AFRICA SECURITY BRIEF
Addressing Côte d’Ivoire’s Deeper Crisis
A PUBLICATION OF THE AFRICA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
Côte d’Ivoire will need to overcome its deep social divisions to attain stability.
To reverse the politicization o the military, security sector reorm must extend beyond conventional stan-dards and build a orce based on the concept o the “Army-Nation” (i.e. the military serving the nation).
Côte d’Ivoire’s peace, security, and development are closely linked to its neighbors, necessitating a sub-regional strategy or overcoming its ongoing crisis.
H I G H L I G H T S
NO. 19 / MARCH 2012
No one holding the highest oce would ever agree toleave power and submit to the will o the electorate.The resolution o Côte d’Ivoire’s traumatic post-election stando did not mean the end to the coun-try’s troubles, however. I Côte d’Ivoire is to achievestability, it must still address a deeper crisis—one thathas estered or more than a decade. The roots, con-sequences, and implications o this crisis are many-sided. They stem rom an explosive mix o ethnic,religious, and land rivalries that have led to a de actodivision o the country since 2002.At its core, this crisis is about national identi-ty—what does it mean to be Ivorian in this nation o 22 million inhabitants? Côte d’Ivoire has long wel-comed and benetted rom West Arican immigrants,who have worked the coee and cocoa plantations inthe South, generating billions o dollars in exports orwhat was once the economic engine o West Arica.Many o these estimated eight million immigrants
The May 2011 inauguration o Alassane Ouat-tara as President o Côte d’Ivoire culminated a tumul-tuous 5-month transition o power. The unwillingnesso the incumbent candidate, Laurent Gbagbo, to cedepower ollowing his electoral deeat eventually led toarmed confict between military orces who supportedOuattara and those loyal to Gbagbo. This resulted inan estimated 3,000 deaths and the involvement o orces rom the United Nations Operation in Côted’Ivoire
(UNOCI). Thousands o rapes, kidnappings,and ear o retribution compelled over a million peo-ple to fee the country’s commercial capital, Abidjan.The Ivorian crisis, moreover, has urther signi-cance or Arica. I Laurent Gbagbo had been allowedto steal the election, a dangerous pattern would havebeen reinorced (building on similar cases in Kenyaand Zimbabwe) just as presidential elections in Aricahave become increasingly common and competitive.