, violations of physical integrity, abductions, intimidations, attempted kidnappings and the destruction of election material. Many elements that should be of concern to the competent bodies to determine the overall impact on the outcome of the elections.” CEPECA states in its preliminary report that “the credibility of the poll in the Savannah region, more precisely in Korhogo is strongly discredited.” The CEEA mission report says that in the regions under rebel control - Korhogo, Bouaké, Séguela, Toriya and Garaoua - the elections were “marred by serious irregularities, such as stolen ballots, kidnappings of the representatives of the respective candidates, multiple voting, obstruction to the necessary presence of international observers in some polling stations during the counting of votes and the loss of human lives.” In a press release dated 2 December 2010 ECOWAS states that “the incidents that have prevented citizens to cast their vote, especially in parts of the north, are to be condemned and punished in accordance with the law”. [6] The testimony of Youssouf Fofana, President of the party la Voix du Nord, representing Gbagbo’s coalition in the region of Séguéla, reveals episodes of unprecedented violence in which the Forces Nouvelles and representatives of the Ouattara coalition (RHDP) prevented Gbagbo’s representatives to remain at the polls, driving them away, kidnapping them and threatening them with death: a real electoral far west. Today Fofana is in exile [7]. The report of Brigadier General Nicolas Kouakouche speaks of 217 representatives of the coalition of Gbagbo who were expelled from polling stations and joined him for their safety. [8] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed that there were 200,000 refugees in neighboring countries and an estimated one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the beginning of the electoral crisis.

Yet in the short updates of news agencies worldwide we read only one story: Gbagbo lost the elections in November 2010 yet he was reportedly clinging to power. Laurent Gbagbo however had requested a simple recount of the votes to be carried out by an international fact-finding mission, an option that was rejected by the UN in favor of a military intervention. Alain Dogou, former defense minister in Gbagbo’s last government, asks today [9] which other institutional bodies should Gbagbo have followed, other than the oath in front of the Constitutional Council, as in 2000. Ouattara instead that 4 of December 2010, took his oath by sending a letter to the Constitutional Council. What followed were four months of crisis that saw two presidents and two governments, where the UN and the European Union, breaching their mandates of political impartiality, had decided to support Ouattara.

From December 2010 to March 2011, the UN, the EU, France and the United States carried out a policy of diplomatic and financial asphyxia against the Gbagbo government - which included an embargo on medicinal supplies, cocoa, international mandates, freezing of private funds and property and the closure of the local branches of French and American banks - followed in April 2011 by what the political scientist Michel Galy called a French-UN coup d’état.

In March 2011, the African Union was still attempting to propose a peaceful way out of the crisis, when the Forces Nouvelles descended from the north invading the economic capital Abidjan, but in April fell silent when the French began bombing the Presidential palace and other strategic areas, bypassing, according to some, a mandate enshrined in the UN 1975 Resolution which limits military intervention to the protection of civilians.

The fact that the AU failed to impose its line, which was emerging from the panel of five heads of state named at the end of January 2011 during the 16th summit of the AU, emphasizes the fragility and marginalization of this institution in the arena of international politics.

The experts from the panel began to conduct their investigations and some began to question Ouattara’s victory in the second round. But the members of the AU were reportedly malleable with promises of debt cancellation or other benefits agreed bilaterally behind the scenes.

The second meeting of the high level panel, which would have been crucial in resolving the crisis, called for the formation of a national unity government and new elections as a way out of the crisis, and had excluded a military option. It was held in Mauritania on 5 March and began two hours late because the Tanzanian President had made a stopover in Paris. The final meeting, which was to take place in Abidjan on the same day, was postponed indefinitely, while the two presidential planes of Togo and the ship and the plane of the President of South Africa, present on Ivorian soil, left Côte d’Ivoire.

Gbagbo as a sociological phenomenon

Who is Laurent Gbagbo? In 2008 when I was working on a documentary about African cartoonists on the frontline in the defense of freedom of expression, Résistants du 9ème Art (Rebels of the 9th Art), I also had some images of the Ivorian satirical magazine Gbich!. The deputy editor Mendozza Y Caramba, told me an anecdote: one day he received a phone call that announced the arrival of the President. Mendozza, whose comic strip was very critical of Gbagbo, Les Habits neufs du Président (“The President's new clothes”) laughed, thinking at first that it was a joke. Instead Laurent Gbagbo arrived after 10 minutes at their office, praised their work, complimenting them, despite their biting satire against him. I was struck. I had already encountered a similar anecdote about another famous African president, Nelson Mandela, which I decided to use in the film. Mandela had called Jonathan Zapiro, who had been a cartoonist in the forefront of the anti-apartheid struggle and told him “great work, you're doing your job” even if Zapiro, now that Nelson Mandela’s party, the African National Congress (ANC), was in power, attacked it fiercely with his cartoons. But I did not forget that Gbagbo had had the same spirit as Mandela.

Laurent Gbagbo was born 31 May 1945 in a modest family in Mama near Gagnoa in western Côte d’Ivoire. His father, Paul Koudou Gbagbo had participated in World War II as a sergeant in a battalion commanded by a certain Laurent whom Gbagbo is named after. He was wounded and imprisoned by the German army. Later he became a policeman. In 1964 he was accused of one of the many false plots during the dictatorial regime of Félix Houphouët-Boigny and imprisoned. Gbagbo's mother, despite the loss of her husband’s support, did not want her son to abandon his studies. Gbagbo first specialized in classics, and then in contemporary history. As a student he fought for the existence of a student union that was not subjugated to the one-party union, the Mouvement des Elèves et Etudiants de Côte d’Ivoire (MEECI). In 1969 he was arrested for the first time for 15 days, along with 400 other students, who were calling for a plurality of voices within the student union.

The right to difference – whether in the field of trade unions, political parties, economic models or the press - is the basis of the non-violent struggle developed by Gbagbo since 1969. When in 1980 Félix Houphouet-Boigny allowed voting within the one-party system Gbagbo protested: to have the freedom to vote only within a single party was for him a “dangerous statement because it represses the right to be different, a right essential for the evolution of a country.” [10] He became a high school professor of history in Abidjan and was again arrested for his political activism from March 1971 to January 1973.

Gbagbo fought against the one-party rule of Félix Houphouët-Boigny for a multi-party system on several fronts: on the one hand by analyzing the mechanisms of the repressive regime through his books and through public debates, and on the other by working clandestinely to set up an opposition party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), a party which opted for a non-violent transition to democracy. In 1980 he became Director of the Institute of History, African Art and Archaeology at the University of Abidjan. Accused of being the instigator of a plot against Houphouët-Boigny, “a Libyan spy” and worse “a militant separatist from the ethnic Bété group” Gbagbo in 1982, eager to deny these charges, protect himself and raise awareness of the Ivorian issue fled in exile to Paris, where he remained until 1988. Before his exile he had already visited three quarters of Côte d'Ivoire’s villages, but the work of “conscientization” continued in exile with the creation of a network of party structures in Europe and the publication of a political program, Côte d'Ivoire, for a democratic alternative. During his exile, his wife Simone Evihet, who in the words of Gbagbo, “carried out 60% of the work” [11] and other members of the FPI worked underground to broaden the party base.

When Gbagbo became President in 2000, he had 30 years of nonviolent struggle behind him and had witnessed the achievement in 1990 of the first point of his program, a multi-party system.

The year he came to power the left-wing current of the FPI prevailed at their Congress. His government instituted immediately the Assurance Maladie Universelle (AMU), universal health insurance, a first in Africa, criticized by many ambassadors and experts who considered it too expensive for an African country. [12]

He introduced free and compulsory school for all, with the possibility of access to text books. He initiated a policy of decentralization giving more power to the regions and outlined a vision for a regional West African development.

But his government lasted less than two years. In 2001 there was a first coup known as “the black Mercedes” coup, followed by the coup d’état of 19 September 2002 that split the country in two.

With the Linas Marcoussis peace agreement brokered by France, Gbagbo had to accept that rebels, often illiterate, joined his government. The demonstration that followed in Abidjan in the days after the Marcoussis peace agreement, often described as a simple movement of young patriots, looked more like an entire nation protesting, as evinced from the images shot by Sidiki Bakaba in Côte d'Ivoire, La victoire aux mains nues [13]: two million people took to the streets to express their outrage over the agreement. Gbagbo is also considered a sociological phenomenon as he represents the birth of a nation-state and an intellectual middle class that had as its reference point Abidjan, and not Paris.

France’s delayed decolonization

Michel Galy, political scientist, writes in Guerre à l'Afrique? La France en retard d'une décolonisation that two French ministers of co-operation and development, Jean-Pierre Cot under François Mitterrand in 1982 and 25 years later Jean-Marie Bockel under Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, were both dismissed because they had dared to pronounce the end of Françafrique, the shady French interference in francophone Africa. In the post-Soviet era French policy towards Africa became “a policy of containment of Africa’s desire for autonomy and of its migration out of the African continent”. [14]

From 1954 to date there have been at least 122 French military interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The symbolic state” of France needing to legitimize its hegemony uses the French media, which since the arrival in power of Gbagbo in 2000 behaved as the right arm of the Quai d'Orsay, initiating a policy of disinformation and demonization of Laurent Gbagbo and his government.

Yet the Paris Court of Appeals condemned Le Monde newspaper in 2006 for defamation, for publishing that Gbagbo and his wife, Simone Evihet, made use of “death squads.” Previously, in 1986 the French weekly magazine Jeune Afrique was also convicted by the Paris Court of Appeals twice when Laurent Gbagbo sued for defamation, winning both cases [15]. A young Franco-Cameroonian journalist Théophile Kouamouo, resigned from Le Monde in 2002 because he could not accept the dishonest editorial changes the Parisian newspaper made in his articles warping the conclusions of his research in the field [16]. In 2004, journalist David Schneidermann analyzing the French press, accused it of ethnocentrism, resembling war propaganda and guilty of diverting readers from the facts: nine French soldiers were killed in an air strike in Bouaké (an incident still today under investigation) but France, in retaliation, destroyed the entire Ivorian air force and as a result of this Ivorians took to the streets in protest. In the days following the incident, the French army reportedly fired on unarmed demonstrators, killing 67 Ivorian and wounding more than 2,000, 500 of which sustained lifelong injuries.

In addition to the international press has the UN also legitimized this hegemonic policy? Two examples from the post-election crisis: on 27 February 2011 the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused Belarus of violating the international embargo that prevented weapons sales to Côte d'Ivoire since 2004, stating that Belarus was supplying the government of Laurent Gbagbo. The very next day the UN rectified its statement and the UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy, made his apologies to Belarus, since the accusation was groundless.

In March 2011, UNOCI had to deny another serious charge that they had posted on their website — they alleged that mass graves had been found and attributed them to Gbagbo, saying that the UN had been forbidden to visit the areas. However a Norwegian deputy, Lars Riise, went to Côte d'Ivoire and having found that he could easily visit the areas and not finding any traces of mass graves, organized a press conference in which he denounced the “false massacres” and “media manipulation on the part of ONUCI as irresponsible.” The film La Francia in Nero (Dark France) by investigative filmmaker Silvestro Montanaro, aired on Italian television Rai on 3 September 2012, denouncing the role of the UN in the post-election crisis. [17]

By explaining the 2002 crisis in the Côte d’Ivoire as a consequence of a decaying state, corruption, self-centered elites, foreign workers, or ethnic and / or religious groups [18], one “seems to forget a crucial question: could the post-colonial elite of Côte d’Ivoire afford to break sharply with France? The privatization brought about by the structural adjustment programs in the late 1980s strengthened Ivorian dependency, increasing the influence of foreign capital in key sectors of the economy.

“At the dawn of the 21st century, France Telecom had acquired 51% of Citelcom, and Orange was the largest mobile phone provider in Côte d’Ivoire, the Bolloré Group owned 67% of Sitrail who ran the railroad between Abidjan and Ouagadougou, and had a near monopoly position in the transport sector (Saga) and tobacco (SITAB). Air France held 51% of Air Ivoire, Bouygues, through its subsidiary Saur had acquired the concession for the electric company Ciprel and 25% of the Compagnie d'Electricité Ivoirienne, and controlled the national water company, Sodeci; Total and ELF had 25% of the SIR (Ivorian Society for oil refining), the banking sector was divided between BNP, Crédit Lyonnais and Société Générale.” [19]

The Gbagbo government, so as not to follow the path of further privatization which had led to an increase of 16% of poverty from 1985 to 1988, proposed the restructuring of public enterprises instead of privatizing as a model for an endogenous economic development. Ahoua Don Mello, former Director General of the National Office for Studies and Technological Development, explains how they were able to save many state enterprises and also make them viable. He also explains the difficulties met by embracing this policy: for example in the energy sector Bouygues had stipulated a contract under which the gas used was bought on the international market, rather than locally in the country. This caused the price to increase from 8 to 45 CFA francs per kilowatt in five years. Gbagbo's government was looking to modify this aspect of the contract with Bouyges as the bombs began to fall on the country. Today under Ouattara, the price of electricity has risen for the consumer. [20]

Gbagbo decided to begin his history of Côte d’Ivoire in his university thesis, Côte d'Ivoire, economies et société à la veille de l'Independance, in 1940 instead of after the Second World War, because the Vichy regime had repercussions in the colonies, revealing the true face of colonization. This caused a hegemonic break pushing the intelligentsia to take a step forward towards a form of independence, even if incomplete. But Gbagbo branded this intelligentsia as “poor” because it did not address what he defined as the crucial issues of the day: the problem of the nation, the state, imperialism and the relationship with the colonizing power. His “government of professors” put these issues at the heart of their political agenda, although his government was compromised. For example, in July 2008 an agreement was reached with France which abolished its military presence in Côte d'Ivoire: the military base of the 43rd Battalion of Marine Infantry (BIMA) was integrated momentarily in the Licorne force, and after the end of this mission the French military presence would be gone for good, after centuries, from Ivorian soil.

Multiple voices

Though it is perplexing to know which sources one can turn to when faced with evidence of falsification of information, Côte d’Ivoire is beginning to tell its story, revealing shades of rich details to reconstruct recent history.

The sources are multiplying, exposing voices and different genres - pamphlets, historical accounts, inquiries, testimonies, novels, newspapers and blogs, as well as musical lyrics - that emphasize the transformation from a contradictory debate into a more far-reaching transformation, a transformation of cultural hegemony.

A short novel, Côte d'Ivoire, le pays déchiré de mon grand-père by Sylvie Bocquet-N'Guessan is the point of view of a young student of Ivorian origin living in the north of France. We learn from the novel that the RTI, the Ivorian national television, was censored in France during the crisis, yet Ivorians in France and the rest of the world were never cut off from fresh news at home. They were in daily contact with their relatives and friends. A clear discrepancy existed between what was being said on the radio, on TV and in French and international newspapers and what their grandfather told them via Skype. This dissonance gave rise at first to outrage and then to the birth of a variety of responses that is still ongoing today through blogs and websites of “Ivoirian, Belgian, Canadian, Cameroonian, Togolese, Burkina Faso and Gabon origins.” In the story the girl's mother complains that a musician was invited on a French TV channel to give his opinion on the financial market in Côte d'Ivoire. She reflects: “It's as if an Ivorian TV invited the singer Johnny Halliday to talk about the financial crisis in France. Don’t you think that the budget minister would be more appropriate?” The mother laments: “What is outrageous is that France attacks. You see, we pay taxes to kill a part of our family.” [21]

“Counter-reports” are published that discredit official reports with facts and explanations. For example, the UN wrote in its investigative report on the post-election crisis that Gbagbo's campaign had used the slogan, “Vote 100% original” which reportedly incited the killing of Ouattara’s ethnic group. A counter-report by Minister Alain Dogou however explains that the word “original” in the slogan referred to Gbagbo’s political program, which had no ethnic underpinnings, despite UN-reported allegations. In fact, the same program had been copied by Ouattara for his political campaign, hence “vote original” referred to the “original program”, ie Gbagbo’s.[22]

In the film-portrait Un homme une vision by Hanny Tchelley Gbagbo says “I love Cicerone but since I got into politics I prefer Caesar, because Caesar had understood the importance of an army for the construction of a nation-state, but also the need to submit it to civil power. We have not made great strides forward on an institutional level, we are still in antiquity."

With the Ouattara regime (more than a thousand political prisoners now held for almost two years, the police and the gendarmerie without weapons, the army in disarray, the ethnic cleansing in the West against the We population, the violent former rebellion still unarmed, the refugee and IDP emergency, the reinstating of the French military base and several French ministers in the Ivorian government, frantic privatization, a persecuted press and the impossibility to hold demonstrations) Côte d’Ivoire is thrown backwards by 50 years in the construction of a nation-state.

Should the rest of Europe follow the policy of Europeanization of the French military in Africa? Does the multilateralisation of its foreign policy through the UN profit the rest of the world? The Ivorian crisis also brings to the forefront the urgent need to reform the UN Security Council, expanding the number of permanent seats to different continents and providing a place for Europe (by removing France and England) so as to create an arena of global governance worthy of receiving genuine democratization processes.

Nicoletta Fagiolo, January 2013



[1] “3.1.2. No agreement was reached in the results announced by the president of the IEC as foreseen by the procedures; 3.1.3. The President of the IEC declared the results alone, in the absence of the other members of the IEC and therefore in violation of the provisions and procedures of the same IEC “in Thabo Mbeki, Le Rapport de Thabo Mbeki sur sa mediation en Côte d’Ivoire, December 2010 found here and Thabo Mbeki, What the world got wrong in Côte d’Ivoire, April 29, 2011, Foreign Policy, available here.

[2] For example in the appeal for the annulment of the vote by Laurent Gbagbo to the Constitutional Council on 30 November 2010 it is stated that “in the entire department of Ferkessedougou, serious acts of death threats, assassinations, intimidations, physical violence, kidnappings of personnel, and aggressions were committed towards the representatives and activists of the Presidential majority coalition.” The appeal is accompanied by the minutes of the overseers and reports of election observers. The appeal states that the militants who had not left the area were still persecuted after the elections.

[3] Arsène Touho, Côte d'Ivoire, Leçons du 11 avril 2011, l'Harmattan, Paris, p.60

[4] “The evening news of the RTI on November 30, presented the results of unknown observation missions of African origin. After specifying their presence in all the cities of the northern part of the country, the missions described the elections in these areas as, fraudulent, non-transparent, marked by violence” in Rapport final de la Mission d'Observation de l'Union Européenne pour les elections en Côte d'Ivoire le 31 octobre et le November 28, 2010 p. 25 found here

[5] Frédéric Lafont here

[6] The final report of the ECOWAS was never made public. In all there were fifteen electoral observation missions. Some reports on the second round of the elections can be found here

[7] Youssouf Fofana, interview by Nicoletta Fagiolo and Théophile Kouamouo, Accra, Ghana, in June 2012.

[8] Charles Onana, Côte d'Ivoire, Le coup d'état, Paris, éditions Duboiris, 2011. p 322

[9] Alain Dogou, Ma vérité sur le contre complot Laurent Gbagbo, Contre-rapport des résultats de la Commission internationale de l'ONU sur la crise postélectorale, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2012. p 29

[10] Laurent Gbagbo, Agir pour les Libertés, Paris, L'Harmattan, 1991. p. 18

[11] Guy Labertit, Adieu Abidjan-sur-Seine: les coulisses du conflit ivoirien, Autres Temps, Gémenos, 2008. P.99

[12] Interview with Guy Labertit, Nicoletta Fagiolo, Paris, April 2011.

[13] The film by Sidiki Bakaba can be seen on YouTube

[14] Michel Galy, Guerre à l'Afrique? La France en retard d'une décolonisation in Grotius International, September 30, 2012.

[15] It is interesting to note that already in 1986 the French weekly magazine Jeune Afrique was convicted by the Paris Court of Appeals twice when Laurent Gbagbo sued for defamation, winning both cases.

[16] Today Théophile Kouamouo runs his own newspapers following events in Côte d’Ivoire le Nouveau Courrier http://nouveaucourrier.net/. The former spokesman for the French Licorne force, Georges Peillon, resigned from his job because he was appalled by the misconduct of the French press during his mission. His testimony can be listed to on the website Côte D'Ivoire Voices.

[17] The film by Silvestro Montanaro can be seen on YouTube

[18] For example, the division of a Muslim North and a Christian South is erroneous, because there are more Muslims in the south than in the north of Côte d'Ivoire. Thomas Bassett, “Nord Musulman and Sud Chrétien’: Les moules médiatiques de la crise ivoirienne,” in Afrique Contemporaine No. 206, 2003.

[19] Bruno Charbonneau, France and the New Imperialism, Security Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ashgate, 2008. P 154-155

[20] Interview with Don Mello Ahoua by Théophile Kouamouo and Nicoletta Fagiolo, Accra, Ghana, June, 2012.

[21] Sylvie Bocquet-N'Guessan, Côte d'Ivoire, le pays déchiré de mon grand-père, recit, L'Harmattan, 2012. p. 44-45 and p.59

[22] Alain Dogou, Ma vérité sur le complot contre Laurent Gbagbo, Contre-rapport des résultats de la Commission internationale de l'ONU sur la crise postélectorale, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2012. p 124-125

Nicoletta Fagiolo