9 July 2013

Cote d'Ivoire: President Ouattara Calls on FPI to Join the Country's Peace Process

Photo: RNW
A major Abidjan thoroughfare.

press release

President Alassane Ouattara Yesterday Extended an Invitation to Leaders of the Former Ruling Fpi Party to Participate in the Peace and Reconciliation Process. Fraternite Matin (p. 7) Said the Overture Was Made in the City of Korhogo Where the Ivoirian Leader Yesterday Concluded His Tour of the North. "I Would Like Once Again to Call Upon Our Brothers and Friends From the FPI to Join the Reconciliation Process... the FPI Was Bold Enough to Denounce the One-Party System and Is Therefore Capable of Repenting and Acting With Humility Towards Victims of the Crisis and Their Families," President Ouattara Reportedly Said, Adding That He Remains Committed to Reconciliation, Unity and Brotherhood.

Le Patriote (p. 2) carried a similar account and published (pp. 6-8) an interview the Ivoirian leader gave on the margins of his presidential trip. In a wide-ranging discussion, President Ouattara said the government is addressing the country's challenges and that all people implicated in the country's deadly crisis will face justice.

President Ouattara's overture was also commented on by opposition papers. Le Temps (p. 5) argued the Ivoirian leader's move is a vain attempt to turn the real victims into perpetrators of the atrocities the country went through. The paper alleged that supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo and the FPI are the real victims of the crisis which can be traced back to the 2002 failed coup attempt and was exacerbated during and after the 2010 presidential election.

Le Nouveau Courrier (p. 5) argued that the Ivoirian leader is jeering at the victims of the Nahibly refugee camp reportedly ransacked by supporters of the president.

Le Quotidien d'Abidjan an opposition paper close to the former ruling FPI party has been suspended for seven days by the Conseil National de la Presse, the country's press watchdog. The information made news in the press as it happened a few days after the CNP lifted sanctions imposed on three other papers which resumed publication yesterday. According to Le Nouveau Reveil (p. 9) the paper was suspended for publishing a controversial article alleging that a dictatorship is reigning in Cote d'Ivoire with hundreds of political leaders being detained by the Ivoirian regime. According to the CNP such allegations are likely to jeopardize national cohesion and fuel tensions; hence the CNP sanction which also suspended the publisher of the paper, Mr. Allan Alliali for two months.

However, for Mr. Alliali, the CNP's decision is politically-motivated. "This politically-motivated decision is unfair and abusive," he complained, arguing that the subject article was not intended to stir up people. "As the president himself put it, we are free to speak up and that is what I did," he added.

The trial of the former managers of the Ivoirian cocoa and coffee sectors accused of mismanagement and embezzlement is at its climax according to papers which noted that the verdict is expected soon. Soir Info (p. 8) noted that in his indictment state prosecutor Fernand Oulaye requested jail sentences for Henri Amouzou and Theophile Kouassi two of those accused of economic crimes.

Le Nouveau Courrier (p. 3) said the ex-cocoa and coffee tycoons are likely to serve several years in jail.

According to an article in Fraternite Matin (p. 19) the government has initiated a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of corruption. Speaking yesterday at the launching of the campaign, Mr. Meite Sindou, the chairman of a government-sponsored task force aimed at promoting good governance, said the initiative is attempting to use publicity and advocacy efforts to change public attitudes towards corruption which is a hindrance to the development of the country.

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