Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Addressing Côte d'Ivoire's Deeper Crisis

Addressing Côte d'Ivoire's Deeper Crisis

Ratings: (0)|Views: 144|Likes:
Published by Davin O'Regan
Although Côte d'Ivoire's traumatic post-election standoff has been resolved, legacies of a national identity crisis fostered during ten years of exploitation of ethnic and regional divisions have left this strategic West African country vulnerable to further instability. Avoiding this will require constructive engagement from Côte d'Ivoire's neighbors. International partners' assistance is also needed to build stronger national institutions, particularly a more independent electoral commission and professional military, as well as reinforcement of traditional reconciliation mechanisms.
Although Côte d'Ivoire's traumatic post-election standoff has been resolved, legacies of a national identity crisis fostered during ten years of exploitation of ethnic and regional divisions have left this strategic West African country vulnerable to further instability. Avoiding this will require constructive engagement from Côte d'Ivoire's neighbors. International partners' assistance is also needed to build stronger national institutions, particularly a more independent electoral commission and professional military, as well as reinforcement of traditional reconciliation mechanisms.

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Davin O'Regan on Jun 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

08/29/2013

pdf

text

original

 
1
AFRICA SECURITY BRIEF
Addressing Côte d’Ivoire’s Deeper Crisis
B
Y
T
HIERNO
M
OUCTAR
B
AH
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 reorm 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 oce 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 benetted rom West Arican immigrants,who have worked the coee and cocoa plantations inthe South, generating billions o dollars in exports orwhat was once the economic engine o West Arica.Many o these estimated eight million immigrants
ONGOING FRAGILITY
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 deeat 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 Arica. I Laurent Gbagbo had been allowedto steal the election, a dangerous pattern would havebeen reinorced (building on similar cases in Kenyaand Zimbabwe) just as presidential elections in Aricahave become increasingly common and competitive.
 
2and their descendants have lived in the country ordecades. Still, they are not recognized as citizens. Noris a path to citizenship available to them.This is the key issue that Côte d’Ivoire mustcome to terms with i it is to move rom its currentpolarized environment to reunication and stability.I national identity is not ully addressed, other eortstaken to stabilize the country will prove utile.One evident repercussion o the social ragmen-tation is a ractured security sector. Divisions betweenthe national army and the ormer rebel orces (andOuattara supporters) rom the North have becomeentrenched over the years. There is also the need torecover rom the disintegration o military proession-alism. During the electoral crisis, the Ivorian militarybecame a partisan actor, throwing its support behindlosing candidate Laurent Gbagbo. Now that a new president, whose legitimacy hasbeen validated both at home and abroad, has taken
Dr. Thierno Mouctar Bah, a Military Historian, was a Pro-essor at the University o Yaoundé (Cameroon) rom 1976to 2009. He has authored numerous books and articles onarmies, conict, and issues o security and peace in Arica.
 
3oce, Côte d’Ivoire requires support in all sectorsso that it can address the tremendous challenges itaces. But what can be done to rebuild, reunite, andstabilize this country, including the 47 percent o thepopulation that supported Gbagbo?The stakes are high. Côte d’Ivoire’s stability isvital to all o West Arica, which is struggling to re-cover rom the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leoneas well as a legacy o coups across the subregion. Theinrastructural damage caused by the post-electionviolence combined with the economic stagnationo the past decade have had ar-reaching economicimpacts or all o West Arica.
ROOTS OF TOLERANCE
Côte d’Ivoire’s crisis is grounded in its geogra-phy and history. The country shares borders with vestates—Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Li-beria. Its name, which translates as Ivory Coast, datesback to the period o initial contact with Europeans.Domination by France extended rom 1883 to 1960,during which time it developed in the orest-richcoastal South an economy based on coee and cocoa,resulting in the concept o a “useul Côte d’Ivoire”that marginalized the North.While maintaining a one-party political system,President Félix Houphouët-Boigny led Côte d’Ivoireor 33 years with wisdom and prudence, managingto avoid the ethnic conficts and coups that beellneighboring countries. He eectively integrated thenation’s disparate regions into a cohesive economysuch that Côte d’Ivoire became a symbol o prosperityand stability. The Ivorian economy doubled in sizebetween 1960 and 1980.The progressive accumulation o wealth os-tered improved communication and urbanization,helping to make Côte d’Ivoire a multi-ethnic melt-ing pot, symbolized by the city o Abidjan and itsve million inhabitants. The country welcomed im-migrants rom all over the subregion, mainly romBurkina Faso, who now account or almost 20 per-cent o the population. Most immigrants became anintegral part o the agricultural sector. Local popula-tions, including landowners, however, consideredimmigrants non-natives and marginalized them,diminishing their social status.Houphouët-Boigny’s message o peace and socialharmony is his most important legacy. Oering landto immigrants in exchange or labor on plantationsand ensuring that members o all ethnic groups wererepresented in positions o power ostered a culture o tolerance that persisted throughout his time in power.He likewise established a Foundation or Peace, andUNESCO named its annual peace prize ater him.Houphouët-Boigny, however, did not endowhis country with the institutions needed to ensurestability ater he died in 1993. His political party,as in all single-party governments, became ossied.Côte d’Ivoire thus aced dire straits derived roman undened process o succession at the end o a reign that lasted too long. This was refected ingrowing levels o corruption and an economy thatsaw a 35 percent contraction in per capita incomesbetween 1979 and 1999.This institutional ragility set the stage or a mili-tary coup in December 1999 led by General RobertGuéï. Elections in 2000 intended to legitimize Guéï’srule were discredited when two leading candidates,including Alassane Ouattara, were disqualied overquestions o their parents’ citizenship. Even so, Guéïcame in second in the elections, leading him to de-clare them invalid and himsel the victor. Subsequentriots and attacks on the presidential palace orcedhim to fee.As the only other major candidate whose nameappeared on the ballot, Laurent Gbagbo won themost votes and was eventually declared president.Another coup attempt in 2002 precipitated an ag-gressive security operation against regions with largeimmigrant populations, causing widespread displace-ment. The resulting polarization quickly evolved intoa rebellion and a North-South split o the country.A United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation wasdeployed to monitor the ceasere line.Although Gbagbo began his political career asa democratic reormist, his 10-year reign was raughtwith intolerance o political dissent, omenting o 
“Houphouët-Boigny’s message opeace and social harmony is hismost important legacy”

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->